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. ;-)
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.