To Top

Meet Jan Moran

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jan Moran.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Like so many writers I know, I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was a kid (in Austin, Texas), though I followed a different path. After business school in Boston, I decided to follow the sun and pursue my creative passion by enrolling at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Since 2015, I’ve published a dozen novels in women’s fiction and 20th-century historical fiction. My most recent titles are Summer Beach: Seabreeze Inn, a beach read trilogy set in SoCal, and The Chocolatier, a delicious 1950s saga set in Amalfi, Italy, San Francisco, and the cocoa region of Peru. Given that I’ve lived in LA and SoCal so long, many of my books are set here, including my contemporary Love California books. I’m fascinated with LA history, and I love to discover historical locations and people to incorporate into stories. Scattered through my books are plenty of Los Angeles landmarks and Hollywood history—from the old Chasen’s Restaurant to the historic Boyle Heights and Hollenbeck neighborhoods. Personalities such as costumer designer Edith Head, columnist Hedda Hopper, and so many others have walk-on parts. Traveling is another passion, so my books often take readers around the world, from the cliffs of Amalfi to the vineyards of Napa and Tuscany; from the perfume region of France to wartime Paris—or simply the sunny beaches of summer.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think there is such a thing as a smooth road! At least, not on my map. Writing is a lifelong process, a craft that’s always evolving, which is one reason I love it. Writing has always appealed to my curious nature, and there’s always something new to learn or a new story to weave. My background is a blend of arts and business, so that serves me well. I went through the usual struggles of finding an agent and a traditional publisher, St. Martins Press. I’ve always been tenacious, and this is one industry where that’s rewarded. Authors don’t know which of their books will be their breakout, so it’s important to keep writing. Last summer, my largest breakout was my beach trilogy; Seabreeze Inn, which became an Amazon All-Star bestseller.

As a novelist and storyteller, the most important thing I did to overcome obstacles was to recognize that the stories I tell can be shared in different ways. To that end, I formed a company, Sunny Palms Media, to retain and manage many of my creative rights and partner with top talent and companies. For my audiobooks, I work with the fabulous Erin Bennett, who is an LA-based, multiple Earphone and Audie Award-nominated audiobook narrator/actress. I work with a dozen publishers in Europe, including Goldmann (Random House), and I have an agent in Germany. I’ve also started optioning my books for TV series through my LA-based entertainment attorney and helping to put together talented teams. Essentially, none of these things would have happened if I hadn’t been proactive and attuned to opportunities to bring my work to more readers and listeners (and possibly viewers).

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
Readers tell me they like my strong-willed female protagonists, which are my specialty. My heroines often face nearly insurmountable odds and must drive their own story and resolution. Yeah, I’m tough on them that way! Still, I like to spin uplifting sagas that leave readers with a smile on their faces. And of course, California and Los Angeles thread through many of my books. Deep research is another hallmark of my work. I love to write about fascinating industries, so when I wrote novels set in the wine and chocolate industries, I went to the best sources I could find. I spent a week in Napa visiting and interviewing some of the world’s most celebrated winemakers, including Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate, whose 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay scored the highest in the 1976 “Judgment of Paris.” For chocolate, Valrhona Chocolate in France invited me to meet with Peruvian cacao planters, and Chef Michael Antonorsi, co-founder of Chuao in Carlsbad, California, shared a chocolatier’s insights. Recently, I caught the train out of Union Station to San Diego, where I visited USS Midway and met with a real Topgun pilot and commanding officer. Very simply, I write about what I love, and I think my passion comes through in my work.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
One of my early supporters was novelist Rebecca Forster, who lives in Palos Verdes and writes amazing legal thrillers. She read one of my early novels and said, “Go for it!” Enormous credit also goes to my readers. I’m privileged to write for a growing audience to serve readers with stories that take them on a fascinating journey and touch their hearts. In fact, I love hearing from readers that their friends recommended one of my books, or that they’re reading one for their book club. The Chocolatier and The Winemakers are especially popular with book clubs, and I love chatting with them in person or over Skype. I’m also indebted to the editors who helped me hone my craft, including Jennifer Weiss at St. Martin’s Press and Kerstin Schaub at Goldmann/Random House, and my agent, Jenny Bent.

Many people think of writing as a solo craft. Far from it! Writers work with numerous people, including editors, proofreaders, beta readers, cover designers, bookstores, audiobook narrators, agents, attorneys, CPAs, advertisers, producers, and other writers. Los Angeles and the Southland have also been important in serving inspiration around every corner. What do I love? Wow, where do I start? The diversity of people and cultures; the strip malls with sushi/fish tacos/Thai food/Italian food and a laundromat; the wellspring of creative thought and a can-do spirit; the Hollywood Bowl on a balmy night with Nat ‘n Al’s deli take-out. Shopping the alleys downtown, taking the train out of Union Station, flying across a sea of starry lights on a late-night flight. Ferrying out-of-town visitors to Rodeo Drive and bike-riding on the boardwalk from Marina del Rey to Redondo Beach. The weather, right? And so much more…


Contact Info:

Suggest a story: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

More in