I'm always excited when Jennifer Estep stops by because she's one of my favourite authors. She's the brilliant mind behind two great series: her young adult mythology-based Mythos Academy books from KTeen and her amazing Elemental Assassin series from Pocket. She has releases from both series in the pipeline for this summer and she's graciously agreed to an interview to chat about her summer plans. Please join me in welcoming the wonderful Ms. Estep to Supernatural Solstice!----------------------
1. Welcome back to the blog, Jennifer! Thanks for taking the time to participate in Supernatural Solstice. You have a ton of stuff coming out this summer: SPARTAN FROST(out today), MIDNIGHT FROST (July 30), an Elemental Assassin story in CARNIEPUNK (July 23), KISS OF VENOM, another Elemental Assassin short from Owen's POV (July 25), and HEART OF VENOM (August 27). It leads to an obvious question: how do you write so much and so well? =)
Thanks for hosting me on the blog again. I appreciate it.
I’ve been busy. LOL. But writing is my full-time job, and I’m always working on some project or another. I work at least 40 hours a week, and usually, it’s more. But I love what I do, and I write fairly quickly, so that helps with all of the long hours on the computer.
But everything just sort of came together for this summer, which is why I have so many new releases coming out over the next few months. I hope that everyone enjoys all of the books and e-stories.
2. Do you approach writing young adult novels differently than your adult series?
Not really. I’m a panster, so I write all of my books pretty much the same way. I think about the characters, the magic, and the major turning points of the story, then sit down and start writing.
But I would say that my Mythos Academy books are a little different from my other books in that I’m trying to tell more of a coming-of-age story in those books, especially since my heroine, Gwen, is still learning about herself, her magic, and trying to figure out what she wants her place in the world to be. So far, it’s been a fun challenge writing a YA series and really trying to capture that YA voice and all of the emotions, problems, and triumphs that go along with being a young adult.
3. I'm really excited to read SPARTAN FROST because it's the first time we get a story from Logan's point of view. Did this switch present any challenges? Any extra freedom?
Thanks. I appreciate that.
For my Elemental Assassin series, I’ve written several free short stories from the points of view of different characters. Those stories are on the Excerpts page of my website. So I thought that it would be fun to do the same thing with my Mythos Academy series. Plus, readers really seem to like the shorter e-stories that many authors are now writing in between their books.
After what happens in CRIMSON FROST, the fourth book, it only seemed natural to write a story from Logan’s point of view and fill in some of the things that happen to him after CRIMSON FROST. Plus, I’ve gotten a lot of reader requests for a Logan story, so this is was a way that I thought I could give folks a little something extra to enjoy in the series.
I write in first-person, and I think it’s always interesting to show a different character’s point of view on something or how he might react in a situation when the heroine isn’t around. In Logan’s case, I got to explore how he feels about Gwen, his dad, and being a Spartan, among other things.
4. With each instalment of the Mythos Academy series, Gwen faces bigger challenges and MIDNIGHT FROST seems to contain the most daunting task yet. How do you come up with these ideas and where will the series go from here?
Any time you write a series, especially if you are following the same heroine through multiple books, then you always want to make the stakes higher and higher in each subsequent book. I really enjoy coming up with new bad guys and new challenges for Gwen to face and then figuring out how she can use her magic and smarts to get out of all of these dire situations.
KILLER FROST, the sixth book in the series, is tentatively set to be released in March 2014.
5. What can you share about your story in CARNIEPUNK?
My story is called PARLOR TRICKS, and it’s part of my Elemental Assassin series. In the story, Gin and Bria go to a country carnival in search of a missing girl and end up in more trouble than they anticipated. It’s more of a stand-alone adventure, so I hope that it will appeal to both fans of the series and folks who haven’t tried my books yet.
Also, to help promote the CARNIEPUNK anthology, PARLOR TRICKS is available as a free e-download from all of the usual e-booksellers. I hope that everyone enjoys the story and the anthology. It’s been a cool project to be a part of.
6. HEART OF VENOM, your ninth Elemental Assassin novel, comes out at the end of the summer and gives us a look into Sophia's past. Can you share any exclusive tidbits about what we'll see in this novel?
Like you said, HEART OF VENOM delves into Sophia’s past and backstory, as well as Jo-Jo’s. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about the Deveraux sisters, so this book will fill in some of their history together and with Fletcher, Gin’s mentor. It will also answer some questions about Gin and Owen’s relationship and where the two of them go after the events of the last few books in the series.
7. Which character has surprised you the most in these two series?
Hmm. That’s a tough one. They all surprise me to some extent. But right now, I will say Phillip Kincaid in my Elemental Assassin series. When I first wrote him back in the third book, VENOM, he was just a minor character, a bad guy who owned a riverboat casino. But then, when I had the idea for WIDOW’S WEB, book seven, I realized that he would make a great character to help me tell more of Owen’s backstory. So Phillip just sort of took on a life of his own, but readers really seem to like his character so far.
And now a couple event-related questions:
8. What's your favourite part of summer?
One of my favorite parts of summer is cooking out with my friends.
9. Which of your characters would be most likely to celebrate the summer solstice and why?
Definitely Finnegan Lane from my Elemental Assassin series. Finn loves any excuse to have a good time, so I could see him throwing a summer solstice party for Gin and the gang.
Happy reading, everyone!
Thank you so much, Jennifer! It’s always such a pleasure to have you on board!
More about SPARTAN FROST:
I'm Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was--until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.
Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I'm fine, that Loki and the Reapers don't have a hold on me anymore, but I can't risk it. I can't risk hurting Gwen again. So I'm leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.
I know Gwen wonders what's happening to me, whether I'm safe. I can't tell her, but this is my story…
And here's MIDNIGHT FROST, out July 30:
Here we go again…
Just when it seems life at Mythos Academy can't get any more dangerous, the Reapers of Chaos manage to prove me wrong. It was just a typical night at the Library of Antiquities—until a Reaper tried to poison me. The good news is I'm still alive and kicking. The bad news is the Reaper poisoned someone else instead.
As Nike's Champion, everyone expects me to lead the charge against the Reapers, even though I'm still hurting over what happened with Spartan warrior Logan Quinn. I've got to get my hands on the antidote fast—otherwise, an innocent person will die. But the only known cure is hidden in some creepy ruins—and the Reapers are sure to be waiting for me there…
Click on the cover to see my thoughts on the rest of the series:
Jennifer is graciously offering one (1) copy of MIDNIGHT FROST to a lucky reader!
To enter, obey the Rafflecopter!
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Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. She is the author of the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books and the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. She is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. For more information, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.