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Monday, October 11, 2010

Guest Blog + Giveaway: Jennifer Estep

Today I'd like to welcome Jennifer Estep, who is stopping by to talk about her new Urban Fantasy release, Venom, the third novel in her Elemental Assassins series, which released on September 28th. You can see my 5 Star review here. Her topic for this guest blog is why she writes Urban Fantasy. I found it very interesting, and hope you do to!

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

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, vam¬pires, 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, came out 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.

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 Sara asked me to talk today about why I write urban fantasy.

The truth? Because I suck at writing epic fantasy. Seriously. That’s it. That’s my big secret. I can’t write epic fantasy, so I write urban fantasy instead. LOL.

It all started back in high school and college when I read The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings books by J.R.R. Tolkien. After Tolkien, I moved on to other epic fantasy authors like David Eddings and Terry Brooks. Somewhere along the way, I decided that I wanted to write my own epic fantasy novel.

So I did -- and it was terrible. It had just about every cliché in it that you can imagine, namely that a farm girl discovers that she has Powerful Magic and a Great Big Destiny to fulfill.

Of course, I didn’t know it was terrible back then, so I sat down and I wrote a second epic fantasy book. It wasn’t quite as cliché as the first one, but it wasn’t great by any stretch of the imagination. After that, I started a couple more epic fantasy books before I realized that as much as I loved reading the genre, I just wasn’t that great writing it. I just didn’t really like describing the sort of medieval world that you find in a lot of epic fantasy books.

So one day, I decided to set my latest book in a modern-day setting -- and it was like a light bulb came on over my head. The book and descriptions were so much easier to write, and the story flowed so much better. It wasn’t my best work, but it put me on the right path.

Ever since then, all my fantasy books have been in a modern setting. For some reason, I just find it easier to write about a world where there’s electricity and cars and indoor plumbing. LOL.

Plus, I really like the urban fantasy genre. I like reading it, and I love all the strong, sassy heroines in the genre. I wanted to add my own tough heroine to the mix with Gin Blanco, and urban fantasy let me do that, as well as create a really dark, gritty world for her to play in. Also, I love writing fight scenes, and you can’t have an assassin character without writing at least a few fight scenes in every book. ;-)

So there you have it – some of the reasons that I write urban fantasy.

What about you guys? What are some of your favorite urban or epic fantasy books?

Thanks for stopping by Jennifer!

I also have a copy of Venom to give away, courtesy of Jennifer. All you have to do to be entered is answer Jennifer's question above! The giveaway is for US/Canada only, and will last until midnight Tuesday 10/19. I'll announce the winner on Wednesday 10/20.


  1. Too funny about the epic fantasy. I think writing that genre would be extremely difficult as well. I love that the Elemental Assassin series is in a modern setting, it helps me connect to the world a little better despite all the fantastical elements. Outside of this series, I also enjoy Karen Marie Moning's Fever series, I'm dying for the last book to come out in January. Great post Jennifer, thanks for giving us a little insight into your writing preferences:)

  2. Jenny -- Thanks! I'm glad you are digging the books so far. I don't know what it is, but I just don't do well in a world with no electricity or indoor plumbing. LOL. Maybe it's just me.

    I read Darkfever a few weeks back. I liked it, but I gotta say the cliffhanger ending drove me a little crazy. I need a little more closure than that in a book.

  3. My favorite urban fantasies are Richelle Mead's Georgina Kincaid series (although some might argue this is paranormal romance), Embers/Sparks by Laura Bickle, Deadtown by Nancy Holzner, Kelly Gay's Charlie Madigan series, and of course, the Elemental Assassins series.

    And Jenny, don't worry. You will be included in the giveaway even though I didn't add it to the post until after you commented. :)

  4. I've enjoyed the first two books in the series and I've been looking forward to this one!

  5. I'm so glad Jennifer decided to stop writing epic fantasy and write urban fantasy instead. I don't read epic fantasy at all - it's just too medieval for me whereas urban fantasy is perfect.

    My favorites include the Kate Daniels series, anything Patricia Briggs writes, JD Robb's In Death series (which I consider to be UF since it is set in a city and is futuristic), and Lilith Saintcrow's Jill Kismet and Dante Valentine series.

    I'm loving Gin, I can't wait to read Venom.

    jen at delux dot com

  6. I am not sure about Urban Fantasy, but I'm a fan of The Anita Blake Series, the Mercy Thompson series, and the Women of the Otherworld series.

    jlynettes @ hotmail . com

  7. Congratulations JenM! You've been randomly chosen as the winner of the giveaway! You have 72 hours to respond to the e-mail I sent.

  8. Congratulations tetewa! You've been randomly chosen as the new winner of the giveaway, since JenM has already won a copy from another blog! You have 72 hours to respond to the e-mail I sent.

  9. Wow, indeed nice info. Where can I get that subscription?

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Thanks for stopping by Sara's Urban Fantasy Blog! I'd love to here what's on your mind. :)