Friday, February 24, 2012

New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Estep, is here to be with us today. Jennifer has worked as a feature writer and page designer for a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper and has more than 10 years of journalism experience. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism, she went on to acquire a master’s degree in professional communications. A true Southern gal through and through, she is known as sassy, sarcastic, and just a tad crazy.

1. Let’s start off with you telling our followers about your great series, The Ele­men­tal Assas­sin. 
JE: 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 Bite, Web of Lies, Venom, Tangled Threads, and Spider’s Revenge. Thread of Death, an e-novella, is also available. 

2. How did the series and Gin develop in your head?

JE: I’ve just always liked reading about assassin characters, especially in fantasy literature, because it seems like assassin characters can be everything from crazy to calculating to ice-cold. One day, I thought it would be cool to write my own assassin character with my own magic and world building. So that’s what I did. 

3. Gin is a strong assassin heroine, do you feel some of her characteristics are drawn from your own personality? 

JE: I think Gin is much, much stronger than I could ever be. We have a few things in common in that we both like to read and cook, but Gin is definitely tougher than I am. 

4. So far, what is your favorite and least favorite scene in this series and why?

JE: I don’t know that I have a favorite and a least favorite scene. In general, I really like writing fight scenes and figuring out how Gin can use her wits and magic to defeat the bad guys. So I always enjoy writing the big fight scene with Gin and the main villain at the end of the book, like the one with Elektra LaFleur at the end of Tangled Threads and of course the one with Mab Monroe at the end of Spider’s Revenge.
I would say that a scene that was tough for me to write was when Gin and Donovan break up at the end of Web of Lies, just because Donovan says so many unkind things to Gin. 

5. Is there something in the series that you wish you could now change the outcome of, if you had the chance? 

JE: Sometimes, I wish that I hadn’t killed off Fletcher Lane, Gin’s assassin mentor, in Spider’s Bite, the first book in the series. He was such a big part of Gin’s life, and it’s kind of a shame that he’s not around to guide her through the books. However, I have included him in some flashback scenes, and I’ve had a lot of fun writing those. 

6. Do you think your fans influence some aspects of your story? 

JE: Well, you always want folks to enjoy your books, and I’ll occasionally look at reviews and things like that and see what folks are saying about the books. And of course, I read the e-mail that folks send me and respond to it, along with comments and questions on my social media sites. 
But authors work so far in advance that there’s not much you can do to change a story arc or a character that folks don’t like. For example, even though BY A THREAD is coming out in a few days, I actually wrote the book back in 2011, and it’s been going through the production process ever since.
Basically, my goal as an author is to just grow as a writer, entertain readers, and try to make every book better than the one before it. 

7. How do you decide what powers your characters have? 

JE: I decided to use elemental magic in the series – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone and some offshoots of those areas – because I thought those would be interesting powers to write about. Also, having several different magical areas to choose from lets me give the villains different abilities and helps me think of ways for Gin’s magic to grow as she faces down the latest bad guy. So far, I’m having a lot of fun writing about these kinds of powers. 

8. What can you tell us about, By a Thread, the sixth installment to The Elemental Assassin series (out February 28th)? 

JE: I’ve been referring to this one as my “Gin on vacation” book. Basically, Gin decides to get out of Ashland for a few days so she can rest, relax, and recharge after everything that happened in Spider’s Revenge. But, of course, Gin’s vacation ends up being anything but relaxing. One of Bria’s friends is being threatened by a nasty vampire, and Gin decides to come to the rescue – and finds herself in just as much trouble as ever. Someone from Gin’s past is also in the mix in this book, which further complicates things. 

9. Are there any future projects you are working on and would like to tell us about? 

JE: Widow’s Web, the seventh Elemental Assassin book, will be out on Aug. 21, and there will be at least three more books in the series after that. 

Dark Frost, the third book in my Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series, will be out on May 29, and there will be at least three more books in that series as well.

Jennifer is giving away a copy of BY A THREAD to one lucky person today. To enter, be a follower of this blog, and leave a comment with your email address. (U.S. residents only). The winner will be annouced tomorrow morning by a random drawing.

Folks can find out more about my books and read excerpts at my website, Happy reading, everyone!


  1. love this series! this and monings fever series has helped me a stronger person. the characters gin and mac are so strong they make others want to follow their lead.......

  2. love this series! this and monings fever series has helped me a stronger person. the characters gin and mac are so strong they make others want to follow their lead.......

  3. Would love to win a copy! I absolutely love the series!

  4. The series sounds wonderful, and those covers are beautiful.

  5. I love this series! It is totally amazing! I like to think I am a little like Gin--all bada** !!!


  6. I love this series so much-especially Gin and Owen!!!
    Can't wait.

  7. Do you feel like your writing has grown and changed since the first book in the series? If so, how?

  8. Aew1928 -- Thanks! That's nice of you to say, and I'm glad you are enjoying the books.

    Bran -- Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the series.

    Tarah -- Thanks! I like the covers a lot too.

    Kristina -- Thanks! I appreciate the nice words about the series.

    Mariann -- Thanks! Glad you are enjoying the series.

    Shonna -- I think (or at least hope) that my writing has gotten stronger since the first book. I always try to make each one of my books better than than the last.

  9. Haven't read Estep yet but I keep having her recommended and have her on my TBR list :) I'm thinking March reads!

  10. Red -- Hope you get a chance to check out my books.

  11. Hi Jennifer- the books sound great, I will def. add them to my TBR stack. It's nice to have a strong female lead.
    Do you write every day and do you write as the story forms in your head? I've heard different authors have so many different ways of building up a book- some use sticky notes, others use a big story board. Do you stick to the same routine for each book?

  12. Wendy -- Thanks! Hope you enjoy my books. I don't write every day, but when I'm working on a book draft, I will write/edit on that every day until it's done.

    I'm a panster, so it's pretty much the same routine for every book. I think about the characters, the big turning points of the story, and start writing.

  13. Books sound interesting. I enjoy a strong character lead

  14. I have heard so many good things about this series and it has been on my wishlist. It seems to have all the elements I want in a good UF read. Thank you for sharing with us today and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.


  15. The Elemental Assassin series is my favorite and I can't wait to read By a Thread. I can't wait to find out what Gin and friends are up to next.

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  16. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Rubylin53 at gmail dot com

  17. Sorry I missed yesterday! But loved reading this! I can't wait to start on this series, I've added it to my TBR list.

  18. Bcsndr123 -- Thanks! Hope you get a chance to check out the series.

    Denise -- Thanks! Hope you get a chance to check out the series.

    Barbara -- Thanks! I appreciate that, and I'm glad you are enjoying the series.

    Toni -- You're welcome.

    Laura -- Thanks! Hope you get a chance to check out the book.

  19. Thank you Jennifer for stopping by and please feel free to come back anytime

  20. Wendy -- Thanks! I appreciate that, and thanks for hosting me on the blog.