Jen: Today we welcome Jennifer Estep back to Romancing the Book. As one of my favorite Urban Fantasy authors, when I heard she had a new YA series starting, I just knew we had to invite her back to the blog. Jennifer, will you share a short bio with us?
Jennifer: Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Cold Burn of Magic, the first book in her new Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series, will be released on April 28.
Jennifer also writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, and she is the author of the Mythos Academy young adult and Bigtime paranormal romance series.
Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Jennifer: Thanks for hosting me on your blog. I appreciate it.
Cold Burn of Magic, the first book in my Black Blade young adult urban fantasy series, will be released on April 28. Cold Burn of Magic focuses on Lila Merriweather, a 17-year-old thief who lives in Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia, a town dubbed “the most magical place in America.” Tourists come from around the world to tour all the magic-themed shops and attractions, as well as see monsters like tree trolls, copper crushers, and more in their natural habitats.
Lila does her best to stay off the grid and avoid the Families — mobs — who control the town. But when she saves a member of the Sinclair Family during an attack, Lila finds herself caught in the middle of a brewing war between the Sinclairs and the Draconis, the two most powerful Families in town.
So basically, the book is about magic, monsters, and mobsters.
One thing that inspired me to write the book was going on vacation a few years ago. When I was on vacation, I started thinking about how cool it would be if there was a vacation town where people went to see actual monsters – one with a renaissance-faire atmosphere that was run by magical mobsters. So Cold Burn of Magic sort of grew out of all of those ideas.
COLD BURN OF MAGIC EXCERPT:
Bad things always come in threes.
Three strikes. Those three bears that Goldilocks ran into.
The three guards with swords who were chasing me right now.
“Come back here, you thief!” one of the guards bellowed, his voice booming across the dark rooftops.
I grinned and ran faster.
Thirty minutes ago, I had let myself into the lavishly furnished, but poorly protected brownstone of a rich, Family-affiliated accountant who had bought a ruby necklace for his girlfriend—something his wife didn’t exactly appreciate.
So I had been dispatched to swipe said necklace on the angry wife’s orders and dime. It had been child’s play to climb up the drainpipe to the second floor of the brownstone, pick open a balcony door, and slip inside. I hadn’t even had to break into the office safe, since the necklace had been nestled in a black velvet box, the top open, sitting on the accountant’s desk, the rubies sparkling for my greedy eyes to see. So I’d closed the lid and tucked the box with its necklace into my long, sapphire-blue trench coat.
Then I had rifled through the rest of the desk to see what else I could steal.
I’d been mildly surprised and rather pleased to come across a pair of diamond cufflinks tucked away in another box in one of the drawers. The diamonds weren’t as large and impressive as the rubies, but into my pockets they’d gone all the same, along with a gold fountain pen, a sterling silver letter opener, and a crystal paperweight.
Nothing that I hadn’t swiped dozens of times before in my seventeen years. In fact, this job had been easier than most of the ones that Mo had sent me on recently.
You might say that I was a sort of modern-day Robin Hood, merrily stealing from the rich. Only I never, ever gave my loot away for free. There were only three people in this world that I cared about—me, myself, and I. Well, maybe four, if you caught me on a good day and I felt like including Mo. Either way, Mo could fend for himself, and mine was quite enough of a mouth to feed, as far as I was concerned.
Once I made sure that all of the loot was securely tucked away in my coat pockets, I scanned the rest of the office. But the vases and other knickknacks were too awkward and oddly shaped for me to carry away, and the furniture was far too large and heavy.
Satisfied with my haul, I decided to leave. Which, of course, was the exact moment that one of the guards had stepped into the room to fetch the necklace for his boss.
He had yelled for his two buddies, they’d come crashing into the office, swords drawn, and I had beat a hasty retreat through a side door, up some stairs, and out onto the top of the brownstone before leaping onto the roof of the next house over … and the one after that … and the one after that …
Now, here I was, five minutes later, still racing across the rooftops of some of the nicer brownstones in Cloudburst Falls, West Virginia. The guards had been harder to shake than I’d expected, but I had a plan to take care of that.
I always had a plan.
Jen: Who has influenced you as a writer?
Jennifer: My mom is one of the biggest reasons that I’m a writer. She used to take me to the library every week when I was a kid, so that’s how I fell in love with books and reading in the first place.
Jen: If this book was made into a movie, who do you see playing the main characters?
Jennifer: I could see someone like Danielle Panabaker playing Lila, and perhaps someone like Grant Gustin playing Devon Sinclair. Someone like Cate Blanchett would be cool for Claudia Sinclair, Devon’s mother and the head of the Sinclair Family.
Jen: What’s been the highlight of you career to this point?
Jennifer: One thing that I always enjoy is hearing from readers. Getting a nice e-mail or a comment from a reader saying that they’ve read and enjoyed one of my books always makes my day.
Jen: What’s next for you?
Jennifer: Dark Heart of Magic, the second book in my Black Blade series, will be released on Oct. 27.
I’ll also have two Elemental Assassin books out this year. Spider’s Trap, book 13, will be released on July 28, with book 14 set to be released on Dec. 29.
And I will also be releasing a new book in my Bigtime series. Fandemic, book 5, will be out on June 2.
Happy reading, everyone!