The Elemental Assassin books are definitely one of the best new Urban Fantasy series out there and I absolutely love the main character Gin. If you haven't already tried the books then make sure you do soon! This is a series that is not to be missed.
Enjoy the interview and make sure you enter the contest! Jennifer is giving away a copy of Venom to one lucky Amberkatze's Book Blog reader!
Amber - Welcome to Amberkatze's Book Blog! It is great to have you here as a guest! Could you start things off by telling us a little about your Elemental Assassin Series?
Jennifer – Thanks for having me! Of course. Some of you might know me as the author of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. 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.
The first two books in the series are Spider’s Bite and Web of Lies. Venom, the third book, is coming out on Sept. 28. Tangled Threads, the fourth book, will be published in May 2011, while the fifth book (untitled) will be released in October 2011.
Amber - How did you come up with the idea for the Assassin series? Was it a long process or did it just come to you?
Jennifer – I’ve always loved reading about assassin characters, especially in fantasy literature. One day, I thought it would be cool to write my own assassin with my own magic/world.
Over the years, I tried writing the story first as an epic fantasy. I tried a couple of different drafts, but nothing seemed to work. Finally, I decided to write the story as urban fantasy, which is when the characters and plot really started clicking for me. After I made that switch, everything got a lot easier. So yes, it was sort of a long process in that it took me a while to find just the right voice/setting for the series.
Amber - What can we expect from the third book in the series? What is Venom all about?
Jennifer – In Venom, Gin takes on her most dangerous enemy yet – Elliot Slater, a giant who is stalking one of Gin’s friends. Complicating matters is the fact that Elliot Slater works for Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered Gin’s family when she was a kid.
In many ways, Venom is a turning point in the series as Gin makes some big decisions about how she’s going to get her revenge on Mab, what to do about her long-lost sister Bria, and how she wants to handle Owen Grayson, the sexy businessman who is showing a romantic interest in her. The book is definitely action-packed, and I hope readers enjoy all the magic, fights, and romance.
Amber - Gin has seen a lot of action so far. How do you decide what to throw at her in each book?
Jennifer – I always try to make the bad guys a little tougher and meaner and more powerful in each subsequent book. Gin is growing as a character and her magic is growing too, so it only makes sense to throw tougher and tougher challenges at her when it comes to the bad guys. Basically, I sit in front of my computer and think about the worst situation that I could put Gin in and how she might get out of it. Then, I start writing.
Amber - What kind of research have you done for your books? Anything interesting or is the research boring?
Jennifer – I don’t do a lot of research since my books are urban fantasies. Instead, I spend most of my time working on the magic/world building and making sure that the magic is logical and believable. That all the people and their powers make sense and seem as real as possible – like elementals, vampires, and the like could actually exist if we lived in Gin’s world. Coming up with interesting and realistic magic is what writing fantasy books is all about to me.
Amber - There has been quite a lot of Paranormal TV series and Films hitting the screens lately. Why do you think that is? Would you like to see Gin come to life in the same way? Who would play her?
Jennifer – I think the paranormal genre is so popular right now because folks are looking for an escape from all the bad news in the world, like the crappy economy. I’ve love to see the Elemental Assassin books turned into a movie or TV show. I think Jennifer Garner would be a great choice for Gin. Garner can be tough and vulnerable at the same time, just like Gin is.
Amber - I have already seen there will be a fourth book in the series. How long would you like to see things continue for Gin? Do you see an end in sight?
Jennifer – Right now, I’m contracted for five books. Tangled Threads, book 4, will be out in May 2011, and book 5 is tentatively scheduled for October 2011. These five books will let me wrap up all the major story arcs, like who Gin ends up with romantically and how she gets her revenge on Mab Monroe.
Of course, I’d love to write more books in the series beyond these five, but that will depend on sales, like everything else does.
Amber - You also write the Big time series. What are those books about and are there going to be more of them? Or are you working on something else?
Jennifer – The Bigtime books are paranormal romances. They feature sexy superheroes, evil über-villains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love. Titles in the series are Karma Girl (2007), Hot Mama (2007), and Jinx (2008).
Unfortunately, I’m not going to be writing any more of these books. My publisher decided not to continue with the series after Jinx. I have a fourth book written – Nightingale – and hope to publish it someday maybe as an e-book. But I’m busy with other projects right now, so I’m not sure when that will happen.
I’ve recently also sold a young adult urban fantasy series called Mythos Academy. The first book is called A Touch of Frost and will be out in 2011. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 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 finds herself shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendents of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, and more.
Amber - Did you always wanted to be an author? Did you pick the Paranormal genre or did it pick you?
Jennifer – I’ve always loved books. But somewhere along the way, after reading some books that weren’t so great, I started thinking about writing my own books with my own characters and telling the stories that I wanted to. Fantasy books have always been among my favorites, so it just made sense to me to write in the fantasy genre. I love the magic and powers that are possible in fantasy books. If you can dream up something, you can write about it.
Amber - How do you pick the names for your characters? Do they have any special meanings?
Jennifer – A few years ago, someone gave me a list of Welsh names and their meanings. I’ve used a lot of those in my books. For example, for Bria, Gin’s baby sister, I originally got the idea for her name from Briallen, which is a Welsh name that means primrose. Also to tie into that, I made Bria’s rune necklace a primrose. Gin’s mother is named Eira, which is a Welsh name that means snow, and Eira also has a rune necklace that’s a snowflake.
Other times, I’ll surf baby name sites and see which names mean what until I find one that I like. And then sometimes, I’ll just pull a name out of thin air, especially if it’s for a character who’s not very important or who’s not going to be around a long time.
Amber - What are you listening and watching lately? Is there any music or other media that influences your writing?
Jennifer – I watch way too much TV. Some of the shows that I’m enjoying right now are Chuck, Gossip Girl, How I Met Your Mother, Friday Night Lights, Burn Notice, The Closer … yeah, I watch too much TV. ;-)
As for music, I don’t listen to music when I write, but some of my favorite bands/artists include The Killers, The Pretenders, and Jimmy Buffett. I also love oldies music.
Amber - If you could be any paranormal creature, what would you be and why?
Jennifer – Hmm. That’s a toughie! There are so many interesting creatures out there – vampires, werewolves, witches, shapeshifters, giants, gods ... But if I had to pick just one, I’d say an elemental. It would be really fun being an elemental like Gin and having all her powers to play around with. ;-)
Amber - Thanks for stopping by! I hope you will come by again sometime!
Jennifer is giving away a copy of Venom (US/Canada readers only!). That is the third book in the series and the newest release which comes out at the end of this month.
How To Enter
All of the Elemental series titles have something to do with spiders. Can you come up with another good title?
No Title = No Entry
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The contest will stay open until Sunday 26th of September 2010 4pm CET and the winner will be picked by a randomizer. Entrants should check back to see if they have won. I do not hunt down winners and will pick new winners for any prizes not claimed within 7 days.