You can read an excerpt of Spider's Bite here and Jennifer has posted a free prequel story, Spider's Bargain on her website. I think you;ll enjoy this action packed thriller of an urban fantasy. I know I did. Jennifer will be dropping around to respond to commenters, so read the interview, enjoy the visit and say hello to Jennifer.
I also have two copies of Spider's Bite to giveaway, so check the Giveaway Guidelines at the end of the post for full details on how to enter. So with no further ado - welcome Jennifer Estep!
SFG: You are launching a new exciting urban fantasy series with Spider’s Bite and following it up with two more books in the same year, which is a real treat for us impatient readers. What is the story behind that and can you give us an overview of Spider’s Bite and the Elemental Assassin’s series?
The first book in the series, Spider’s Bite, was released on Jan. 26. In the book, after Gin is double-crossed on a hit and her handler is murdered, she decides to get to the bottom of who set her up and why. Along the way, she teams up with a sexy detective to help her figure things out. Only one thing is certain -- if Gin has her way, then someone’s going to die …
Web of Lies, the second book in the series, will be released in June 2010, with Venom, the third book, to follow in October 2010. There’s a free prequel short story called Spider’s Bargain that folks can read on my Web site, along with the first chapter for each of the books.
I know as a reader myself that I get impatient when there’s a long wait in between books. So I’m thrilled to have three books coming out this year for folks who like the series. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it!
SFG: Your main character Gin Blanco is an elemental. Please tell us about elementals and their abilities. Do you have a favourite element? Which would you be?
Sure. Gin is a Stone and Ice elemental, which means that she has the power to create, control, and manipulate those two elements. For example, Gin can use her Stone magic to make her own skin as hard as marble or her Ice magic to make a quick knife or a pair of lock picks. The other two elementals in my world are Air and Fire. Also, there are people who can use offshoots of each of the four areas, like water would be an offshoot of Ice and electricity would be one of Air.
I like the Stone and Ice elementals just because I think that their powers are a little more interesting and varied. According to my significant other, I already have a magic power -- ghoul touch! Seriously, my hands are frigid all the time. So based on that, I’d have to go with being an Ice elemental. ;-)
SFG: Gin is also an assassin. This is a popular theme in a lot of fantasy but not so much in urban fantasy. What inspired you to build a series around one?
Over the years, I tried to write an epic fantasy assassin book. But writing epic fantasy is something that I struggle with -- the story just flows better for me when my characters are in a modern setting with things like cars, electricity, and indoor plumbing. When I changed the tone of the book from epic to urban fantasy was really when Spider’s Bite and the character of Gin Blanco started to sing to me.
I think having an assassin as a central character raises a lot of moral questions -- Is it okay to kill people for money? Are assassins automatically bad people? Do some people deserve to die? And so on and so forth. Also, it was an interesting challenge for me as a writer to create an assassin character and still have her be relatable and likable at the same time. You always want to push yourself creatively as an author. Plus, you can’t write about an assassin without having some fight scenes in your book, and I love writing fight scenes. ;-)
SFG: You also have another popular ‘Bigtime’ series about superheroes. If you were in an elevator and had sixty seconds to convince a reader to try it, what would your elevator pitch be?
Sex, lies, and superheroes. That’s my tagline for the series and that would be my elevator pitch. I’d also explain a little about the series and how the books (Karma Girl, Hot Mama, and Jinx) are basically fun, superhero spoofs with lots of action, adventure, danger, and romance. If you like the campy fun of the old “Batman” show with Adam West or “Wonder Woman” with Lynda Carter, then you’d probably like my Bigtime series.
When the pitch was done, I’d give them a wink and hand them a bookmark, if I had one handy.
SFG: A trend seems to be forming for urban fantasy writers to expand into writing young adult fiction or even into graphic novels. Do you have any plans to write YA or have a favourite novel of yours you would like to see turned into a comic?
I am interested in writing a young adult book. In fact, I have an idea that I’m mulling over right now -- an epic fantasy YA that’s sort of a cross between Beauty and the Beast and Robin Hood. I plan to write a few sample chapters to see if I want to explore the story more or not.
I think both Karma Girl (from my Bigtime series) and Spider’s Bite (from my Elemental Assassin series) would make great graphic novels. I imagine a Karma Girl graphic novel as being very bright, colorful, and fun just like the book is. Plus, it would be awesome to see my superheroes drawn to life, so to speak. ;-)
Spider’s Bite would make for an excellent graphic novel too. I picture it as being in the Sin City vein, since the book is so dark and gritty, just like that series is.
SFG: What future projects are you working on or considering?
I’m working on books 4 and 5 in the Elemental Assassin series right now and trying to think of titles for both of those. I’m also working on a free short story to tie in with Web of Lies, the second book in the Elemental Assassin series that’s coming out in June.
I have a new urban fantasy series in the works, but with spies instead of assassins. I’m pitching that series as Alias with magic. The first book is called Live & Let Spy.
I also want to play around with the YA project that I mentioned earlier. I have so many books/genres that I want to write in -- an urban fantasy western, a contemporary romance, a heist book. I just wish that I had time to write them all -- right now. ;-)
SFG: The urban fantasy and paranormal genres are booming. What are your thoughts on the future of the genres?
I think both genres have a bright, bright future ahead of them. I think there’s a sense of magic and wonder in urban fantasy and paranormal books that people really respond to. Who hasn’t wished that she had a superpower? Or was a kick-butt vampire slayer or some other kind of fantasy hero? Who hasn’t dreamed of saving the world once or twice? We all have, and we will continue to do so. That’s why I think urban fantasy and paranormal books will always be popular.
Plus, fantasy books in general transport readers to a completely different world where anything is possible in a way that no other genre really does. They’re just great escapes and great entertainment.
SFG: You have a dual career in the newspaper business and as an author. Do you have any work-related anecdotes you can share – co-workers pressuring you to include them as characters in your books or pitching you story ideas?
The most interesting thing about the newspaper business is all the strange calls that we get on a daily basis. Seriously. You would not believe what people will call in to their local newspaper about. And a lot of them are rude or mean when they do it -- I’ve gotten callers angry about all kinds of things, as if all we do all day long is just think of ways to upset them. It really shocked me at first how rude the people were. Apparently, it’s quite easy to be mean to strangers over the phone. Who knew?
One time, a guy called and asked me how to spell Fiji. That’s all he wanted. I wondered why he hadn’t taken the time that he’d spent looking up the newspaper’s phone number to, you know, look up how to spell Fiji in the dictionary. But maybe that’s just me. ;-)
Another call that I remember is when a man read a story that I had written. I don’t even remember what the story was about now, but the man called and basically told me that I couldn’t write and that I needed to take a good English class!
SFG: You have said that you are a fangirl. Tell us about your most memorable fangirl moment.
Hmm … I don’t know if I have a most memorable fangirl moment. I’ve never met any actors or anything like that that would make me squeal with joy (not yet anyway!). But one of my most recent fangirl moments happened a few weeks ago when the trailer for the new A-Team movie hit the Internet. Now, I’m a huge A-Team fan -- it’s my favorite show of all time, and I’ve really been looking forward to the movie.
So when it first hit the Internet, I sat at my computer and watched it a couple of times -- and I loved it. I think it makes the movie look like cheesy fun, which is what the show was all about.
But that wasn’t enough to satisfy my inner fangirl. So, I called my significant other and told him how cool the trailer was. Then, I e-mailed the link to all my friends. Then, I asked them what they thought about … and so on and so forth.
Just hearing the opening dialogue makes me smile, so every time I need a little pick-me-up, I’ll go watch the trailer again. And the van -- the van is in the movie! Can you tell that I’m counting down the days until it’s in theaters? ;-)
SFG: If you could have lunch and a conversation with any author, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Ian Fleming. I love his James Bond books and am a huge fan of the movies as well. Fleming did so many things that we see in spy and action-adventure books/movies today in his books -- things like gadgets, interesting names, and some really great villains. I’d just love to have lunch and brainstorm with him.
SFG: Being the SciFiGuy, I need to ask – what is your favourite SFF movie and book?
Oh, this is a toughie! I can’t pick just one each.
I would have to say The Princess Bride. I love, love, love that movie. It’s just so fun and so quotable. It’s followed closely by the original Star Wars trilogy, though. I think one of the best sci-fi movies that I’ve seen recently was the Star Trek reboot. I had never watched any Star Trek shows or movies before, but the movie rocked.
As far as books go, I love Beauty by Robin McKinley, which is a young adult retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I also really like the Elenium series by David Eddings and the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. Those two series really got me hooked on fantasy in the first place.
SFG: Tell us five things about yourself that nobody else knows (until now of course).
- I don’t like the color yellow.
- I am an obsessive list-maker.
- I have a terrible weakness for cheese fries.
- I love classic oldies music (which I sing terribly in the car).
- I enjoy watching reruns of Matlock and Murder, She Wrote. (I can never figure out whodunnit!)
Thanks Jennifer for introducing us to Gin Blanco!
I have two copies of Spider's Bite to giveaway to our dedicated commenters.
- Leave a question or comment for Jennifer. Also tell us which elemental you would like to be and why.
- An autographed copy available to a commenter from the US and Canada. An additional copy available to international entrants (not autographed).
- Leave a way to notify you if you should win.
- Blog, tweet, post on Facebook or other social network sites for an extra entry. Leave a comment here to let me know.
- Giveaway open until Midnight, February 15, 2010 EST.