A couple of weeks ago, fellow author Colleen Collins, author of The Next Right Thing, asked me to reveal a bit about my writing and participate in a blog hop for readers. Here’s how she describes it: “The Next Big Thing is an around-the-world blog hop where authors of all genres tell readers about their next/recent book release in the course of answering 10 questions. Each author has been tagged by another author to write a blog, and the current author then tags new authors who blog the following week.”
So, here are her questions…and my answers:
1) What is the working title of your next book? I haven’t unveiled the title of my next book yet, but here goes…(drum roll, please!): My next book is called Hostile Beauty. It’s well underway, and I’m really excited about it. Having a great deal of fun with it, creating lots of smart, stylish, sexy women. Can’t wait to share more with you soon!
2) Where did the idea come from for the book? Most of my ideas stem from my personal experience, although my books are not autobiographical per se. But in both Scent of Triumph and Hostile Beauty you will learn about places I’ve lived and traveled (such as Paris, Beverly Hills, New York), the work I’ve done in perfume and beauty, period fashions, history, and more. I don’t like to drop designer names or labels simply for the sake of doing so, but I will when it’s germane to characterization, setting, or historical reference. I also like to include details about what it’s like to create a product, run a business, obtain funding–keys aspects of any entrepreneur’s experience. My characters are quite entrepreneurial, and I suppose that stems from my own experience as well.
In fact, the story of Danielle Bretancourt in Scent of Triumph is really the story of a woman’s journey on the entrepreneur’s path, a path chosen out of necessity for survival. It’s a story of creativity and innovation, and of courage of convictions. Since the story begins in 1939, I had to understand the challenges that faced women at that time, such as the lack of credit or borrowing power for women who wanted to start their own business, among others. While opportunities have improved for women around the world, there are still so many women who suffer from inequalities, lack of knowledge, poor access to capital, and cultural oppression. For this story, I drew on memories from my mother, grandmother, and great grandmother – their memories of joy over gaining the right to vote, owning property in their name, and creating their own income. The challenges they faced and overcame inspired me to become an entrepreneur, and to help spread the word today about women’s entrepreneurial efforts as a positive economic force for change.
3) What genre does your book fall under? Scent of Triumph is historical fiction, and Hostile Beauty is contemporary fiction. Both are considered commercial, or mainstream fiction, and both have strong romantic elements, though they’re not strictly romance.
4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition? Here’s a start–love to hear what readers think, too!
Danielle Bretancourt: Keira Knightley, Audrey Tatou, Emma Stone
Jonathan Newell-Grey: Chris Hemsworth
Max von Hoffman: Jude Law
Cameron Murphy: Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds
Marie Bretancourt: Meryl Streep, Juliette Binoche
Erica Evans: Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek
5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
For Scent of Triumph: Set between privileged lifestyles and gritty realities, SCENT OF TRIUMPH is one woman’s story of courage, spirit, and resilience.
6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Scent of Triumph is published by an artisanal publisher (with a nod to Guy Kawasaki for this term), Briarcliffe Press. However, there are a number of film and literary agents who are considering Scent of Triumph for expanded distribution, as well as the new Hostile Beauty.
7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript? For Scent of Triumph, the first draft was written in about a year, but there were many, many rounds of revisions and edits that took several years. Hostile Beauty is going much faster, but I had a lot of material from which to draw.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? It’s hard to say, because both books are original ideas. Personally, I like to read a wide range of historical and mainstream women’s fiction, if that helps. Some of my faves are on my Goodreads page. Stop by and say hello.
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book? Scent of Triumph was inspired by my love of perfumery. My creation of Scentsa for Sephora and other work in the fragrance industry also contributed quite a bit of inspiration. The idea for the World War II period was inspired by my parent’s memories of their lives during the war, and by accounts from French perfumers and fashion designers who lived through the war.
I was also inspired by female entrepreneurs from the early part of the 20th century, such as Elizabeth Arden, Coco Chanel, Madame Gres, Nina Ricci, Estee Lauder, Eleanor Roosevelt, and many others in the beauty and fashion industries. Family is also vitally important in this story; Danielle’s love and devotion to her children is really the root of her ambition, as it is with many female entrepreneurs who wish to create a better life for themselves and their children. She is an ordinary woman who achieves extraordinary things. As any one of us can.
10) What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest? Scent of Triumph is a highly emotional story. Readers tell me they get emotionally invested in the main character, Danielle. They pull for her success, they cry with her during her periods of grief, and they fall in love with her lovers.
Perhaps fellow author Hannah Fielding (Burning Embers) put it best in her review of Scent of Triumph:
“I felt enormously empathetic towards Danielle, the protagonist. She’s mature, courageous, hard-working, sensible and fiercely independent – all qualities that make her easy to like. This is not a heroine bowed down by adversity, but one who turns it to her advantage. I was especially drawn to her relationships with people – as a mother and daughter, and as a wife. There’s a compelling realism in these relationships that stands out in the writing. When a main character is so human – full of unrealised passions, doing her best with her lot while yearning for more – it is a recipe for a book that really touches the core of the reader.”
Read her full review here: http://www.hannahfielding.net/?page_id=759
And while you’re at it, check out Hannah’s extraordinarily well-written book, Burning Embers. One of my favorites!
Discover more fabulous new authors! Tune in to these fellow authors on the blog hop to see what they’re working on: Andrew Clawson, author of Patriot’s Betrayal, a thriller (December 26), Gregory Allen, author of Patchwork of Me (December 26), and Lori Verni-Fogarsi, author of Momnesia, a chick-lit story (in January).