Fresh Find: Etched in this Moment


Calla Zae is an otherworldly and contemporary romance author, and a busy one to boot! Fresh off the back of a September release, she has a brand new book out for your reading pleasure.

A false identity romantic suspense, Etched in this Moment sees Sofia battling her desires for the determined detective who just might be her undoing.

An interview with Calla Zae

JL PERIDOT: What’s the deal with Sofia? Why is she in hiding?

CALLA ZAE: Sofia is a woman who’s at a crossroad in her life. She moves across the country in search of her purpose in life, and she dates a cop. Like many of us who feel lost, we often gravitate toward people who we think are “good” for us. Sofia is no exception.

When he reveals the monster in him, she ran.

JL: Theo embodies the archetype of a protector in this book. What do you love most about the protector trope in fiction?

CALLA: We all want to be safe and secure. Love gives you that. A safe environment allows a child to grow and an adult to mature. When we feel safe and loved, there’s this liberation that allows us to be ourselves. We can show the world who we are. With that mindset, we can reveal our talents. When someone loves you in a way that allows you to feel safe and secure, you grow wings. You are free. You can explore any destination you want.

At least for me, that’s how I see it and that’s what I love about the “protective” trope.

There are so many good books with this kind of hero. The most recent one I read was the Mount Trilogy by Meghan March. I loved the way Lachlan Mount protected Keira.

JL: So, from your creative beginnings, how did you come to write otherworldly and contemporary romance?

CALLA: I have a fashion design degree and worked in the fashion industry for a while. But during that time, I also wrote stories on the side because stories feed my soul. So when the pandemic hit, I had to stay home with my young kids due to virtual school (an experience that confirmed I’m not a very patient person! Lol!), I took a leap of faith and published my stories. Initially, I had wanted to query an agent. But like I said, I’m not a very patient person. Besides, I believed in my stories. I believed in myself. And when you have that kind of conviction and ambition, you create your own magic. The Universe will follow suit with your desires.

Art plays an important role in everything I do. It affects how I think and see things. Creativity is the breath of life for me. When I write, I use a large portion of my brain—the intellect, the discipline, the linear way of thinking that chapter two goes after chapter one like placing one foot in front of the other in a logical manner. But when I create art, I tap into my heart, my intuition. I go sideways, upside, inside out; it doesn’t matter if it makes “sense.” Art is all about how you feel when you look at it. As long as the art makes you feel something, then you’ve made something worthwhile.

I believe emotion is where the magic is. I like to think that my brain and heart are creative muscles that I use every day, so I try to flex them as much as possible. When I’m stressed, I turn to art. Art shuts down my brain, and I enter a quiet space that resets my mind. Art therapy is healing. Writing can be healing too, depending on what you write. Writing in a journal is different from writing a difficult plot. Art and writing are different forms of creativity, and I believe both are important in a soul’s journey.

JL: And when it came to this romantic suspense…?

CALLA: Etched in this Moment is set in Coolidge Corner, an active shopping area in Brookline, Massachusetts. It’s adjacent to Boston. I went to college in Boston and enjoyed the energy of the city. I wanted to write a contemporary story set in an area I was familiar with. I wanted a romance with a sense of danger, mystery, sophistication, and steam. It’s the kind I love to read. The Etched series will have seven books.

Also, writing contemporary romance gives me a break from my otherworldly stories!

JL: Seven books is a huge undertaking! But if anyone can do it, you can. What can we expect from the rest of the series?

CALLA: Etched in this Moment is Book One in my Etched series. There are seven books planned. You can expect similar romance, suspense, and steam. The characters are interconnected, and each story can be read as a standalone. There are no cliffhangers.

All of my books allow the woman to gain a sense of self-worth. I want them to know that they are worthy and they have something to offer the world. I want them to understand the inner chambers of their hearts. There’s nothing that is too small. Everything that is given and made with love is “worthy.”

When you acknowledge who you are, you claim a spot in this world. From that spot, you can shine. I want to show them that it’s possible to overcome your shadows, your past and gain back your self-worth. All of us are born with it, and society has pushed that worthiness into a corner. Over time, people have forgotten that it was always there. I want to show women that they can take it back. Self-worth was always theirs to begin with.

Etched in this Moment by Calla Zae

Book cover: A handsome man adjusts his jacket over his bare torso. Etched in this Moment by Calla Zae

The law has failed her; men have failed her, but I won’t.

“Every moment with you is precious time ticking life into my heart.”

Sofia (Tia): The holidays are here, and I’m feeling hopeful until an anonymous text message arrives, reminding me of why I’m in hiding. I go by “Tia,” but that’s not my real name. I stay away from men, especially cops. But Theo—an attractive and determined detective—fascinates me. I’m afraid my desire for him might be the end of me.

Theo: The last thing I need is a distraction that takes me away from my recovery from a deadly wound. But as the mystery unravels around Sofia, so does danger, and so does my heart. The need to protect her pulses in me, becoming a priority. She’s mine, and I always protect what’s mine.

Available now from ebook retailers.

About Calla Zae

Asian woman with long dark hair

I love writing otherworldly and contemporary romance novels. I’m an artist, and I love to create visuals to convey my stories.

I live in Massachusetts with my husband who keeps me grounded to Earth and two creative children who think I have my own secret planet. They’re onto something…