Wednesday, September 15, 2010

GUEST AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep

Thank you Jennifer, for being with us today.

From your website, we note that you have a day job at the same time that you're writing the Elemental Assassin series. What was it like juggling so many things? What is a typical schedule like for you? 

It’s tough. I work 40 hours a week, then come home at night and spend a couple more hours doing book stuff. Not only writing, but things like blogging, e-mail, social media, advertising, designing bookmarks, etc. I try to get as much stuff done as I can on the weekends, especially on Sundays, when I work on book stuff for several hours.

Being an author is like having another full-time job. Essentially, I’m running my own small business. It’s a lot of work, but I love doing it. That helps me cope with the long hours.

Wow. I can't imagine how you do it. What set you on the path to writing?

I’ve always loved to read. When I was a kid, my mom would take me to the local library every Saturday so I could pick out some books for the week. That’s what made me fall in love with books and reading.

Somewhere along the way, I started thinking that I’d like to write my own books with my own characters and tell my own stories. So during college, I wrote my first book – a really crappy epic fantasy. LOL. But the writing bug bit me, and I wrote another book, then another one. I haven’t stopped writing yet.

How did you come upon the idea for the Elemental Assassin series?

I’ve always loved reading about assassin characters, especially in fantasy books. But the more I read, the more I realized that there were a lot of whiny assassins out there – characters who just kept going on and on and on about how evil and angsty and conflicted they were. It seemed to me like there was always a simple solution to their problem – quit being an assassin!

So one day, I thought it would be cool to write an assassin character who wasn’t whiny and angsty and conflicted. Someone who was okay with being an assassin. Someone who realized that maybe she wasn’t the best person around, but that there were worse people out there than her. Someone who slowly comes to realize that she can use her deadly skills to help people who need it. With that idea in mind, Gin Blanco and the Elemental Assassin series was born.

What kind of research did you have to do to prepare for writing this series?

I didn’t do much research. The beauty of writing fantasy books is that you can make up the whole thing. LOL.

Instead of doing research, I spend that time on the world building – making my magic, characters, and their various powers as interesting and unique as possible. In fantasy books, world building is key. You really have to make readers believe that your magical system is logical – and that people really could have these amazing powers if only our world were just a little bit different.

What kind of plotting technique did you employ in this series? Have you plotted Gin's entire story arc (i.e. over all the books in the series) or was it pretty much on a book-by-book basis?

I’m a total panster when it comes to plotting out my books. I don’t do storyboards or outlines or anything elaborate like that. I think about my characters and the plot and the major turning points in the book. And then, I just sit down and start writing. It’s just the method that seems to work the best for me.

That being said, I did think about the big plot points that needed to happen in every book to keep the overall story arcs going – which include how Gin gets her revenge on the person who murdered her family and Gin’s various romantic ups and downs. I also thought about how much of Gin’s past I wanted to reveal in each book and how I could tie the plot and new villain in every book back in with the overall story arcs. I think I’ve done a pretty good job of it so far. Hopefully, readers will agree.

How did you create Gin Blanco's character? Was she modeled after somebody?

Gin wasn’t really modeled after anyone. Like I mentioned before, I wanted to write an assassin character who wasn’t angsty and whiny. So I sat down and thought of the most bad-ass character that I could write, and Gin was the result. Readers seem to be pretty happy with her so far, and I hope that continues. ;-)

What was writing Gin like? She struck me as a character who knows what she wants to do and where she wants to go and wouldn't stand for anyone telling her otherwise. Did you encounter any trouble with her while writing? If yes, what?

Gin is a lot of fun to write. I enjoy writing really strong female characters, and Gin is definitely that. Gin definitely knows what she wants, and she isn’t shy about going after it, whether it’s taking on the bad guys or getting close to a guy she’s interested in. Gin is a character who’s really easy to write – her voice just flows for me.

And in the end, I’m the boss. So Gin does what I tell her to – most of the time, anyway. LOL.

What's up for Gin Blanco after Venom? Can you give us a sneak peek of the events in Gin's future? How many more Gin Blanco books can we expect after Venom?

Right now, I’m contracted for two more Gin books. Tangled Threads will be out in May 2011, and book 5 will be out in October 2011.

In Tangled Threads, an assassin named Elektra LaFleur comes to Ashland to kill Gin. It was a lot of fun to write an assassin who is just as tough, deadly, and witty as Gin is. LaFleur is definitely one of my favorite villains of the whole series.

I don’t want to give out too many more spoilers, but I will say that these five books will let me tie up all the major plot threads with Gin, like how she gets her revenge on her nemesis and who she ends up with romantically.

Of course, I’d love to continue the series beyond these five books, but that will depend on sales, like everything else does.

Oooh. Will Detective Donovan Caine make a reappearance? Guess I'll have to wait and see. Aside from the Elemental Assassin series, you have written another series earlier--the Bigtime paranormal romance series. Please tell us about it.

Of course. The Big­time books fea­ture sexy super­heroes, evil ubervil­lains, and smart, sassy gals look­ing for love. Titles in the series are Karma Girl (2007), Hot Mama (2007), and Jinx (2008).

Basically, the Bigtime books are comic book spoofs – kind of like the old Batman show with Adam West or Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter. The series is quite a bit lighter and campier than my Elemental Assassin books.

Sounds like fun. Anything else you'd like to tell us?

I want to plug my social media sites, if that’s okay. LOL. Folks can find me around the web at these sites:

I also do an e-newsletter every month with all my latest news, reading recommendations, and a recipe. I also give away free books every month to subscribers. The sign-up form is on my home page at

And I want to close by saying thanks to Carole and the rest of the folks here at The Romance Reviews for having me on the blog today. Thanks everyone! ;-)

Read our reviews:

Exclusive excerpt:


Don't forget! Today is the last day to enter the giveaway, until 1159pm EST. You may also comment here or ask Jennifer a question, who will be dropping by from time to time.


Blodeuedd said...

Great interview :)
i like that part that you don't have to do any research since it's fantasy. That's how I would do it

Danielle said...

Great interview. I love learning more about the authors and whats behind the books.

Jennifer Estep said...

Thanks! I'm glad you guys enjoyed the interview. ;-)

And yep, I write fantasy so I can make the world the way that I want it to be with the characters and powers that I want to play around with. LOL.

debbie h said...

Hi Jennifer, I'm excitedly waiting for Venom. love, love, love the series and can't wait to see where you take us next.

Pam S (pams00) said...

Can't wait for Venom to release after getting my hands on the first 2 books. I've not read Jinx or the others mentioned outside of this series yet, but they sound great. Will have to try to get them.

Pam S

Jennifer (An Abundance of Books) said...

A full time job, writing career, and a monthly newsletter... I would never be able to get out of bed!

jeanette8042 said...

Great interview and I love the book covers of the Elemental Assassin series.

Jennifer Estep said...

Deb -- I hope you enjoy it.

Pam -- The Bigtime books are much lighter than the Elemental Assassin series, but I think they're a lot of fun.

Jennifer -- Some days, it's tough. Something to do all the time.

Jeanette -- Thanks! I think the covers are pretty awesome myself.

ErikaGS said...

It is wonderful to read about a unique woman with strength,wit, and romantic insecurities that really allows one to get lost in such an exciting world. I look forward to all the action!

Jennifer Estep said...

Erika -- Thanks! I like strong heroines too. ;-)

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