I blogged last week about the role of music in my writing and inspiration as part of Elaina James‘ music themed blogging. I thought I’d follow this up with a few thoughts about smells!

We are always told to include all of the senses in our writing. For me the sense of smell has a powerful role in my day to day life to recall memories. It never ceases to amaze me how this works. 

I smell mown grass and I’m transported back to the exam room at school. The doors were always wide open in those hot summers and I had dreadful hay fever, so the gardener mowing the grass was not good news.

Violet perfume always reminds me of my ex-husband as he loved the smell and liked me to wear it.

My heroes tend to wear subtle, often spicy aftershave and my heroines light floral perfumes. This is probably because I hate strong aftershave and perfume. Vivid memories of my dad’s aunt spraying one perfume on the front of my jumper and one on the back and taking two days to recover from the resulting allergy, probably explain this choice.

Woodsmoke and fresh bread have nice associations. Woodsmoke features a lot in my current work in progress, as my hero lives in a wood.

What scents mean something for you? How do you incorporate smells into your writing?

By Morton S. Gray

Author of romantic suspense novels.


  1. This is something I struggle with in my writing, because for many years my sense of smell has been either completely absent, or very poor! It’s called anosmia, by the way 🙂 and mine is caused by having bad allergies through my life. I do remember smells of course, but I find it hard to describe perfume and cologne.


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