Today we have Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance author, Jennifer Estep with us. Jennifer is the author of the Elemental Assassin Series (Urban Fantasy) and the Bigtime Series (Paranormal Romance) and she is here to celebrate the release of the 3rd Elemental Assassin book, Venom - which will be released tomorrow, September 28th!
I am a huge fan of Jennifer and her Elemental Assassin series will always hold a special place in my heart, because the first book, Spider's Bite, was the first Urban Fantasy book I ever read. Thanks to that book, I fell in love with the genre and the rest is history.
Jennifer was kind enough to do an interview and provide a giveaway copy of Venom. You can find details about the giveaway at the end of the post!
TBG: Your Elemental Assassin series currently has two books out, Spider’s Bite and Web of Lies. The Third book, Venom is being released on September 28th. Could you tell us a little about the series?
JE: Of course. Here’s the back cover copy for the book:
It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer … who is about to save her life.
Basically, in Venom, Gin faces her deadliest enemy yet – Elliot Slater, a super-strong giant who works for Mab Monroe. Gin is also wrestling with the fact that her former lover has left her, and she’s wondering if she really wants to get involved with sexy businessman Owen Grayson. And to top it all off, Gin also has to deal with the reappearance of her long-lost baby sister, Bria, who just happens to be a police detective. Can you tell that I like irony? ;-)
TBG: Gin is such a great character, I really enjoy that she walks such a fine line between villain and heroine. What were some of your inspirations for her character?
JE: I’ve always loved reading about assassin characters, especially in fantasy books. But after a while, I noticed that there were a lot of whiny, angsty assassins out there – characters who would go on and on and on about how evil and conflicted they were. It always seemed to me like there was a simple solution to that problem – quit being an assassin!
With Gin, I wanted to create the assassin that I wanted to read about – someone who was strong and tough and still a little vulnerable underneath her cold exterior. Also, someone who is okay with all the violent, bloody things that she has to do in order to survive. Someone who realizes that maybe she’s not the best person around, but that there are worse folks out there – and good people who need the help of her deadly skills.
TBG: Where do you get Gin’s recipes? I have been meaning to try that Mountain Dew cake from her recipe box.
JE: Gin’s recipes come from a variety of sources – family, friends, magazines, cooking shows, food packaging, my own imagination. Most of the recipes are tried and true favorites that I’ve collected from various sources over the years, while others (namely Fletcher Lane’s secret barbecue sauce) live only in my imagination. I love to cook, so every time I read, watch, or hear about a good recipe, I add it to my stack to try. My mom loves to cook as well, so she does the same thing.
The Mountain Dew cake is excellent. My mom’s been making that one so long that I have no idea where the original recipe came from. Be warned though – it’s a serious sugar rush! ;-)
TBG: If The Elemental Assassin Series were to be turned into a movie or a T.V. show, who would you want to play Gin?
JE: I think Jennifer Garner would be a great choice to play Gin. Garner was tough and vulnerable at the same time on Alias, just like Gin is in the Elemental Assassin books.
TBG: Who is your favorite character to in the Elemental Assassin series? All of the characters within the book are so dynamic and unique – who is the most fun to write?
JE: Well, Gin is my favorite, since the series is told from her point of view -- at least, she’d better be since I’m writing so many words about her. LOL.
But I have to say that Finnegan Lane, Gin’s foster brother, is the most fun to write. Finn is a greedy, womanizing investment banker who loves, loves, loves money and all the shiny things that he can buy with it. He’s also pretty snappy with the one-liners. It’s just fun to write about a character who is so comfortable with who he is, including his flaws. Of course, Finn doesn’t see them as flaws, which makes him even cooler, in my opinion.
TBG: You have now written two different Urban Fantasy series (Karma Girl and Elemental Assassin), have you always been interested in this genre or has your taste evolved from something else?
JE: Actually, the Bigtime books were paranormal romances and much lighter than my Elemental Assassin series. But I have to say that I’ve always been interested in the fantasy genre. I’ve always loved fantasy books, movies, and TV shows, so it just seemed natural to write fantasy myself. I love the magic of fantasy and the fact that absolutely anything is possible, from dwarves to dragons – that’s what keeps me coming back to the genre again and again, as both an author and a reader.
TBG: Could you tell us about your writing process?
JE: I’m a total panster – that is to say that I don’t do elaborate outlines or storyboards to plot out my books. I usually just think about the characters, the magic, and the story for a few weeks, then sit down and start writing. Sometimes, that works out better than others, but it’s the process that works best for me.
I write pretty quickly – I usually can do a rough draft of about 50,000 words in a few weeks. I let that very rough draft sit for a while before I go back and see if the story holds together and if I think I can make a book out of the plot and the characters. If so, I dig in and start my second draft, adding in more words, layering in more descriptions, etc. I usually do three or four drafts until the book is about 90,000-100,000 words and the very best that I can make it.
TBG: Where is your favorite place to write?
JE: I don’t really have a favorite place to write. I do most of my writing in my office at home just because it’s quiet – and I need dead freaking silence, as I call it, to write. LOL.
TBG: What are you currently working on?
JE: I’m finishing up the revisions, copy edits, and page proofs for Tangled Threads and book five in the Elemental Assassin series. I’m also working on a young adult series (see below), and I’m thinking about writing a new paranormal romance series. I always have more ideas than I have time to write. LOL.
TBG: More and more Urban Fantasy writers are branching out into Young Adult series. Do you think that is something you would ever consider?
JE: Funny you should say that. I’ve also sold a young adult urban fantasy series called Mythos Academy. The first book is called Touch of Frost and will be out in August 2011. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 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 finds herself shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendents of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, and more.
The Mythos Academy books won’t be quite as dark and gritty as the Elemental Assassin series, since they are young adult books, but I think folks who enjoy the Elemental Assassin series will find plenty to like in the Mythos books – namely a strong, sassy heroine, cool magic/world building, and a sexy Spartan guy.
Now, For the Giveaway!
Jennifer was kind enough to offer up a copy of Venom for one lucky reader! All you have to do is fill out the FORM and leave a comment for Jennifer. You can comment about the series, or the interview or with any questions you have about the books. The giveaway will end next Sunday, October 3rd at Midnight!
*you can get more info about Jennifer and the Elemental Assassin Series at her website.
*you can get more info about Jennifer and the Elemental Assassin Series at her website.