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Bestselling author Jennifer Estep: Listening to your instincts

Bestselling author Jennifer Estep has kindly shared some insight into her writing process. It is an inspiration for anyone pursuing the hard path of publishing, whether traditional or self-publishing.

As one reads Miss. Estep’s interview, they learn writing the book that catapults your career takes more than just patience and work.

Straight from the author’s mouth: Listen to your instincts.

  1. Can you talk about your career? What are some setbacks you had to overcome to fulfill your goals?

I write the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books and the Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series for Kensington. I wrote several books over the course of several years before I got an agent and sold my first book. I got a lot of rejections along the way, but I just kept on writing, and I eventually sold my first book.

  1. Your new release Widow’s Web has come out. Can you share with us a powerful excerpt from your novel?


Owen just sort of—sagged. His hands thudded down on the table, and his whole body pitched forward, as if the mere sight of her had caused his bones to turn to jelly. He continued to sit there, a stunned expression on his face, as though he couldn’t quite believe there was a woman standing in front of him—that this particular woman was standing in front of him. Whoever she was, he obviously knew her and was floored by her appearance—as floored as I’d been when I’d seen Donovan Caine, an old lover of mine, a few weeks ago. Hmm.

“Don’t you have anything to say?” she asked. “Or perhaps a hug for an old friend?”

Her voice was soft, sweet, and utterly feminine with the kind of faint dulcet chiming that made me think of water rushing down a mountainside. A soothing voice—one that could convince a man to do all sorts of things for her. Up close, I could see that her eyes were somewhere between blue and green—aquamarine, some folks might say. Their color seemed to constantly shift from one to the other and back again, churning like the sea.

“Owen?” the woman asked again.

“Of course,” he said in a faint voice, pushed his chair back, and got to his feet.

Owen hesitated, then held out his hand, but the woman ignored his gesture and stepped into his arms, molding herself to his body and pressing her breasts against his chest. He hesitated again, then awkwardly patted her on the back before stepping out of her embrace as fast as he could. The woman seemed amused by his attempts to disentangle himself from her and did everything she could to slow his getaway.

Her antics did not amuse me—not one little bit. Especially since the woman was staring at my lover like she’d very much like to have him for dessert. Like it was almost a forgone conclusion that she would, despite my presence at the table.

Finally, she tore her gaze away from Owen long enough to glance at me. “Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friend?”

“Of course,” he echoed again. “Salina Dubois, this is Gin Blanco. Gin, Salina.”

I discreetly tucked my knife back into my purse, closed the top, put it down on the table, and got to my feet. Salina held out her hand to me, the same remote expression on her face that she’d shown McAllister—the one that told me just how very far beneath her and unimportant she thought I was.

  1. Can you talk about your writing process?

When I start writing a rough draft, I try to write at least 2,000 words (or more) a day until I have a draft that’s about 50,000 or 60,000 words (or more). Then, I let that draft sit for a while before I go back, read through, and see how the characters, plot, story, and more hold together. Then, I start on my second draft and layer in more emotion, action, description, and dialogue. When I finish, I let that draft sit for a while before going back, reading through, and seeing what needs to be done to that draft. I keep repeating that process until I have a full-length book that’s the best that I can make it.

  1. Any editing tips?

I would just say listen to your instincts. If you think something in your book isn’t quite working, then it’s probably not. Also, I think one of the most important things is just getting the words and your story down. Your book doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. That’s what editing is for.

  1. What do you love most about the writing industry? What do you dislike?

One of the things I like about the writing community is just how nice and supportive everyone is. Whether we are authors, readers, reviewers, or bloggers, we all love books, and it’s just great to meet and interact with so many people who enjoy books and reading.

  1. Do you have any other books or new releases that you would wish to talk about?

Widow’s Web, the seventh book in my Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series, was released on Aug. 21. Deadly Sting, the eighth book, is set to be published in April 2013, and there will be at least two more books in the series after that one.

Crimson Frost, the fourth book in my Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series, will be out on Dec. 24, 2012, and there will be at least two more books in the series after that one.

Folks can visit my website at www.jenniferestep.com for more information about my books.

Thank you for reading this interview. Interested in seeing if you won a personally signed copy of Miss. Estep’s Widow’s Web, check out the giveaway on my fan page.


Jennifer Estep is a New York Times bestselling author. Jennifer writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. Widow’s Web, the seventh book, was released on Aug. 21. Visit www.jenniferestep.com for excerpts and more information about her books.

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