Science of Smell

I've always been fascinated by the sense of smell. Perhaps that's because it's our most primitive sense. The heroine of my newest book -- to be published next week I hope before my next batch of houseguests arrives for the summer -- is a perfumer. She designs fragrances for clients.

Scents and Sensuality is a much expanded and changed version of an older print book published quite some time ago. The inspiration for the heroine's occupation was research I'd done, for my own amusement, into the science of smell.

I've been so interested in the subject that, while expanding this book into an ebook edition, I've simultaneously been plotting another book dealing with the same subject. This all goes to show that nothing can make you lose focus on a work in progress like the idea for a new book.

Facts About Smell

Did you know that we breathe in pairs. Inhale. Exhale. There are only two times in our lives that are exceptions to this rule: our first breath at birth and our last breath at death. That profound observation was made by Diane Ackerman in her excellent book A Natural History of the Senses.

I love this book. It's beautifully written and factually correct. I've read the book many times, and I'm pleased to see it's available as a Kindle book as well as print editions.

Every time we breath, air passes over our olfactory sites. In any given day, that's usually more than 23,000 times in which odor molecules flood our bodies, often triggering vivid memories of a time when we smelled a particular odor. When I smell Youth Dew by Estee Lauder, I instantly think of my mother. When I smell the ocean, I'm carried back to Japan where I had a house overlooking the East China Sea.

Takeaway Truth

In my book, heroine Amanda Whitfield educates the hero about smell. It's a fascinating subject. I'll share more about the science of smell next week.

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