Interview With Author Jan Moran - The Winemakers

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author?

My first book was a nonfiction title, Fabulous Fragrances, which set me on the course of developing the FragranceIQ and SkinIQ touchscreen experiences for Sephora stores around the world. A few years ago, after Sephora acquired the company I'd started, I returned to writing with my first historical novel, Scent of Triumph, a novel about a French perfumer during World War II (think Coco Chanel meets Kristin Hannah's Nightingale). The Winemakers is my second novel for St. Martin's Press.

Where do you find inspiration for your storylines? For the characters you create?

My settings are generally drawn from places I've visited, while the stories are centered on strong females characters. I'm fascinated by the roles extraordinary women have played in history. My sagas often begin from a seed of inspiration and blossom from there.

Your recent book, The Winemakers, is set in Italy. Do you have a personal connection to this country? Have you traveled to the countryside where this book is set? If not, how did you go about bringing a sense of reality to the setting?

Spotlight on The Winemaker
I love to travel and, yes, I have been to Tuscany (and loved it). The Brunello di Montalcino wine is one of my favorite wines, so I became interested in its history and the winemaking industry in the region. I have a vivid memory for sensory details, especially for the sense of smell, and it's easy for me to conjure a setting again. I also have winemaker friends who supplied many technical details. I was fortunate to spend time in Napa Valley conducting more research... which necessarily involved a few glasses of wine.

How do your organize your time when working on a new book? Research? Working on Manuscript? Pre-marketing?

For The Winemakers, I started with research in Napa Valley. The story formed in my mind quite quickly. As for writing, I write a manuscript completely through first, let it rest for a week or so, and then return to begin edits. I often log long hours into the night, because I become so excited and obsessed with the story.

As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore
Actually, I like it all. Plotting and writing the initial story is a joy, and editing is like polishing a diamond, perfecting the pieces until they shine.

After publishing so many books, does it get easier or harder to come up with a concept for the next?

Ideas are plentiful; it's sometimes difficult to choose between ideas.

What would you most like readers to know about you?

I think most readers can sense that I write to entertain and share experiences, yet I also work to infuse characters with an emotional arc. None of us is perfect; neither are the characters in my books. (Besides, wouldn't that be dull?) We've all made mistakes, but what interests me are the creative, courageous ways that people find to resolve their problems, and how they grow through the experience. 

I like to write multi-generational stories with meaty roles for each generation. Finally, my love of travel and different cultures threads through each novel because I'm eternally curious about people of the world. 

Do you have any advice for young writers just entering this competitive industry?

Never give up! More options than ever exist today to see your work in print.
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