No, I'm not talking about this winter...although...we've had more snow, ice and polar vortexes than...well, ever here in Pennsylvania that I could be, but I'm not :). I'm talking about the latest novel in Jennifer Estep's Mythos Academy series for Young Adults that was released today! Jennifer has taken time out of her super busy schedule to answer a few questions (see below).
KILLER FROST is book 6 set in Mythos Academy, a school of myths, magic and warrior whiz kids. Gwen Frost first appeared in book 1, TOUCH OF FROST where she is an outsider both to the students of the Academy and the rest of the world. But when her gift of psychometry - the ability to know an object's history just by touching it reveals dark undercurrents and danger afoot, she has no choice but to get involved.
And her adventures continue - here's the cover blurb for KILLER FROST:
I’ve battled the Reapers of Chaos before—and survived. But this time I have a Bad, Bad Feeling it’s going to be a fight to the death…most likely mine.Yeah, I’ve got my psychometry magic, my talking sword, Vic, and even the most dangerous Spartan on campus at my side in Logan freaking Quinn, but I’m no match for Loki, the evil Norse god of chaos. I may be Nike’s Champion, but at heart, I’m still just Gwen Frost, that weird Gypsy girl everyone at school loves to gossip about.Then someone I love is put in more danger than ever before, and something inside me snaps. This time, Loki and his Reapers are going down for good…or I am.
Interview with Jennifer:
1) Let’s talk about your Mythos Academy series of books for young adults. The sixth book, KILLER FROST is coming out soon. What sparked the original idea for the story and series?
JE: I always enjoyed mythology and reading and watching all the stories of the gods, goddesses, warriors, and creatures having adventures and going on these epic quests. One day, I thought it would be fun to write my own mythology story and try to put my own spin on the gods, goddesses, warriors, and creatures.
And I started thinking, what if there was a girl who was shipped off to a school for the descendants of ancient warriors like Spartans, Amazon, Valkyries, etc.? How would she react? How would she fit in (or not)? So that was sort of the beginning of my Mythos Academy young adult urban fantasy series.
2) Are you writing more books in this series? If so, do you have a certain number of books that you have in mind for this series, or do you plan to write them until you run out of ideas?
JE: As of right now, KILLER FROST will be the last book in the series. But I’ll never say never. If I have an idea that appeals to me, I may go back and revisit the Mythos Academy world someday or maybe even write a spinoff series. We’ll see what happens.
I didn’t have an absolute set number of books in mind when I started out (although I was thinking somewhere in the seven-book range), but KILLER FROST seemed like a good place to end the series. I really wanted to give fans of the series a satisfying conclusion to Gwen’s story, and I hope that readers enjoy the finale.
3) What do you find most interesting about Gwen?
JE: Gwen wasn’t raised to be a warrior like the other kids at Mythos Academy, so it was interesting for me to see how she adjusted to going to the academy and realizing that warriors, creatures, and myths were real. But she was always tougher and more of a warrior than she thought she was, and it was fun for me to write her evolution into what I hope is a really great, strong heroine.
4) Did you have to do any special research for this series? What did you learn about the ancient races of warriors that you didn't know before?
JE: I did some research into the various gods, goddesses, warriors, and myths. One thing that I found really interesting was how many different creatures there are in mythology, everything from the Nemean lion that Hercules killed in Greek mythology to Fenrir, a wolf in Norse mythology. So it was fun for me to try to put my own spin on some of the creatures and introduce a new creature in every book in the Mythos Academy series, like Nemean prowlers, Fenrir wolves, Eir gryphons, and more.
5) You have three series, the Elemental Assassin series for adults (11 books), the Mythos Academy series for young adults (6 books), and the Bigtime paranormal romance series for adults (4 books) plus a bunch of novellas for them. You have three books coming out in 2014. How do you balance these three series? Is it hard to switch from one to another? When do you sleep?
JE: I like going back and forth between my various series, visiting with the characters, and seeing what new adventures that I can dream up for them.
It’s not too hard for me to switch between the various series, but I can only work on one thing at a time. That’s just how my mind works. So if I’m writing an Elemental Assassin book, then that’s the only thing that I’m working on at that moment. Then, when that’s done, I’ll work on something from my Mythos Academy series. And so on and so forth.
It’s definitely tough balancing everything, and it always seems like there is something to work on, whether it’s writing, copy edits, page proofs, etc. I definitely stay busy, and I haven’t had a real vacation in I don’t know how long. And what is this mythical thing called sleep that you mention? LOL.
But I really enjoy what I do, so that helps with all the long hours at the computer. I’m also hoping with the conclusion of my Mythos Academy series to take a little bit of a break, rest, recharge, and think about what I want to write next.
6) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?
JE: I love reading, watching TV/movies, and hanging out with friends and family. I also enjoy yoga and playing fantasy football.
7) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?
JE: I always loved to read, and my mom used to take me to the library every Saturday when I was a kid, so that’s how I fell in love with books and reading in the first place. I think I always knew that I wanted to be some sort of writer. I wrote my first book one summer during college, and that’s when I really started thinking about being a fiction writer. I’ve been writing ever since.
8) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?
JE: I’m a panster, so I don’t do a lot of outlining, plotting, or anything like that. I think about my character, especially my heroine, since I write in first-person. Once I have her personality in mind, I think about the other characters, the plot, the magic/world building, etc. When I have a general idea about the overall story/book, I sit down and start writing. [me too!]
I try to write at least 2,000-3,000 words a day (usually more) until I have a rough draft that’s about 70,000-75,000 words or so. It’s important for me to just get the words down on the page fairly quickly, no matter how good or bad they are. That tells me if the story/idea will work for a book or not, and it helps me keep the flow/tone of the characters and story.
Once I have finished my rough draft, I usually let it sit for a few weeks before going back to it with a fresh eye, reading through, and seeing how everything does or doesn’t come together. Then I start on my second draft, where I put in much more detail, description, dialogue, etc. and really flesh out the characters and story. Then I set that draft aside for a few weeks.
I usually repeat the process a few more times, adding in more detail, description, etc. every time until I have a full-length book that is the best that I can make it. Overall, the process can take anywhere from a couple of months to six months or longer, depending on how much I am feeling the story and how many other projects I have going on at the same time.
9) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?
JE: I write in my home office. Not very original or creative, but it’s the quiet space that works for me.
10) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?
JE: KILLER FROST, the sixth and final book in my Mythos Academy series, was released on Feb. 25. I hope that everyone enjoys the conclusion to the series. POISON PROMISE, the 11th book in my Elemental Assassin series, will be released on July 22. I’m working on the 12th book in my Elemental Assassin series that is scheduled to be published in December 2014.
I’m also mulling over some ideas for new series. We’ll see what happens.
Happy reading, everyone!
Find Jennifer online:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)