Today on The Bookpushers we have an interview and a giveaway with the lovely Ms Jennifer Estep. Ms Estep is a New York Times bestselling author who writes three popular series. One is an urban fantasy Elemental Assassin series, starring Gin Blanco. Her second is a YA urban fantasy series, Mythos Academy starring Gwen Frost and her third is a paranormal romance series, Bigtime. If you would like to know more about those series please visit her website Jennifer Estep. We Pushers are huge fans of the Elemental Assassin and Mythos Academy books so we are really thrilled Ms Estep agreed to join us today. This interview focuses on the Mythos Academy series.
BP: First we would like to say thank you for spending time with The BookPushers, Ms Estep.
JE: Thanks for hosting me on the blog. I appreciate it.
BP:With your Mythos Academy series, you have taken Norse mythology and placed it in the hands of hormonal teenagers with some adult supervision and unleashed them on rather unsuspecting places. What made you pick that particular set of tales as your starting point?
JE: I’ve always loved mythology and all the stories of the gods, goddesses, warriors, creatures, and more battling each other and going on these epic quests. One day, I just thought it would be fun to write a mythology-based story and try to put my own spin on all the gods, goddesses, and more. So that was sort of the beginning of the Mythos Academy series. I decided to use a lot of Greek and Norse mythology because those are the stories that I’m most familiar with, but I also try to include bits and pieces of other mythologies as well.
BP: Gwen is fearless, loyal, and takes on such a huge amount of responsibility of being the chosen one to defeat Loki. Do you find it’s a hard balance to get right with Gwen being a teen, and dealing with all that responsibility on her shoulders?
JE: It’s definitely been a fun challenge writing a YA series and Gwen in particular. Like you said, she has this huge weight on her shoulders fighting against Loki and his Reapers of Chaos, but she’s still a teen too and dealing with things that a lot of teens go through – going to a new school, trying to make new friends, figuring out what she wants her place in the world to be. So it can be tough at times balancing the magic and action aspects of the story with the other things that Gwen is going through. Hopefully, readers will enjoy watching Gwen grow and change and deal with all these challenges as the series goes along.
BP: Gwen’s romance in this series is with Logan, the mighty Spartan warrior. Will Gwen finally find out what Logan’s secret is about his family, and will it change things between them?
JE: Well, I can’t give out too many spoilers, but Gwen will learn Logan’s secret in
Dark Frost, and it will definitely impact their relationship going forward. I think (or hope) that folks will be happy with Gwen and Logan and where they are in their relationship at the end of the book.
BP: With so many great tales in Norse mythology, will the series end with Loki or will there be any more adventures for Gwen to experience?
JE: Honestly, I’m not sure at this point. Of course, Loki is the main villain in the story arc so far, and there is a showdown looming with him and Gwen. But I think the series could continue beyond that. Fairy tales usually end by saying that folks lived happily ever after, but it always seems to me like there is so much more story to tell after the hero finally defeats the villain, slays the dragon, or whatever. What are the consequences of that? What happens next? How do the characters rebuild and go on with their lives? So I think it would be interesting to see what would happen to the folks at Mythos Academy in the future. Plus, you never know what Loki might have up his sleeve and what new evil he might unleash before his showdown with Gwen. So we’ll see what happens.
BP: Have you found that you have much crossover from your Elemental Assassin series readers to your Mythos Academy?
JE: There does seem to be a lot of crossover readership, and I’ve gotten several comments from folks who read my Elemental Assassin series saying that they are also reading my Mythos Academy series. Both of the series feature a lot of the same elements – a strong, sassy heroine, magic, and lots of action and fight scenes. I’m glad folks seem to be enjoying both series so far.
BP: What made you decide to write a YA series?
JE:I just thought Gwen’s story and the world of Mythos Academy would work better as a YA series. Plus, I had been wanting to branch out and write in a different genre, and writing a YA series lets me do that. You always want to grow and stretch as a writer, and I think writing the Mythos Academy series has helped me do that.
BP: How do you balance moving between your two series and the utter differences in your heroines?
JE: I don’t find it too hard to switch from one series to another. Like I said before, they both have a lot of elements in common. It’s nice for me as an author to be able to go back and forth and write something dark and gritty in the Elemental Assassin series and then something that’s a lighter and more of a coming-of-age story with the Mythos Academy series. I enjoy writing about a heroine who knows who she is, what she wants out of life, and just how deadly her magic can be in Gin, but it’s also fun to write about someone like Gwen, who is still figuring out her magic, what she can do with it, and the kind of person she wants to be. But it’s definitely hectic, writing two series at once, and I’m always working on something whether it’s a first draft for one of the Mythos Academy books, page proofs for one of the Elemental Assassin books, or something like that. Every month, I look at my schedule and what I need to get done that month. Then, I write everything down on this dry erase board that I have in my office. That sort of helps me plan out my time and keeps me on track to meet deadlines.
BP: Gwen proved in Kiss of Frost that not every creature on Loki’s side really wants to be there. Will that have negative repercussions for her? Or will she continue to gain unexpected allies?
JE: Gwen’s encounter with the Fenrir wolf in Kiss of Frost will be explored more in Dark Frost. Also, as the series goes along, Gwen will gain some new allies – and enemies too.
BP: Why did you decide to make Gwen a gypsy?
JE: I just thought it would be a little different take on both gypsies and mythology to have gypsies be folks who were gifted with magic by the gods. It seemed like it would work well with the characters and story that I had in mind, so that’s the direction I decided to go in.
BP: Do you have a set amount of books in the Mythos Academy series?
JE: Right now, I’m under contract for six books. Dark Frost, the third book, is out today, May 29. Crimson Frost, the fourth book, will be out in January 2013, and there will be at least two more books after that one. I don’t know if I’ll end the series with the sixth book or not. It just depends on where the story and characters take me, how the series is doing, and if folks are still enjoying reading about Gwen and her friends.
BP: Which mythological and comic book characters would you like to team up Avenger’s style? And who would you team up as their opposing enemy team?
JE: Well, it seems like just about every superhero story and pairing has been already been done in one form or another. But I think it would be interesting to take Wonder Woman (who has her own mythological background and origins already) and team her up with some other characters, like Batman, Spider-Man, or Captain America, and mix together all the Marvel and DC characters and mythologies (so to speak).
You could do a whole story about who is more powerful – superheroes or gods – and have the superheroes battle folks like Zeus, Odin, Poseidon, etc. Even within that framework, you could do stories between the various superheroes and gods about which is more powerful – brains (Batman) vs. pure physical strength (the Hulk) or acquired powers (Spider-Man) vs. god-given powers (Thor). The possibilities and interpretations are endless, which is one of the things I like about fantasy literature, including comics.
BP: Ms Estep also agreed to sponsor a giveaway with us. The prize is one (1) print copy of Dark Frost and is open to the US only. To enter leave a comment talking about what your favorite myth is, what culture it comes from and why it is your favorite. This contest will close on Jun 4th. Good luck!
PS: Don’t forget to check back here later today for our review of Dark Frost.