Jennifer Estep is one of my auto-buy authors and I'm beyond excited to welcome her back to the blog today to talk about my very favorite elemental assassin, Gin Blanco. Gin is about as badass as they come, but she's also surprisingly insecure when it comes to friendships and relationships, making her an intriguing combination of soft and hard that I just can't get enough of. I'm reviewing Heart of Venom tomorrow, so be sure and check back as it was one of my favorites of the series thus far!
Looking back at all the books in the Elemental Assassin series, is there any particular one that gave you more trouble than the others above and beyond the challenges that come with writing any story?
In some ways, SPIDER’S REVENGE was the most challenging for me. I really wanted to deliver on the Gin-Mab arc in that one for readers, especially when it came to the final Gin-Mab battle in the book. So I really tried to think about how I could write those scenes and the overall book in a way that would be most satisfying for readers. Hopefully, folks enjoyed how that arc ended and the adventures that Gin has had since then.
If you were to join Gin, Bria and Roslyn’s book club and it was your month to choose a book and host, what book would you pick for the group to read and what snacks would you make when you all got together?
Good question! I sort of do this in every book when I’m deciding what Gin is reading at the time. I always try to pick something that ties in with the plot or what Gin is going through in some way.
At the end of DEADLY STING, Gin and Bria are talking about the book club, and Bria mentions that she wants to read THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett because of the events that happened in DEADLY STING. Since Ashland is such a corrupt city, and Gin spends so much time dealing with the underworld bosses, I think a book like that would be right up her alley.
But if I were choosing, I would probably pick something like REDWALL by Brian Jacques, which is about a mouse who becomes a hero and saves his friends. I think that sort of story would also appeal to Gin.
For the snacks, I like to bake, so I’d probably make lots of desserts, like some chocolate brownies, that would satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth. That’s sort of what Gin does in a scene in HEART OF VENOM for a day at the beauty salon with Bria, Roslyn, Sophia, and Jo-Jo.
Gin hasn’t had an easy time of it in the love department. If she wanted to take a break from her own sometimes-troubled romance and experience the sweetness or drama of another couple, what book or movie might she treat herself to?
Gin’s love life has definitely had its ups and downs, so I think that Gin would choose a movie that would be a fun escape for a few hours. So I could see her watching something with a lot of action and adventure, like THE PRINCESS BRIDE or PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL. I could also see her watching something a little darker and grittier and with a little more angst, like CASINO ROYALE or THE BOURNE IDENTITY.
Sophia has always been a personal favorite of mine from the very beginning. What new or surprising things did you learn about her character given her more prominent role in Heart of Venom?
As I’ve been writing the books, I always knew that Sophia had been through something really traumatic that shaped her into the character that readers meet in the series. I can’t give out spoilers, but I will say that as I was writing HEART OF VENOM and really exploring Sophia’s backstory, that it definitely got a lot darker than I anticipated, as did some of the scenes in the book.
If Fletcher could see the woman and fighter Gin has become since his death, as her mentor and teacher, what advice, criticism/compliment, or instruction would he have for her?
I think that Fletcher would be proud of how Gin always manages to survive, no matter how much danger she finds herself in. But I think he would be even prouder of how she’s slowly lowered her own emotional defenses and opened herself up to people like Bria and Owen.
Back in the beginning of the series, Fletcher told Gin that he wanted a normal life for her, part of which included letting herself care about other people. So I think that he would be really happy with the circle of friends and loved ones that she’s slowly built for herself as the series has gone along.
Happy reading, everyone!
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I’m a Southern gal through and through. Sassy, sarcastic, and just a tad crazy.
I spent my formative years doing the usual kid things – playing, hanging out with my friends, and making up wild stories in my head.
It’s the last one that’s gotten me into trouble.
I don’t remember the first book I read. Or the second. Or even the third. But somewhere along the way, I fell in love with books and reading. Fairy tales, fantasies, adventure stories, mysteries, romances, westerns. As a kid, I read every book that I could get my hands on.
My mom, bless her, encouraged this obsession by taking me to the library every week. It’s one of my favorite childhood memories. Most folks think penicillin, indoor plumbing, and the Internet are the world’s best inventions. Not me. The greatest thing ever created was a library. Indoor plumbing is a close second, though.
The more I read, the more I thought about writing my own stories. I penned a few poems and short stories over the years, mainly for class assignments. Somewhere along the way, I realized that I wanted to write books for a living.
In college, I majored in English because of my love of books. But what can you do with an English degree? I didn’t know. One semester, I got a job with the college newspaper and discovered you could write stories and make a respectable living. Since that light-bulb moment, I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in English and journalism, and a master’s degree in professional communications. Currently, I’m an award-winning features page designer for a daily newspaper.
Now, after many, many years of toil and trouble, I’ve achieved my dream of being a bona fide, published, fiction author. I plan to keep on keeping on – writing, dreaming, making up wild stories in my head.
And getting myself into trouble.
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When I say you’re a dead man, take that literally.
To me, killing people is like a day at the salon: cut and dry. Well, more like rinse and repeat when you moonlight as the assassin the Spider. But my last spa day ended redder than my freshly painted nails after a twisted Fire elemental and his goons kidnapped my close friend Sophia Deveraux and nearly killed her sister Jo-Jo in the process.
Up Ashland’s most dangerous mountains, and deep into the heart of its blackest woods—I’ll track these thugs no matter where they take Sophia. It doesn’t matter what kinds of elemental magic they try to throw at me, my Ice and Stone powers can take the heat and then some. I will get Sophia back, over their dead bodies.
Because anybody that hurts Gin Blanco’s family becomes a body.
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Thanks to Jennifer, I have one print copy of Heart of Venom to give away on the blog today. To enter, please just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway is open to US residents only. Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway