Writer Wednesday Interview: Zrinka Jelic
Today I am hosting fellow Crimson Romance author Zrinka Jelic. Make sure to read to the end, as Zrinka is kindly offering an ecopy of Rose of Crimson or one of her other books to one lucky commenter.
Welcome to my blog. I’ve never met a Zrinka before! Is it a Croatian name?
Thanks for having me on your blog today. It’s a pleasure to be here. Yes, Zrinka is a Croatian name. It comes from an ancient noble family Zrinski. That last name still exist in Croatia, but the descendants are no longer nobles or they never been. During Feudalism serfs often assumed or were given their masters’ last name as a stake or claim on their lives.
You live in Canada now. Do you make use of your different travel experiences in your stories?
Yes, for over twenty years now I’ve been calling Canada my new home. I always use experiences from my travel in my stories, however sometimes readers have a hard time believing certain things, like you cannot rent a car with automatic gear shift everywhere on this planet. I can’t speak for the entire Europe, but in Croatia this is a rarity. Though the rental agencies may advertise a small number of vehicles in their fleet with automatic shift, beware, the price for such cars is doubled if not tripled and the location you’re renting from may not have it, if you book online, that could be for a different location in a totally different town. But, I don’t often put troubles one can encounter while traveling abroad, there are many pleasant experiences that far outnumber the bad ones and you can expect that not absolutely everything will go smoothly on your travels.
Here in the UK, it's much more common to rent manual cars, but you can get an automatic if you ask nicely! But that's enough about cars. Tell us about your latest book.
My 5th novel is titled Rose of Crimson and it was released by Secret Cravings Publishing on December 23rd, 2014. This is a prequel to Bonded by Crimson which was published on January 15th, 2012. I started working on the prequel the day I was offered a publishing contract for Bonded by Crimson. Then it got pushed to the back burner while I worked on other projects. Since then I’ve written and published Treasured Chest, a pirate romance, Love Remains, a time travel romance and Deck the Halls, a Christmas novella..
Rose of Crimson is based on a Croatian legend from late 17th century. Local people like to refer to the tragic love story as their Romeo and Juliet, only in this version the young lovers (Miljenko & Dobrila) are from feuding aristocratic families who would stop at nothing to keep them apart. Even when Dobrila’s father accepted the offered hand of peace, he couldn’t deal with the fact that Miljenko won and took his daughter.
However, Rose of Crimson is not a historical romance. In the book the hero, Miles—he shortened it from Miljenko—telepathically projects his story onto the heroine, Kate—who has a special connection with him through her ancestor. I wanted to present the passages of his past life differently than just jump from past to present through the chapters. I wanted a reader to know when we’re entering and exiting his story. Because, he sought her out to write down his story. Both books are stand alone, though the ending in Rose of Crimson may not leave you satisfied, Kate and Matthias do find their happily ever after in Bonded by Crimson.
Bonded by Crimson features a centuries-old immortal hero, and Love Remains includes an angel. What are the challenges of writing paranormal characters, and how do you overcome them?
Lately media plants images of flawless paranormal characters, e.g. vamps, wares, ghosts. They are exceptionally great looking, rich, forever young, hip, and cool, they can eat whatever and not gain weight, and I can’t help it but think this is some kind of a dream. We all wish this. However, these characters were at some point ordinary humans and as such they were flawed. If they continue to live they’d carry the same flaws into immortality. As the saying goes, the trouble with fiction is that it has to make sense. Many paranormal books are bogged down with demons, angels, vamps, and the world they live in. My paranormal books are light on the paranormal world, there’s just enough of it to fit the genre. Paranormal characters have some extraordinary skills or powers, but nothing too drastic. The most I gave to Matthias/Miles is the ability to block the part of the mind of the mortals that would allow them to see him, hence the invisibility, but they could bump into him since he’s present in body. Once he established the connection he is able to communicate telepathically.
The ghost in Love Remains can take an ordinary person and plant them into a what-if kind of life, as happened to Olivia who turned her back on love and family.
What books or authors do you think have influenced you?
There were many big name authors, I read any genre. One that I’m very fond of is Arturo Perez Reverte, I love all his Captain Alatriste stories. At the moment I’m reading second in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire ; A Clash of the Kings and finding George R.R. Martin pretty influential. However, the only author I’m striving to be like is the better one I’ve been yesterday. In other words, I want to develop my own voice and style. I’ve seen new authors trying to emulate their favorite author, but that doesn’t work, it is simply not their voice or style.
Are you influenced by other media, like TV, film or art?
I don’t have a cable TV and after seeing what kind of program is on lately, I really don’t miss it, but I do love movies and yes, I’m influenced by them. I often think of what if that happened instead of this. That is how I get ideas for the new stories, put them in a different setting and voila. But I also like to resurrect old love legends that often end in tragedy and give them a whole new twist.
Where can we find out more about your books, and where are they available for sale?
Visit my Blog
And now for an excerpt:
He had pulled the door open and there she sat, on top of the steps. Hadn’t he told her to go home and pack? Wait, something was different about her. She was younger, a child almost. Her hair was tied in a high ponytail, her clothes…God almighty! She was naked, save for a few scraps. Could her breeches get any shorter? The threads hung loose form the frail hem, as if she put shears to her leggings. Her long, tanned legs were bare for all to see. Her shirt, if one could call it such, sleeveless, backless even, held by two thin straps tied around her neck, depicted a pony. Whoever put animals on their attire and with glittering mane of all things?
“Oh my God!” Kate screeched, but didn’t pull her hands out of his. “I remember this encounter. That’s me.”
“That is you. The last time I saw your great-great-grandmother was the first time I saw you.”
“Wicked.” Her voice carried her fascination. “It’s some kind of an omen.”
“Something or someone tried to tell me something,” he said. Maybe they were destined for one another, and nothing he did would keep them apart.
“Now I know why you scrutinized me as if I came from some other world. In your eyes, I did. To me you didn’t appear out of place. I thought you pulled your clothes from your grandpa’s chest for the local festivity. I figured the weakness that poured over me as a sign of heat or sunstroke.”
“How do you explain the rose I gave you?” He snickered at her last comment, the old clothes stored together with moth balls in squeaky chests with rusted hinges and used on occasions such as festivity to resurrect the old traditions and attract visitors.
Her long gaze and soft smile settled on him. If she was trying to play cool and not show how much she wanted him, her pretending failed. “My memory has faded a little since then, but I clearly remember you picking the flower and offered it to me. My mom is adamant that I picked it myself. She said good thing the custodian didn’t catch me.”
His heart sunk at the mention of the home he grew up in. It had been decades since he last touched its stone walls. The once mighty castle, closed for the family affairs, was now open for everyone to roam about for the price of the admission. At least the money generated was used to preserve the building and grounds, and employed a few people.
KATE ROKOV‘s grades are plummeting. She needs to get the voice out of her head or she will flunk her finals.
MATTHIAS ZRIN, a three centuries old immortal, born into an aristocratic family as Miles Rušinić, is enthralled with Kate. It is his voice preventing Kate from sleeping and her ignorance is testing his limits. He wants her to write down his story to settle his wife’s earthbound spirit. His tragic love story has become Kate’s obsession since fifth grade during her summer trip to Rušinić castle.
You can pick up a copy for yourPlease say hi to Zrinka in the comments, and make sure you leave your email address if you'd like to be in with a chance to win an ecopy of one of her books.