Hey guys! It’s no secret that here was Rabid Reads we ❤ Jennifer Estep, so it’s with great pleasure that we welcome her back to the blog to answer a couple of questions about COLD BURN OF MAGIC, and give away a copy to one lucky follower.
01- Do you have something against moms (in 3 of your series, the female protagonist’s mother was murdered…)?
[box]You know, one of my editors asked me the same question a while back. LOL. For the record, I don’t have anything against moms. In fact, I’m very close to my own mom.
But a major loss like not having a parent and that parent having been ripped away from a character in such a horrible, brutal way makes for some interesting drama. It can really shape a character, her motivations, her goals, and more, as it does to my heroine Lila Merriweather in COLD BURN OF MAGIC. Plus, I think the loss of a parent is something that people of all ages can understand and sympathize with.
So for me, it’s one way to start creating a character that readers will hopefully relate to and root for to find her happy ending, since she’s been through such a tremendous loss already.[/box]
02- Symbology seems to be a recurring element in all of your books; what’s your fascination with insignias?
[box]I love symbols, and I think that they can be really powerful. A symbol can evoke a favorite place, a loved one, a happy memory, an ideal – anything that the author wants it to. I always try to think of symbols, runes, etc. that tie in with my characters and the overall story.
In COLD BURN OF MAGIC, Lila’s symbol is a five-pointed star that is carved into the hilt of her dead mom’s sword. She also has a sapphire ring shaped like that same star that belonged to her mom. So for Lila, the star is a reminder of her mom and all the good times that they shared together.[/box]
03- Do you actively try to incorporate Easter eggs into all of your novels, or does it just sorta happen?
[box]I really like incorporating the Easter eggs into my books and giving little nods to my other books/series. It’s just a fun thing for me to do, and readers really seem to enjoy looking for the Easter eggs.
In COLD BURN OF MAGIC, there are nods to my other three series – Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, and Bigtime. Happy hunting![/box]
04- I love quirky secondary characters, but Oscar—the honeybeer guzzling, redneck, cowboy, pixie—takes the cake. How did he end up in your BLACK BLADE universe?
[box]Thanks! I appreciate that. Oscar and Tiny, his pet tortoise, were a lot of fun for me to write.
Whenever I start writing a new book or series, I always think about the secondary characters and how they can either help or hinder my heroine. I knew that I wanted Lila to have a sort of sidekick/friend, and I wanted to do some sort of character and creature that I hadn’t done before.
So I thought about doing a pixie character and having him be sort of a housekeeper/roommate for Lila. But I definitely wanted him to have plenty of personality, so that’s why I made him a miniature, honeybeer-guzzling, redneck cowboy. Hopefully, folks will enjoy getting to know Oscar in the book.[/box]
05- How does writing a book about a protagonist that protects (i.e. bodyguard) differ from one who kills (i.e. assassin)?
[box]Lila definitely has a different mindset than Gin Blanco in my Elemental Assassin series. Lila is a thief, so she always tries to sneak around and get in and out of places without people even realizing that she’s been there to start with. And when she becomes a bodyguard, Lila has to think about protecting someone else, in addition to herself.
In some ways, writing Lila is a little more restrictive because she can’t deal with people and problems quite the same way that Gin does in my Elemental Assassin series. But that restriction also challenges me to be a little more creative as a writer. So far, I’m enjoying having Lila sneak around and using her thief and bodyguard skills to protect herself and her friends. [/box]
06- I found that Lila’s voice was more mature than Gwen’s (MYTHOS ACADEMY); was that your goal with your new YA series? And, does this mean that Merriweather might see more action on the romantic front than Frost did?
[box]I didn’t necessarily set out to make Lila more mature, but I did want to write something a little different from my Mythos Academy series. So as I started working on the book, Lila just came out as a more cynical, savvy, and street-smart character than Gwen in my Mythos Academy series. Plus, the magical mobs, monsters, and overall magic/world building of Cloudburst Falls are a little darker and grittier than Mythos Academy was. But I hope that readers enjoy Lila’s more mature voice.
Lila’s romance with the hero will be a little more intense, but the overall heat level will probably be about the same as in my Mythos Academy series. [/box]
07- Why did you opt to go with monsters instead of the usual vampires, shifters, etc?
[box]I like coming up with my own spin on various creatures/monsters, and I thought that it would be fun to do that again for this book. Plus, it just fit in with my overall magic and world building, the idea that there was this fictional town where tourists come to see real magic and monsters. So far, I’ve had a lot of fun coming up with the monsters that Lila encounters, and I hope readers enjoy them too.[/box]
[box]Happy reading, everyone! :)[/box]
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EulFH_CRwZg/UUER1-3yewI/AAAAAAAAHeQ/s2DhLcBCQJ4/s320/JenniferEstep.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]
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 and Black Blade 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:
Cold Burn of Magic by Jennifer Estep
Series: Black Blade #1
Published by K-Teen
Published on: April 28, 2015
Genres: Young Adult
There Be Monsters Here. . .
It's not as great as you'd think, living in a tourist town that's known as "the most magical place in America." Same boring high school, just twice as many monsters under the bridges and rival Families killing each other for power.
I try to keep out of it. I've got my mom's bloodiron sword and my slightly illegal home in the basement of the municipal library. And a couple of Talents I try to keep quiet, including very light fingers and a way with a lock pick.
But then some nasty characters bring their Family feud into my friend's pawn shop, and I have to make a call--get involved, or watch a cute guy die because I didn't. I guess I made the wrong choice, because now I'm stuck putting everything on the line for Devon Sinclair. My mom was murdered because of the Families, and it looks like I'm going to end up just like her. . .
COLD BURN OF MAGIC’s heroine is a younger, more reckless, less tested version of Gin Blanco, so right away I felt at home in Jennifer Estep’s BLACK BLADE series. Lila Merriweather has two Talents, one of which she keeps on the DL and she has sworn to avenge her mom’s murder—ring any bells? That mostly sums up the correlations between this world, and ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN; as a body guard the protagonist protects rather than kills, although sometimes the latter happens as a result of the former, her back story is an open book, and the antagonist is immediately apparent. This novel blended the top elements from this author’s Young Adult & Urban Fantasy titles into a smashing debut.
As much as I love meeting new characters, and immersing myself in an original plot, world-building still trumps all. First installments are usually where the bulk of a series’ foundation is located, and this book was no different. Estep left me giddy with delight as I wormed my way through her symbology, magicks, and monsters. Getting a feel for the Families, especially the Draconis & the Sinclairs was a close second with the romance trailing as a distant third, but that wasn’t unexpected, and quite frankly I prefer it that way.
In Urban Fantasy, whether we’re talking adult or YA, it’s pivotal that the lead be easy to connect with, and Lila filled that requirement well. A lot of info gets thrown readers’ way with regards to her past, current motivations, and future goals, but as important as all that info is, she was also incredibly likeable which ensured that she was fleshed out in all of the right places. Her POV had a degree of maturity to it that Estep’s MYTHOS ACADEMY novels lacked to a certain extent, so it only took me a split second to decide that BLACK BLADE was going on my keeper shelf.
In addition to an inviting universe, and an agreeable heroine, this author’s food fetish was ever-present, as was her knack for creating standout secondary characters. Mo reminded me of Fletcher, but with his own unique personality twists, and Devon didn’t exactly cause me to insta-drool, although he’s off to a pretty good start as far as love interests go. I need more deets before I can pass judgment on Felix as BFF material, and Claudia could go either way at this point. The clear winner was Oscar: the honeybeer guzzling, redneck, cowboy, pixie. Hehe! Need I say more?
Jennifer Estep knows what her readers want, and delivers it with COLD BURN OF MAGIC. Brilliant!
Was this review helpful? If so, please like it on GoodReads!