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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Author Interview & Contest with Jennifer Estep

This week I am really really happy to have author Jennifer Estep as my guest! Her first book in the Elemental Assassin series, Spider's Bite, is still one of my favourite reads this year. Book two, Web of Lies, made the series a must buy and now I am eagerly awaiting book three, Venom, which releases at the end of this month.

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 ├╝ber-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!


Contest Time

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

Earn more entries for each link you place about this contest on the net. You can post on Facebook, Twitter & MySpace but make sure you add links here for me to confirm your entries! However please do not make individual postings for each entry. Please post all your entries in one post.

Advertise Amberkatze's Book Blog on your site and get an extra entry for this and every other contest!

Amberkatze's Book Blog

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You can also earn extra entries by emailing your friends about the contest. Just make sure you send a copy of your email or receipt to me at Amberkatzes_book_blog at gmx dot net.

Make sure you post your links here so I can confirm your entries.

Keep the contests going by using the Bookdepository.com links/Banners below and around the site!

The Book Depository

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.


Linda Henderson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Henderson said...

How about Black Widow ?

Tweeted http://twitter.com/BookOwner/status/24947407423

Posted to Facebook.

seriousreader at live dot com

cheesygiraffe said...

Creepy Crawly? Silly but that's what I think of when it comes to spiders. LOL
Posted to Facebook:


Julie S said...

Great contest! Hmm.. spider-themed titles. How about.. Poison Bite?


Amber said...

How about Silk? or Lost in a Web?

Thanks for the giveaway :D


Amber said...

Shared on twitter



LSUReader said...

Since book 5 may be our last Gin, how about One Last Spin?

JenM said...

Black Widow was my first thought, but how about Sticky Silk.

Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to pop in and say thanks to Amber for having me on the blog today. ;-)

Actually, BLACK WIDOW is one of the titles that we've considered in the past. We've also considered titles with the words SILK, WEB, POISON, and BITE in them. Believe me, my editor, agent, and I have thrown around titles with tons of spider-themed words.

When we were trying to come up with titles for the first few books, someone suggested EIGHT LEGS OF JUSTICE. That always makes me groan and laugh at the same time. LOL.

Barbara E. said...

All of the titles so far have been great - here's all I could come up with:
Spider's Web
Spider & the Fly
Poison Silk


Van Pham said...

Arachnophobia or if it's the last book...The final Thread ?

I love the cover for the elemental assassin series, Esp. Tangled!

thanks for the contest


Vickie said...

TRAPDOOR (type of spider)

k_sunshine1977 said...

what about fangs of death?

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

heatwave16 said...

How about 'Up the Water Spout' Or Along Came a Spider?

Great interview. :)

tweeted - http://twitter.com/Heatwave316/status/24970453633


Pamk said...

What about Dream weaver or Step into my parlour. I love this series and waiting for venom with baited breathe. I tweeted and posted on my blog
www.bookcrazyscrapbookmama.blogspot.com sidebar

JoAnna said...

I've been thinking and thinking and the best I can come up with is:
Entrapped in Silk


SiNn said...

how about a spiders Kiss


poisonus silk kissess

im seriously suckin at this lol

great interview I love Jennifers books

Ladytink_534 said...

Trapped, Stuck, Bite, Vicious Weaver are all I can think of.


Ladytink_534 said...

I advertise Amberkatze's Blog on one of my blogs.


Tore923 said...

How about Black Widow, Wicked Web, The Spider Chronicles. Please enter me in contest. I am a follower. Tore923@aol.com

SandyG265 said...

How about Trapdoor (for the Trapdoor spider)

sgiden at verizon.net

Anonymous said...

Hmmm that is a tuff question. I know this already has been named but I really like Black Widow. Umm Last Bite?

Included giveaway in Weekly Recap post: http://www.paranormalhaven.com/2010/09/weekly-recap_19.html

Stephanie G

Paranormal Haven

justpeachy36 said...

Hmmmm.... I was thinking Black Widow, but somebody said that...

How about Web of Lies or something like Tangled Webs.

Please enter me in the giveaway.


whitewolfreads said...

I'm really bad at this but how about Spider's Trap or Spider's Kiss?

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jmspettoli/status/25042096248

Anonymous said...

Hi, everyone! It's me again. I just wanted to say thanks once more for all the nice words about my books. I appreciate them and hope that everyone likes VENOM even more than the first two books. ;-)

I really like ALONG CAME A SPIDER, but of course, James Patterson beat me to that title. LOL.

I didn't know there was a trapdoor spider. I'll have to look into that one. Another potential title that I came up with was SILKEN NOOSE, which is another type of spider. I thought about using the word ORB too, but I just couldn't think of anything that went well with that ...

slb3334 said...

brown recluset

linett said...

How about The Softest Kiss

All This Silence... said...

Ummmmmmm I'm liking the idea of Silken Secrets.

donnas said...

I like Black Widow, Tangled Webs, Twisted Strands, Silk Net

tweet - http://twitter.com/DonnaS1/statuses/25077378537
post and sidebar -http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/2010/09/contest-links-for-920.html

bacchus76 at myself dot com

Stephanie said...

Maybe cobwebs?


Calliope said...

Um. Ok. A title. Spider related. Sure. Right. Er...


Yeah. I know. I ish the suckage.

Beverly said...

The Harvester!
(Okay so it's really just a Daddy Long-Legs, but it sounds cool!)
Thanks for hosting - hope she likes the title idea - please enter me.

Sharon S. said...

Web Weaver

this series looks very promising. Can't wait to try it.


Aik said...

The Arachnid Maze

+1 Tweeted:

aikychien at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi, guys! I just wanted to says thanks to everyone who left a comment or suggested a title. Coming up with titles is definitely tougher than it looks!

And I hope that everyone likes VENOM even more than the first two books in the series. Happy reading! ;-)

Audra said...

How about Through the Eyes of The Spider-

John S. said...

Recluse seems like it would be a good title. we have brown recluse spiders here. Thanks.

wanda f said...

Caught in a web
Silken Web
Prey Catcher
Widows Bite


Unknown said...

Araneae sounds like a better way to say spider so

Araneae bite

AllTheWiser said...

Hmm.. let's see...
How about
Web of Shadows
8 /Ate
TLR33960 at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

Scarlet's Web
Spinning a Web
Spinning or Spin
Web of Deceit
Bite Me
Harvest Time
Spider Bite
Veins of Life
Web of Shadows

I posted here:

Victoria said...

Silk Entrapment
Sticky Fangs


jellybelly82158 said...

how about Fangs of Death.

jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

Pam P said...

Spiral Spinner
(Caught in) The Widow's Orb
(Trapped in) The Scorpion's Orb, or Orb of the Scorpion

Dawn M. said...

Hmmm, all I could come up with was Death Spinner. Although, now that someone mentioned Weaver, I kind of like Death Weaver better.

librarygrinch at gmail dot com

Shawna L. said...

Shawna Lewis

Let's think........how about these
Instant Death
Bite marks
Deadly intent
Hidden from view
Death trap
All seeing eyes
Silken webs
Bloodless vein
No release
Pain and passion
tomb of Silk
Silken strands

Thanks for this chance to win this book good luck to all!!!!

Digital Diva said...

Poison Web, Spun, Spider Games

Please enter me in the contest.
I would love to have the book - didn't even know it was coming out! Can't wait to read

AEKZ2 said...

Everyone is so creative! How about Widow's Trap?

Alexia561 said...

Great interview! I love the assassin books, but am sad that there won't be any more books in her Bigtime series. Looking forward to reading Mythos Academy!

As for spider-related titles... that's a tough one as so many cool titles have already been suggested. I like Black Widow's Web

samantha35 said...

Spider theme- Silken Reclucse


Kim (Randominities) said...

This is a tough one. I tried not to read other entries, so I wouldn't duplicate them.

I think the title I would come up with (because it would be SO scary for a friend of mine) is Eight Legs.

She isn't afraid of beetles, bugs or snakes. But anything with EIGHT LEGS (spiders) will send her screaming!

lingeorge said...

I like Silken Weaves

sablelexi said...

I really like Arachnophobia.

jlynettes at hotmail dot com

Homemaker said...

Itsy Bitsy Spider or Daddy Long Legs


Renee G said...

How about -- the Brown Recluse.

Dawn Reid said...

Hidden Webs, Tiny little crawlers, Caught in the Spinner, The Final Web, The Taste Of Silk, The Final Bite.


Unknown said...

Spidered garrettsambo@aol.com

liliesrnice said...

tarantula kiss

saturdaynightfever said...



Calliope said...

Spider Silk

I dunno - I'm really bad at these things. GAH!

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/MuseCalliope/status/25647390569

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/profile.php?id=520272525&v=wall&story_fbid=117509681638462&ref=mf

throuthehaze said...

Wrapped in Silk

throuthehaze at gmail dot com