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February's FEATURED AUTHOR: Jennifer Estep!

February 3, 2010
Good morning! Today I have the pleasure of having the very lovely Jennifer Estep stopping by. Why? Well, because she's February's Featured Author, of course! So buckle in and hang on for a wonderful month with Jennifer!

She was kind enough to take some time to answer some questions for me... C'mon and see!

drey: Hello, and welcome to drey's library, Jennifer! Thank you for participating in my Featured Author series, and taking the time to do this Q&A!

Jennifer: Hi, Audrey! Thanks so much for having me here.

Any time, Jennifer... =)

drey: When did you first realize that you wanted to be an author? What were you doing?

Jennifer: I’ve always loved to read ever since I was a kid, and I’d written a few short stories and poems growing up, mostly for school assignments.

But one day, about the time when I was finishing up high school and getting ready for college, I starting having the thoughts that I think a lot of authors do in the beginning – “Why, I could write something better than this” or “This is a good book, but if the characters had done this, it would have been so much better.” All of which lead up to the single thought that gets all authors started in the first place– “Why don’t I write my own book with my own characters? Wouldn’t that be fun?”

I started writing my first book soon after that, and I haven’t stopped writing since.

And I for one am glad for that! Can't wait to read Spider's Bite...

drey: Who/what inspires your writing? Where do you get your ideas?

Jennifer: I get ideas from literally everywhere. The way a person laughs. The smell of someone’s perfume. How someone walks or talks. Everything around me can be a source of inspiration.

A lot of times, if I’m watching a movie or TV show, I’ll think about what would happen if one of the characters had made a different choice. Or maybe if a new character was introduced that had some impact on the action. What if so-and-so did this? How would the other characters react? I call it the “what-if game.” It’s a great way to brainstorm ideas.

For Spider’s Bite, the idea that I had was what if an assassin was double-crossed on a hit and her handler was murdered? What would she do? Why, seek revenge, of course! That idea was really the beginning of the whole book.

drey: Your Bigtime series is romance, and the new Elemental Assassin series is urban fantasy. What prompted the switch from "book candy" to "gritty"?

Jennifer: I had an idea for an assassin book that I had been wanting to write for a while, but I knew that it would be much darker and grittier than my Bigtime books, which are basically, fun, light, comic book romances. But the urban fantasy market has really exploded in popularity in recent years, and the darker, grittier reads really seem to be resonating with readers right now. So I decided to try my hand at urban fantasy.

Also, writing a darker, grittier book really gave me a chance to stretch myself and grow as a writer. You always want to keep growing and try new things as an author, and writing a different type of book let me do that. I think that I’ve done some of my best writing to date in Spider’s Bite and the rest of the Elemental Assassin series. Hopefully, readers will agree. ;-)

I'm sure we will, Jennifer!

drey: What do you like to indulge in, when not writing?

Jennifer: I love to read (of course!) and will often treat myself to getting a new book whenever I visit one of my local bookstores, which is why my TBR pile just keeps growing and growing and growing ... ;-)

Ugh, I so know how that goes!! Now, for some magic trick to making that pile shrink, lol!

I also like to cook and spend time with friends/family, and I’m a total geek in that I also love to play D&D and card games with friends.

Oooh, you're a geek! I heart geeks, lol! Do you play board games too? =)

As far as food indulgences go, one of my absolute favorite things is strawberry cheesecake ice cream. Yummy!

drey: Screen version of Spider's Bite: Who's your dream team? TV series or movie? *grin*

Jennifer: I think Spider’s Bite and the other books in my Elemental Assassin series would make for a great TV show. There are so many things that happen during the course of the series, and so many bad guys, that it would be hard to cram them all into just one movie.

As far as actors go, I think that Jennifer Garner would be awesome as my assassin heroine Gin. I really loved her on Alias. I also think that Hugh Jackman would be cool as Gin’s foster brother/partner in crime Finnegan Lane. Jackman can be charming and dangerous at the same time, which is exactly what Finn is.

A girl after my own heart, lol! I LOVE Hugh. ::swoon::

drey: Good, bad, or indifferent: (Dark / Milk / White) Chocolate + __________________ (fill in the blank).

Jennifer: I’m definitely a dark chocolate lover. ;-) Milk chocolate is okay, but I don’t like white chocolate at all. It doesn’t even taste like chocolate!

Didn't we talk about dark chocolate & raspberry? Yummy... =)

drey: Electronic readers are becoming more affordable and available. There's been quite a bit of discussion about their impact on paper books, the environment, people's reading & buying habits... What's your take?

Jennifer: I don’t have an e-reader myself, although I’m considering getting one. I think that anything that encourages people to read – whether it’s books, magazines, newspapers, etc. – is a good thing. To me, reading is one of the great joys of life, and people who don’t read books really don’t know what they’re missing.

I know a lot of people are attracted to the immediacy of e-readers, in that you can download a book and start reading it right then and there without having to go to your local bookstore. And you mentioned e-readers being more environmentally friendly than traditional paper books, which I think is another good thing about them.

But even if I do get an e-reader, I’ll probably always still prefer paper books to electronic ones. I spend so much time on the computer already, that it’s nice to read something that’s not on a screen. I also really enjoy browsing through bookstores and the tactile sensation of seeing all the covers grouped together and being able to pick up and flip through any book that I want to. And to me, there’s just nothing better than curling up with a good, print book on a rainy day.

drey: On the publishing side--what do you think publishers and authors ought to do about this side of the digital revolution? Jump in wholeheartedly, and blaze the path for others to follow? Watch from the sidelines till there's some consensus on what the new business model is going to be for the digital age? Cross their fingers that this is all just a fad & will blow over soon?

Jennifer: I think publishers and authors need to education themselves about e-books and keep up with the latest news/trends, because e-books are definitely here to stay. Lots of publishers and authors are already exploring how they can deliver e-books to the public, as well as other features like bonus content.

For my new book Spider’s Bite, I wrote a free short story and posted that on my Web site, and my publisher posted it on their site as well. The response has been so good that I plan to do a free short story for each book in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. I think this sort of bonus content that has arisen out of the ever-growing and changing e-book market is really a boon to readers. I know that as a reader, I love bonus content.

Basically, I’m for anything that gets books into people’s hands – whether it’s a traditional print version or an e-book delivered to their laptop or phone or whatever. How e-books affect traditional print publishing is something that I think will continue to evolve over the next several years, but I’m excited to see where the new technology takes us all. Happy reading everyone! ;-)

Jennifer, THANK YOU so much for swinging by! Y'all, find Jennifer online at Swing on over and check out her new book, Spider's Bite.


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Awesome interview, ladies!

Liviania said...

Great interview! I can't wait for SPIDER'S BITE, since I love the Bigtime series. (I'm so happy that there's a free short story online.)

Jennifer Estep said...

Susan -- Thanks for suggesting me. ;-)

Liviania -- I hope you enjoy Spider's Bite as well!

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