Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blog Tour: Scent of Triumph Guest Post and Giveaway!!!

So today, we have another great blog tour to share with all of you.  There is also a great giveaway at the bottom of this post for you all to join.  Enjoy! 

Guest Post

Casting Call for Characters

by Jan Moran

Hello, it’s great to be here on Twigasm today! I’m a fan fiction aficionado, too, so it’s wonderful to be among friends at Team Twigasm.

One question writers often hear is “how do you create your characters?” I’ve been a writer since childhood, creating stories to entertain friends and family members. One of my favorite parts of this process is drafting the characters. So, how do I begin?

1.       Casting Call - Like a casting agent, I hold auditions for my characters. For example, when I was considering leading ladies for my novel, Scent of Triumph, I imagined a young woman who was smart and sophisticated, warm and loving. She had to have a natural gift of extraordinary talent. As a young mother, she would face hardships in this historical thriller far beyond the comprehension of most of us. She had to be relentlessly determined, driven to protect her family at any cost, unwavering in her beliefs about her children, and obsessed to provide for her family through her unique talents.

2.       What’s in a Name? - I like to hear poetry in a name, so for this novel I imagined a young mother in 1920s France. What name might such a stylish, creative mother choose? How about a classic French name combined with an artistic emblem of her family and her creative passion? Thus, Danielle Rose was christened after one of the most revered of flowers—appropriate for a child born into a family of French perfumers. The poet, Sappho, in her 600 B.C. poem, “Ode to the Rose,” referred to this blossom as the “queen of flowers.” Indeed, this little girl would grow to become the leader of her family.

3.       Character Arc – Continuing the example, Danielle had to be someone you’d like to share a glass of wine with, cheer on to success, and commiserate with over mistakes made—because we all make mistakes. Who hasn’t fallen for the wrong man, said something that was later regretted, had to make a difficult decision under duress? No one is perfect, and neither is Danielle. But she learns from her mistakes; she never gives up. Danielle is destined to cultivate seeds of courage and strength to levels seldom tested in our lives. Isn’t that what all great characters—real or imaginary—do? This is called the character arc, or how a character develops in the course of a story.

4.       Details, Details - People often ask how writers keep it all straight: hair and eye color, height, weight, mannerisms, speech patterns, internal thoughts…the list goes on and on. During the initial process, I create characters by imagining each one’s personality, history, talents, and experiences—it all goes into a notebook for quick reference. Most of the details don’t actually make it into the novel, but these details help create believable three-dimensional characters.

For example, I can tell you Danielle’s least favorite flower (iris); where she spent her summers (at the family chateau in Grasse), what kind of dog she had as a child (standard poodle), and how many languages she speaks (five: French, English, German, Spanish, Polish). I know why she chooses the men she does (it’s complicated), and how she approaches challenges (head on). Her birth date, likes and dislikes, even how she might score on a psychological profile—it’s all in the notebook. By the time I’ve drawn my characters, I know how they’re going to act and react, or what might surprise us. After all, I like to be entertained, too.

5.       Complex Characters - Creating deep, multifaceted characters infuses a story with meaning. When you care about a character, you care about what happens to them. It’s what brings tears to your eyes late at night, or makes you laugh out loud on the train. And when the story is over, these are characters that you can’t get out of your mind. The good ones become friends; you’ll find yourself thinking about them years later.

Do writers draw on their own experiences? Quite often, yes. Some call this deep characterization and many writers do it to some extent, even without realizing it.

For a long time now, Danielle has been part of my life and dear to my heart. Like many of you already, I’ve cried over her heartaches, warned her against danger, and applauded her successes. If you haven’t, I hope you enjoy meeting her in the pages of Scent of Triumph.

About the Book

Scent of Triumph is the story of Danielle Bretancourt, a talented young French perfumer with a flair for fashion and a natural olfactory gift. In the language of perfumery, she is a Nose, with the rare ability to recognize thousands of essences by memory. The story opens on the day England declares war on Germany, and Danielle and her family are caught in the midst of a raging disaster sweeping across Europe.

Her life takes a tragic turn when her husband and son are lost behind enemy lines. She spies for the French resistance, determined to find them, but is forced to flee Europe with fragments of her family. Destitute, she mines her talents to create a magnificent perfume that captures the hearts of Hollywood's top stars, then gambles again to win wealth and success as a couturier. Her intelligence and flair attracts the adoration of Jonathan Newell-Grey, of England's top shipping conglomerate, and Cameron Murphy, Hollywood's most charismatic star.

Danielle charts her course through devastating wartime losses and revenge; lustful lovers and loveless marriages; and valiant struggles to reunite her family. Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, here is one woman's story of courage, spirit, and resilience.

About the Author:

Jan Moran writes smart, stylish, sensual sagas. She’s also written several books on perfume.

“My most recent book, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, was inspired by my love of perfumery and history. In writing, I drew upon my own family history and my mother's memories of World War II, imagining a young entrepreneur whose talent, determination, and fearlessness catapult her to the pinnacle of success, despite mounting personal tragedies and the elusiveness of love. 

“I write about strong, capable, female entrepreneurs.  I’m a world traveler, so I also enjoy writing about different destinations.”

Jan Moran is the author of SCENT OF TRIUMPH, a historical novel, and FABULOUS FRAGRANCES I and II, which earned spots on the Rizzoli Bookstore bestseller list.  She is at work on more series in fiction and nonfiction.

As a fragrance and beauty expert, she has been featured in numerous publications and on television and radio, including CNN and Extra, Women's Wear Daily, Allure, InStyle, and O Magazine. As an editor and writer, she has covered fragrance, beauty, and spa travel for a variety of publications.


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