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Perfume: what you never expected to find in a World War II novel set in Occupied Paris by Jina Bacarr

October 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

I’ve had a zillion jobs in my career.

US Army rec specialist in Europe, AM/FM radio commercial artist, traveling cosmetic saleslady for a French company, club dancer, soap opera player, writer for kids’ TV…

And perfume model.

So, what does a perfume model do?

The gig started when I got a call from the modeling agency I worked for asking me if I was available to introduce a new perfume. Since I was freelancing for a travel magazine company in Beverly Hills back then, I jumped every time the agency called me with a perfume job.

The pay was good. The hours ranged from four to six hours a day. The location was always a posh department store (remember Bullocks, I Magnin’s?), and occasionally, I’d get to wear wardrobe from the couture department to complement the color scheme and theme of the perfume.

I felt like a film star.

After a session with the perfume rep explaining their marketing campaign, off I went. Sashaying around the store like I was walking on the red carpet. I’d engage customers in small talk and introduce them to the perfume.

I’d spray it on their wrist – or mine if they preferred – and then gave them a sample. It wasn’t easy. I was snubbed by snooty women, hit on by male customers, and constantly asked, ‘Where is the ladies room?’

By the end of my shift – toes squashed in three-inch heels – my feet were killing me.

But I loved it. The customers were enchanted by the quick whiff of a new fragrance and loved being whisked away for a moment of glamour. I’d regale them with my stories about Paris and the Belle Époque department stores I visited along with the history of perfume.

And the different notes of the perfume. Top, heart, base.

I soon discovered you didn’t sell the steak… perfume, that is… but the sizzle. The mystique, the mood. I had to evoke an emotional response in the customer and I did it by storytelling and learning as much as I could about perfume. How it’s manufactured, the ingredients, what that perfume can do for that customer to make her happy, feel sexy. Powerful. Loved. I became an amateur ‘nose’, learning about the different scents and essences and how they configure in varying ratios to make up a lovely new fragrance.

I used that perfume experience to create parfumier Angéline de Cadieux when I wrote ‘The Lost Girl in Paris’.

How a girl from a controversial upbringing becomes a famous perfumer during the war when she comes to Paris in 1940 to escape the Gestapo. Then how she uses perfume to do her part to win the war…

THE LOST GIRL IN PARIS is up for pre-order – and my just-revealed cover is on Amazon!

Release date: November 30, 2021

US https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

CA https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B09B1QDRVW/

Australia https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B09B1QDRVW/ 

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Photo credits:

Jina Bacarr: Laura Burke Photography

Background: ID 137251284

© Viktoriya Panasenko | Dreamstime.com

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Nearly 500 ratings on Amazon UK!

The Resistance Girl

Juliana discovers her grandmamma was a famous French film star in Occupied Paris & her shocking secret…

UK https://amzn.to/3bU18Qv 

US https://amzn.to/2FoKKeS

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A Paris video memory from my student days in France that made it into ‘The Resistance Girl’ by Jina Bacarr

August 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Paris novels, Writing tagged as , , , , , , ,
Ah, I love Paris!!
 
So much so I just finished my second WW2 Paris novel… more coming up soon including a cover! 
 
But first… about that memory…
 
My heroine Sylvie Martone loved staying in Marly-le-Roi outside Paris with the man in her life…
 
Here is a memory of mine when I stayed there… yes, that’s me in that wild purple dress.
 
The Resistance Girl Paris 1943
Could a moment of courage change her life?
 
It’s the story of French cinema star Sylvie Martone and her amazing journey from 1920s-1940s and how she defied the Gestapo to save lives…
 
Kindle, Prime and KU:
 

What favorite memories have made it into your stories and books? Let me know!

Bonus video:

 

 




UPDATED: 
The WW 2 letter that inspired HER LOST LOVE (CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN): re: Veronica Jorge’s wonderful comment about my story! Thanks, Veronica!
 
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Writing a Dual Timeline Novel ain’t a piece of cake… 7 tips for writing two different eras at once by Jina Bacarr

July 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , , , , ,

I’ve written time travel and loved it… Her Lost Love when my heroine takes a magic train from 1955 back to 1943 to Posey Creek, PA to save the man she loves from being killed in France… and present day back to the Battle of Antietam in 1862 where my heroine meets her ‘twin’ who’s a Confederate spy… and also historical fiction about the Titanic The Runaway Girl.

But writing a dual timeline is like walking barefoot on broken seashells on the sand.

Painful. Excruciating. And dangerous.

You can end up hobbling all the way home… or to the end of your manuscript. Yikes.

I’ve been there… and survived. I’ve written two dual timeline novels — The Resistance Girl and the novel I just finished (title coming) — both about Paris during World War 2 when the city was occupied by the Nazis. The era lends itself to intrigue, romance, spies… and danger. Who could resist? Not me.

However, I’ve fretted and moaned and had more chocolate binges than I care to admit writing these books, but they’re the most rewarding stories I’ve ever written. Stories about lost family found and connecting with your ‘roots’. I learned a lot along the way… so here are my 7 Tips for Writing Dual Timelines:

1 — keep two sets of timelines so you know where you and your heroines are in each era at all times.

Your heroine’s birthdate in the past is important and determines what “historical events’ she witnesses. In the present, your heroine’s journey may last a shorter time — a week, month; in the past, it could be years. In The Resistance Girl, we follow the heroine’s film career from the 1920s through 1950. The modern heroine’s journey last for several days.

2 — present day in your story doesn’t have to mean today. Make it work for you.

My latest novel takes place in 2003 and 1940-1945. Why? Because I wanted my historical heroine to be alive when she meets the present day heroine. She’s 80 years old and at the top of her game, but the war years still haunt her. Also, she loves flying on the Concorde and the last trip of the airship was in 2003.

3 — create a compelling opening in whichever timeline works best. No hard fast rule you have to begin in the past.

In my new Paris novel, I begin in 2003 because I wanted to set up the 80-year-old diva’s reluctance to talk about the war years because of her personal pain. My modern heroine/reporter convinces her to ‘let it go’ and we’re off and running…

4 — decide before you begin plotting (or if you’re a pantster — I do both) if your two heroines meet at some point; or, if we know the historical heroine meets her fate and we never see her in the present.

I did both — in The Resistance Girl, the modern heroine discovers she had a famous grandmother in France during the war — a film star — she never knew existed. But in my new novel, the two heroines meet in the first chapter in 2003.

5 — know your history and research your era like crazy; your heroine in the past is fictional, but make her life believable! Facts count but don’t tell us, show us how your heroine survives in that era in a way that’s unique to her.

For example, the historical heroine in my upcoming book ends up in concentration camps; I gave her an unusual backstory that determined how she survived in the camps because of her background and talents, but made sure it was also possible.

6 — location, location, location… make sure you know exactly what your locations look like in both eras if you’re going to visit them in both timelines. 

In my upcoming book about Paris, we go to concentration camp sites in Germany and Poland in both 1944-45, 1975, and 2003. I was fortunate to find photos and films that showed what the camps looked like in 1944-45 and also circa 2003 and 1975. An amazing bit of luck which created some tear-jerking moments for my historical heroine.

7 — have fun! This is an adventure about finding your heroine’s roots — like that fabulous PBS show where the celebrity goes through the big scrapbook and meets their lost relatives with the jovial host.

Make your story heartfelt, emotional, fascinating, believable, and filled with surprises to keep your readers turning those pages like the celeb on TV!

Jina

Questions about dual timelines:

Drop me a comment!

           

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To Deadline Hell and Back or How I’m coping finishing my next Occupied Paris novel by Jina Bacarr

June 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

I had every intention of writing a lovely post this month about all the cool stuff going on with my WW 2 Occupied Paris novel, The Resistance Girl. Honest I did.

Then the research on my next book shot the pants off that idea.

My deadline is right around the corner.

My book is written… mostly. Some bugs to work out. Re-read, check it over… you know the drill.

The research is overwhelming… so much so, I’ve got to cut this shorter than I like. I’m writing another book about Occupied Paris, but this time my heroine finds herself in a concentration camp. Two of them actually… emotionally, I’m drained. Mentally I’m exhausted.

My heart… broken.

I will never, never be able to understand why it happened, the horror, injustice, humiliation done to the victims of the Holocaust. But I’m determined to tell a story about a brave young woman who had a baby in a camp… and she survived. But she never knew what happened to her baby… until years later.

I’ve watched a million survivor videos… read so many books about the Holocaust… checked and double checked the timelines of the camps and what happened there down to what they ate, where the railroad tracks ended at camp, the blocks or barracks map… and I still have questions. I want to make it right.

No, I’ve got to make it right.

I owe to the those who died and those who survived.

So forgive me if I’m emotional this month.

Because.

We must never forget…

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You can listen to The Resistance Girl on Spotify

Or search for Jina Bacarr and my ‘artiste’ page will pop up.

Amazon Links:

US https://amzn.to/3woj1Am

UK https://amzn.to/3bU18Qv

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When a writer needs a hug… by Jina Bacarr

July 11, 2020 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

Writing never gets easier… if anything, it’s more difficult.

Why? Because we expect more of ourselves. Even more so when you’re doing edits from your fab editor who’s really an angel in disguise. We want to make our story as perfect as possible and not disappoint her. She believes in you. Your characters believe in you. After all, their lives are in your hands.

But like a chocolate soufflé, a lot can go wrong.

Your computer screen goes blue… computer updates send your heart pounding as you pray you get all your pretty icons back…. a character keeps you up at nights because you’re so worried about how you’re going to save her butt and yours.

There’s more:

You go over your word count.

You can’t find your timeline/fact sheet for your heroine (when you’re writing about Paris during WW 2 this is crucial).

You ‘re so tired, you push the wrong button on your keyboard and everything in Track Changes disappears

You realize a secondary relationship ain’t working because the hero is based on an old boyfriend with a big ego. You dump him. Get a new guy for the part. And he’s an absolute dream.

You work from dawn-to-dawn the week before edits are due and have no idea what day it is.

And worst of all, you run out of coffee.

But I did it!

I sent my editor the edited manuscript at 7:37 a.m. on a sunny morning… and I felt numb. No whistles went off. No bells. Just the quiet hum of my computer.

I needed a hug.

Someone telling me ‘I done good’.

Yes, I’m totally proud of what I accomplished, but writing can be a lonely business. And it’s hard work, especially writing historicals. (My story follows a dual timeline from 1926 to 1950 and present day. Silent films, Nazis in Paris, the film business in Hollywood and France.)

So I did what I swore I wouldn’t after I sent the m/s: I opened it back up and read some of my favorite passages. Laughed and cried again with my characters… sat amazed at how they accomplished their goals… fell in love with them all over again… and cheered when they beat the Nazis!

And I got that hug.

From my characters. Reminding me why I write. Because I so love them, the stories, the chance to give them life.

So, merci beaucoup, mes bons amis! Thank you, my friends.

Jina

PS — I’ll keep you posted on my Paris WW 2 historical. Cover ideas coming soon…

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