New Novel Series Features Female Entrepreneurs
“There’s always an ugly side to beauty.” That’s the phrase that popped into my mind one day as I was preparing to meet the corporate beauty VP of a department store, and it spawned a brand new contemporary fiction series that features female entrepreneurs who run their own companies. The series is called Hostile Beauty, and the first book in the series is Flawless.
Flawless is a modern, realistic view of the beauty industry in a fictional setting. The action is centered on a close circle of goal-oriented girlfriends, which is the premise of the Hostile Beauty series.
Some of you might know that I spent quite a few years in the beauty industry — I wrote the Fabulous Fragrances nonfiction books (rather like a guide to wine, only for fragrances), which hit the Rizzoli top ten bestseller list, and served as the basis for Scentsa, a touch-screen fragrance, skincare, and cosmetic finder I created for Sephora, DFS, and Nordstrom. It also won a FiFi award from The Fragrance Foundation for technological innovation. (Sephora recently acquired the technology.)
During my tenure in the beauty industry, I was always fascinated by the true, cut-throat stories swirling around. In fact, a fellow author, Kate White, former editor of Cosmopolitan, also draws on some of her beauty and publishing experiences in writing her fictional books. (And, she praised a book from one of my new author friends, Anita Hughes, who also writes for St. Martin’s. What a nice gesture! Check out both of these fabulous authors.)
Fictional Stories Inspired by Real Life
Readers always ask about the story behind the book, so here goes… When I began to write Flawless, the first book in my new Hostile Beauty series, I was inspired by my experiences and observations in the beauty industry, as well as close, life-long friendships.
In creating “real” situations and scenes, I often call on my friends in business, those who are running their own company, as well as the high-powered advisors — the attorneys, financiers, and consultants who see it all.
My primary goal is to tell an entertaining story, but I also strive to portray real business situations so that readers can learn something, too. Most people remember stories better than dry textbook advice; that’s why the best presenters tell a lot of stories in their speeches.
Set in Beverly Hills and Paris
Much of this novel was scribbled on airplanes or in hotel rooms; you’ll even get to visit one of my favorite hotels in Paris, the Villa and Hôtel Majestic in the sixteenth arrondissement. I just had to set one of the lite-sexy scenes between Verena and Lance in the pool area, where I swam almost every morning and many evenings in their wonderful salt water pool — and even made friends with a real-life handsome prince. (But that’s another story…) Le Crabe Marteau and Le Speakeasy are also real places in Paris where we went with friends from Paris.
As for the Beverly Hills location, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Polo Lounge are real places, too, as well as the neighborhood streets. If you ever visit the Polo Lounge in the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard, be sure to order my favorite champagne cocktail, a Kir Royale.
After college, seeking sunshine and a fine public school system for my young son, I moved to a one-bedroom apartment in Beverly Hills. I dated, fell in love, and did all the things a new graduate/single mom might do. But most of all, I made wonderful, life-long friends there. My female friends were smart, accomplished, and lovely — on the inside and out. I wanted to share the feelings and depth of these friendships, and how special they are to me.
The swoon-worthy chef in the book, Lance Martel, is a fictional character; however, the recipes and dishes are real. My husband loves to cook, and one of our sons is a chef school graduate. Of course, we ate our way through France, too.
While the action in the book is fictional, the business aspects are pretty accurate.
An attorney and MBA read a pre-publication draft, and reported back on its accuracy. “Sadly so,” she added. But there’s always hope, and my intent is that this rollicking saga will certainly prove that. The characters find some pretty creative solutions to their problems, like any successful entrepreneur.
The Story of Flawless: A Hostile Beauty Novel
I’m excited to unveil this project, and thrilled that 5-star reviews have already started rolling in on Amazon, Goodreads, and other major retailers. Melissa Foster, one of today’s top bestselling author-entrepreneurs, had this to say about the first book in the series:
“A breathtakingly real look at the cut-throat world of the beauty industry. An engrossing view into the world of ‘beautiful people’ with an ending that will leave you wanting more.” - New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Melissa Foster
So, here’s the set up for 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, a venture capitalist, 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 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?
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, the Hostile Beauty Series is an engaging series that features gutsy, determined best friends, and how they manage to live the lives of their dreams.
“Flawless is an astute, intelligent, gripping romance for the modern woman. Jan Moran’s writing took me to the edge; she creates a heroine whom you can’t fail to care for and understand. A fabulous first book in the series; I can’t wait to read the next one!” – Hannah Fielding, Author of The Echoes of Love
By Female Entrepreneurs, For Female Entrepreneurs
While I’m thrilled that St. Martin’s Press publishes my historical fiction (Scent of Triumph, 2015), the contemporary fiction Hostile Beauty series is an entrepreneurial endeavor under my new company, Briarcliffe Press. I’m proud to say the entire production team is comprised of female entrepreneurs, including freelance editors, proofreaders, formatters, and cover designers.
Flawless is now available on Amazon worldwide in paperback and Kindle ebook. Find it also on Apple iBooks, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Smashwords, and independent and chain bookstores. On Goodreads, read recent reviews and add it to your “To Be Read” list. Journalists, reviewers and bloggers can visit NetGalley for review information.
Celebrating the Debut
So let the confetti fly and the champagne flow! We’re christening the good ship Hostile Beauty as she sets sail. I’m celebrating by starting the next book in the series, about beauty licensing attorney Escarlata “Scarlett” Sandoval, who also has a fabulous story to share. (And you’ll get to see more of Verena Valent and the others.) Visit my website to read book excerpts.
And here’s to inspiring thousands of new female entrepreneurs!
About this author: Jan Moran is a novelist and entrepreneur. Her historical novel about a French perfumer during World War II, SCENT OF TRIUMPH, is published by St. Martin’s Press. Also look for her contemporary fiction series, HOSTILE BEAUTY, wherever books are sold. A Harvard MBA and native Texan, she lives in San Diego, and can be reached atwww.janmoran.com.
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