Friday, April 29, 2011

Today's Special -- Jennifer Estep

We're pleased to have urban fantasy author extraordinaire Jennifer Estep back with us today. She is the author of the very popular Elemental Assassin series starring Gin Blanco. I've been lucky to have read and reviewed all of the books, most recently the fourth, Tangled Threads. Check out my review here.

Jennifer also writes a young adult series, the Mythos Academy. If that didn't keep her busy enough, Jennifer is also an award-winning features page designer for a daily newspaper. Please join me in giving a warm hello and Romance Dish welcome back to Jennifer.

Greetings and salutations! First of all, I want to say thanks to Gannon and the other folks here at The Romance Dish for having me back on the blog. Thanks so much, ladies!

So today, I thought I’d talk about, well, romance. LOL. Seriously, though, romance is something that I think a lot about, especially when it comes to my books. I write both adult and young urban fantasy, and I know there’s a lot of crossover when it comes to readership in urban fantasy books. But I always wonder if I’m putting enough romance in the story to satisfy romance readers.

My books are first-person, which means that I’m telling the story through the heroine’s point of view. My books are more about the heroine’s journey – how she uses her brains, magic, and inner strength to defeat the bad guys, stay alive, and save the world all at the same time. I have lots of magic, world building, and fight scenes in my books – but I also like having romance in there as well. After saving the world, it’s nice to have a sexy guy to come home to. ;-)

I know romance readers like seeing the hero’s point of view and thoughts (and I do too). That’s why third-person romances are so popular. But since my books are first-person, all we get to see of the hero are the heroine’s impressions of him and how she interacts with him.

So how do I add more romance to the story? Well, sometimes, I’ll have my heroine eavesdrop and overhear the hero talking about his feelings for her – whether they’re good or bad. Many times, my heroine will talk to other characters about the hero and her feelings for him – whether they’re good or bad. And of course, I have my heroine and hero interact and share their feelings with each other along with some quality time alone together – in between saving the day of course. ;-)

It’s a tough balancing act, but hopefully, I’m giving readers the romance and emotion that they want, along with an action-packed story that’s full of magic, danger, and some seriously nasty bad guys. Fingers crossed, anyway.

What about you guys? Do you like romance in urban fantasy books? Do you think there’s enough romance in urban fantasy books?

Jennifer is giving away a copy of Tangled Threads to one lucky commenter today. (U.S. and Canadian residents only).

Jennifer writes the Ele­men­tal Assas­sin urban fan­tasy series for Pocket Books. 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, 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.

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-short story to the series, will be out in July. Visit for excerpts and more.


  1. I like romance in pretty much every genre. It does not have to be excessive but it often adds a little something.

  2. Good morning, Jennifer! I'm moving a little slow this morning. Just got back last night from 5 days at Disney World. Fun time, but I'm worn out.

    I think you put plenty of romance in your books---of course, urban fantasy is a little different from other romance sub-genres. I'm loving watching Gin's and Owen's relationship unfold.

  3. Marybelle, romance makes the world go round. :-)

  4. Marybelle -- I always like at least a little romance in books too, no matter what genre I'm reading.

    Gannon -- Thanks! Hope you are having fun, and I'm glad you are digging Gin and Owen's relationship.

  5. I agree that a little bit of romance adds something to a book, or at least a bit of tension between two characters so you can wonder "will they or won't they". I can't wait to see how things go with Gin and her sister.
    buckfamily at

  6. Jill -- I love the "will they or won't they" too especially in books and TV shows. Cool. Hope you enjoy the book.

  7. I have the book on it' way to me in the mail to read already so no entry today for giveaway, just wanted to stop in to support the tour for Tangled Threads...

    Romance adds "spice" to any genre, in Urban Fantasy lot's of time it also adds an extra dimension to the main character(s) that without a romantic interest we may not get the chance to explore!

  8. I defintely enjoy some romance in my urban fantasy. It shouldn't overwhlem the action though.

    I'm looking forward to Gin and owen's relationship developing. He seems like a good fit for the situation and Gin's personality.

    You mentioned a 5th book, are there more planned or will it wrap up in 5?

  9. I love romance in every genre that I read but I also do read some books that aren't about the romance but more about the individual journey..if that makes sense...I do think that most urban fantasy books have enough romance because the focus isn't the romance but the fantasy that is being explored.

    Thanks for the contest!

  10. Hello and welcome back, Jennifer! Congrats on the new release! Gannon has raved about this series, so I need to start reading it soon. :)

    I've only read a few urban fantasy books and enjoyed the romance in them. It was just enough and fit the storyline perfectly. *g*

  11. Jennifer's computer is not letting her comment right now so she asked me to pass her comments along:

    Jackie -- Thanks! Hope you enjoy the book. And I agree that romance really adds another dimension to any story. A romance can really make me care about the characters getting their HEA.

    Anne -- Glad you are looking forward to seeing more Gin and Owen. I've just signed on to write two more books in the series so books 6 and 7 should both be out in 2012.

  12. More comments from Jennifer:

    Maria -- I always like at least a little romance in the books I read. I'm with you. I like the magic mixed with the romance and other elements in UF books.

    Andrea -- Thanks! Hope you get a chance to check out the books. I think romance can make just about any story better.

  13. Jennifer, I'm so glad to hear there are more books in the series. Yay!

  14. I love urban fantasy and the Elemental Assassin series in particular. I think there's plenty of romance in UF, a little goes a long way. The primary focus of the story is the action, the "saving the world" and kicking serious ass, so some romance here and there is good, but there doesn't have to be a whole lot of it. I think your books are just right and I can't wait to read Tangled Threads.

  15. Barbara, you are going to love TANGLED THREADS! Plenty of ass-kicking and enough romance satisfy. *g*

  16. I'm back! Don't know what happened, but my computer is cooperating again.

    Gannon -- Thanks! I'm glad you are enjoying the series and thanks for posting those other comments for me.

    Barbara -- I agree. I think UF books offer a good blend of magic, romance, and saving the world. I like the genre because the books have a little bit of everything in them.

  17. I love this series. It's great to have Jennifer visit.

    I don't need a huge romance or HEA in UF books. I like for things to seem natural, whatever genre I'm reading. How much romance is that? It will differ, based on the characters and the direction of the story.

  18. This book look great. have not read anything by this author yet and would love to win this book. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  19. LSUReader -- Thanks! I appreciate that. I know what you mean. You want the romance (however much or little of it there is) to feel natural to the story.

    Chrisbails -- Cool. Hope you get a chance to check out my books.