Friday, May 13, 2011

Interview/Giveaway: Jennifer Estep

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

So today, Elie asked me to talk a little bit about the rules that my heroine Gin Blanco follows in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. For those of you not familiar with them, the books focus on Gin Blanco, an assassin code named 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, vampires, and elementals  Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone.

Books in the series are Spider’s Bite, Web of Lies, and Venom. Tangled Threads, the fourth book, was published on April 26, while Spider’s Revenge, the fifth book, will be released in October.

Now, Gin is an assassin, but even she has rules that she follows – a code of conduct, if you will. Gin’s rules are pretty simple. She doesn’t kill kids or pets, and she doesn’t frame other people for the murders that she commits. But if an innocent person or someone that she loves is being threatened, well, Gin is more than ready to pull out her silverstone knives and solve the problem in the bloody, permanent fashion that she’s so very good at. Think of her as an assassin with a heart of gold – or something like that. LOL.

So why did I give Gin these rules to follow? Well, I knew that it would be somewhat difficult to write an assassin character and have her be the heroine and have folks actually like and even root for her. So that’s why I gave Gin her own sort of moral code and lines that even she won’t cross. I think with any sort of antihero character – assassins, thieves, spies, etc. – that you have to give them rules and reasons for doing the things that they do and you have to set boundaries for them.

To go along with the rules, I put Gin in my fictional city of Ashland – a dark, gritty, violent, corrupt place. Ashland is the kind of city where it’s survival of the fittest, and Gin being an assassin blends in with the rest of my world building. Gin witnessed the death of her mother and older sister and was forced to live on the streets. She became the assassin the Spider more to survive than anything else – and now, she’s all grown up and looking for revenge against the person who murdered her family.

But even though she’s bent on revenge, Gin isn’t going to forget her rules. For example, in Tangled Threads, the latest book in the series, Gin searches for a kidnapped girl and puts her life on the line to save the girl’s – even though it would have been easier for Gin to not even search for the girl in the first place.

But that’s the kind of heroine Gin is – tough and cranky on the outside and a bit of a softie on the inside, whether she wants to admit it or not. Hopefully, readers will enjoy seeing how Gin reconciles her rules with taking down the bad guys in Tangled Threads and the rest of the books in the series. Fingers crossed, anyway. ;-)

What about you guys? Do you like rules when it comes to antiheroes? Why or why not?

Jennifer also writes the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. The books focus on Gwen Frost, a 17-year-old 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 is shipped off to Mythos Academy, a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, Amazons, and more.

The first book, Touch of Frost, will be out in August, while the second book, Kiss of Frost, will hit shelves in December. First Frost, a prequel e-story to the series, will be out in July. Visit for excerpts and more.

Thanks Jennifer. This is a very exciting year for you!

Jennifer is kind enough to offer a copy of Tangled Threads to a lucky reader in the US or Canada. To enter...answer Jennifer's question in the comments below. Giveaway ends May 21st.

What about you guys? Do you like rules when it comes to antiheroes? Why or why not?


Keisha Talley said...

No rules would be fun but not always the pratical way to go?

Jenn (Books At Midnight) said...

Nice guest post with an interesting topic! Hm... in terms of moral rules, I think it's necessary. Even if we say we don't like rules, I think almost everyone has some rules, whether consciously or unconsciously (unless you're just PURE EVIL). It definitely makes characters more relatable, including villains and antiheros. :)

Thanks for the giveaway!


Stephanie said...

I like that Gin has rules, I think it gives her more humanity. Although she is very hard and controlled there are lines she won't cross. Say yes I like my anti heroes to have rules, it makes them more relatable and dare I say lovable.

Stephanie E.

Tyawna Edmonds said...

Every great assassin has to have rules! Thats what makes them interesting people! If a protagonist in Gin's position didn't have moral values, then we should check for a pulse because ovbviously she is a robot or not of this planet! So what if Gin doesn't shoot and kill the bad guy because he is surrounded by children in a McDonalds, write a sequel! Characters with rules make novels so much more fun, seeing them struggle with their inner feelings and battles!

Thanks for this amazing series, I love Gin and all the other characters. Well maybe not guys who can't got over her proffesion even though she is retired!

Tyawna Edmonds

Jennifer Estep said...

Keisha -- That's true. I guess that's why the villains in my books are so evil -- because I don't really give them any rules to follow.

Jenn -- Glad you liked the post. I agree. I think we all have (or should have) lines that we won't cross. And you're right -- having characters have rules makes them more complex and interesting.

Stephanie -- I think so too. And she's definitely an antihero like you said. I think the rules are what separates her from the people that she goes after in the books.

Tyawna -- Thanks! I'm glad that you are enjoying the books. And I agree. Watching characters struggles with their rules, morals, etc. can make for a really entertaining story.

Natasha said...

Hrm.. no rules, I'd say. I like a bit of morals for our hero, but rules.. pffft. hehe!

I follow!

Jill said...

I think no rules would be a bit too much for me, there needs to be something to define the character and make him or her into a more flesh and blood real person so that it is easier to connect with the story.
buckfamily at

"Confuzzled" Shannon said...

Typically I would like my character to usually not follow the rules and by character I mean any ...because I don't think life really has rules society does. So I guess going by the rules would depend on the society really and what the costs would be. Neat contest! Thanks

confuzzleddesigns at gmail dot com

Jennifer Estep said...

Natasha -- That's a good point. You always want your characters to have some sort of moral compass (except for maybe the villains).

Jill -- I agree. Rules define characters and their actions and personalities.

Shannon -- That's a good point. Life doesn't really have any rules. Sometimes, I wish it did ...

whitewolfreads said...

Definitely no rules, that's what makes them interesting. Besides, one can never really live by all the rules all the time. Life throws things at us that we cannot control or predict and sometimes the only way to deal is to break all the rules.

whitewolfreads AT gmail DOT com

Pamk said...

no rules is fun but i believe even villians have their own rules they follow
looking forward to your coming soon books.

Natasha A. said...

Yes to rules! It is what helps give them some redeemable qualities.

Jennifer Estep said...

Whitewolf -- That's true. There are lots of things in life that you just can't prepare for or anticipate.

Pam -- No rules can be fun, especially if the villain is really nasty.

Natasha -- I think so too.

Dot S. said...

Rules, most definitely. I think they add interest to the character. Nothing like a little moral angst to keep things rocking.

I'd love to win in the giveaway. Thanks!

Lisa R/alterlisa said...

Definitely need rules but you know the saying "Rules are made to be broken"


alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

SpadesHigh said...

pro rules - i think that without rules you can get carried away, and with rules you know your limits and you have self restraint. I also believe that rules can lets you be aware of things that can be dangerous than go gung-ho ill think about it later when ive done it =)

SpadesHigh @
TValeros18 @ gmail [dot] com

Krystal said...

I second rules. There must be some type of restraint or the character can morph into something less desirable. Even villains have to have some kind of morals...edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom

Meredith said...

No rules! I mean, in a story, the sky's the limit anyways...and rules were made to be broken...and all of those cliches.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Margaret said...

I'd have to say yes to rules. It seems to make the antihero a little more noble. Thanks for the giveaway!


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