Monday, 25 October 2010

Spotlight on Urban Fantasy: Guest post by author Jennifer Estep + GIVEAWAY!

Today I would like to welcome Jennifer Estep at Ex Libris, who is not only the terrific author of the Elemental Assassin series (Spider's Bite, Web of Lies and Venom) but is an incredibly friendly and gracious guest too. So please give it up for Jennifer, and scroll down for the giveaway! ;-)

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Stella for having me on the blog today. Thanks so much, Stella!

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, was released 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.

Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, Book 1)Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin, Book 2)Venom (Elemental Assassin, Book 3)

I’ve also sold a young adult urban fantasy series called Mythos Academy. The first book is called Touch of Frost and will be out in August 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.

So today I thought I would talk a little bit about my writing process. I have to admit something – I’m a total panster. I don’t do storyboards, I don’t long character bios, I don’t plot out the whole novel. Usually, if I have an idea for a book, I just sit down and start writing it. Why? Well, it’s just what works for me.

For me, it usually starts with a “what if” idea. What if there was an assassin who was double-crossed? What if the assassin’s mentor was murdered? How would she react? How would she go about getting her revenge? Those are some of the ideas that led me to write Spider’s Bite.

Once I get that first glimmer of an idea, I’ll think about the characters for a while and really try to get their voices and personalities fixed in my mind. After that, I think about some of the big turning points in the book – the things that will get the action going in the first place and keep it going for 300 or 400 pages. And then, I strap on my wrist brace, fire up the computer, and start writing.

I usually write 2,000 or 3,000 words a day until I have a rough draft of about 50,000 words or more. Don’t get me wrong – the first draft is by no means a good one. I’ve been known to write sentences like “And then stuff happens” or “And then Gin kills somebody” in my first drafts. LOL.

But the first draft lets me see if my idea is big enough to merit a whole book or if perhaps I need to rethink my general plot. After I read through the first draft, I know what areas to fix. Then, I can go back in the subsequent drafts and put in all the descriptions and emotions and foreshadowing and nuances. By the time I’m done with my second draft, I’m usually up to about 80,000 or 90,000 words. After that, it’s a matter of really polishing and fine-tuning everything in the subsequent drafts until the book is the best that I can make it – and something that readers will hopefully enjoy.

So there you have it – a little bit about my writing process. Scary, isn’t it? ;-)

What about you guys? For you writers out there, are you plotters or pansters? For you readers, what are some of your favorite urban fantasy and paranormal romance books?

Thank you very much Jennifer for that glimpse into your writing method, I always love to get to know more about the "behind the scenes" of the novel and how it came to life :-)

For more information on Jennifer, visist her official Author's site or blog.

You can buy the Elemental Assassin series at the Book Depository US, the Book Depository UK, Amazon, or the Kindle Strore.

Jennifer has generously offered 1 copy of Venom (Book #3 in the Elemental Assassin series) to one lucky US/Canadian commentator.

Giveaway Rules:

Leave a meaningful comment/question to Jennifer
Leave your e-mail address so I can contact you if you won

Giveaway is open to US/Canada residents and ends on November 1

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