Today, we’re doing something a little different. If you remember, we interviewed Rebecca Hefner’s character in July, and it was so fun that I thought we may as well make an occasional habit of it. I had the pleasure of meeting Janice Tremayne, the author of The Girl in the Scarlet Chair, on my author journey and I asked if I could borrow a character, Clarisse Garcia, from the book. We’ll get a chance to talk to Janice in a bit, but now we have on the stage…Clarisse!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Clarisse. Please have a seat.
Character Clarisse Garcia: Thank you for the invite, Marie.
Marie: It’s my pleasure!
We’re going to start out with some simple questions, all right?
Marie: What is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
Clarisse: I’m a call center agent and I also do technical support. I have been doing it for years and I cross my job role well. I like my job because of the people I work with. We have all become good friends over time.
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Clarisse: I am single and not in a steady relationship. My family is important to me, and I always like to spend quality time with my mother, cousins, uncles and aunties when I return home for holiday breaks. I work in Manila, and my family lives two hours’ drive by bus. I am the only child in my family. My family is traditional and follows all the customs that one normally does in our country. However, superstitions abound and one in particular to do with the scarlet chair that has been around for generations.
Marie: All right.
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Clarisse: I had a great childhood, and some would say I was spoiled, being the only child. My mother always fussed around me and was very protective. I have nothing but good memories because my mother did everything to make my life pleasant. I was surrounded by extended family and lots of cousins in the street, and we were very close.
Marie: Do you have any hobbies, Miranda? What do you enjoy doing?
Clarisse: I like going out with my friend Marjorie shopping and the movies. We like singing karaoke, and when we get the chance after work, we try our vocal cords at a local establishment where all our office friends attend on a Friday night.
So, what is your greatest dream?
Clarisse: My greatest dream is to build a new home next to my mother’s house. I purchased the block of land last year, and I am saving to build a modern home. I want my mother to live there as she gets older so I can look after her.
Marie: What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Clarisse: I am very trusting of other people, and sometimes that backfires on me as they may take advantage of my kindness. This has undoubtedly been the case with ex-boyfriends, where the relationships did not work out as planned. I need to be better at judging personalities and not be so naïve. However, I don’t want to stop trusting people also. It’s an internal conflict I live with every day.
Marie: Okay, I’m going to throw another random question at you now.
Who was your first love?
Clarisse: My first love happened when I was sixteen years old and it was a tumultuous period for me. Like most teenagers, I was not able to handle the maturity of a relationship and then breaking up. He was a long-time friend that I grew up with that turned into a relationship.
Marie: I hear ya…
(Clears throat after a few moments). So, ah, not to be a downer, but I do have a pretty deep question next.
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Clarisse: My answer to this question is shrouded in superstition, our family beliefs and customs. I was so angry emotionally about breaking up with my boyfriend when I was sixteen years old that I defied my mother’s instructions to never sit in the scarlet chair. The chair was consumed by an evil spirit and relied on the emotion of doomed relationships. It was said to provide premonitions of love and relationships. I decided to sit on the chair, and I suffered its wrath and ended up in the hospital for two weeks.
:o How horrible! 😥 That’s rough…
Let’s move on to something a bit lighter now, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Clarisse: My dream was straightforward, and it was to meet the man of my dreams, grow old together and have a family. I have never been one to focus on careers or other pursuits. It was about being in a loving relationship with someone who could be my lifelong partner—it was about love plus nothing.
So, who is your role model, Clarisse?
Clarisse: My uncle Pablo is like a Saint; has a great heart and has always been there for me. He never says no, and nothing is too much for him. He is a gentleman and religious—has a strong faith and belief in God. He also trusts people, and that may be where I got it from. He is always helping my family and the community.
Marie: How admirable! 😀
Now, you’ll probably think I’m digging for dirt on the next question.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Clarisse: I don’t dislike anyone. Even people that annoy me—I don’t brush them off or show negativity towards them. I am a forgiving person who tends to see the good things in people.
Marie: Nice! 😉
Let’s try another question.
What is your deepest desire?
Clarisse: My deepest desire in life is to somehow remove the scarlet chair’s influence from this world and be rid of the superstition that has influenced our family for over a hundred years. That is my biggest challenge, and I know it will come at a cost to me personally. The chair’s evil desire is strong, and it will not give up with a fight—it will become a battle of strength between good and evil.
Marie: What about your greatest fear?
Clarisse: Because I believe in God, I also feel there are dark forces that try to influence our lives. I think the scarlet chair is evil, and the only reason for its existence is for retribution and to satisfy its own sinister motives. My biggest fear is that others may be desperate enough to trade their premonition of love for the evil desires of the chair (the devil in disguise).
Marie: Can’t blame you there…
I’m glad you were comfortable enough to tell me everything.
Well, it looks like we’re out of time. Thank you for visiting us today, Clarisse. It was so interesting getting to know you! 🙂
(Waves goodbye to her guest.)
Now, let’s shift over and get the author’s perspective. We have author Janice Tremayne on the stage today. It’s such a pleasure to have you here! Hello, Janice!
Author Janice Tremayne: Hi, Marie! Thank you for taking the time to interview me.
Marie: Of course! I love to have authors on ILRB. 😀
So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story…Clarisse Garcia. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us about her?
Janice: Clarisse has just broken up with her partner—a man she entrusted herself to and she has realized it was all for nothing; deciding to move on. She is in a bitter conflict with herself about what to do next. This is how she meets Harry from Australia—he decides to travel to Manila and meet her for the first time. This storyline is about her romance with Harry. Clarisse is also growing up and becoming more independent and philosophical. This tests her relationship with her protective mother and her undeniable belief in superstition and the scarlet chair. Clarisse is determined set her fear aside to confront the evil thoughts of the chair. In a way, she is staking the responsibility of ridding her family once for all this curse.
What are your character’s greatest strengths?
Janice: Clarisse is fearless and naïve at times. She is not afraid to see the world in a more rounded way. Therefore, she was prepared to meet with Harry from another country and with a culture very different from her own. She can be trusted—sometimes too trusting of others to her own detriment. She is beautiful, however, does not get carried away with her looks or flaunt them—preferring to stay levelheaded. She loves her family and will do anything to support them. She is religious and believes in God but does not overdo it when it comes to expressing her faith. She has strong family values and always looks for the right way to do things—she is in tune with her inner self and understands the conflicts between good and evil that exist in the world.
Marie: And your character’s greatest weakness?
Janice: Clarisse can be naïve and too trusting of others. Sometimes does not see the danger that awaits her, preferring to confront it full on at great expense to her personally. She is a martyr in her own way.
Marie: Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are some of Clarisse’s favorite foods?
Janice: She loves her mother’s cooking and traditional Filipino dishes. She will eat western-influenced food when at work, such as burgers and chips.
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Janice: She is mentally stronger than what she really thinks and is gifted with an inner self-belief.
Marie: Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Janice: Readers will like Clarisse for her balance, the strength of character and values. She is a shining light on a world bound by superstition and spirits. As they get to know her, they will touch her sense of doing and fighting the negative balances in our society that threaten us. They will respect her values as she does not jump into relationships immediately preferring to get to know the person first.
Marie: I’m sure they will adore her!
Now that we have a real taste of Clarisse, here are a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for The Girl in the Scarlet Chair?
Janice: I have always been fascinated by the superstition in families and cultures. Mainly how this affects relationships between aspiring lovers. There is also the conflict between good and evil and how we overcome negative aspects of our lives. Sometimes relationships are tested by the negative thoughts that surround and the devil in disguise. I wrote this book because we can overcome adversity and succeed—come out successful in whatever the circumstances. In this case—the love between two people grows and fosters into a great relationship—followed by a happy ending!
Marie: Isn’t it fascinating how the muse works? 😀
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Janice: I am generally a pantster and have moments when I am a plotter—not in the complete sense, but I like to plan chapter structures ahead of time and think about where I am heading. I want to write freely when I am in my creative element and getting ideas quickly onto my draft manuscript. I have a simple writing style, and my narrative is easy to read; focusing on narrative tension, plot and subplots when building characters. I don’t want my reading to overthink the storyline and enjoy the read at their own pace.
Marie: (Nods.) I think sometimes our characters know best. 😉
How about one last question?
Now I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Girl in the Scarlet Chair or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Janice: I self-published my book because I wanted to be in control of the design elements of the cover, the storyline and not wait for the extended waiting times associated with literary agents and publishers. I do get frustrated with this sometimes because I think about how it would benefit me to be listed with a reputable publisher. I understand many authors have differences of opinion on this topic. My other challenge is I need to stay focused on my work and my writing style. It’s easy to read books from other successful others and try to emulate their writing style, but that is a self-defeating way of thinking. I will focus on developing my own writing brand with a level of confidence with future projects. One day I may decide to seek a literary agent and see how it pans out, but for now, I am happy being an indie author.
Marie: Great! 😉
Well, it was a such a pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what an intriguing story The Girl in the Scarlet Chair appears to be.
Readers, you will just have to pick up a copy of this clean paranormal romance/supernatural mystery by Janice Tremayne, a very talented author!
Here is the blurb for The Girl in the Scarlet Chair, book one in the City of Affection Series:
When a malicious chair’s only desire is to prosper from the negative thoughts of doomed relationships—will Clarisse be willing to trade her mind for a premonition of love?
They don’t have the safety of distance to rely upon—only five days to decide if they are made for each other before Harry leaves back home—or will the mysterious scarlet chair decide their fate?
She was unlucky in love, recently separated and desperately searching for the man of her dreams. For Clarisse, life became so lonely that she fell in love with his picture. For Harry, recently divorced— it carried risk and uncertainty?
In this heart-rending search for passion, he travels to the city of our affection (Manila) to meet Clarisse—a woman of immense beauty and problematic past. In this journey of new adult love, Harry leaves his western-centric norms behind. He is immersed in the city of affection—vibrant, alive, bustling and enjoying the pleasure of being. But will Clarisse have the courage to tell him everything—past secrets, fears, and inhibition. She has never dated a foreign man before, and how will this relationship play out?
The Girl in the Scarlet Chair is the first book in the City of Affection series—a new adult, clean romance with paranormal and supernatural elements by Janice Tremayne. The three-part series takes you on a heart-rending, supernatural and paranormal romantic experience. Love is not straightforward in the city of affection—shrouded in old family superstition and tragic tales, there are no shortcuts to an enduring relationship, and love becomes a test of fortitude and devotion. There is constant negative energy at play that threatens to destroy relationships before they can grow into altars of love. For those bold enough to travel to the city of affection in search of everlasting happiness—difficult challenges await. Each book in the series will immerse you in a different relationship, their challenges and a unique storyline.
Janice is also offering us a little excerpt from the book!
Clarisse looked around the room anxiously—the picture frames, the console table and petals from the jasmine sambac covered the floor. They had not been removed from the Day of the Dead as it would have angered the spirits. The side lamp was always on, twenty-four hours a day—moderating the dark ambience that suffocated the space in the room. The candles lit in memory of the dead were melting. The wax had penetrated onto the dark-red mahogany console table, leaving white stains.
Clarisse stood motionless, looking at the chair to exert her authority. The chair sensed fear in the hearts of young women and fed on their grief. She adjusted her body to sit upright in the chair while an unusual scraping sound came from the ornately carved legs below. It was the same sound that Harry had talked about, and she had avoided it in conversation many times. Leaning into the chair and with her feet firmly planted, she began the process for extracting a vision.
Triggering a premonition required an understanding of what angered the chair and Clarisse was fully aware of how to set it off. Envisioning herself with Harry by sharing precious moments that accentuated the feelings of true love was enough to wake the negative energy. To start with, she imagined holding hands with Harry and walking together in a luscious green tropical garden—never too sensual as the chair detested sexual innuendos and tendencies. As her visions grew stronger, the chair felt provoked, causing it to become infuriated.
A discharge of negative energy followed—mimicking the cold hands of a dead person and holding her down by the torso. Clarisse could feel the pressure of the cold hands mounting, but she was unperturbed. The left hand had a ring on the index finger that she recognised as having belonged to Elena. She tried to push the hands away, but they were too strong, thrusting her back each time. She was being held down like a psychiatric patient strapped down with a leather belt. The sense of not being able to move her body freely caused her to become anxious—but she held her emotions together and was not going to panic.
The chair was fighting back and was annoyed about Clarisse’s inner strength and resistance. It made more screeching sounds, although it did not rattle or move from its position on the floor. It was a peculiar set of circumstances that did not make sense—someone was making those sounds in the room, and she could not see where it was coming from. The intensity of the energy grew, and the pressure on her torso mounted while the screeching became louder and more frequent. The chair was awake, and its ferocity increased every minute.
The picture frames holding the souls of her dead relatives fell flat on the console table, one by one, sequentially. They were not happy—the energy used them to incite more fear into her. Clarisse kept focusing on her visions of togetherness with Harry despite attempts by the chair to thwart her. She had been through this twice before—having learned the survival techniques from her previous experience. Although her last attempt had made her sick to the point that she ended up in a hospital, she had also learned about the chair’s vulnerabilities and how to challenge it.
Like anything in life, the energy was not perfect. If you looked hard enough amongst the shrouded fear, it had weaknesses that could be exploited. The first rule was not to panic and stay focused on your beliefs as the chair preyed on weak hearts and minds. The chair was tactful and sought your submission by feeding you with fear and torment. Not physical pain but an affliction of the brain. It would turn the screw and increase the intensity until you eventually let go and succumbed—and every negative conception about love and desire would feed its desperate innuendos. It’s how the energy survived all this time, on the misery of relationships gone wrong: infidelity, adultery, cheating, lies. Where love had transgressed into hate and anguish.
The scarlet chair was not getting its way and it was finding it challenging to control Clarisse. It increased its ferocity again—the screeching got louder, the stench from the rotting flowers became putrid, the chair started to rattle profusely. The energy of the hands holding her down was growing stronger with mounting pressure. And while all this was taking place, her mother’s rosary beads lying next to the wooden cross became dislodged and flew across the room.
The chair was having a tantrum and going to great lengths to make her apprehensive and uneasy. It remembered Clarisse from last time—realising it was only a matter of time until it could break her mind and feed off her memories. But it had misjudged her this time—she was doing this for unconditional love. She had twice the strength and wisdom as before and would see it through no matter what challenges the chair threw at her.
“Give me the premonition,” she said while biting her lip and clenching her delicate hands. “Give it to me now!”
A sharp ray of amber light filtering through a crack in the tin roof above her pointed onto her face like a laser beam. It blinded her view for a split second before moving slowly in a constant motion onto the console table and onto the altar with the picture frames of her dead relatives. There, the light remained motionless for ten seconds until it vanished into the dark haze of the room. The energy had passed over and had given up. The scarlet chair stood still as quiet descended into the room—no more screeching and rattling. The foul stench had made way for a new jasmine freshness in the air.
Clarisse was free to move around, and the cold hands that held her down had tucked themselves away into a pocket of frailty. She did not rush out of the chair in a panic; instead, she shifted in it to make herself comfortable while gazing at the altar. There was peace in the room—the cold air transformed into a moderate warmth.
Marlita came rushing in with Marjorie beside her—they had heard a commotion from the kitchen and feared Clarisse could be in danger again.
“What have you done this time, my precious? How many times have I warned you about sitting in the chair?”
“Mother, it’s fine, and I am OK this time.”
She gripped Clarisse’s arm—holding her close, they hugged with fervour. “Why do it this time? There was no reason to go back to the chair.”
“But Mother, you have missed the whole point because of your superstitious fear.” Clarisse had tears in her eyes as she silently confronted her mother.
“What do you mean, my dear? I am only protecting you.”
“Yes, and in the process, you allowed the chair to control us—our lives, our feelings and who we could love.”
“You did this for Harry, didn’t you? I am not stupid, Clarisse, and I know why you’re here.”
“I saw the premonition—I know about our future together.”
She caressed Clarisse on the forehead, gently combing her fingers through her hair.
“The only way to force a premonition from the chair without hurting oneself is to hold memories of pure love. The energy could not break down your feelings for him—unable to feed on such a memory. In return, it had to give a warning so it could save itself,” Marlita said.
“So, the energy is gone, Mother?”
“No, not gone. It’s beaten for now … its power diluted. It does not have the same strength as before.” She was holding her rosary around her right hand and close to her lips. She kissed it and thanked God that Clarisse was not affected by the negative energy of the scarlet chair.
Ohh! ♥♥♥ Love the tension! Can’t wait to read this book and find out what happens next…🙂
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/4j2rnj
Add it to your Goodreads bookshelf: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48573994-the-girl-in-the-scarlet-chair
Link to the series on Amazon: https://amzn.to/37uLVSH
What are people saying about The Girl in the Scarlet Chair?
“I think that this book is a great romance novel for teens and young adults! A very clean and wholesome romance book, so parents do not have to worry about their young teenagers and children reading unclean or inappropriate things. The author writes with very clear, simple text, so it is a pretty quick and easy read. She keeps the storyline simple as well, which I think will allow younger readers to follow along, understand, and enjoy better. In addition to the romance in this story, there is also a big element of supernatural and paranormal activity, which gives it a unique and interesting spin. Overall, I would definitely recommend this book…” – Celeste L, Amazon
“Intriguing set up, cool plot. While I do like “adult” romances now and then, sometimes it’s nice to have a break from the hot and heavy stuff and read something that focuses more on plot. Not that the two have to be mutually exclusive, but they often are. This is a great romance that’s also packed with suspense. I also love fantasy/paranormal elements in YA stuff, and this not only has that, it introduces some really unique concepts. The author’s bio says that she has a deep interest in local/cultural superstitions, and it really shines in this novel. If you like a bit of fantasy, lots of romance, and some dark mystery blended into a fun adventure, then I recommend this book.” – M. Hoffman, Amazon
“It is a clean adult romance with paranormal and supernatural elements. It talks about a girl on how she was unlucky in love, recently separated and desperately searching for the man of her dreams. The story is a simple one, yet engaging right from the outset, the cozy mystery of the scarlet chair keeping me attentive enough to read the book in one sitting.” – Nikita Panpalia, Amazon
We’ll be sure to get a copy of this new adult clean paranormal romance/supernatural mystery novel! ♥
Janice is an Australian author and lives with her family in Melbourne. Janice grew up in South-East Asia and is very well versed in her cultural superstitions and how they influence daily life and customs. She has developed a passion and style for writing mystery and spiritual romance.
The concept of writing the City of Affection series was spawned over a cup of coffee many years ago when discussing the tribulations of her good friend who had travelled to the Philippines to meet his new partner. Fascinated by his experiences, Janice was inspired to write her first mystery and spiritual romance novel. She enjoys writing about long-distance relationships that develop through difficult circumstances. There is drama, conflict and mystery within a spiritual context—always with a positive ending
Her first book in the City of Affection series – The Girl in the Scarlet Chair will be released in 28 November 2019. The book is written in an easy read style that does not require the reader to overthink the storyline. This makes the book a perfect choice for an evening read and can be enjoyed at their own pace.
Author Janice Tremayne looks forward to discussing her next book with readers and can be contacted by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And, if you want to know how to connect with the amazing Janice Tremayne, here are some author links:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Janice-Tremayne/e/B07X25Q8Q9
Writing as Anthony Ranieri – Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Anthony-Ranieri/e/B009J07WG2
Once again, I want to thank both of our guests, Clarisse, a female character from The Girl in the Scarlet Chair, and Janice Tremayne, the brilliant author of the book, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! 😀