Friday, 1 November 2013

Blog Tour: Ironskin by Tina Connolly

Title: Iron Skin
Author: Tina Connolly
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Ironskin #1
Source: Publisher
Publication Date: 7th November 2013

Tell Me About It
Jane Eliot wears an iron mask.

It’s the only way to contain the fey curse that scars her cheek. The Great War is five years gone, but its scattered victims remain—the ironskin.

When a carefully worded listing appears for a governess to assist with a "delicate situation"—a child born during the Great War—Jane is certain the child is fey-cursed, and that she can help.

Teaching the unruly Dorie to suppress her curse is hard enough; she certainly didn’t expect to fall for the girl’s father, the enigmatic artist Edward Rochart. But her blossoming crush is stifled by her own scars, and by his parade of women. Ugly women, who enter his closed studio…and come out as beautiful as the fey.

Jane knows Rochart cannot love her, just as she knows that she must wear iron for the rest of her life. But what if neither of these things is true? Step by step Jane unlocks the secrets of her new life—and discover just how far she will go to become whole again.

I am super excited to be the first stop on the Ironskin Blog Tour. Today I have a review and an author interview with Tina, so make sure to keep reading.
Ironskin has been around the blogosphere for a while and is a book I have been desperate to read, so when I got the chance to take part in a blog tour for the UK publication of Ironskin I jumped at the chance.
The protagonist of Ironskin is Jane, she is cursed after the Fey wars and has to wear an iron mask to contain the curse. Ever since she was cursed she has been going from job to job, moving along when her employer gets rid of her for men coming back from war, and who also aren't cursed. Left with no job she goes to the country to care for Dorie, a child who like Jane, has a curse.

Going into Ironskin I knew fey would be involved, but I had no idea of what else to expect when reading. Not only did I quickly feel sorry for Jane, primarily for the curse making her life harder than it has to be and basically making her an outcast, but also for having to deal with Dorie and try to make her act like a human child, and not like a fey. I absolutely adored Dorie. Yes she is a petulant, stubborn child, and quite a handful, (I work with children and know how difficult they can be), but having had each and every governess quickly leave her is not going to be easy on her...she just needed the right kind of person to help and understand her, and that person is Jane.

Mr Edward Rochart is Jane's employer, he makes masks for the rich, and in my head I imagined what he was doing but it wasn't until we actually witness a mask fitting in progress that you realise what he is actually doing, and it's quite a gruesome process that I definitely would not want to experience myself

One thing I loved about Ironskin was the variety of characters and 'creatures'. I liked how different each character was from the other, and even all the rich snotty ones had different personalities and mannerisms from the other. I never expected to meet other creatures other than fey and the humans and it was a nice surprise to meet a different creature entirely, but I'm not going to say who or what it is ;)

Ironskin was an unexpected read that constantly threw something into the plot that I was not expecting. Never knowing what was around the corner made the tense moments that much more tense, and the calm moments had me expecting something around the corner to ruin all the calm. After finishing Ironskin I am debating whether to wait for the UK release of Copperhead, or just go ahead and buy the USA version on pay day.....decisions decisions.


Now its time for the interview.

First of all thank you for taking time to answer a few questions for me, and secondly congratulations on the birth of your baby girl.
Thank you, Michelle! So far the girl is much easier than her older brother . . . knock on wood that continues! :)

1. How long did it take for Ironskin to go from an idea to an actual book?
A loooooong time! Ironskin actually started as a short story that I wrote in May 2007. I remember it being a hard short story to write because I had all this additional material left over that wouldn't fit in the short story. In 2008 I started working more seriously on learning how to write a novel. I wrote two middle grades and one young adult, and then I started looking around for my next project. I remembered this story (then called "Skin and Tar") and how much I hadn't been able to tell in a few thousand words, and I thought, this should be my next project. It took almost a year and a half to write.

January 2010 I sent it off to my agent, and then we did some rewrites and in summer it went to my wonderful editor at Tor. She made on offer on it in November—one month before my first child was born! Exciting year. And then, let's see, after that it was 23 months before publication, during which time it went through more rewrites, copyedits, etc. It came out October 2012 in the US, and now November 2013 in the UK through Constable & Robinson.

When I write it all out like that it's amazing what a long process it is. By contrast, I started the sequel, Copperhead, in August 2011 and it just came out in the US in October 2013 (UK in March 2014.) So things are getting faster! :)

2. The UK and the USA have two very different covers, do you get any say in how the cover looks?
Two completely different covers, and both are awesome! I've been so lucky in my covers. With my contract with Tor here in the US, I have "cover consultation", which basically means they ask me if I would like to suggest any ideas, and they show it to me before it's final. Constable & Robinson also showed me the cover before it went live. However, both publishers have final say in what the cover looks like. Which is fine by me! They have way more experience knowing how to show off a book to its best advantage, what the bookstores will like, etc, etc.

3. If you could have any fey ability, what would it be and why?
Good question. Some of the abilities we see over the course of the three Ironskin books include variations on telekinesis, empathy, shape-changing . . . High school me would have definitely chosen shape-changing. I always thought it would be amazing to come to school as someone completely different for a day (not to mention, things like go talk to your crush and find out if they like you!) This probably explains why I did so much theatre—getting to step into someone else's shoes.

This is not one of the fey abilities in my book, but if current me could have any superpower, I would choose teleportation. I have friends and family all over and I would love more than anything to be able to drop in on them at a moment's notice. Not to mention that, like everyone else, I hate airports. Oh man, have they gotten to be a pain! There's a good train system here from Portland to Seattle though, and I've enjoyed taking that. Now to just get high-speed trains all over the States . . . .

4. You are stranded on a desert island with no way of escape or rescue, you are allowed to take five items with you to make life there more comfortable, what do you take and why?
I used to have to try to narrow down a couple of my favorite books for this question (and then I would always get stuck at: do you really want your FAVORITE book? Or the one that you don't mind that you'll hate after a few years of nothing else to read?) But now, of course, I'll say an e-reader with my entire paper library loaded onto it. (I don't have an e-reader currently, but for the desert island, I'd get one.

1. husband (who, besides being good company, can macgyver anything)
2. e-reader with my library on it
3. laptop with internet (I'm fine with not being rescued, but I'd want to chat with all my friends)
4. coffee
5. my two kids (who likely would not make anything more *comfortable!* but I suspect I would be sorry not to have them. ;)

5. Which character do you most relate to personality wise from the characters in Ironskin?
Probably Jane, although she is angrier than I am (and with good reason.) But we are both super stubborn.

6. If you could have a fantasy dinner date with any person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Probably one of the authors I love who's no longer with us. I suppose it's not always wise to meet your heroes, but surely I'd be safe with Diana Wynne Jones or Noel Streatfeild, right? I'd love to ask Streatfeild about her days in the theatre.

7. Twitterise your book, using only 140 characters tell us about your book, Ironskin.
Steampunk Jane Eyre with fairies. ;)

8. I’m sure you have participated in a lot of author interviews, what has been your most weird or hard to answer question?
Actually one of the hardest questions for me is the one about who you would cast if there was a movie of your book! I was recently asked this about Copperhead, and I finally managed to come up with the pairing of Keira Knightley for Jane and Carey Mulligan for Helen. (Helen takes the lead role in Copperhead.) I've never been able to come up with a good casting choice for Edward Rochart, though – any suggestions? :D

Thanks for having me on the blog, Michelle!

About Tina

Tina Connolly lives in Portland, Oregon, in a house that came with a dragon in the basement and blackberry vines in the attic.

Her stories have appeared in Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and the anthology UNPLUGGED: Web's Best SF 2008. Her novel IRONSKIN is out from Tor in Fall 2012, with a sequel in 2013.

She is a frequent reader for Podcastle, and narrates the Parsec-winning flash fiction podcast Toasted Cake. In the summer she works as a face painter, which means a glitter-filled house is an occupational hazard. She likes re-reading books and eating pie for breakfast (preferably at the same time.)

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