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I Belong


Author Interview & Giveaway: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

I’m so excited to welcome Jennifer Estep here to DarkFaerieTales.com to talk about her debut Urban Fantasy novel, Spider’s Bite, which is scheduled to be released on January 26, 2010.

Jennifer is giving one lucky commenter a chance to win an autographed copy of Spider’s Bite.  In addition, I will also select five winners to receive some awesome bookmarks.  Please be sure to come back this week to read my 5 skulls review.  This book is absolutely amazing.  Details are listed at the end of the post.

Visit Jennifer around the web here: Website | Blog | Facebook

You can read an excerpt here.


DFT: Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?

JENNIFER: Of course. Spider’s Bite focuses on Gin Blanco, an assassin codenamed the Spider who lives in the Southern metropolis of Ashland. When she’s not righting wrongs and killing people, Gin works at a barbecue restaurant called the Pork Pit. Ashland is home to vampires, giants, dwarves, and elementals – Air, Fire, Ice, and Stone. Gin happens to be an elemental who can control two elements – Ice and Stone in her case.

In Spider’s Bite, Gin gets double-crossed during her latest hit, and her handler is brutally murdered. Gin finds herself framed for a murder she didn’t even commit, so she vows to get to the bottom of the deadly conspiracy. Along the way, she joins forces with her foster brother and general partner-in crime, Finnegan Lane, as well as a sexy detective named Donovan Caine.

I like to think that Spider’s Bite and the Elemental Assassin series in general have a little something for everyone – action, danger, magic, and even a little romance.

DFT: What motivated you to write Spider’s Bite?

JENNIFER: Ever since I started reading fantasy literature in high school, I’ve always been fascinated by assassin characters. Then, a few years ago, I wrote a pretty bad epic fantasy book. But I did learn something important from it – that my secondary assassin character was more interesting than my farm girl heroine! Ever since then, I’ve been wanting to write an assassin book.

Eventually, I decided to go the urban fantasy route, and the character of Gin Blanco was born. Also, I wanted to try my hand at writing something really dark and gritty but still fun at the same time, which urban fantasy and Spider’s Bite let me do.

DFT: If you could describe your main characters with only 3 words, what would they be?

JENNIFER: I’d describe Gin Blanco, my assassin heroine, as tough, smart, and determined. As for Finnegan Lane, Gin’s foster brother/partner in crime, I’d describe him as fun, flirtatious, and greedy. Donovan Caine, the detective who teams up with Gin and Finn, is definitely honest, upstanding, and conflicted.

DFT: Tell us something about your research process and the choices you make when creating the story.

JENNIFER: I don’t do that much traditional research when writing. I check a few facts, but that’s about it. The thing that I love about writing fantasy is that you get to create your own world, magic system, etc. – that kind of control and the creativity that it can inspire really appeals to me.

So I guess you could say instead of doing research, I spent a lot of my time world-building and thinking about my characters, their powers, and my magical system in general and making sure that it’s all cohesive and logical.

I think the most important choices that I make when creating my stories are just not limiting my fantasy world too much or making my magical system too narrow. You always want to leave room for not only your characters and their powers to grow, but for the bad guys to get nastier and more dangerous as well.

DFT: Do you have a long-term plan or goal for this story universe? What happens after book 3, Venom?

JENNIFER: I recently sold books 4 and 5 in the Elemental Assassin series to my publisher which will let me wrap up the main story arc with Gin and her nemesis. Of course, I hope to write more books in the series beyond that, but the first five books will tell a complete story and answer all the big series questions, including who murdered Gin’s family and why, and who she ends up with romantically.

DFT: What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing Spider’s Bite?

JENNIFER: Well, I’m a Southern girl, so I used my experiences growing up in the region to create my Southern metropolis, Ashland, which is complete with beauty salons, barbecue restaurants, and more. Seriously, is there anything more Southern than a hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint? I don’t think so.

I also enjoy cooking and thought that would be a fun hobby for Gin to have (as well as give her an excuse to have plenty of knives lying around).

Gin also loves to read (as do I), so I name drop several books that I’ve enjoyed over the years throughout the series. I also tried to make the themes of the books that Gin reads tie in with what’s going on with the action in the rest of the book. For example, in Spider’s Bite, I mention Where the Red Fern Grows, which is a great book about love and loss, two things that Gin experiences during the course of the story.

As far as literary influences go, I actually thought a lot about Greek mythology while writing Spider’s Bite and the other books in the series. There are so many prophecies in Greek mythology, and it seems like they all could have been avoided by doing a few simple things (like Oedipus’ parents not sending him away as a baby). So the idea of prophecy/destiny is something that I explore a little bit in the series.

DFT: Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?

JENNIFER: I go back and forth between Gin and Finn. I love Gin because she’s so tough and ruthless, but I also really like Finn because he’s so shameless and greedy. They’re both a lot of fun to write, but in different ways.

DFT: Do you have a favorite scene or line from Spider’s Bite?

JENNIFER: I really love the first line of the book – “My name is Gin, and I kill people.” I think it’s the best opening line that I’ve ever written, and it really sets the tone for the book and the whole series.

I also really like a scene at the end of the book where Gin is attending the funeral of her murdered mentor. There’s a lot of poignancy and emotion in that scene – and readers find out much more about Gin, including her real name.

DFT: What other projects are you working on that you would like to tell us about?

JENNIFER: I’m working on another urban fantasy series that features spies – kind of like Alias with magic. The first book in that series is called Live & Let Spy. I also want to write an epic fantasy young adult novel this year, if time permits.

DFT: What was your favorite part of writing this series?

JENNIFER: Getting to write such a strong, kick-butt heroine. I’ve always loved stories where the women are the ones in charge (like Wonder Woman with Lynda Carter or Alias with Jennifer Garner). I’ve tried to make my character, Gin Blanco, just as strong and interesting as the characters that I’ve loved over the years.

And action scenes. I love writing a good action scene.

DFT: What is your favorite fairy tale, and why?

JENNIFER: Definitely Beauty and the Beast. I simply love the overall story, especially since the heroine is the one who saves the beast in the end just by loving him. She looks past his outward appearance to see what a good person he is on the inside. It’s a great, timeless lesson. Beauty by Robin McKinley is one of my favorite versions of the fairy tale and one of my all-time favorite books in general.

DFT: What question are you never asked in interviews but wish you were?

JENNIFER: Hmm … Well, I’m a huge James Bond fangirl, and no one ever asks me any trivia questions about the movies. I have so much obscure, useless knowledge when it comes to the franchise, that it’s just sad. And all my friends are thoroughly sick of watching movies with me and me piping up and saying “Did you know so-and-so was in a Bond movie? She was the girl who died in the opening credits!”

DFT: What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?

JENNIFER: I read pretty widely – all types of fantasy and romance, mysteries, spy books, thrillers, etc. The only two genres that I’m not crazy about are sci-fi and non-fiction.

Some of my favorite authors include Robin McKinley, Donald Westlake/Richard Stark, Ian Fleming, JK Rowling, David Eddings … I could go on and on!

DFT: What is your definition of a “bad writing day”? How do you deal with bad writing days?

JENNIFER: To me, a bad writing day is one where I don’t get any writing accomplished – when I have to do all the pesky little things that life and personal hygiene require, like laundry and washing the dishes. ;-)

I also hate it when I’m trying to write and am constantly interrupted. I’m one of those folks who prefer absolute, dead silence to write, and it’s hard to get the mojo going if I’m distracted.

As for how I deal, I just get up the next day, sit down at my computer, and get to work – because I know that no one else is going to do it for me.

DFT: Do you have a particular writing process or any writing rituals?

JENNIFER: Not really. Like I said before, I prefer alone, quiet time to write. That’s all I really need. A clean desk helps too, though. ;-)

DFT: If you weren’t writing, what would you want to be doing for a living?

JENNIFER: Well, I still have a day job (I work at a newspaper) so I’m doing that for a living. But I think it would be awesome to have a really wacky and cool job, like taste-testing ice cream or being a movie critic or having my own show on the Food Network. I also think it would be interesting to work in a library or bookstore, just so I could be surrounded by books all day long.

DFT: Describe your typical day.

JENNIFER: During the week, I get up and go to the day job. At night and on the weekends, I’m usually doing book stuff – writing, doing revisions, answering e-mails, blogging, etc. Being an author is like having a second job, but I really do love it. And I try to make time for fun too – spending time with friends and family, reading, and even playing D&D on occasion. (Yes, I’m a total geek!)

DFT: Describe yourself in 5 words.

JENNIFER: Sassy, smart, sarcastic, focused, and funny (I hope!)

DFT: Which urban fantasy world would you like to live in, and why? i.e. The Hollows, etc.

JENNIFER: Hmm … this is a toughie because there are so many great worlds/books out there. For books, I’d have to go with The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher just because his world is so varied and interesting. As far as movies/TV shows go, I’d pick Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Because any world with Spike in it is a good one. ;-)

DFT: If you could be any paranormal creature, which one would you be and why?

JENNIFER: It’s not necessarily a paranormal creature, but I think it would be cool to be a Greek god. I really like the various mythology associated with the Greek, Norse, and other gods. There’s so much drama and in-fighting that you’d never be bored. Not to mention the fact that it would be awesome to be able to throw lightning bolts.

I’d also like to be a dwarf – because dwarves are just tough and cool. ;-)

DFT: Thanks Jennifer for taking the time to stop by.

GIVEAWAY GUIDELINES:

One lucky commenter will have a chance to win an autographed copy of Spider’s Bite.  Five winners will also receive bookmarks.

To enter, leave a comment below answering the following question:

Would being an assassin automatically make you a bad, evil person? Why or why not?

1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).

2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.

3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).

4. Giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

5. Please include your email address in your comment.

6. Giveaway ends Monday, February 15th at 11:59 PM EST.

7. The winner will be picked with the help of Random.org.


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33 Responses to “Author Interview & Giveaway: Spider’s Bite by Jennifer Estep

  1. AikNo Gravatar
    1

    I think being an assassin automatically makes me a bad girl because I kill when I receive orders.

    +2 Follower

    +3 Tweeted:
    http://twitter.com/aikchien/status/8187817046

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  2. Jennifer RaymentNo Gravatar
    2

    Good question, technically it would make me a bad girl — but wouldn’t it really matter who I was sent to kill — if it was a bad guy – would it be as bad
    +2 Follower
    +3 tweeted: http://twitter.com/statuses/user_timeline/15243934.rss

    moc.liamtohnull@momtsetnoc :twisted:

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  3. Jennifer EstepNo Gravatar
    3

    Hi, guys! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    But hey — don’t the bad guys always have more fun? :twisted:

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  4. LunaMothNo Gravatar
    4

    Being an assasin dosnt make you a bad person really, it depends on the situation. Was i forced into it? Do i like to kill? those defining answers would say if i was bad or good.

    and ill jsut say +3 for putting it in my sidebar on forevertonowhere.blogspot.com in the ‘contests’ section =)

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  5. RaelenaNo Gravatar
    5

    +1 I don’t think it would make you an evil person as long as you were only going after bad guys.

    +2 follow here and on twitter @throuthehaze

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  6. FredaNo Gravatar
    6

    +1 I think it makes you evil because murder is murder, no matter if you are hired or not. Now that I think of it, hired assassins are worse. They would have to have no conscience. A regular murderer would maybe feel remorse, being paid means you never feel remorse.

    +2 Follow here and twitter (@fredalicious)

    +3 tweet; http://twitter.com/fredalicious/status/8200252538

    freda.mans[at]sympatico.ca

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  7. pingback:
    7
    A Fury & A Prince | Literary Escapism

    […] Jennifer Estep, author of Spider’s Bite, by Dark Faerie Tales […]

  8. WandaNo Gravatar
    8

    Yes, it would, because killing is just plain wrong! It’s fun to read about, though!!!!

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  9. Yiling NiNo Gravatar
    9

    Would being an assassin automatically make you a bad, evil person? Why or why not?
    Yes. Because no matter how bad that person is, you still ended a life.

    1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).

    2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
    i follow!(uprobdontknowme)

    3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!).
    http://www.uprobdontknowme.blogspot.com
    http://www.twitter.com/uprobdontknowme

    moc.oohaynull@ingniliy

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  10. Jennifer M.No Gravatar
    10

    +1 I think it would make you bad and/or crazy. The whole killing people thing is bound to get to you otherwise.

    +2 I’m a follower

    moc.liamgnull@7002shce

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  11. Jen D.No Gravatar
    11

    Justice and morality are all in the eye of the beholder. If I were an assassin that went after, say, serial killers I probably wouldn’t be considered bad or evil. If I went after grandmothers who baked cookies all day then I’d be evil to the tenth power. It all depends on who I’m assassinating.

    +1 entry for answering the question (required).

    +2 entries for being a blog follower.

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  12. Stephanie NNo Gravatar
    12

    I do think that being an assassin makes one’s actions that of a bad person. Do I think they are morally bad inside? I think it would depend on why they are an assassin and if they enjoy it or not. But they’re still ending a life.

    +1 for commenting

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  13. van p.No Gravatar
    13

    I do think being an assassin makes you kinda bad in some way because…no one would take that kinda job without ‘liking it’. Also I don’t think anyone should have a say over any one’s life..for them to live or die.

    +1 for commenting

    +2 Blog follower

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  14. Heather CNo Gravatar
    14

    I don’t think it automatically makes you a bad person. What if your job is to kill all the cruel and evil people who are mean to children & puppies. That would make you a hero.

    +1 entry for answering the question
    +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter. – already am (heatwave16)

    +3 – tweeted – http://twitter.com/Heatwave316/status/8218671752

    heatwave96(at)hotmail.com

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  15. Jennifer EstepNo Gravatar
    15

    Great discussion, guys! Thanks to everyone for chiming in on the subject. 8)

    I definitely wouldn’t want to meet an assassin in real life, but as Wanda said, they are fun to read about. Anybody here watch Dexter? To me, he’s a kind of an assassin too, with his own code of conduct.

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  16. Debbie RobertsNo Gravatar
    16

    Good question!
    Automatically a bad, evil person? Not necessarily. I mean, what if you were being forced to be an assassin by circumstances beyond your control? Oops, I asked a question in my answer…does that count? *grin*
    Thank you for the contest!

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  17. Lexie C.No Gravatar
    17

    I don’t think being an assassin automatically makes you a bad girl (guy). Its a job like any other ::shrugs::

    Jennifer–I watch Dexter, he’s kind of like an assassin sent on personal missions by his father’s code to him. I’ve always ruled him more as a vigilante though, working for the law, but not by the law.

    +2 follower of the blog and your twitter

    Lexie
    moc.liamgnull@inneC.eixeL

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  18. Lisa B.No Gravatar
    18

    Jennifer,

    Congratulations on the release of Spider’s Bite. The book sounds amazing and I hate that I have to wait to read it.

    I don’t think being an assassin automatically makes someone a bad person. The circumstances have to be taken into account before the person is judged. If the killings are of horrible people who’ve done terrible things, then the assassin is doing a good thing by ridding the world of scum.

    +2 I am a follower (Lisa M. Basso)

    angel28140 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

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  19. pingback:
    19
    Inside the Dead Enchantment | Literary Escapism

    […] Jennifer Estep, author of Spider’s Bite, by Dark Faerie Tales […]

  20. Jamie BirdwellNo Gravatar
    20

    Well in real life yes it probably would make you a bad guy or girl but in some fictional worlds they are necessary to rid the world of evil. In fictional circumstances I think it would depend on the persons motives (do they just kill bad guys or anybody they get paid to kill).

    I am a follower of your blog and twitter

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  21. ChelseaNo Gravatar
    21

    I think being an assassin does not make you a bad girl, but rather, it is merely a job. You should strive to be good at what you do. :)

    I am also a follower of this blog- keep up the good posting!

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  22. LindsayNo Gravatar
    22

    Being an assassin would not make me bad unless I was trying to be evil.
    I would LOVE to win this!
    Thankyou!! :D:D
    I am a follower.

    -Lindsay

    moc.liamgnull@otohp51yasdnil

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  23. Amanda LeighNo Gravatar
    23

    No, I don’t think so. You could assassinate all the bad, evil people.

    1. +1 entry for answering the question (required).

    2. +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter. (NRSVampChick)

    3. +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc….
    Tweeted:
    http://twitter.com/NRSVampChick/status/8337546765
    Blogged:
    http://not-really-southernvampchick.blogspot.com/2010/01/win-on-wednesday-some-contests-from_27.html
    posted on discussion board:
    http://www.shelfari.com/groups/29157/discussions/161992/Competitions-put-em-here-

    4. I’m a US resident.

    5. notreallysouthernvampchick(at)gmail(dot)com

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  24. MariannaNo Gravatar
    24

    +1 answer: I’d say if the hits were on evil/morally corrupt people then you can’t be too evil if your killing off baddies. If you take too much (creepy) pleasure from killing people then that is just wrong.

    +2 Follower (http://twitter.com/suan_tian/following)

    +3 Tweeted (https://twitter.com/suan_tian/status/8353715967)

    Cool contest!

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  25. Donna SNo Gravatar
    25

    It does not have to make you a bad person. It all depends on the type of person you were before and the type of assassin you are.

    I am a follow on twitter and the blog

    Tweeted – http://twitter.com/DonnaS1/statuses/8528870805
    Linked – http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/2010/02/contests-found-this-week.html
    Sidebar – http://donnasbloghome.blogspot.com/

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

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  26. Julie SwaneyNo Gravatar
    26

    +1 No it doesn’t necessarily make you a bad person because the military and the police has snipers which is basicly an assassin
    +2 follower of blog and on twitter (jellybelly82158)

    jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

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  27. AmandaNo Gravatar
    27

    +1 I think it would really depend on who your victims were. What if you are killing off evil? I mean that wouldn’t exactly being evil would it?

    manna_greene(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  28. AineNo Gravatar
    28

    +1 answering the question

    I don’t think so. If you’re killing murderer’s, you’re actually saving lives. Or… if you have a mental disorder… you’re not evil, just… in need of psychological intervention.

    +2 following blog and twitter
    AineFey on twitter

    +3 Tweet about this contest
    https://twitter.com/AineFey/status/8773590828

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  29. AineNo Gravatar
    29

    forgot email… again. you can disregard previous message.

    +1 answering the question

    I don’t think so. If you’re killing murderer’s, you’re actually saving lives. Or… if you have a mental disorder… you’re not evil, just… in need of psychological intervention.

    +2 following blog and twitter
    AineFey on twitter

    +3 Tweet about this contest
    https://twitter.com/AineFey/status/8773590828

    aine.onetwistedpixie[at]gmail[dot]com

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  30. KateNo Gravatar
    30

    +1 Would being an assassin automatically make you a bad, evil person? Why or why not? Not necessarily because although most are bad & evil, there needs to be assassins to kill those ones. It just depends on what side you are on!
    +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter. (kpic724 for both)
    +3 entries for tweeting http://twitter.com/kpic724/status/8774456344

    kpic724 (at) gmail (dot) com

    Thanks!! :)

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  31. MissyNo Gravatar
    31

    +1 entry for answering the question

    My first reaction would be to say yes , but if the targets were bad people and their death would save innocent lives then it would not be such a bad thing.

    +2 entries for becoming a follower of this blog and Dark Faerie Tales on Twitter.
    I became a follower of the blog and on twitter

    +3 entries for tweeting about this contest, blogging about it, linking via your sidebar etc…(please tell me where!)

    http://twitter.com/Missy_wpg/status/8784339976

    seksi_missy at hotmail dot com

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  32. Doreen RNo Gravatar
    32

    I don’t think it makes you a bad person.Why… Depends on who needs to be eliminated. Wow, I feel bad saying that.Makes me think of the series Dexter. He gets rid of very bad people.
    I follow this blog only. No twittering yet.

    dorcontest at gmail dot com

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  33. heather yNo Gravatar
    33

    I think an assassin is a bad person… but there are so many levels that you would need to explore to make a definite decision! What are the motives behind the murders, etc. Hmmmm…

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