Something smells amazing and it’s Adria Cimino’s gorgeous new book! That cover is amazing. Here’s a bit more about it.
The quest for a stolen perfume formula awakens passion, rivalry and family secrets in the fragrant flower fields of the South of France…
Perfumer Zoe Flore travels to Grasse, perfume capital of the world, to collect a formula: her inheritance from the family she never knew existed. The scent matches the one worn by her mother, who passed away when Zoe was a teenager. Zoe, competing to create a new fragrance for a prestigious designer, believes this scent could win the contract—and lead her to the reason her mother fled Grasse for New York City.
Before Zoe can discover the truth, the formula is stolen. And she’s not the only one looking for it. So is Loulou, her rebellious teenage cousin; Philippe, her alluring competitor for the fragrance contract; and a third person who never wanted the formula to slip into the public in the first place.
The pursuit transforms into a journey of self-discovery as each struggles to understand the complexities of love, the force of pride and the meaning of family.
Fascinating, right? Adria is also sharing a peek into her research process. Keep reading to learn more.
Behind-the-Scenes: Novel Research in the South of France
One of the best things about writing is being able to become someone new through our characters. If my protagonist is an artist, for instance, as I write her story, I slip into her shoes and experience this other life that will only be mine through words.
Through my writing, I’ve put myself in the shoes of emerald brokers, artists, actors… and now, the latest, perfumers. You’ve probably already guessed that there is no way that I’m an expert in all of these areas. So what that means is research is in order!
Research for me is never a set path. The way I go about things changes with each novel. Sometimes, it involves a lot of reading up on a particular subject. Other times, it might involve conversations with people in a certain field or with those who have experienced a certain problem.
For my latest novel, A PERFUMER’S SECRET, I would be stepping out of my usual budget-oriented research-from-home realm. I was going on a trip!
OK, since I live in Paris, the trip to Grasse in the South of France wasn’t exactly a major voyage, but still, I was excited about this opportunity to travel to the perfume capital of the world specifically for the purpose of my book. I would only be in the South for a week, staying with friends near Nice, so I knew I would have to get organized in order to make the most of my trip.
What to do, what to do? I knew I wanted to use my trip to paint the scenes, the mood, the scents of my characters’ world.
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how I organized my research for A PERFUMER’S SECRET:
DESK WORK: Before leaving, I read up on perfumery and the lives of perfumers, and I learned about the perfume business in Grasse. Going there informed meant I would have a better understanding of what I would be seeing. This was a long process, lasting months, as I did research on the Internet and read books on the subject of perfume. This is clearly the less-glamorous part of an author’s research, but bookworm me still enjoyed it.
ON-SITE RESEARCH: Now we get to the more glamorous part… Upon arrival in Grasse, I visited a perfume laboratory and mixed my own fragrance. And then, I entered the most important phase of my on-site research. I began to explore the town on foot. I snapped many photos, took in the scents that floated through the air and imagined where my characters might live and how they might live. I extended my explorations beyond Grasse and into the other cities and villages nearby: Nice, Saint-Paul de Vence and Eze also show up in A PERFUMER’S SECRET, and all of the descriptions come from my days wandering through neighborhood after neighborhood. This opportunity to walk the path that my characters would walk truly made them come alive in my mind and plunged me into their story. The verdict: A successful research trip that I would love to repeat!
Thanks for the inside scoop Adria!
Adria J. Cimino is the author of Amazon Best-Selling novel Paris, Rue des Martyrs and Close to Destiny, as well as The Creepshow and A Perfumer’s Secret. She also co-founded boutique publishing house Velvet Morning Press. Prior to jumping into the publishing world full time, she spent more than a decade as a journalist at news organizations including The AP and Bloomberg News. Adria is a member of Tall Poppy Writers, which unites bright authors with smart readers. She lives in Paris with her husband, Didier, and daughter, Phèdre. When she isn’t writing, you can find Adria at her neighborhood café watching the world go by.