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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2019

Jennifer Estep Writes, Markets Her Books Fulltime

By Leslie Grace / A! Magazine for the Arts | June 26, 2012

Jennifer Estep says that she writes the books that she likes to read. "When I was a child, my mom took me to the library every week," she says. "I fell in love with reading and books, and I think wanting to write my own stories came from that."

Then one day she read a book that fell short of being entertaining. "I thought, I can write better than that." She says that first book, a fantasy written while she was still in college, "will never see the light of day." But it started her quest to write. That quest took her to a bachelor's degree in English and journalism and then to a master's in professional communications. For a while, she made her living as a member of the features department at the Bristol Herald Courier, but now she writes and markets her books full time.

"I love to write books with action, magic, danger and romance," she says. "I like to entertain people. I'm always shocked, awed and humbled that out of all the thousands and thousands of books that people could read, they take the time to read mine. I am glad they allow me to entertain them for a couple of hours and take them away from their troubles."

The fifth and sixth books in her Elemental Assassin series, Spider's Revenge and By A Thread, demonstrated just how many people read Estep's books when they made the New York Times extended best-seller list.

"I was at my book group when my editor called to tell me," she says. "I was sitting there smiling like you would not believe." The second time she heard the news, she was on her way to her book club. "It was exciting. You always dream about making the list and seeing it on your book covers. But it's a long road to get there, and some people struggle and struggle and never hit the list. It's a great moment, but now I feel the pressure to make sure the next one hits the list. There's always something new to strive for."

Her main character in that series is an assassin. "Ever since I started reading epic fantasy books in high school, I've been intrigued by assassin characters and the moral questions they raise. Do some people deserve to die? Does killing someone for money automatically make you a bad person? Does an assassin ever feel guilty about killing? These are some ideas I wanted to explore, so I created my own assassin Gin Blanco, with her own motivations, quirks, powers and problems.

Assassins might not be the most sympathetic characters or the easiest to identify with, but I think they are some of the most fascinating. Plus, I wanted to write a really smart, strong, tough female character, which I think I've done with Gin Blanco."

Joe Tennis

Topics: Literature

By A Thread by Jennifer Estep made it to the New York Times extended best-seller list.

Estep's books are filled with magic, danger and romance.