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Interview and Giveaway with Jennifer Estep #StompvsRomp

Stomp vs Romp

I’m thrilled to be kicking off the first week of Stomp vs Romp by asking one of my favourite Urban Fantasy authors, Jennifer Estep, a few action related questions. The latest book in her ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series, POISON PROMISE, was just released on July 22nd, and the twelfth installment is due out before the end of 2014.

1- What’s your secret to making your 11th installment as action packed as your first?
Every time I sit down to write an Elemental Assassin book, I always try to think of new things – new places for Gin to visit in Ashland; new bad guys with different kinds of magic for her to take on; and new ways that she can use her own magic to defeat the bad guys.

So the action scenes sort of flow out of those choices, as well as where the characters and story take me. But I always have a lot of fun coming up with the action scenes and then trying to make them as exciting, interesting, and dynamic as possible.

2- Gin’s weapon of choice are her silverstone knives which pretty much guarantees at least one hand-to-hand fight in each book. Is that why you picked them as opposed to say a gun? How accurate are these sequences? Did you research blade combat, watch samurai movies, or take-up sword play beforehand?
I thought that the knives would fit in with Gin’s character and the overall world building and magic system better than another weapon would. Plus, like you said, knives lend themselves to more hand-to-hand fights, which I think are more interesting, both to write and to read.

I love a good action story and scene, so probably the closest research that I do is watching action movies and TV shows.

These are fantasy books, so you want things to be somewhat realistic, but still have that magical quality and world building that makes everything a little more high-stakes and larger-than-life.

3- What are some of the challenges of writing action scenes as opposed to romantic ones?
They both have their challenges. But I think that writing an action scene is a tough balancing act. You have a lot of different elements that you have to blend together – action, dialogue, emotion, good guys, bad guys, etc. – and it can be hard to put all those things together in an exciting scene that propels the story forward.

But when you’re writing an action scene, you definitely want the reader to feel like they are there, watching the fight from a front-row seat, and seeing the blood, sweat, and tears of the good guys and the bad guys.

4- There are some really high octave scenes in POISON PROMISE, I especially loved the Aston Martin battering ram chapter. Do you live vicariously through your characters, or do you have a go-to ‘violent’ release (i.e. gun range, bumper cars, boxing, etc)?
Thanks! That was a really fun scene for me to write. Yoga is about as violent as I get. LOL. So I would say that I do live vicariously through Gin from time to time when I’m writing, especially since she’s way cooler, smarter, and tougher than I could ever be.

5- What traits help make Gin Blanco such a badass heroine, and proficient killing machine?
I would say her willingness to do whatever it takes to protect her friends and family. That’s really the core thing that drives Gin. She’s lost several people in her life – her mom, her sister, and her mentor – so she’s determined that she’s not going to lose anyone else. No matter what she has to do to keep everyone safe, and even if she’s the one who gets hurt along the way instead.

6- In your own words (or those of a character, fav motto, book quote, etc), why is action better than romance?
Your question made me think about the line in The Princess Bride movie, where the grandson asks his grandfather – “Is this a kissing book?” The grandson doesn’t like the kissing scenes at first, but at the end of the movie, he decides that a little kissing is okay.

I’m the same way. I love romance in books. But my favorite kind of books, movies, and TV shows are those with a little bit of everything in them – magic, action, adventure, danger, and romance. Movies like The Princess Bride, Romancing the Stone, RED, or the first Pirates of the Caribbean or TV shows like Arrow and Burn Notice. Stories where the hero and heroine fall in love while they’re being chased by the bad guys or trying to save the world.

As a writer, I would rather write an action scene than a romance scene. Because explosions, car chases, and fights to the death make everything better. LOL.

Happy reading, everyone!

Author Bio

Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.

Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin adult urban fantasy series for Pocket, the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington, and is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance series. Excerpts, free short stories, and more information on Jennifer’s books can be found at

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Poison Promise

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I specialize in making death wishes come true.

Pop quiz. Which do you think is deadlier: Burn, the nastiest drug ever to hit the mean streets of Ashland, or me, Gin Blanco, the assassin known as the Spider? Answer: Me—because I don’t kill you slowly.

Normally, drug dealers aren’t my department. But I’m turning up the heat on some relentless Burn-pushing thugs who won’t leave my friends alone. Pushers who have my cop sister beside herself with rage, so I’m stepping up to keep her from doing something stupid and getting herself killed. Once I’m in, I’m in, and these folks have picked their poison: the Spider’s venom. But even bad guys have their good days, and sometimes even my Ice and Stone magic isn’t enough. For behind the drug is a vicious vampire with a scientific eye for results. And behind him… trouble like I haven’t seen since I took down my legendary nemesis, Mab Monroe.

Elemental Assassin Series:

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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  1. I’ve always enjoyed Jennifer’s action scenes, they tend to be entertaining and very clear. For a less skilled author, action scenes where a lot of things are happening at once can become quite confusing, but Jennifer knows exactly what she’s doing and where she wants to take it.

    • It’s true! No one writes action scenes quite like Jennifer Estep! I love how Gin Blanco continues to surprise me even after 11 installments.

  2. Go Gin! I will admit that I’m behind. I haven’t gotten to Poison Promise yet. I’m way behind on review books, so I’m trying to catch up before I buy more. I will be getting to it real soon, though.
    Melanie Simmons recently posted…Magic Breaks Audiobook by Ilona Andrews Review

  3. Eeeeep! I love Jennifer Estep 🙂 Ashland is one of my fav UF sceneries and I adore Gin! Heh. Jennifer is amazing when it comes to action scnes: they come to life when she writes them and I can truly picture it all in my mind. “I would say her willingness to do whatever it takes to protect her friends and family.” YES!! She doesn’t shy down from anything. She’s such a kick-a heroine! Aw, I haven’t seen The Princess Bride yet, but definitely want to now. And yes! Arrow is the perfect blend of romance and action, danger and adventure 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Carmel!
    Siiri recently posted…Review: All Lined Up by Cora Carmack

    • I’m a HUGE fan of Jennifer Estep’s books, so I’ll be the first to admit that this post was more for me than it was for you guys. LOL

  4. As much as I love the whole series, I think Poison Promise is my favorite book so far. I also enjoy action books with a little romance thrown in. For me the romance should enhance the storyline, not overwhelm it.

    • Nice! And, doesn’t that pretty much say it all? I mean, book 11 is your fav installment! That doesn’t happen very often in such a long running series.

  5. Great interview! I’ve not read her…yet. She might have to go on my list now.
    Jessica Cooley recently posted…Magic Breaks Review

    • This series is a MUST READ! But, be warned, once you start you won’t be able to stop!

  6. The answer to question 6 has just answered for me one of the reasons that I love Jennifer Estep’s books so much. I am absolutely the same way, Red is one of my favorite movies, and I have seen Romancing the Stone literally dozens of times. That mix of action, adventure, mystery, romance grabs my attention and keeps me entertained all the way through. Add in Ms Estep’s kick ass dialogue and there is a reason this series is one of the very few “keepers” on my shelf. AWESOME interview!
    Judy recently posted…Quote-Tastic: A Tiny Posable Liam Neeson

    • This is one of the only series that I buy both in paperback AND audio. I just can’t get enough!

  7. Hi, everyone! Thanks again to Carmel for hosting me on her blog. And thanks to everyone for all the nice comments about my books. I appreciate them. Happy reading!

    • It was great having you, Jennifer! Thanks for finding the time to squeeze in a quick Q&A for Stomp vs Romp. 🙂

  8. Now I really want to watch The Princess Bride. And binge read this whole series again:) Knives definitely do fit gin, I just can’t see her running around Ashland wielding a gun and shooting her opponents – too detached from the kill. She doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, so I love that she leaves the shooting to Finn who very much cares about getting dirty 😉 Fantastic interview!!!!!

    • I agree. Guns just wouldn’t have the same effect. I binge listened to this series a few years back; maybe I’m about due for a repeat too!

  9. And this definitely isn’t a kissing book/series! I’m with Jennifer — my favorites are the books/movies that are a little bit of everything including romance. I’m liking the set-up for the new baddie in town and am curious as to how Gin’s going to respond!
    Mary recently posted…Dangerously Dark: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

    • I like both action and romance in my reads, but during the month of August I am all about the STOMP! 😀

  10. I love it that although Jennifer mentioned she is more of a Yoga gal, yet she writes these amazing sounding fight scenes with such a kick-butt heroine. I’m completely curious and excited over her series. This makes me want to tackle the series ASAP – I love this kind of heroine! Where have I been? I think I need Gin Blanco aka Spider in my life 🙂
    kim { Book Swoon } recently posted…Young Adult Book Review: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

    • Clearly you haven’t been paying close enough attention to my reviews, Kim, because I devour a new Estep book at least once every 6 months. Just saying. 😉

  11. Ok, today – UF wins 🙂 Great interview and I totally love the Princess Bride Analogy. It’s so true – I want it all, but each in it’s perfect amount. It’s too funny, because I recently watched Princess Bride with my 14 year old step son, who started off not wanting to watch it because “The princess bride sounds boring, like a romance” but ended it saying “that was awesome!” LOL goes to show 😉
    Berls recently posted…Sharknado | Movie Review

    • The Princess Bride is one of my fav movies too. You and Jennifer both have excellent taste! And yes, I think it is safe to say that Team STOMP owned today’s round. Hehe

  12. Carmel, you’re really good at conducting interviews! Your questions are really thoughtful and interesting, much better than the standard “so, where do you get your inspiration?” LOL. Jennifer Estep hit the nail on the head for sure: as much as we love romance, explosions and knife fights (and Aston Martin battering rams?!) really do make everything better!
    Danya recently posted…Review: The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

    • I tried to make my questions relevant to Stomp vs Romp too, so that helped. But yeah, I hate the standard interview Q’s. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. I love this Q&A! And I agree with Jennifer, a little bit of everything, including romance, is what I love in my books. Great post, Carmel!
    Hafsah recently posted…2014 Standalone Reading Challenge – August Sign-Ups

    • Thanks, Hafsah! I wasn’t sure that an interview would work for this event, so I’m glad that you guys are diggin’ it. 🙂

  14. ooh great interview. I have this series on my wishlist and I think I’ve purchased the first book, but haven’t read it yet heh.
    Julie recently posted…Guest Post: Peter Monn on coming of age

    • Then, what are you waiting for!? Estep is one of my fav UF authors, so you can’t go wrong with this series!

      • Ooh that’s quite the endorsement. Well, starting a new series feels daunting lol. And I haven’t had time to read at home since hubby returned from deployment. I bought the kindle daily deal I think. I’m gonna have to start getting these on audio to get started.
        Julie recently posted…Guest Post: Peter Monn on coming of age

      • The audios are even better! Lauren Fortgang is the perfect narrator for Gin Blanco’s POV. Love her!

  15. The reason why I love this series because it does have a bit of everything and I can tell she gets a kick out of writing those fight scenes. Gin is Gina Carrano in my head, the ex MMA fighter, if you lean her out more shes Gin from looks to combat capability.
    braine recently posted…Loved It: Tempered by Karina Cooper

    • I’m going to have to Google Gina Carrano now. LOL

  16. Estep is an amazing writer, I have loved everything by her I have tried so far. I loved this post, so much fun and I loved getting to know more about Gin, especially since I just finally started this series.
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Review: Servants of the Storm by Delilah S. Dawson

    • I’m glad that you enjoyed the interview! I usually suck at coming up with questions. Hehe

  17. I keep saying I am going to tackle this series and I intend to start the audios this fall. I adored her YA series and I know I will like this one. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Heidi recently posted…Review, Guest Post and Giveaway: Of Metal and Wishes by Sarah Fine

    • She has a new YA series coming out next year! I loved her Mythos Academy books, and have high hopes for Cold Burn of Magic.

  18. I love this series! Oh and I especially loved the last Q&A. I agree with you about the romantic aspects to a book. I like it to be a part of everything going on and not just the sole focus. Must be why I love this series so much! 🙂

    • My last Q was a no brainer Stomp question IMO. 🙂

  19. I’m binge listening to this series. Almost caught up! I think the whole action packed where romance isn’t on the forefront is the reason I love this series so much.
    LilyElement recently posted…[Coffee Shop Talks] If you weren’t blogging about books, what topic would you discuss instead?

    • This series was a binge listen for me too, I was so hooked by the end that I experienced serious withdrawals when I finally caught up. LOL

  20. That quote from The Princess Bride movie is perfect! I agree!! I have to laugh, tho… After having read the Elemental Assassin books starting at #5.5, I am now going back and listening to the first book. I am blown away about how much Gin’s mind wanders to having sex! LOL
    Jen Twimom recently posted…Review: Taking it All by Maya Banks

    • Oh really? I don’t recall noticing that in the earlier books. Maybe I’ll give this series a second listen to see what I missed the first time around.

  21. I LOVE Jennifer Estep! I was so darn excited when I saw that you had her visiting today! eeep!!!! Anyway…let me try to be mature and stop fangirling. 🙂 Great interview! I completely agree that a mix of everything makes a story fantastic. Okay…enough of that. I LOVE this series on audio. It is one of my top UF series to listen to and read.
    Ginny recently posted…Book Review: Wicked Flames (Solsti Prophecy #3) by Sharon Kay

    • Estep is a good sport about fangirling. I should know, I totally made goo goo eyes at her when we met last year at RT.

  22. I hate to be a traitor to my team but Estep is the bomb!

    Now GO VOTE FOR ROMP!. ;p
    Jennifer recently posted…Michelle M. Pillow asks Sexy magick or just plain huh?

    • This is true… but you have two extra ROMP posts cheater. 😛

  23. Hooray for new things and not just recycling old ideas. I look forward to reading this series for sure!
    Tabitha (not yet read) recently posted…Review: Only the Good Die Young by Chris Marie Green

    • I don’t know where Estep gets all of her story ideas from, but the woman is a writing machine!!

  24. This is my favorite series, and I’m always so excited to see a new book coming out so I can see what happens next for Gin and her friends.

    • Same here! Fortunately for us, she releases several books a year, so there’s never a shortage of new stuff to read.

  25. Great interview! Oh and Burn Notice is one of my favorite shows too!! I haven’t read anything by Jennifer yet but now I must add her books to my list! Sounds like they’re awesome! Thanks for sharing.
    Tricia recently posted…After The End (After The End #1) by Amy Plum

    • My pleasure! I’m thrilled to be able to introduce new readers to Estep’s books.

  26. I haven’t read any of her books but I can already see how amazing of an author she is. Seriously, 11th book and the quality is still at its best. I’m actually inspired to read more UF books because of your blog (I started reading KMM’s Fever series this weekend and I’m on the 3rd book now. IT’S SO GOOD) so I’ll definitely put this to my TBR!
    Dea S. recently posted…OPPOSITION by Jennifer Armentrout Launch + Giveaway!

    • KMM’s books will have that effect on you, but then again, so will Estep’s. Hehe Welcome to the UF madhouse! 😀

  27. Well now I know why her books as this successful! It’s so amazing that even after 11 books she still try something new, as usually authors have problems with doing that in book 2, heck 11 of them. Great interview 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Mini reviews: City of Ashes and City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

    • Jennifer Estep sure does know how to keep readers coming back for more! I can’t recommend her books enough.

  28. Sounds like a long series with the same character

    • And, it only takes place over the course of a year. Pretty crazy!

  29. Go Team Stomp! This is a series I’ve been dying to pick up. I didn’t know so much went into an action scene! Thanks for sharing the great interview.

    • It’s always fun to get the inside scoop directly from the author. I hope you’ll give Gin Blanco a chance!

  30. Thank you Jennifer for writing such a wonderful series. Widow’s Web is up next for me and I love that I have so much to look forward to.