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Interview: Jennifer Estep (& Giveaway!)

This giveaway is over.

Swinging by today is Jennifer Estep, a lovely debut YA author! Her new book Touch of Frost, the first in a new series, looks absolutely ah-mazing!

My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Academy — a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids, where even the lowliest geek knows how to chop off somebody's head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spartan guy in school, also happens to be the deadliest.

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jasmine Ashton was murdered in the Library of Antiquities. Then, someone stole the Bowl of Tears, a magical artifact that can be used to bring about the second Chaos War. You know, death, destruction and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I'm determined to find out who killed Jasmine and why—especially since I should have been the one who died. . .

Nicole: Welcome to WORD, Jennifer! What was the inspiration for Mythos Academy?
Jennifer Estep: I’ve always loved mythology, fairy tales, and superhero stories – basically, any story with a lot of action and magic where characters go on these epic quests to find the Golden Fleece, save the prince/princess, or stop the villain from taking over the world.

In school, I remember watching Clash of the Titans when we would have movie days. The movie made mythology seem so cool, with all these gods, goddesses, heroes, monsters, and more fighting with and against each other. Over the years, I read all kinds of mythology stories and books for fun and for class assignments, things like The Iliad and The Odyssey, and I watched TV shows and movies like Xena: Warrior Princess and 300.

One day, I just thought it would be cool to write my own mythology story with my own
characters, myths, magic, and monsters. I thought what if I had a Gypsy girl with psychometry magic, or the ability to know an object’s history just by touching it. What if she had an accident with her magic and got sent to a boarding school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Valkyries, and Amazons? What if there was an evil god who was trying to take over the world? All of those things came together to form Touch of Frost and the rest of the Mythos Academy series.

N: You can never go wrong with Spartans! Do you have a favorite character, setting, and or magical artifact?

JE: I really like Vic, a character who appears in the latter half of Touch of Frost. Vic is really bloodthirsty and wants to kill Reapers of Chaos (my bad guys) more than anything else. He’s also full of opinions and attitude, and he was just a lot of fun for me to write. I hope readers like Vic as much as I do.

N: How was writing this different than writing your adult series?
JE: You always want to stretch and grow as a writer, and it was definitely a challenge to write something geared toward a younger audience and to write with a YA voice. My Elemental Assassin books for adults are very dark, gritty, and violent, so it was interesting to try writing something a little lighter in terms of the sex, language, and violence like the Mythos Academy series, but still have the books have a lot of magic, action, and fight scenes in them. It was a tough balancing act, but hopefully, readers will like my take on the YA genre. Fingers crossed, anyway.

N: When you were in college, you majored in English and Journalism. (Sounds like me.) What was your favorite class?
JE: The cool thing about college is that so many of the classes are actually fun – especially some of the English classes.

One of my favorite classes was mystery/detective fiction. We went through the various eras/genres, and we basically just read mysteries all semester long, everything from the Sherlock Holmes stories to Dashiell Hammett to modern-day writers. I discovered one of my favorite authors – Donald Westlake – through that class. He wrote a great series of comic crime capers about a thief named Dortmunder.

I also took a class on J.R.R. Tolkien one summer, where we talked about the Lord of the Rings trilogy. And I took a creative writing class where we focused on poetry. I’m not very good at writing poetry, but I still had fun trying something new.

N: I wanna take a class on Tolkien! What are some of the best books you've read recently?
JE: I really enjoyed The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal. I thought it was a cool twist on a princess story. I’ve also enjoyed The Iron King by Julie Kagawa and Heist Society by Ally Carter. I’m looking forward to reading more books in those series.

N: I love The Iron Fey series, and my sister is a HUGE Ally Carter fangirl! If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you have?
JE: I would say an otter. They always seem like such fun, playful creatures whenever I see them on nature programs.

N: What is your favorite song?
JE: You’re So Vain by Carly Simon. I think it’s just a great song that’s full of attitude, and it’s fun to sing along to.

N: If you had to escape being chased by an ostrich, how would you do it?
JE: Hmm. I would probably try to distract it with food or something like that, then make a run for the nearest car or house – and hope that the ostrich couldn’t outrun me. Then, when I was safely inside, I would make silly faces at the ostrich from behind the windows – and hope that it couldn’t peck through the glass to get to me!

And thanks to Jennifer, one of you lucky people get to win a copy of Touch of Frost! There's only one winner in the United States or Canada only, and y'all have until August 4 to enter! All you have to do is fill out the form below.

Quick Recap:
[1] copy of Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep up for grabs
[1] winner in the U.S. or Canada only
ends August 4

How To Win:
[mandatory] fill out the form below
[+2] comment on this interview

giveaway, and more:

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