Thursday, January 22, 2015 | By: The Write Way Cafe

An Interview with Zrinka Jelic

The Write Way Café welcomes prolific author Zrinka Jelic, who offers this insight and more: the only author I try to be like is better than the one I was yesterday.
Zrinka will be gifting an E-copy of Rose of Crimson to one lucky commenter.  Be sure to leave your email so Zrinka can contact you if you are selected!

When did you first have the thought you'd like to write a book? Was that first thought related to writing romance?
     I’ve always made up stories, be it totally made up ones or different endings of fairy tales, what if versions of the movies I’ve seen and so on. I never really thought of writing them down until high school when I wrote by hand my first short romance. Can’t remember the title of it, but all I know is it got passed around and eventually ripped to pieces in some cat fight over who got their hands on it first.
     I guess the love from romance comes from fairytales. There’s always a prince who rescues the princess and they lived happily ever after. Who wouldn’t love that? Only my princes and princesses are ordinary everyday people and princesses can hold their own and don’t need to be rescued by the prince in shining armor. In fact, Sirena, the pirate captain in Treasured Chest saves the hero, then he repays the favor.

What was your path to getting this book written and published? What type of research did you do?
     Rose of Crimson 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’ve 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.
     The kind of research I’ve done for this book was mostly online, but I did travel to Croatia in summer of 2012. The plan was to visit Rušinić castle in Kaštel Lukšić, but it just did not pan out. Trotting on the bus for a few hours, even if air conditioned, in the heat was not in my plan and renting a car with automatic shift is virtually impossible. All the rent-a-car agencies have is manual shift which I’m not comfortable to drive, especially on those roads with crazy drivers around me.

Where did the idea for your story come from?
     The Miles’ story is original Croatian legend from late 17th century, but I added a few details to make it interesting.

Why did you pick the setting you did?
     With the story comes the setting. Since this is (for the most part) based on the true love tragedy, I had to stay true to the setting.

Are your main characters completely imaginary or do they have some basis in real people? Do they reflect aspects of yourself?
     As I mentioned above, the two characters are or rather were real people. Heroine, Kate in a small way reflects me.

Did you face any blocks while writing the book, and if so, how did you handle them? If not, what's your secret?
     I read all the time and find the inspiration in the books I read so I guess that’s my secret for not having a writer’s block. Though, some chapters/scenes do occasionally give me grief and I can’t clearly see them, but if I keep plugging at it, they’ll eventually surfaced out and come together just fine. So another secret is, keep at it.

What have been surprises you've encountered while writing the book and after?
     Not sure, really can’t think of any.

What did you learn? For instance, what did you learn about yourself, your process, the writing world; about time travel and aristocrats?
     A hard question. Every book is a learning process. One tidbit I’ve learned is that aristocrats at the time this book takes place were a spoiled bunch of weaklings dependent on the working class.

Tell us about your writing space and how or why it works for you.
     All I have is a couch, a small laptop table that tilts and my computer. It works because it’s in the living room and tiny so clutter is not an option.

What are some of your favorite books and why?
     There’re too many to list here or to single one out. Right now I’m reading the second in the series of A Song of Ice and Fire, A Clash of Kings, or better known as HBO series A Game of Thrones. I didn’t think I’d like this enormous saga, with the numerous characters that I’ve heard is hard to keep up. I’m only on the second book and so far finding it OK, but I’ve been warned about the third book. Still, the only author I try to be like is better than the one I was yesterday.

What are you working on now?
     My work in progress is titled In the Stars, it’s a suspense romance about the high school sweethearts separated 14 years ago by the heroine’s parents. Now she’s back in town, still very much in love with the hero, and he’s in love with her, but trouble’s following her, plus she has a secret of her own.

Would you like to try your hand at writing a different genre?  Which one and why?
     My work in progress is a tryout in suspense genre. I’ve been published in historical and paranormal romance, but love to read a good suspense novel, it’s hard to find one with a strong romantic theme.

If you were not a writer, what would your dream job be?
     I’d like to try myself as a yoga instructor or maybe a personal fitness coach.

What aspect of writing gives you the most trouble?
     Usually it’s the middle of the story. I get the beginning and the ending. But the middle can quickly turn to soggy and I need to keep reminding myself to wind the story up not down, to keep that suspense going, to entice the reader to keep reading as they come to the end of the chapter.

Who is your favorite hero/heroine?
     My favorite is Matthias Zrin form Bonded by Crimson and its prequel Rose of Crimson if I must choose one only. But honestly, they are all my favorites.

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 your Kindle, Kobo, Nook, or iPad

About Zrinka:  Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and two children. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction—which leans toward the paranormal—and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic's love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that's about the only break they get. "Alas," Jelic says, with a grin. "Some rain must fall in everyone's life."

You can find Zrinka here:    Blog     Facebook     Amazon     


HiDee said...

Thanks for being with us today, Zrinka!

Firetulip said...

Thank you for having me on your blog.

Rena Koontz said...

I like that you are trying a new genre, and that multiple genres don't scare you. The intro describes you as prolific. How many books do you write in a year?

Firetulip said...

Hi Rena, I'm not the fastest writer plus I believe in quality of writing vs. quantity, so I do take a special care of everything I write. I usually release one book per year, meaning I work on more than one, but it takes many edits to get the book polished and ready to face the world.

Becky Lower said...

Like Rena said, I'm impressed that you're trying out more than one genre. I tried to put a bit of suspense into one of my historical romances, and a reviewer said I should never do that again, since I'm so lousy at suspense. There's a learning curve involved in every genre. Congrats to you for figuring it out.

Susanne Matthews said...

From one Ontarian to another, well done.

Nancy Weeks said...

What an interesting post, Zrinka! I think its great you are trying your hand at romantic suspense. Suspense is just how my mind works. By the way, your cover for Rose of Crimson is just beautiful and I can't wait to read it.

Firetulip said...

Thanks for dropping by Susanne and Nancy. I'm sure you'll enjoy the book.

Joanna Lloyd said...

I love the areas you are setting your stories in, Zrinka and Rose of Crimson sounds well worth reading! Great interview.

Angela Smith said...

Great interview, and your books sound awesome. I'm like you, I like a good suspense with strong romance.

Firetulip said...

Thanks Joanna and Angela. Those who read it said it's hard to put down.

Firetulip said...

I put the number of comments in (less mine and HiDee's) and it drew #3. Congrats Suzanne Matthews, you are the winner of your very own eBook copy of Rose of Crimson.