If you are a fan of Jennifer Estep’s Elemental Assassins series featuring Gin Blanco, then you are in for a treat. Book 13, Spiders Trap, is awesome, and Jennifer gives us some insight into Gin’s world and what influences her as a writer, below.
If you haven’t read any of the series, the book does stand by itself well, but I always recommend starting with the first one and working your way through. It will be a binge-reading fest, promise.
Gin battles a powerful enemy in this one, a metal mage, and how he uses his power is interesting and different than the other elemental magic users in the prior books.
It is fun to see how Estep keeps inventing new aspects to her magic system.
Without further delay…Jennifer Estep.
Hi Jennifer: Welcome to Slippery Words. I’m going to ask you five questions that are meant to be answered in five minutes. I’m interested in getting to know you and learning about the Elemental Assassin Series. Thanks for hanging with me! I’m a real fan of the series. (And we are going to try to avoid spoilers.)
JE: Thanks for featuring me on your blog. I appreciate it.
SW: The Elemental Assassin series now has thirteen books in it, and you are contracted for one more. How do you handle writing books in a series and rewarding long-time readers for staying with you, but also make each individual book a stand-alone story so that newbies can pick up one at any time and still follow the narrative?
JE: I really enjoy writing series books because I like following characters from book to book and seeing how they grow and change and how their powers and relationships evolve.
With every book, I try to think about what I can do that I haven’t done before, especially in terms of the villains, their magic, how Gin uses her magic to defeat the villains, and the various settings. I think that helps keep the series fresh for me and hopefully for long-time readers as well. But I also like to include little jokes and references to things that have happened previously in the series, as well as Easter eggs to my other books/series – things that I hope long-time readers will enjoy.
However, I also try to include enough backstory so that folks who haven’t read the series before or maybe haven’t read all the books can follow what’s going on, especially when it comes to the magic and world building.
It can be tough to balance out those two, but I always want to deliver the best book that I can for all the readers out there.
SW: Gin is somewhat of a gray character in that she was clearly an assassin for hire, but now “uses her power for good.” How are readers supposed synthesize Gin as both a cold-blooded murderer and a savior?
JE: Gin has definitely done a lot of bad things, but one of the main things that drives her actions is her desire to protect her friends and family, which is something that I think we can all relate to, even though these are fantasy books and not reality.
Plus, my fictional city of Ashland is a place that’s so dark, gritty, and corrupt that many times, Gin has to do bad things in order to survive. I like writing about Ashland, but I definitely wouldn’t want to live there. LOL.
SW: What did you read growing up that influenced your writing later on? What influences you now?
JE: I read pretty widely as a kid – mysteries, westerns, fantasies, romances – and I still read in all those genres as an adult. I probably read what a lot of kids do, including lots of Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Baby-Sitters Club, and Sweet Valley High books, among many others. I also really enjoyed the Wagons West historical western series by Dana Fuller Ross when I was a kid.
No matter what I was reading, I always liked books that had a little bit of everything in them – action, adventure, magic, and danger, romance. Those are the kind of books that I still like to read, and those are the kind of books that I like to write.
SW: How does Gin recommend getting blood out of clothes? I’ve never had much luck at that.
JE: Oh, I think that Gin gave up on that a long, long time ago. I imagine that she just throws her bloody clothes away (or burns them) and grabs another pair of jeans and a T-shirt out of her closet.
SW: You write a lot of fight scenes. Have you studied martial arts or street fighting techniques so that you can write those accurately?
JE: I have not studied martial arts or street fighting. But I’ve always loved action scenes, whether they are in books, movies, or TV shows. As I’m writing, I often picture an action scene as a movie unspooling in my own mind, and I do my best to bring that to life on the page for readers, whether it’s describing punches or how someone whirls out of the way of an attack or the glint of light on the edge of a knife. I try to include a lot of different sensory elements and descriptions to really make readers feel like they are right there, battling the bad guys with Gin.
JE: Happy reading, everyone!
SW: Thanks for being with SlipperyWords.com, Jennifer!
The publisher provided the book for free. Opinions are my own.