Wednesday, October 1, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Jan Moran, Author

Jan Moran, Author
FLAWLESS
Jan Moran applied her expertise of perfumery and the beauty industry to write FLAWLESS, described by one reviewer as A classic romantic tale with a modern business twist.” Moran’s “Hostile Beauty” series features “smart, gutsy women” who encounter and overcome opposition in the beauty business.  Moran describes the Hostile Beauty series as a behind-the-scenes look into the “beautiful” industries.

Moran, a bestselling and award-winning author, once wanted to be a ballerina, started several companies, and created special touch-screens for shoppers of perfumery and skin-care. She loves the freedom of dancing and has enjoyed dancing with her husband from New York to Paris. Her next novel, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, is scheduled for release in late March 2015 and pre-orders can be placed now on Amazon.



Q: Where did you get the plot for FLAWLESS and the Hostile Beauty series?

Jan Moran: I worked in the beauty industry for many years. My mother and grandmother had a great love of perfumery. In college I worked as a fragrance model and makeup artist, and later wrote two books on perfumery, Fabulous Fragrances, which earned top ten positions on Rizzoli Bookstore’s bestseller list.

After writing and distributing books for the beauty industry, I conceived and created a software program called Scentsa. These touch-screen programs helped shoppers find fragrances, skincare, and cosmetics in stores such as Sephora, DFS, JCPenney, and Nordstrom. We translated Scentsa into five languages and displayed it at retailers in eight countries (United States, France, Canada, Hong Kong, Denmark, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, and Mexico). The Fragrance Foundation in New York even awarded us a coveted FiFi Award for Technological Innovation of the Year. It was covered in Women’s Wear Daily and Wall Street Journal. The technology was sold to Sephora in August 2013, and the touch-screen programs are now exclusive to Sephora.

My Scentsa team and I worked with the world’s leading beauty brands and luxury retailers. This background was rich inspiration for the Hostile Beauty series.

Q: I love the series title of A Hostile Beauty Novel.” What makes it “hostile?”

Jan Moran: In my experience, there are many less-than-honorable people encountered in business. In the beauty business, I say that there is often an “ugly side to beauty.” I really wanted to delve into these personalities and their actions, and demonstrate how smart, gutsy women protect their businesses and come out on top in life and in love. Hence the series title, Hostile Beauty.

Q: Did you base any of your plot or characters on real occurrences or people you encountered as part of your background in the perfumery industry?

Jan Moran: While my experiences in the beauty industry inspired this series, the people and occurrences are fictional. Yet the situations are all plausible, and truth is often stranger than fiction.

Q: Reviewers tout your characters and say they, “reach out of the pages and pull you into their lives, and they stay with you long after you close the book.” How do you create such compelling characters?

Jan Moran: My characters have heart; they’re the kind of women you’d want to plan a girls’ weekend with, and share your deepest secrets. I’m so blessed to have wonderful friends. We cheer each other on! My books reflect these supportive relationships, especially the Hostile Beauty series, which is about a group of entrepreneurial friends in the “beautiful” industries.

Q: Does the concept of “villain vs hero” help tell your story? Do you believe that you need a villain in order to have hero?

Jan Moran: My stories are about overcoming the challenges life hurls at us. It might be a villain, a war, a recession, or something else. And, while there are heroic men in my stories, the women are the real heroes. My heroines save themselves. They’re smart, savvy, genuine women who, despite the odds, create the lives they want for themselves and their families.

Q: How supportive is setting FLAWLESS in Beverly Hills to creating your plot?

Jan Moran: The Hostile Beauty series is a behind-the-scenes look into the “beautiful” industries. I used to live in Beverly Hills, so I know the community well. In Los Angeles, one’s exterior is important, from physical appearance to accoutrements, clothing, and settings. It was the perfect place to set this story.

Q: Reviewers also praise your “compelling plot that had me turning the pages faster and faster.” How do you create this suspense?

Jan Moran: I like action! In every scene, I’m intent on driving the story forward. I’m glad readers are enjoying it.

Q: Did you write FLAWLESS to entertain or did you also intend to deliver a message?

Jan Moran: First, my mission is to entertain and deliver a great story. Second, my stories are inherently about hope, triumph over adversity, appreciation of other cultures, and belief in your own abilities. If readers enjoy the Hostile Beauty series, and also feel empowered, then I’ve done my job!

Q: What’s next?

Jan Moran: St. Martin’s Press is publishing my historical novel, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, which is about a French perfumer during World War II, and takes readers to Paris, London, and Hollywood. The next historical is set in the wine industry, in Napa Valley and Montalcino. For the contemporary Hostile Beauty series, I’ll be taking readers to fabulous international locations and spinning sexy new stories.

I’ll make announcements on my website, blog, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter. Stay tuned on the blog through www.janmoran.com, where I’ll post previews. Better yet, sign up for my newsletter to learn about new books and enter to win Advance Reader Copies and autographed books.

Q: Tell us about Jan Moran. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Jan Moran: Well, once upon a time I was a ballerina, but now I’m quite good at reading financial statements, too. I’ve also worked with PR firms representing brands to the media. And I’ve started several companies. My last company, Scentsa, was sold to Sephora, and shoppers can still use the touch-screens I designed for perfumery and skincare.

I love a spa weekend with girlfriends, or an all-girls ski trip. I also enjoy going out dancing with my husband. We have danced around the world, from the hottest discos in Paris, to dancing in the rain by Central Park in New York to a jazz street band. Dance frees the spirit. I also like to visit art museums to fire up the creative side of the brain.

I have a weakness for shoes and jewelry. I’m a true girly girl, and I’ve designed and created many of my own jewelry pieces. And did I mention desserts? Don’t even get me started on chocolate!

About Jan Moran

Jan Moran is a bestselling and award-winning author. She writes historical women's fiction for St. Martin's Press, contemporary women's fiction, and nonfiction books. Her stories are smart and stylish, and written with emotional depth.
Jan often draws on her international travel and business experiences, infusing her books with realistic details. The Midwest Book Review and Kirkus have recommended her books, calling her heroines strong, complex, and resourceful. She blogs for ProjectEve and at JanMoran.com.
Jan has been featured in numerous prestigious media, including CNN, Women's Wear Daily, Wall Street Journal, Allure, InStyle, O Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Costco Connection. As a serial entrepreneur, Jan is the founder and creator of Scentsa, a touch-screen software program for retailers and brands. The fragrance and skincare programs are at Sephora stores in the US, Canada, and international locations.

About FLAWLESS

Verena Valent is at the helm of her family's legendary Swiss skincare company, which caters to a glamorous clientele in the heart of Beverly Hills. After her parents are killed in an automobile accident, she becomes the sole provider for her younger twin sisters and her grandmother. Instead of attending college with her friends as planned, she rises to the challenge to guide and expand her family's business. She is in the midst of a critical international expansion into Asia when her carefully organized life begins to unravel.

Verena is shaken to discover that her fiancé, Derrick, might be behind a scheme to take over her growing company. While she struggles to save the business that means everything to her, she meets Lance, an executive chef at the Beverly Hills Hotel. She encounters this intriguing man again while on a business trip to Paris, and soon gains a new perspective on love, romance, and relationships.

When the unthinkable occurs and Verena's world collapses, her friends rally around her, among them Scarlett Sandoval, a top intellectual property attorney; Dahlia DuBois, a perfumer from an esteemed line of French perfumers; and Fianna Fitzgerald, a fashion designer with her own trendy boutique.

Ultimately, Verena learns that truth, family, friendship, and love are the unshakable pillars of life. But will she get a second chance in business, or in love?

Flawless is the first book in the Hostile Beauty Series. Follow a group of smart, stylish, entrepreneurial friends as they navigate the turbulences of modern life in the business of beauty. Set in Beverly Hills with action flung across the globe, this engaging series features gutsy, determined best friends, and how they manage to live the lives of their dreams.

Excerpt

As she walked, watching the moonlight wavering over the faint ripples on the pool’s surface, Verena thought of her grandmother, Mia, and her parents, and how hard they’d worked to build up the business. It had been a slow process, ‘brick by brick,’ as her father had been fond of saying. Her father, Joseph, and her mother, Angelica. How she missed them; she’d ached for them every day of her life since—
A large man in a white shirt stepped in front of her. “Excuse me, do you have a light?”
Verena jerked her head up, startled. “No,” she snapped. “And you shouldn’t jump out in front of people like that.”
“I’m sorry, didn’t mean to frighten you.”
His voice was a deep, warm baritone, and he sounded genuinely apologetic. Bright pool lights behind him illuminated his broad physique.
She couldn’t make out his face, but she could see a cigarette dangling from his silhouetted fingers. “Besides, you shouldn’t smoke.” She heard him sigh.
“I know. I quit, but I really need a cigarette right now. It’s been one of those weeks.”
“Tell me about it,” she muttered. He made no reply but remained rooted to the ground before her, blocking her way. She put up her hand to shield her eyes from the light. “I can’t see you, and you’re in my way.”
He stepped aside, and brought his face near hers. “Is that better?”
A shaft of light from the pool shone on his face. Verena caught her breath. Behind his engaging smile, his white teeth sparkled. His eyes crinkled in a nice way when he grinned, and his kind face drew her in. He looked around her age, maybe a couple of years older—about thirty, she guessed. With tanned skin and sun-streaked, chestnut brown hair, it was obvious he enjoyed the California sunshine. He also had a distinct inviting aroma about him—garlic and rosemary. She looked at his clothes. White jacket, thermometer in a slender pouch sewn onto the sleeve, casual cotton pants. “You’re a chef.”
He laughed and bowed. “At your service.”
“You smell wonderful.” Verena grew warm. With her fair skin, she blushed easily, and she was glad it was dark outside. She was far too old for such immature reactions.
“Hungry?”
“I had dinner, sort of, but I didn’t really eat it. Actually, I’m starving.”
He raised his eyebrows, alarmed. “What was wrong with it?”
Verena realized he thought she didn’t like the food. It must have come from his kitchen. “No, it was delicious, but I can’t eat much before I have to appear in public or give a presentation. Audiences make me nervous; it’s stage fright, I guess.”
 She laughed. “I’m always starving by the time an event like this is over. Everyone else has eaten well, and then I have to find a late night diner. Or room service.”
“You’ll have none of that tonight. Come with me.” He took her hand and smiled at her again when she hesitated. “What’s the matter?” He glanced down at her barren left hand—Derrick hadn’t given her a ring yet. “Boyfriend waiting for you?”
There it was again, that warm feeling that grew along her neck. “No, not really, but my friends are waiting for me in the Polo Lounge.”
“They’ll be fine, but you should eat something. Look, you’re so weak you’re shaking. I’ll call the maître’d at the Polo Lounge for you. What’s your name?”
“What’s yours?”
“Ah, my manners. Forgive me, too much time in the kitchen. My name is Lance, Lance Martel.”
“Verena Valent.”  
“Beautiful name for a beautiful woman.” A smile curved on his full lips. “You’re going to eat well tonight, Verena. Come with me.” He took her hand, letting his fingers glide to her fingertips in a causal, friendly grasp.
His fingers seemed magnetic. She was starving, and he seemed innocuous enough, though he was disarmingly attractive. Not in the powerful, intense way Derrick was, but in a charming, friendly manner. She hesitated for a moment, and then thought, Why not?

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