Interview: Jennifer Estep

NRR: Can you share with us how you got started in writing?

JE: I’ve always loved to read, and somewhere along the way, I realized that I’d like to write my own books with my own characters and tell the stories that I wanted to tell. Stories that had a little bit of everything in them – action, adventure, danger, romance, magic. So I wrote my first book in college, which was a really, really bad epic fantasy novel. But I’d been bitten by the writing bug, so I wrote another book and then another … Anyway, you get the idea. 

I tried a variety of different genres along the way, getting a little better with every book, and I finally sold the seventh book I wrote, which was Karma Girl, the first book in my Bigtime paranormal romance series. It came out in 2007. I’ve been writing and have been lucky enough to be published ever since.

NRR: How were you inspired to write Gin’s character?

JE: I’ve always liked reading about assassin characters, especially in fantasy literature. One day, I thought it would be fun to write my own assassin with my own world, magic, and more. At first, I tried to write the book as an epic fantasy. I started on a couple of different drafts, but nothing ever really clicked for me. Then, one day, I decided to try writing the book as more of an urban fantasy, set in modern times. That’s when the story really took off for me.

I’ve always loved reading about strong heroines, so I knew from the beginning that I wanted my assassin to be a woman. After I wrote the opening line of Spider’s Bite – My name is Gin, and I kill people – everything just gelled from there.

NRR: What is your guilty pleasure?

JE: Strawberry cheesecake ice cream, cheese fries, Godiva dark chocolate bars with raspberry filling … Most of my guilty pleasures involve food. LOL.

NRR: I have to ask this question. Who do you think is a better match for Gin, Donovan or Owen?

JE: Definitely Owen. Donovan was a nice guy, but he was so concerned with always following the rules and doing the right thing – he just wasn’t a good fit for Gin, who’s basically spent her life breaking the rules. 

But Owen is different. He comes from a similar background as Gin in that his family was killed when he was young, and he’s done some of the same things that she has in order to survive. So Owen really understands Gin in a way that Donovan never could. Owen accepts Gin for who and what she is – and I think that’s something universal that really resonates with readers. Most of the e-mails that I get are definitely Team Owen. ;-)

NRR: Which authors would you say help inspire you to write?

JE: Every time I read a great book – something that I think is really clever or that really resonates with me – well, that always inspires me to try to write something equally as good. Maybe one day I’ll succeed. It’s a nice goal to have anyway. 

I read pretty widely in a lot of different genres, but some of my favorite authors are Robin McKinley, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, Ian Fleming, David Eddings, Robert Parker … and many, many others. 

NRR: Can you tell us a little bit about Tangled Threads (of course no spoilers)?

JE: Sure. Basically, in Tangled Threads, Mab hires an assassin named Elektra LaFleur to come to Ashland to track down and kill the Spider, aka Gin Blanco. Further complicating matters is the fact that Gin hasn’t told her sister, Detective Bria Coolidge, that Gin is really the assassin the Spider. But things get really sticky when a young girl gets kidnapped and Gin is asked to save her. So you’ve got Bria and Elektra LaFleur both searching for Gin, who’s trying to stay one step ahead of them and rescue the kidnapped girl at the same time. And of course, Finn, Owen, and the Deveraux sisters are back as well.

I think folks will really like LaFleur, who is Gin’s equal in so many ways and just a fun, nasty villain. Plus, there are a lot of good scenes with Bria and Gin in this one. I had a lot of fun writing it, and I hope everyone enjoys it even more than the other books in the series.

NRR: What can fans expect to see from you next?

JE: Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book in the Elemental Assassin series, will be out in October 2011. Also, Haints and Hobwebs: An Elemental Assassin short story will appear in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance anthology that’s due out in October 2011.

I also have a young adult series called Mythos Academy debuting this year from Kensington. The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August 2011, while the sec ond book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in Decem ber 2011. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old Gypsy girl who has the gift of psy chom e try, or the abil ity to know an object’s his tory just by touch ing it. After a seri ous freak-out with her magic, Gwen is shipped off to Mythos Acad emy, a school for the descen dants of ancient war riors like Spar tans, Valkyries, Ama zons, and more.

I think folks who like my Elemental Assassin series will find a lot to like in the Mythos Academy books too. Fingers crossed anyway! ;-) 

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