We are so pleased that Jennifer Estep decided to visit us here today at Smexy Books and talk to us about life, books, urban fantasy, smexy men, and her newest release-Tangled Threads- #4 in her Elemental Assassins series.
Thanks so much for being here with us today at Smexy Books. We LOVE Gin, Finn, Sophia, and the rest of the crew from the Elemental Assassin series. We are VERY excited about your newest release, Tangled Threads, which is slated to release April 26, 2011. What can you tell us a little about it?
Thanks for having me back on the blog. I appreciate it! ;-)
In Tangled Threads, the fourth book in the Elemental Assassin series, my heroine Gin Blanco, aka the assassin the Spider, finds out that her nemesis, Mab Monroe, has hired an assassin named Elektra LaFleur to come to Ashland, track down, and kill the Spider. Along the way, Gin searches for a kidnapped girl and debates whether or not to tell her younger sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, who and what she really is. Basically, though, the story is assassin vs. assassin, which was a lot of fun for me to write.
We really like how your covers personify the strength of your main character, Gin Blanco. Do you have input on the cover design? Do they reflect what you set out to accomplish when developing Gin?
I have a little bit of input on the covers. Basically, my editor shows me the rough draft of the cover and asks me for my thoughts/suggestions. But I’ve been really lucky that all the covers for the Elemental Assassin series have been excellent so far thanks to the talent of the cover artist, Tony Mauro. I think the covers really capture how strong and kick-butt Gin is. I’ve been very, very pleased with them.
Where do your ideas for the Elemental world and your characters come from?
When I first started writing the series, I knew that I wanted to do something really dark, gritty, and Southern, and I thought writing about elementals would let me come up with and let my characters have some really cool powers. So that’s what I did, and I think it’s worked out pretty well so far.
Basically, whenever I sit down and start writing the next book in the series, I think about Gin, who has Ice and Stone elemental powers (the other two main elements are Air and Fire). Then, I think about the bad guy and what powers he might have and what problems Gin might have with those powers. I just go from there, trying to be as creative as I can and put Gin in as much trouble as possible. For example, in Tangled Threads, Elektra LaFleur has electrical elemental magic, which Gin has a hard time figuring out how to overcome.
Mandi knows you are a fan of The Killers and Brandon Flowers. What other music influences you?
I love me some Killers and Brandon Flowers! In fact, I have Hot Fuss by The Killers in my CD player right now. ;-)
I have really weird, eclectic taste when it comes to music. I like everyone from Jimmy Buffett to The Pretenders to Kelly Clarkson. And I love oldies by quirky bands like The Royal Guardsmen (who did all the Snoopy songs).
I tend to like specific songs more than artists, and I’m really bad about knowing who sings what. Every time we go out to eat, if there’s music playing in the restaurant, my significant other will ask me who’s singing. He always knows, but I almost never get it right. LOL.
If Gin opened a Twitter account, what would be her first tweet?
A: My name is Gin, and I kill people. That’s the opening line of Spider’s Bite, the first book in the series, and I think it would work well for Gin’s first tweet too. It tells you exactly who she is and what she does. LOL.
How many do you have planned for this series?
I’d love to keep writing this series for a long time to come. I think there are a lot of interesting Gin stories still to tell – and a lot of nasty bad guys that I could pit her against. I’ve already started writing book six, which I’m jokingly referring to as Gin on vacation. Basically, Gin goes on a trip to the beach and gets into a lot of trouble along the way.
We have to ask … will we see Detective Donovan Caine again?
Well, I don’t want to give out too many spoilers, but I’d like to bring Donovan back at some point just so Gin can get some closure about their relationship. Donovan walked away from Gin at the end of Web of Lies, the second book in the series, and that didn’t sit too well with Gin. I’d love to give her the chance to tell Donovan what an idiot he was for leaving her. Plus, I think I could write some very interesting scenes between Gin, Donovan, and Owen. ;-)
You have a youth series coming out- Mythos Academy – in August. What can you tell us about this new series?
The Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series focuses on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psychometry, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. After a serious freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.
The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the second book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in December. First Frost, a prequel e-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more.
Basically, the series is about myths, magic, and monsters, with a sexy Spartan guy that my heroine Gwen has a serious crush on. It’s been a lot of fun to write, and I hope readers will give it a try since it features a lot of the same elements as my Elemental Assassin series – a smart, sassy heroine, magic, and fight scenes – although the sex, language, and violence are toned down a bit for the YA audience.
Let’s talk about you now. We see you have led a very interesting life. Over 10 years journalism experience. WOW! What made you go full time author?
Job cuts. LOL. Sad, but true. There had been rumors for more than a year that my newspaper was going to cut jobs, and it finally happened to me and several other folks back in mid-December. Happy holidays, huh? And for the record, journalism isn’t nearly as glamorous as people think it is. Trust me on that.
But I’m looking at this as my chance to see if I can make it as a full-time writer. In addition to my books, I’ve also been doing some freelance writing and keeping an eye out for a part-time job. So far, things have been going really well. Hopefully, that will continue. Fingers crossed, anyway.
What authors do you think influenced your writing?
I’m very much a child of pop culture. I love books, movies, and TV shows, and I think all those things influence my writing a little bit. Whenever I read a book or watch a movie, I always wonder what if character A did this instead of that? What if character B zigged instead of zagged? Thinking about what I would do with a character or how I would tell a story is a great way to brainstorm.
Some of my favorite authors are folks like Robin McKinley, David Eddings, Donald Westlake, and Robert Parker. I wish I could write half as well as they do.
What are your “must have” things in order to write?
I need my computer, a good light source, and what I like to call dead freaking silence. Seriously, I don’t listen to music or the TV when I write. I just like to sit in my office all by my lonesome and listen to the wild and crazy voices in my head. LOL.
Where do you picture yourself five years from now?
Hopefully, I’m still writing full-time, whether it’s the Elemental Assassin series, the Mythos Academy series, or something else. I have so many ideas. Hopefully in five years from now, I’ll have been able to explore some of them.
Now for the quick responses:
Coke or coffee?
Definitely Coke (well, Pepsi)
Big breakfast or a donut on the run?
A cream cheese donut on the run
Vamps or shifters?
Do you agree with Tori that Starbucks is THE evil empire that must be destroyed?
It’s one of several evil empires that needs to be destroyed. LOL.
Dead tree books or e books?
Dead tree books. I can see the appeal of e-books, but I love holding a paper book in my hands.
Mac or PC?
PC because that’s what I use every day.
Today Jennifer is giving away a copy of Tangled Threads! To enter just leave a comment. Contest open to US/Canada through April 28th.
I can’t wait to get this book!
Either from my library, or I’ll have to buy it.
Its worth it though!
Jennifer Estep says
Tiffany — Cool. I hope you enjoy it. ;-)
I just startred reading the series and I love it! Can’t wait to read more!
Pie and Cake says
Yay!!! It comes out tomorrow!! Count down time!
Katie W says
Great interview! I would love to read this!
The Bookish Brunette says
I’ve heard awesome things about this series! Id love to win! :)
Mindy Belby says
It looks very cool I’m looking forward to it!!
Jennifer Estep says
Traci — Glad you are enjoying Gin and all her crazy adventures.
Pie and Cake — Cool. I hope you enjoy it.
Katie — Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the interview.
The Bookish Brunette — Cool. I hope you get a chance to check out the books.
Mindy — Thanks! Glad the books look interesting.
Teresa W. says
I’ve been waiting for this one to release! tWarner419@aol.com
Felicia Chien says
All books look pretty interesting. Can’t wait to read Tangled Threads. Thanks for a great giveaway!:)
What an edgy novel! I can’t hardly wait to flip through the pages to see what clues the detective picks up on. Solving mysteries in crimes and love are never easy.
Sherie L says
Congrats on the new release! Cannot wait to add it to my bookshelf!
This is a new to me series and can’t wait to read it! Dark & gritty are right up my alley.
Jennifer Estep says
Teresa — Cool. I hope you enjoy the book.
Felicia — Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.
Sunnymay — Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.
Sherie — Thanks! I appreciate that.
Colette @ A Buckeye Girl Reads says
Not entering the giveaway, just wanted to say I loved this interview!
Holly wright says
I would love to read this! Thanks!
Jennifer Estep says
Colette — Thanks! Glad you liked the interview. ;-)
Holly — Cool. Hope you get a chance to check it out.
Love this series. Thanks for the chance!
bacchus76 at myself dot com
Natasha A. says
I tried to read this series a way back, and just couldn’t get into it. Well my buddy Jen (Mountie9) finally convinced me to give it another go and I absolutely loved them! (Amazing what a frame of mind can do).
I am longing for this book!!!
Great interview and thanks for the giveaway! Would so love to read this :)
Caitlin Peterson says
What a great interview! I love how you went a little bit into your writing process. Thanks for the giveaway!
That would be an awesome first tweet. :)
I’m intrigued by the YA series. I love YA so much but I haven’t really found any paranormal ones which sparked an interest for me.
Thanks for the interview!
Sherry S. says
I really enjoyed the interview. I’m looking forward to reading this book.
Great interview. Tangled Threads sounds good. I love this series.
Oooh, I love the killers too! Great interview!
Jennifer Estep says
Donna — Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the books.
Natasha — That’s true. Sometimes, you just have to be in the mood to read a certain book of genre. With spring finally here, I’m in the mood for lighter reads — fun YAs and contemporary romance …
Winnie — Cool. Glad you liked it.
Caitlin — Thanks! Glad you found it interesting.
Edna — Cool. I hope you’ll enjoy Touch of Frost when it comes out.
Sherry — Thanks! Glad you liked the interview.
Crystal — Thanks! Glad you liked the interview.
Jay — The Killers are awesome. ;-)
Okay, I’m going to attempt to not hold the fact that you’re a PC user against you. I’ll let it slide this one time ;-) I would LOVE to read some scenes with Gin, Owen, and Donovan! That would be amazing and it would be really nice to see Gin say some of the things to him that really need to be said since I don’t think he really has any idea how much he hurt her. Love these books so much! Thanks for this interview Mandi and Jennifer!
Oh and don’t enter me, I just wanted to leave a comment:)
loving this series and can’t wait to getthis one in my hot little hands lol.
scrtsbpal at yahoo dot com
Danielle Gorman says
I am really looking forward to reading this book. This series looks really good and I can’t wait to start it.
I enjoyed the interview. Have not read any of this series yet. It looks really good.
Cathy M says
I love how the storyline is unfolding for Gin and can’t wait to read about her latest adventures.
caity_mack at yahoo dot com
Sandy Jay says
I’d love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.
Elektra LaFleur is an awesome character name.
I also agree about having pure silence for writing. There are a lot of voices I need to hear! #writingistheonlyacceptableformofschitzophrenia
Yes! Can’t wait to read this one. I love the Gin series. And I definitely think Jennifer should bring Caine back for a verbal (or physical) whupping from Gin! Thanks for the giveaway.
Barb P says
Hi Jennifer! I’ve read the first book in the series and loved it. Please count me in on the contest.
I can’t wait to read this! This is a GREAT giveaway!
So can’t wait for this book! I’ve LOVED this series. It’s up there in my top 5 favorites along side Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson-Hauptman.
Pick me! Pick me!
akbabcock at gmail dot com
Hi Jennifer – this series is one of my favs and I’m so glad the new book is finally coming out. I was wondering if you ever have to take a break from writing and cheer yourself up since the books are so intense.
Paranormal Haven says
I get so hungry when I read these books. The food sounds sooo good. The rest of the book is great too :-D
Van P. says
Cream cheese donuts?! I must try this haha…what kinda donuts..glazed?!
another lovely interview as always, can’t wait for TT release tomorrow! Yippe :)
thanks for the giveaway
Thanks for the giveaway and interview! I really want to read Tangled Threads! Elemental Assassin is one of my very favorite series and it’s so addicting!
Barbara Elness says
I’ve read all the Elemental Assassin books and I can’t wait to get my hands on Tangled Threads. I’m dying to find out what happens to Gin next.
Barbed1951 at aol dot com
Jessica Rabbit says
Geeee! I want, I want, I want… here, take my brother… no? Well how aboooouuut a cat? Pleeeeease. :) Thanks for the giveaway!
Great interview! I can’t wait to read Tangled Threads.
marieimy (at) gmail (dot) com
So, will the body count in Book 5 be larger than those in Books 1-4 combined?
latisha depoortere says
What a great interview I can’t wait to read this book Thank you so much for the great giveaway! Im a GFC follower/latishajean
I finished Tangled Threads last night and really enjoyed it. It will be joining my other Gin Blanco books on the keeper shelf.
Great job Jennifer – I love this series! Also (big sigh and goofy grin) I am a huge Owen fan!
Carly Propper says
Woot i love this book unfortuantly i rented it out of the library and they wanted it back before i could finish it because of school….Thank you!
Hell Cat says
I seriously can’t wait until I get it from the library (probably in a couple weeks). I love this series so much. I like the grittier theme, the rawness. Sometimes you need an antihero, and I think Gin fits that well. Along with Owen, actually. And Finn, Sophia, JoJo. They’re not the gentlest, but they kick butt. I love the little brief interactions we get in that seems to remind me of family, too. Not big gestures, just little ones, like chickory coffee. And someone needs to knock Caine flat on his butt. I vote for Gin.
And I’m really excited for the YA. I’m on a YA kick and there’s so much interesting work coming out now and the idea of school for warriors sounds fascinating.
Sophia (FV) says
Oh I’d love to see Donovan Caine come back so Gin and close the book on that.
Thanks for the giveaway! I’ve been meaning to start this series for some time now as I have heard so many great things about it.
throuthehaze at gmail dot com
Lovely review Jennifer & Mandi – thank you! Ohhh, Mythos Academy sounds interesting.
And please don’t include me in the giveaway.
Love Gin and the gang! Can’t wait to read more!
Great interview! I just started reading this series and am loving it so far :)
Thanks for the giveaway!
Jennifer Estep says
Jenny — I think some scenes with Gin, Owen, and Donovan would be really fun to write. With Finn in the background making wisecracks. LOL.
Pam — Cool. Hope you enjoy it.
Danielle — Thanks! Hope you enjoy the books.
Estella — Cool. Hope you get a chance to check out the books.
Cathy — Cool. Glad you are enjoying the series.
Sandy — Cool. Hope you get a chance to check out the books.
Lucy — Glad you liked the name. I think it’s one of the better villain names I’ve come up with.
LSUReader — I think Donovan will make an appearance at some point.
Barb — Cool. Hope you enjoy the book.
Alycia — Cool. Hope you enjoy the book.
Allison — That’s so nice of you to say and that’s a great group of authors to be included in. ;-)
Jen — Not really. I love writing all the gritty fight scenes.
Paranormal Haven — Glad you like all the food talk. I love writing about food. LOL.
Van — Cream cheese filled donuts are awesome. Hope you enjoy the book.
Amy — Cool. Glad you are enjoying the books.
Barbara — Cool. Glad you are enjoying the books.
Jessica — Thanks! Glad you are interested in the books.
Mariee — Thanks! Glad you liked the interview.
Purple Ranger — Gin will take out quite a few people in Spider’s Revenge but I don’t think it will be more than the rest of the series combined. I haven’t done the math.
Latisha — Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the interview.
Christine — Cool. Glad you enjoyed the book.
Carly — Well, I hope you to get to check it out again soon and finish it.
Hell Cat — Thanks so much for all the nice words about the books. I appreciate them, and I hope you enjoy the Mythos series too.
Sophia — That’s the plan right now. ;-)
Throuthehaze — Cool. I hope you enjoy the books.
Orannia — Cool. I hope you enjoy the Mythos books.
Cat — Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the books.
Valerie — Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the books.
Kimberly J says
I have been looking forward to this book for awhile! It’s such a great series. I would love to win a copy !
Karen C says
Excellent interview. Looking forward to reading this book/series!
Fantabulous interview and series! So excited to read Tangled Threads!
Can’t wait to read to read Tangled Threads. It wait was just too long. Thank you Jennifer for writing such an awesome series!
Jessica C says
Great interview! I can’t wait to read it!
jcross719 at yahoo.com
I love this series! Can’t wait to read Tangled Threads!
Maria S (pronounced Mariah) says
I am joining this party late as I am just now playing catch-up from being down with Vertigo for nearly two weeks!!! I have heard so many wonderful things about these books but have yet to read them! They are moving close to the top of my TBR pile!
Thank you! mmafsmith(at)gmail.com
Jennifer Estep says
Kimberly — Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the books.
Karen — Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it.
Jeanette — Thanks! Glad you liked the interview.
Whitewolf — Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.
Jessica — Thanks! Glad you liked the interview.
Sara — Thanks! Hope you enjoy it.
Maria — Thanks! Hope you enjoy the books and hope you are feeling better now.