I'm super excited today to welcome Jennifer Estep back to the blog, she's one of my very favorite authors and is an absolute blast to talk to online! She writes the utterly fantastic Elemental Assassin series, so if you're a fan of incredibly strong heroines, hilarious secondary characters, and oh-so enjoyable love interests, then be sure and add her books to your list. Tangled Threads is book four in the series and is available now (you can read my review HERE), with the next installment Spider's Revenge releasing September 27th. Two words: Auto. Buy.
I love how all the titles for the series allude to Gin’s assassin name of The Spider, do you typically have a title in mind before you start writing or do you come up with ideas as the story progresses? Is there one title in particular you think is most fitting?
Sometimes, I have a title in mind, and sometimes, I don’t. It just depends on how creative I’m feeling when I turn in the final draft. LOL. Really, though, coming up with the titles is a joint effort between me, my agent, and my editor. When it’s time to come up with the title for the next book, we send e-mails back and forth and brainstorm. So far, we’ve been able to keep the Spider theme going with some pretty cool titles.
I really like the titles for the fourth and the fifth books in the series – Tangled Threads and Spider’s Revenge. Spider’s Revenge is especially appropriate because that’s the book I think readers have been waiting for because it features a big smackdown between Gin and her nemesis, Mab Monroe. Plus, I think revenge is a great word to use in any title because it tells you exactly what the book is about.
If you were going to go out and fight crime as Gin does, which one of your characters would you want as a partner?
I’d say Finn, just because he would be entertaining to have around. He’d crack joke after joke no matter how long a stakeout was and drink coffee the whole time. LOL.
Other than Gin, who is your favorite butt-kicking leading literary heroine? What do you like most about her?
Well, she doesn’t really kick butt, but I’ve always loved Beauty in the various Beauty and the Beast fairy tales. I think it takes a really strong, caring person to go into that sort of situation and make something good out of it. I like that Beauty was able to see the good and gentleness in the Beast’s heart despite his outward appearance. It’s a lesson I think we can all learn from.
I’m guilty of letting an interesting or beautiful cover lure me into buying a book, what attracts you most about a book when you’re out shopping?
Oh, I’m the exact same way! I try to keep up-to-date on my favorite authors and when their next books are coming out, but when I’m just browsing in the bookstore, interesting covers definitely catch my eye. But really, it’s the back cover blurb that makes me decide whether or not to buy a book. If the story sounds interesting or like something that I would enjoy as a reader, I’ll pick it up. If it doesn’t … then it probably won’t be coming home with me.
Did you approach writing your upcoming young adult release, Touch of Frost, any differently than you do the Elemental Assassin series?
Not really. I think that both my young adults series, the Mythos Academy books, and my Elemental Assassin series have a lot of the same elements in common – a strong, sassy heroine, lots of magic, fight scenes, vicious bad guys, and a healthy dose of romance.
I do tone down the sex, violence, and language in my Mythos Academy books, but that’s about the only real difference. Well, that, and the fact that my heroine Gwen’s love interest is probably quite a bit dreamier than Owen is in the Elemental Assassin books. LOL.
Though Gin isn’t afraid to take a life and often works outside of the law, she does follow her own set of rules and her own moral code. What is the one trait of hers you most admire?
I really admire Gin’s toughness and how she never, ever gives up no matter how bad a situation is or how impossible the odds are that are stacked against her. I wish that I was half as tough mentally as Gin was. LOL.
While Gin is still healing after Donovan’s abrupt departure, she is slowly opening up to Owen (yay Owen!). What would you (or she) say attracts her most to him?
I’d say the thing that Gin likes most about Owen is that he accepts her for who and what she is – a semi-retired assassin who goes around helping people the only way that she knows how. Owen has had to do some of the same dark, bloody, violent things that Gin has over the years to keep his younger sister safe, so I think Owen gets Gin in a way that Donovan just never could. That’s what Gin likes about Owen, and that’s what I think readers like about him too. The majority of e-mails and comments that I get are definitely Team Owen, which I think is a good thing.
Finn is I think an overall reader favorite with his shameless womanizing ways; if he had to describe the woman who might win his undivided and possibly permanent attention, what might he say about her?
Well, not to give too much away, but Finn is going to meet that particular woman in Tangled Threads and Spider’s Revenge. I would say that he would describe her as gorgeous, tough, smart, and stubborn as hell – just like he is. LOL. I think readers will enjoy Finn having to put a little effort into seducing a woman he could really care about.
If your characters could ask one question about you, the world you created for them, or why events have unfolded they way they have, what do you think they would most want to know?
That’s a great question! I think Gin would probably look at me with her cold eyes and demand to know why I put her through so much pain, suffering, and misery. Why me? she’d probably ask. I’d tell her because I love writing about an assassin with a heart of gold. I don’t know how well my answer would satisfy Gin, though. I might end up on the wrong end of one of her silverstone knives. LOL.
As for the other characters, I imagine Finn would butt in and ask me why he wasn’t richer or why I didn’t give him more cool cars and other toys to play with.
We’ve seen what the four main Elements (ice, stone, fire, and air) can do when wielded by both good and evil, and we’ve even seen a few offshoots of those, such as electricity, in action. Do we have some additional Elemental affinities to look forward to in future books that we’ve yet to see?
I’m always thinking about new bad guys and the powers that they can have and use against Gin. I’d love to do something with an elemental with water powers or an elemental who can use acid. I actually have an idea in mind for a deliciously evil bad guy who can use all four elements in book six, but we’ll see how he develops.
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Jennifer! I hope everyone gets a chance to read this series, I cannot recommend Gin and company enough.
For those of you who are avid young adult readers and perhaps aren't as interested in adult urban fantasy, Jennifer is releasing the first book in a new paranormal YA series, Touch of Frost, on July 26th. I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek at it and it's a brilliant start to the series, one that has me not-so patiently waiting for book two, Kiss of Frost, which releases later in the year.
For more information on Jennifer and all her books, you can find her here:
Jennifer is offering up a copy of Tangled Threads to one lucky winner! To enter, please just leave a comment with a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only and will run through midnight EST Sunday, May 22nd after which time a winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced on the blog. Thanks so much Jennifer and good luck everyone!