Janice Tremayn - Inspired by Our Confrontations With Everyday Evil
Janice is an emerging Australian author who lives with her family in Melbourne. Her recent publication, Haunting in Hartley, reached number one in the Amazon kindle ranking for Occult Ghost and Haunted Houses category (hot new releases) and (bestseller). Janice very well-versed in her cultural superstitions and how they influence daily life and customs. She has developed a passion and style for writing ghost and supernatural novels for new adult readers. The concept of writing the Haunting Clarisse series was spawned over a cup of coffee many years ago and she has never looked back since. Her books contain heart-thumping, bone-chilling, and thought-provoking ghost and paranormal experiences that deliver a new twist to every tale. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about her book, Haunting in Hartley.
Please give us a short introduction to what Haunting in Hartley is about.
Haunting in Hartley is an Australian ghost and supernatural story based in the ghost town of Hartley, New South Wales. The protagonist, Clarisse, becomes embroiled in her investigation of an old curse and demonic possession of the town. The antagonist is a demon that lives in the basement of the presbytery, and he is sly, manipulative and untrustworthy. The plot is how Clarisse defeats the evil incarnate for the good of the town and releases the town from its curse.
Was there something in particular that inspired this story?
As a ghost and supernatural writer, I am inspired by our confrontations with everyday evil and how we overcome these obstacles. There is not one event in particular that inspired me; however, I am inspired generally by our compassion and ability to overcome the evil that resides in the world.
Why did you pick Hartley as the backdrop for your book?
I found out reading an article in the Australian press that Australia has many ghost towns that evolved from our British colonial past. Many of these towns where outposts that supported migration to the Gold Fields and then slowly died off as the mining ceased or the railroad circumvented the town. I chose Hartley because it's a real ghost town with a beautiful Catholic Church and presbytery that is now becoming a tourist attraction for weddings and paranormal tours. These famous colonial buildings provided the perfect backdrop of the setting in my book and colonial history to give the storyline context.
This is Book 2 in the Haunting Clarisse series. Can it be read as a standalone? How do the other books in the series tie in with this one?
I write all my books so that they can be read standalone. I believe readers have the right to choose whether they read one book all the whole series. It's a choice. Too often we try and lock in readers and compel them to read the entire series, and I think that takes away their freedom of choice. Any of my books can be read standalone, and if the reader chooses, they can read the other books in the series.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I am a professional Human Resources Consultant and graduated in Business from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. I have practised in my profession for over twenty years for many large organisations in the corporate world. But wouldn't it be great to be a full-time author!
Tell us more about Clarisse. What makes her so unique?
Clarisse is not Australian. She was born in South East Asia and moved to Australia to live with her partner, Harry. What makes her background so unique is that she grew up in a culture full of superstition and religion. She is from the Philippines, deeply religious Catholic culture and her family has superstitions that go back hundreds of years. She is brave, inquiring, persistent and not afraid to take on evil and confront it, head-on. She is beautiful, and people like her personality. She speaks in American English, and many Australians love the way she speaks. Many readers comment on how much they like her as a developing character.
Readers say this book will raise more than a few hairs on your back. How did you manage to maintain a spooky atmosphere throughout?
The first thing is not to overdo it with the scary stuff but to build it up like a crescendo and then unleash it. I don't deliberately set out to scare people. It evolves in the storyline and subplots. I feel it is more real this way and readers appreciate it. To be able to write scary scenes, you need to have a big imagination and be able to visualise the setting, feel it. Sometimes when I read my work back to myself, I get a tingle up my spine, and I say, "did I write that?"
Why did you include a child ghost in this story?
Children are sensitive human beings, and nothing raises people's awareness like a child ghost trying to get your attention. We feel sorry for them, and we want to help them, innocent souls trying to deal with their transient situation in the spirit world. It sets off an emotional challenge in the book. Little Charlie has become an essential character in the book because although he is evil, Clarisse never gives up in trying to save him.
The book contains some twists and turns. Did you plan it all out before you started writing, or did some of it "happen" along the way?
Some authors are very structured with every scene and deliberately set out to create twists and turns. I prefer to let it evolve in the storyline and subplots. The only structure I maintain is that every scene needs to have a conflict, choice and consequence that the protagonist and antagonist are going through. With this simple structure, the scene will develop in a way that the twists and turns evolve and compliment the storyline, leading the reader into the next chapter.
Is there something that compels you to write? And do you find that writing helps you achieve clarity about yourself or ideas you've been struggling with?
I have a big imagination suited to writing ghost and supernatural stories. Writing helps me express my creativity. It also helps me deal with confronting issues in our world today—mainly our ongoing confrontation between good and evil. Without sounding too spiritual, I believe good will always overcome negative manifestations in our environment and community, and my stories always end up that way. It gives us hope.
Your work takes you to some very dark places. Do you ever get nightmares while writing your books?
That is a compelling question. I don't have nightmares writing my books because I am always feeling safe about the content. But I do think about my characters at night and how they can develop into the storyline and grow. I suppose we internalize and become friends with our characters so that we can get to know them. That way, we can better express their characteristics and personality to our readers.
Do you have any unusual writing habits? What is an average writing day like for you?
I write between 1,000 and 2,000 words per day. I try to make it a routine, but of course, that is always difficult to do. You need a supportive partner to help you achieve that! I write best in the morning, and I like going to my favorite coffee shop. They all know me now, and they say, "here comes the author."
What are you working on right now?
I am working on book 3 of the series. Haunting in Old Tailem. An Australian ghost town in South Australia that has been turned into a pioneering village for tourists. It's a real ghost town, and it provides the perfect setting for my next story. Little Charlie and Clarisse are the main characters, and there are new minor characters in the book that readers will enjoy getting to know.