Today I’m with Zrinka Jelic, author of Bonded by Crimson.  Bonded by Crimson was released early this year by Black Opal Books.  As always, it’s a pleasure to chat with one of my BOB sisters. 
Also, Zrinka will be giving away an eBook copy of her book to one lucky commenter.  Leave those comments, people.
1.    Zrinka, Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ah, the question I dread during the job interviews. In our culture it is considered unworthy tooting your own horn and one would be modest about singing the praise to himself. So needless to say, when I moved to Canada and went on my first job interview, it didn’t go so well. It took me quite some time to get used to the idea to put myself on a pedestal and I don’t think I haven’t gotten completely over this cultural difference. I’m just your average gal, maybe on a quiet side, though I’ve come a long way since my awkward teenage days. Nowadays, as always, you’ll find me with my nose in a book. But with two kids, house, promoting my novel and working on my works in progress, those moments are scarce.
2.    Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I don’t have one particular all times favorite author. At the moment I’m taken by Arturo Perez Reverte. The books I’m reading are translations from Spanish and I’m not sure how much was lost in translation, but I love them and the smooth prose.
3.    What are you reading?
I have three books on the go. One is Debbie Christiana’s “Twin Flames” which I’m enjoying immensely. I think I’ll finish it in the next day or so. Then I have Chris Karlsen’s “Golden Chariot” and just finishing “The Kings’ Gold” from A. P. Reverte.
4.    I’m actually reading Twin Flames myself.  It’s such a good read.  So, What do you do when you’re not writing?
I’m either in the gym, babysitting other kids along with mine, house chores, reading. I used to have sawing side craft. I figured how to make those little leather slippers that were so expensive in stores. I made a few pairs for my friends’ kids and somehow the word got out and orders started to pour in. But now you can get those slippers almost in any kids’ stores for less than I can make them. So I stopped my production though I’m still known in my neighborhood as patch-up lady. I do some alternations and fix ups on clothing.
5.    When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
The very first book I finished was waaaaay back in high school. I was struck with an idea and very motivated to write a story after I’ve seen “Romancing the Stone”. To this day this movie is still my favorite romance and inspiration. My first story was hand written, and the girls in the school fought over it. I can’t even remember what it was about. No idea what happened to it. I’m assuming it got ripped in one of the cat fights. This was in pre-photocopier days. But I wish I still have it, just to get a good laugh out of it. But my first “official” finished story is what I like to refer to it as “my training wheels” where I made all of the beginners’ mistakes. I’m planning to go back to it someday and revise. I still think it’s a good story.
6.    Where do you get your ideas?
From everyday life. I like to observe people around me. Often I imagine how two people met, what drew them to each other, what’s their story, what hardships they had to overcome to find their happiness. Today young people don’t have to struggle with the same troubles as their parents. Dating is seen as normal part of growing up, while in my teenage days and where I lived, parents forbid their children to go out on dates. And any parent who allowed or even encouraged their children to date was looked upon as too liberal or strange. I also like to explore old tragic love stories and try to reincarnate them to some kind of happily ever after.  
7.    Are you a pantser?  Or do you outline?
I’ve read a few books on how to write and each stressed out the importance of detailed outlining. So I gave it a try and failed. I felt silly doing some of the exercises in the book and got nothing out of them. These books also made me guilty about not plotting and doing that character’s arc and all that. And while I see how having the clear plot and character’s arc (journey) n front of you can help along, I also find it a waste of time. I outlined my book and never referred back to it. While I stuck to the original plot, my muse also decided to take me on a ride. So it is safe to say I’m a punster and I’m proud of it.
8.    Can you tell us the challenges in getting your first book published?
There’s been a few but I had biggest one that many new writers fear. While my book was still in pre-published state, I’ve decided to “test the waters” and posted opening chapters on a website where other aspiring writers rate each other’s work. Majority of readers liked the story, but some didn’t. I never expected that absolutely everyone would love it, but I wasn’t prepared for harsh and right down nasty and hateful reviews. From people I never met or did not know. It was quite discouraging but I pressed on and found out the worst thing you can do was to reply to those comments. These people are Internet trolls and they get their kicks of getting people to lash out at them. The best is to ignore them and delete their comments if possible.
9.    Tell us about BONDED BY CRIMSON.
The premise of the story is do we deserve second chance at love and happiness. It there love after loss and hurt? Can we recognize it when it comes our way and most importantly, would we embrace it or would we be scared to open our hearts and souls to another being out of fear to get hurt again?
10. How did you come up with the title?
Originally I wanted “Bonds of Crimson” but the title was taken and I wanted something original. In the book the enzymes of a hero (who is immortal though he is slowly turning human again) are passed through his child to the mother therefore making her something of an immortal too. So that they can have endless future together. But it also has another meaning, Kate (the heroine) is bonded by blood (crimson) to her husband, their children and the land they came from (Croatia).
11. Who designed the cover?
That was Jack from Black Opal Books and I think he did a great job and nailed the book right there. I love the silhouette of the Matthias’ (the hero) wife’s ghost in the background.
12. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think the middle was hard. Just to keep that intrigue and not to reveal too many details and yet give just enough clues and foreshadowing to keep the reader’s interest. I’ve read too many books that gave it all away in the first chapter, or had saggy middles that it was a daunting task to read it through, but they started off very interesting and I just had to find out how it all come together in the end. I was disappointed.
13. If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything about your latest book?
Can’t think of a single thing, but maybe I’d just tightened some of the sentences, other than that I wouldn’t change anything to the actual plot.
14. What project are you working on now?
I have two works in progress. One is paranormal romance titled “Love Remains” and it’s about a career oriented single woman who returns home from a business trip and finds a husband and a couple of kids in her house. Of course, the plot thickens from there. My second project is a prequel for “Bonded by Crimson” titled “Rose of Crimson” and we go back six years to find out how Matthias, under the guise of Miles, got Kate to write his story. In this book my attention is to bring the full legend of the tragic love story to life. It’s going to be a big task, but I’m up to the challenge.
15. Any new books coming out? 
I have my second novel “Treasured Chest” going through the editorial process and I’m hoping it will be released sometimes later this year or beginning of the next. It’s a pirate’s romance with an unexpected and unusual twist.
16. Congrats on the new novel.  Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
The writing is very solitary but you don’t have to do this alone. There are numerous writing organizations, some are free to join, some have a fee, but just get out there and join to critique loops, writing communities and other supportive group. I can’t stress out supportive enough. Unfortunately I wasted plenty of time on places where the members tend to put down other people’s work and praise their own. Your love for writing will shine in your work and don’t let anyone discourage you. Yes, there’ll be nasty reviews but that is a part of the business.
Rapid Fire Questions:
Favorite Song? At the moment it is Thomas Bergersen – “A Place in Heaven
Favorite Movie? Romancing the stone
Favorite Season? Summer
Favorite Food? Watermelon
Favorite Quote? “The road of life is rocky and you may stumble, too. So why not point fingers, someone else is judging you.” ~ Bob Marley
Any parting words? Thanks for having me as your guest blogger, Leslie. It is always exciting to reach out to new audience. This was fun to write.
My debut novel “Bonded by Crimson” has been released on January 28th, and it is available in all formats at Black Opal Books, Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks
Love isn’t in the cards for her…

After her short failed marriage, Kate tries to rebuild her life and takes a position as a nanny to three small boys. She quickly grows to love them, but their father, terrifies her, while igniting a passion she didn’t know she possessed. Disturbed by his distant manner with his sons, Kate struggles to make him more involved in the boys’ daily lives. Her efforts are mysteriously supported by an entity that cannot really exist. Or can she? And if she does exist, is she really trying to help Kate, or just take over her body?

But when he deals the hand, all bets are off…

Six years after his beloved wife passed away, Matthias is still trying to become the father she wanted him to be. Not an easy task for a three-centuries-old immortal. His search for the ultimate nanny ends when Kate Rokov stumbles to his home and into his arms. The immediate attraction he feels for her seems like a betrayal of his dead wife, a love he’s harboured for over three hundred years. But when Kate is stalked by a deadly stranger, life he clung to in the past begins to crumble and break down. Can Matthias learn to trust and to love again in time to save his family from disaster, or will his stubborn pride destroy everything worth living for?

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.”
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Watch the book trailer: Bonded by Crimson
One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win an eBook copy of “Bonded by Crimson”. Good luck!