Veronica Scott for AMAZING STORIES: Welcome to my periodic series of author profiles. Today I’ve chosen New York Times, USA Today and international best selling author Jennifer Estep. She’s a fairly new entrant into the science fiction romance genre but has been writing terrific fantasy novels for a long time and has well over 150 books in her backlist.
VS for ASM.: What was the first scifi romance book you wrote, when, give us the 2-3 sentence logline.
JE: My first sci-fi romance book is ONLY BAD OPTIONS, which I released in 2022. It’s the first book in my Galactic Bonds sci-fi fantasy romance series. I’ve been pitching the book as Star Wars meets Bridgerton.
ONLY BAD OPTIONS focuses on Vesper Quill, a seer and lab rat (think inventor/engineer) who works in the research and development lab of a corporation run by a powerful Regal family. When Vesper uncovers a deadly conspiracy, she crosses paths with Kyrion Caldaren, a psion and an Imperium Arrow who is one of the most notorious killers in the Archipelago Galaxy.
Vesper and Kyrion form an unwanted truebond connection that could make them both much more powerful—or end up killing them. The book is told from the first-person points of view of both Vesper and Kyrion.
There are psions—people with mental abilities like telekinesis, telepathy, and telempathy—along with seers, spelltechs, siphons, and other folks who can wield magic. ONLY BAD OPTIONS also features spaceships, planets, blasters, and other technology, along with an old-fashioned society that is focused on marriages, alliances, and bloodlines.
ASM.: What was your most recent book and what was the story spark or inspiration for that story?
JE: ONLY GOOD ENEMIES, book #2 in my Galactic Bonds series, came out on July 18.
I always feel like the second book in a series gives me a chance to dig much deeper into my characters and see how they act/react to various problems and what the lasting consequences of their actions are. With ONLY GOOD ENEMIES, I wanted to show how Vesper and Kyrion are still dealing with everything that happened in ONLY BAD OPTIONS, book #1—including their unwanted truebond connection.
At the start of ONLY GOOD ENEMIES, Vesper and Kyrion are both keeping secrets, so I focused on their developing relationship and raised the question of how much they truly trust each other. Vesper and Kyrion are both struggling with how they feel about each other, and they are both trying to decide whether their feelings are real or just a result of the truebond that they share.
And then of course, there are a whole bunch of villains who want to use and take Vesper and Kyrion’s truebond power for their own. I always love writing dastardly villains, along with action/fight scenes, and I think I have some really good ones in ONLY GOOD ENEMIES.
I hope readers have as much fun reading Vesper and Kyrion’s adventures as I do writing them.
ASM.: Which book was the most fun to write and why? The most challenging and why?
JE: I really loved writing ONLY BAD OPTIONS. I had never tried writing sci-fi before, so it was a fun experiment. ONLY BAD OPTIONS was very much a book of my heart, and it features so many things that I love to write and read, including:
✨ Space opera
♥️ Soul mates
⚔️ Enemies to lovers
♥️ Slow-burn romance
⚔️ Pew! Pew! Pew! action scenes
✨ A boiling lava planet of doom
📘 A smart, sarcastic, kick-butt heroine who is an engineer/inventor
⚔️ A slightly broody, uptight, Mr. Darcy-type hero who is a reluctant assassin
ASM.: A hard-to-resist checklist of terrific ingredients! Your own favorite tropes? Least favorite tropes?
JE: Some of my favorite tropes are enemies to lovers, slow-burn romance, royal romance, and fake dating/relationships. I also love stories with lots of action and adventure.
Some of my least favorite tropes are second-chance romance, love triangles, and secret babies. I always think it would be really hard for anyone to keep a baby a secret these days with everyone on social media all the time.
ASM.: Do you also write other genres? Which ones? How does writing a book in that genre compare to writing an SFR?
JE: I also write fantasy books – urban, epic, YA, and paranormal romance – and some of my fantasy series include Section 47, Elemental Assassin, and Crown of Shards.
In many ways, writing a fantasy book/world is the same as writing a sci-fi book/world, and my writing process is the same no matter what genre I’m writing. I’m a total panster, so I don’t do a lot of pre-planning/outlining before I start writing a book. But I do tend to think a little more about science and logistics when I’m writing a sci-fi book, instead of just chalking everything up to being done through or a result of magic like I usually do in a fantasy book.
ASM.: Do you have a ‘writing buddy’ pet? Care to share a photo?
JE: Kitty Boodle is my mom’s cat, and she stars in my monthly reading recommendation newsletter. In fact, I get more comments about Boodle than anything else: https://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/
My mom says that I need to start giving Boodle royalties for appearing in my newsletter. My mom has even started texting me pictures of Boodle with the message “More royalties”.
ASM.:What’s next for you?
JE: My next sci-fi project will be ONLY HARD PROBLEMS, Galactic Bonds novella #2.5, which will be released Feb. 20.
My next fantasy project will be SPIDER AND FROST, which will be released Sept. 26. It’s a crossover novella featuring fan-favorite characters from my Elemental Assassin and Mythos Academy urban fantasy series.
ASM.: What’s on your To Be Read List?
JE: So many books! As far as sci-fi books go, I recently finished BEHIND THE THRONE by K. B. Wagers. I’m also working my way through the Murderbot series by Martha Wells, and I have CAPTURE THE SUN by Jessie Mihalik waiting on my TBR pile.
ASM.: Give us your short author bio and where you can be found on social media.
JENNIFER ESTEP BIO AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Jennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea.
Only Good Enemies, book #2 in her Galactic Bonds science-fiction fantasy romance series, was released July 18.
Jennifer is also the author of the Section 47, Elemental Assassin, Crown of Shards, Gargoyle Queen, and other fantasy series. She has written more than 45 books, along with numerous novellas and stories.
In her spare time, Jennifer enjoys hanging out with friends and family, doing yoga, and reading fantasy and romance books. She also watches way too much TV and loves all things related to superheroes.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Instagram, Goodreads, Amazon, BookBub, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.
Happy reading, everyone! 😀
JENNIFER’S SOCIAL MEDIA SITES:
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Jennifer_Estep (@Jennifer_Estep)
Newsletter signup: http://www.jenniferestep.com/contact-jennifer/newsletter/
Ms. Estep’s latest book:
ONLY GOOD ENEMIES: A GALACTIC BONDS BOOK by Jennifer Estep
A WOMAN ON A MISSION . . .My name is Vesper Quill. I used to be a lowly lab rat, toiling away in obscurity developing brewmakers and other household appliances. But thanks to my seer magic and my own ingenuity, I’m now a Regal lady and the head of a successful corporation. My mission? To destroy the Techwave, the dangerous group that has stolen my designs and plans to weaponize them against the Imperium. But when my mission takes an unexpected turn, I’m once again surrounded by enemies and fighting for my life. Further complicating matters is Kyrion Caldaren, an arrogant Regal lord whose fate is bound to mine. Kyrion doesn’t realize the two of us still have an unwanted connection that puts us both in grave danger . . . or does he?
A MAN SURROUNDED BY ENEMIES . . .My name is Kyrion Caldaren. As the leader of the Arrows, the Imperium’s elite fighting force, I’ve been tasked with tracking down and destroying the Techwave before they seize control of the Archipelago Galaxy. My other mission? Find a way to assassinate Lord Callus Holloway, the Imperium ruler who wants to take my psion power for his own. Holloway is also a threat to Vesper Quill, who haunts my thoughts, despite the broken bond and distance between us. When I realize Vesper is in danger, my priorities change, and I vow to use all my telepathic, telekinetic, and other abilities to help her. I will save Vesper from her enemies and mine—even if I have to burn down the whole bloody galaxy.