Saturday, 26 February 2011

Assassin for Heroine? by Jennifer Estep + Giveaway

Banner made by Beth from Maybe Tomorrow?
Today I have the pleasure of welcoming the genius creator of an amazing UF series, please give a warm welcome to Jennifer Estep, wonderful author of the Elemental Assassin series!

One of the reasons why the Elemental Assassin series is so unique is because the heroine Gin Blanco is an assassin! Yep, you read that right, an assassin, as in kills people for money! So I was curious to know why Jennifer decided to make her heroine an assassin and whether it was a challenge to make her a likable heroine readers could relate to despite her extraordinary job.

So read on, share your thoughts and you could win an Elemental Assassin book.
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Greetings and salutations! I want to say thanks to Stella for having me on the blog today. Thanks, Stella!

Spider's Bite (Elemental Assassin, Book 1)I write the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. 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.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, and Venom. Tangled Threads, the fourth book, will be published on April 26, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in October.

Tangled Threads (Elemental Assassin, Book 4)Also, Haints and Hobwebs: An Elemental Assassin short story will be published in The Mammoth Book of Ghost Romance, which will be released in October.

I also write the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old 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 is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.

Touch of FrostThe first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the second book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in December.

So today Stella asked me to talk about why I decided to write about an assassin heroine.

I’ve always liked reading about assassins ever since I discovered epic fantasy books in high school. Why do I like reading about assassins so much? Because they can be anything you want them to be – cool, smart, crazy, funny, charming, or just downright creepy and insane. All that, and they can kill you with their pinkie finger too. What’s not to like? LOL.

Plus, there are so many intriguing moral questions that go along with assassin characters. Is it ever okay to kill someone for money? Do some people deserve to die? Can an assassin ever really be the good guy?

Web of Lies (Elemental Assassin, Book 2)One day, I thought it would be cool to write my own assassin character with my own world and my own magic system. And so Gin Blanco and the Elemental Assassin series were born.

When I started writing the books, I knew that it was going to be difficult to create an assassin character that was actually likable, that people would actually want to root for and keep reading about. So that’s why I gave Gin some quirks that I think everyone can relate to – a fierce sense of loyalty to her friends and family, her willingness to help those who can’t help themselves, a deep longing for her murdered family and a burning desire to get revenge, even a love of books and cooking. All of those things help show that Gin is more than just an assassin, and that she has some interesting qualities other than just being extremely handy with knives. LOL.

Of course, not everyone likes to read the amount of violence that is in my Elemental Assassin books. I’ve gotten some e-mails from folks asking if I’d ever tone down the books, but I don’t really think you can write about an assassin without having her kill people. Otherwise, what’s the point of making her an assassin in the first place?

Venom (Elemental Assassin, Book 3)For those folks who don’t want such a gritty, violent read, I tell them about my upcoming Mythos Academy young adult series which features ancient warriors like Amazons, Spartans, and Valkyries. The series has a lot of the same features that my Elemental Assassin books do – a strong, sassy heroine, cool world building, and fight scenes – but it’s definitely intended for a younger audience.

Whether I’m writing about assassins or Amazons, I want all of my characters to be one thing – entertaining. No matter how bloody their hands get. ;-)

What about you guys? Do you like assassin characters? Why or why not?

Jen­nifer Estep is a full-time author, prowl­ing the streets of her imag­i­na­tion in search of her next fan­tasy idea.

Jen­nifer writes the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. Jen­nifer also writes the Mythos Acad­emy young adult urban fan­tasy series for Kens­ing­ton. Jen­nifer is also the author of the Big­time para­nor­mal romance series for Berkley. Jen­nifer has also worked as a fea­tures writer and page designer for a Pulitzer Prize-winning news­pa­per and has more than 10 years of jour­nal­ism expe­ri­ence. She’s a mem­ber of Romance Writ­ers of Amer­ica, Sci­ence Fic­tion and Fan­tasy Writ­ers of Amer­ica, and other writ­ing groups. Jennifer’s books have been fea­tured in Cos­mopoli­tan, Enter­tain­ment Weekly, South­ern Liv­ing, and a vari­ety of other pub­li­ca­tions.

Excerpts, free short stories, and more for all her books can be found on her website at http://www.jenniferestep.com./

Jennifer loves reading all genres, but "my favorites are fantasy, romance, and spy thrillers -- or a combination of all three. ;-)"

You can fol­low Jennifer on her blog, Face­book, Goodreads, and Twit­ter.


GIVEAWAY RULES:

Jennifer generously offered a paperback copy of Venom to a lucky commentator living in the US or Canada.

Venom (Elemental Assassin, Book 3)


To be entered all you have to do is:

1. fill out the main form so I have your contact info (just once, if you have already filled it out for a previous giveaway that's enough)

2. Leave a question/comment for Jennifer, answer her question above: Do you like assassin characters? Why or why not? 


Giveaway is open to residents of US/Canada and ends on Friday 4 March 2011.

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