Interview and Contest with Jennifer Estep

Jen: This week we welcome Jennifer Estep back to Romancing the Book. Jennifer, will you please share a short bio with us?

Jennifer: Thanks for having me on the blog! I appreciate that. 😉

My name is Jennifer Estep, and 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, and Venom. Tangled Threads, the fourth book, was published on April 26. (Side note from Jen: All our past reviews and visits from Jennifer can be found here.)

Jen: Tell us about Tangled Threads and where it can be purchased.

Jennifer: Basically, in Tangled Threads, Gin finds out that her nemesis, Mab Monroe, has hired another assassin named Elektra LaFleur to come to Ashland and kill the Spider, aka Gin. Along the way, Gin searches for a kidnapped girl and struggles with whether or not to tell her younger sister Bria who and what she really is. But really, the book is assassin vs. assassin, which was a lot of fun for me to write.

Tangled Threads can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, and all the other usual book outlets/stores.

Jen: How does your family feel about your career?

Jennifer: They’ve been really, really supportive. My mom used to take me to the library every Saturday when I was a kid, and that’s the reason that I fell in love with books in the first place. My mom always says that it’s funny that I’m a writer since she claims that she can’t even write a decent letter. LOL.

Jen: Describe your writing in three words.

Jennifer: Sassy, sarcastic, and action-packed

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?

Jennifer: I’m a total punster when it comes to writing. I don’t do detailed outlines, character charts, storyboards, or anything like that. Instead, I think about the main character, her magic, and the big plot points of the story. Once I have those worked out in my head, I just sit down and start writing. I try to write 2,000 to 3,000 words a day until I have a rough draft of about 50,000 words or so. Then, I let that sit for a few weeks before going back to it and seeing if the story/characters will hold together and if I think I can turn it into a book. It’s not pretty, but it’s the method that works for me.

Jen: Do you struggle with deadlines? How do you deal with the pressure?

Jennifer: For me, the biggest issue is just making time to write. There are so many things authors have to do – blog, social media, answer e-mails, book advertising, do marketing, etc. – that sometimes it’s tough just to find time to actually write.

I deal with the pressure by staying as organized as I can. Every week and every month, I make a list of things that I need to get done and the due dates for the week and the whole month. Then, I just sit down and get to work. I’m pretty self-motivated, and I like to work ahead, so that helps quite a bit.

Jen: What are your biggest motivations to write? What keeps you going?

Jennifer: There are so many stories that I have in my head and so many genres that I want to write in – that’s what keeps me going. I want to write the kind of stories that I like to read – ones that have a little bit of everything, from danger and drama to romance and magic.

I think there’s something magical about being a writer, taking the voices in my head, and translating them into a story that other people can read. Plus, whenever I get a nice e-mail from someone about my books, that just makes me more determined to make the next book even better than the last one.

And writing is my full-time job now, so I sort of have to keep doing it to pay the bills. LOL.

Jen: Do you feel as if the characters live with you as you write? Do they haunt your dreams?

Jennifer: I think there’s a little bit of me in all my characters, and I think they live in my head somewhat. I’m always thinking ahead to what new trouble and new bad guys that I can expose my characters to, or new places they can go in my worlds, or even how their relationships with other characters can grow and change.

My characters don’t really haunt my dreams, but there are always one or two that keep nagging at me to write their stories. If only I had more time, I could make them all happy. LOL.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors and books? What are you reading now?

Jennifer: Some of my favorite authors and books are Beauty by Robin McKinley, the Dortmunder series by Donald Westlake, the Elenium series by David Eddings, the James Bond series by Ian Fleming, books by Robert Parker … I could go on all day. I always have a stack of books to read, but I’m looking forward to making some time to read Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe, Red Glove by Holly Black, and Marry Me by Jo Goodman, among about twenty other books in my TBR pile

Jen: What’s next for you?

Jennifer: Spider’s Revenge, the fifth Elemental Assassin book, will be out in October.

I have a new series coming out this year – 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-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more.

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?

Jennifer: Folks can find me at these sites:

Website: http://www.jenniferestep.com
Facebook fan page: http://artist.to/jenniferestepfanpage/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/580315.Jennifer_Estep

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?

Jennifer: I’d like to ask readers what’s the one thing that makes them keep reading an author’s books? Is it the voice? Characters? Storyline?

Jen:  Readers, Jennifer is giving away a copy of Tangled Threads to a lucky commenter.  She has asked that we limit the prize to US/Canada only due to shipping.  To enter the contest, you must first leave a comment or question for Jennifer.  Then to finish your entry, you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to admin.bookblog@gmail.com.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday, May 15.

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