Apr 29, 2011

Posted by in Interviews | 25 Comments

Interview with Jennifer Estep and Giveaway

Jennifer Estep’s (pronounced with a long E – I finally remembered to ask) Elemental Assassin series is hugely popular among my circle of friends.  In fact, it’s a popular recommended read.  The world is quite different, the stories are non-stop action and the characters are very memorable.  I am thrilled to have Jennifer here to talk about her really cool series.

Thank you very much Jennifer for taking time out of your busy release time schedule to come answer a few questions.

Hi, Julie! Thanks for having me on the blog. I appreciate it! 🙂

For those who are not familiar with your Elemental Assassin series, can you tell us a little bit about it? (Especially Tangled Threads, the newest addition to the series)

Of course. I write the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. The books focus on Gin Blanco, an assas­sin code­named the Spi­der who can con­trol the ele­ments of Ice and Stone. When she’s not busy killing peo­ple and right­ing wrongs, Gin runs a bar­be­cue restau­rant called the Pork Pit in the fic­tional South­ern metrop­o­lis of Ash­land. The city is also home to giants, dwarves, vam­pires, and ele­men­tals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s BiteWeb of Lies, and VenomTan­gled Threads, the fourth book, was pub­lished on April 26, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in Octo­ber.

In Tangled Threads, Gin finds out that her nemesis, Mab Monroe, has hired another assassin named Elektra LaFleur to come to Ashland and track down and kill the Spider, aka Gin. Along the way, Gin tries to rescue a kidnapped girl and struggles with whether or not to tell her younger sister Bria that she’s really the Spider. Basically, though, it’s assassin vs. assassin, which was a lot of fun for me to write. 🙂

The first lines in your EA books are amazing and grip you right away.  Venom brought us “The bastard never even would have gotten close to me if I hadn’t had the flu.”.  Tangled Threads starts with ”’Are you going to kill this guy, or are we just going to sit here all night?’”.  Web of Lies has “’Freeze!  Nobody move! This is a robbery!’” and finally Spider’s Bite introduced us to Gin with the simple yet perfect “’My name is Gin, and I kill people.’”  How much thought do you put into that first line when writing your books?

I always try to make my first lines as snappy as I can and come up with a sentence that immediately hooks the reader and makes her want to read more. Not only that, but I also try to have my first lines (and first chapters) pull the readers into an action scene in the story and really start the book off with a bang – almost like a teaser scene at the beginning of a James Bond movie.

Even with the success of this series, are you still planning on writing only 5 books?

I always meant for the story arc with Gin and Mab to play out over the first five books, but I plan on writing more books in the series. In fact, I’m working on book six right now, which I’m tentatively referring to as “Gin on vacation.” Gin takes a road trip to relax but instead stirs up a whole lot of trouble … But I love writing the series, and I think there are a lot more Gin stories to tell. There’s always another bad guy waiting in the wings to take on the Spider. LOL.

Even though you have an idea as to where you want the story to ultimately go, have you ever let your fans sway the direction of your story based on feedback received from a previous book in the series?

Not too much simply because I turn the books in a year before readers ever see them on the shelves. So it’s kind of hard to react to reader feedback when I’m working one or two books ahead already. That being said, I’ve been really pleased that so many folks like Owen Grayson, Gin’s new love interest. I knew that I was taking a risk getting rid of Donovan Caine, but I’m happy that most folks seem to be on Team Owen – so far anyway. LOL.

Gin is an assassin, and assassins aren’t usually regarded as good-guys.  Were you ever concerned that people wouldn’t really take to Gin because of her profession?

I knew that it would be difficult to write about an assassin and have her be the heroine. That’s why I gave Gin such a tragic past, with the murder of her mother and sister and being forced to live on the streets. I wanted to give her a good reason for becoming an assassin. That’s also why I made Ashland such a dark, gritty, violent place – so Gin being an assassin would fit in with the rest of the world building and be about her just surviving more than anything else.

But Gin can’t kill people all the time, so I tried to give her a few characteristics that I thought folks could relate to – namely a love of cooking, reading, and doing whatever she has to in order to protect her family and friends. So far, folks seem to like the direction that Gin is going, and I hope they enjoy where I take her in Tangled Threads.

When you wrote Donovan, did you have any idea how much people would want to personally take the stick out of his a** and beat him with it?

I kind of figured he would get that reaction, since it’s the same one that I had to him when I was writing him. LOL. Donovan was just so uptight and such a straight arrow cop that I realized that he and Gin would keep having the same argument in every book. So that’s why I had Donovan leave town and introduced Owen. But I may bring Donovan back at some point, just so Gin can get some closure on their failed relationship. Gin didn’t like the fact that Donovan walked out on her, and she’s been itching to give him a piece of her mind ever since. LOL.

Would you like to tell us a little about your upcoming YA series, Mythos Academy?

Sure. I also write the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fan­tasy series for Kens­ing­ton. The books focus 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-story to the series, will be out in July. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more.

Okay, Flash Four time

Flash four questions about books and writing ~
How long, from start to end, did it take you to write “Tangled Threads”?
I would say about three months just to write the book – and that doesn’t include revisions, copy edits, or the page proofs that I have to do on the production end of things. If you add those in, I’d say at least six months – maybe longer.

Did you see yourself being a writer as you were growing up?
Yes. I knew from a young age that I wanted to do something writing-related. I remember saying that I wanted to be a journalist for an assignment in middle school, and I actually worked for a newspaper for years.

In what room of your house do you write from?
My office.

Do you tend to come up with the title for your book before you start writing it, while you’re writing it or when it’s all done?
Usually before I start writing it. Sometimes, the title is the first thing that I think of.

Flash four questions about random things ~
Sweet or salty snacks?
Definitely sweet. I have a major, major sweet tooth. 🙂

What color is your toothbrush?
Purple and white.

Your high school experience:  good or bad?
So-so. Some good, some bad.

What do you like on your pizza?
I love white pizzas with lots of cheese and onions or a good Hawaiian pizza with ham and pineapple.

That’s it.  Not too bad was it?  *g* Thanks again for stopping by.  Tangled Threads is my favorite of the series so far and I’m sure your fans will agree with me!

Thanks for having me! So glad that you enjoyed the book. Happy reading, everyone! 🙂

Here’s where you can find Jennifer:

Giveaway details!  Jennifer (super sweetheart) is giving away a copy of Tangled Threads to one commenter.  That’s right.  All you have to do is leave a comment by Friday, May 6th 2011 11:59est.  Random.org will pick a winner and I’ll post it soon after.
Open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.
Good Luck!

  1. Thanks for the interview. So glad to hear that you’re planning several more books in this series. I really love it! And Go Team Owen. Gin deserves a great guy.

  2. Traci — Glad you enjoyed it. I think everyone is on Team Owen these days. 😉

  3. Congratulations on the new book! I can’t wait to read it.

  4. Jill — Thanks! I hope you enjoy it.

  5. Jennifer E says:

    I have Spider’s Bite on my wish list. I have heard so many great things about your books. I need to get in gear and go on an adventure with Gin.

  6. Jennifer — Cool. I hope you get a chance to check out the series.

  7. Nice interview 🙂
    I never thought about how the name was pronounced, but I am glad I know now

  8. Blodeuedd — Glad you liked the interview.

  9. Great interview! I love seeing the the personal side of authors. Congrats on the book.

  10. Barbara Elness says:

    I enjoyed the interview and I can’t wait to get my hands on Tangled Threads. I’ve enjoyed the Elemental Assassin series so much, and I’m dying to find out what happens next to Gin and her friends.

  11. Thanks so much for the interview and giveaway! I really want to read Tangled Threads! Elemental Assassin is one of my very favorite series and it’s so addicting.

  12. Awesome giveaway and super awesome book!

  13. I love this series. Your first series – Bigtime was campier and lighter, whereas Elemental Assassin is very dark. Your new YA series sounds pretty dark also. Do you prefer writing the darker themed books or do you think you will go back to the something lighter?

  14. Great interview Julie.
    Mrs Estep, thank you for your amazing books.
    I finished Tangled Threads last night and I loved it! (Don’t include me in the giveaway)
    I’m Team Owen 100%, he is perfect for Gin and just what she deserves. *swoons*

  15. Audra Holtwick says:

    Great interview-this is my favorite series. Thank you for the great story telling.

  16. Loved the interview! I’m new to the series and will correct that immediately!!!!

  17. What a great, fun interview. I haven’t read this series yet, but everyone is raving about it so I need to go find it… smiles!

  18. great interview Julie…ive really been wanting to read these!

  19. Judi — Thanks!

    Barbara — Thanks! Hope you enjoy the book.

    Amy — Thanks! Glad you are digging the books.

    Lisa — Thanks!

    Jen — I would say the Bigtime books are definitely the lightest books, then the Mythos Academy books are a little darker, then the Elemental Assassin books are the darkest. Right now, I’m enjoying the darker vein of urban fantasy. But there are so many genres that I want to write in so I won’t say that I’ll never go back to writing light books.

    Bookaholic Cat — Cool. Glad you enjoyed the book. Everyone seems to be loving Owen. 😉

    Audra — Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the books.

    Dot — Glad you enjoyed the interview.

    Christi — Glad you enjoyed the interview.

    Sharon — Glad you enjoyed the interview.

  20. This is such a great series, and I can’t wait to read Tangled Threads.

    caity_mack at yahoo dot com

  21. Valerie says:

    Awesome interview….and I’m totally loving this series 🙂


  22. Cathy — Thanks! I hope you enjoy the book.

    Valerie — Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the books.

  23. Brittany Gale says:

    Sounds great 🙂


  24. Great interview!! Love the Elemental Assassin series!!!

  25. I just got Venom on my Kindle. It’s be great if I had the next one to read right away. Gin’s great.

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