My friend Zrinka Jelic recently published her fifth novel, Rose of Crimson, and she graciously agreed to field a few interview questions to tell you all about it. Zrinka lives in Ontario, and her contemporary novels have a lovely paranormal slant influenced by the myths and legends found in her native Croatia. Zrinka's been a guest on my blog before, and I'm so happy to have her back. To prove it, I'll shut up now and let her do the talking...
LR: What’s your favorite thing about Rose of Crimson?
ZJ: My favorite thing is that’s finally written and published the way I wanted it to be. It’s a different in a way of jumping through the timelines. In many novels the character goes from present into the past and comes back, or timelines alternate from chapter to chapter, but in this book they are intertwined throughout the book.
LR: Why did you go with a prequel, and how do you think reading Rose of Crimson changes the impact of Bonded by Crimson?
ZJ: I’ve decided to show how Kate and Matthias met. I’ve received some reviews on Bonded where the readers mentioned that there are unanswered questions, and those questions are answered in Rose. The dots are connected and things explained.
LR: Which book or author has influenced you the most? What is it about their work that grabs you?
ZJ: There are many fabulous writers that I find influencing, among them I’d point out Arturo Perez Reverte although his books are translated into English, I love his stories and adventures of Captain Alatriste. Also I’m getting influenced by George R.R. Martin. However no matter what, the only writer I’m striving to be is better one than I was yesterday. In another words, while liking the works of other authors, I’m trying to develop my own voice and not imitate others. I’ve read books where an author literally wrote the way his favorite author did, but the voice seemed contrived and unnatural.
LR: Do you write full-time, or are you juggling a day job or other major time commitments? How do you make it all work?
ZJ: I wish I could write the full time. No, I’m juggling a day job, household and family. My writing, though always on my mind, is probably the last thing I do in the evening. If I manage to put in a few words I consider that a good day.
LR: Love it or hate it, promotion is part of the gig. What’s worked best for you? Do you have any secrets to share?
ZJ: I don’t hate it, but I don’t like it either. I don’t know what works, only what doesn’t. Some people know how to play Amazon game and get their books into first 100 ranks, yet I read the very same book and frankly the book defies existence. It’s like the author woke up one day and decided to write a book then self-published it without any editing. Yet, there are many wonderfully written books that will never be discovered simply because the author doesn’t have a large following of friends and family and/or doesn’t know how to play the game. And the game is getting dirtier that at moments, it seems discouraging to keep going. Then I have to remind myself that I’m doing this for me and if there are people who like what I’m doing, great, those who don’t can keep away.
LR: Since you’re pretty much a world traveler, describe your dream vacation. Where would you go if money and time didn’t limit you?
ZJ: I’d love to sail around the world. Stay at ports, visit islands and little towns by the sea. That would be my dream life not just a vacation.
LR: What’s next on your writerly horizon? Any little teasers you can share here?
ZJ: I’m trying myself in a new to me genre, romantic suspense. My work in progress is titled In the Stars (as in written in the stars) and it’s a story of high school sweethearts separated 14 years ago by the heroine’s parents who forced her into a marriage with a man who lives half the world away. Now she’s back in town. Their love rekindles in an instant, but danger follows her, and she’s got a secret of her own.
Zrinka, on Rose of Crimson...
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 wrote 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 offered hand of peace, he couldn’t 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 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.
And now the 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.
Their coming together settles the old spirit and breaks an ancient curse, and in doing so, a flame spanning over three centuries reignites and burns with wild desire. In this tale of two life times and desire versus emotional need, both know some dreams will have to wait for the right time, but the magic between them is impossible to withstand.
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