Wednesday, 12 December 2012
Exclusive Interview with Tina Connolly, author of Ironskin
Tina : Hi Soumi! Thanks for having me on the blog to talk about Ironskin!
Me : Ironskin is a steampunk retelling of Jane Eyre. How the Bronte’s masterpiece did inspire you into writing Ironskin?
Tina : Ironskin actually grew out of an unpublished short story. I started from an image of a girl standing in an artist's studio at midnight. On the table she finds a mask—a beautiful version of her own face. The story grew from that as I wondered who would make that sort of mask and why—and what would the girl think of it. I was playing with gothic elements by having a governess go to a creepy house, but I was not specifically thinking Jane Eyre when I wrote the short story. Later when I began turning the short story into a novel I started pulling from Jane Eyre more openly. I had always loved Jane Eyre and I really loved working with Bronte's novel.
Me : How come you got the idea of setting the story in a steampunk background of a Great Fey war, was there any specific thoughts in your mind when you wrote Ironskin?
Tina : With Jane, I wanted to show someone who was struggling with the damage she had lived through. All the characters are struggling with the things that have happened in their past, and trying to find ways to keep going, even when the past cannot be left behind. So that was part of how they ended up in a world that was the aftermath of war. And then technology is just different in this world—humans used to trade with fey for clean tech, but no more. So things have crashed, post-war. So the timeline of technology there is necessarily a bit odd, as the humans try to adapt and rebuild.
Me : How Jane and Edward in Ironskin are different from Jane and Edward in Jane Eyre?
Tina : You know, I would say I played with similarities and differences for all the characters in the novel. Sometimes I changed the names to show I was taking that character further afield than the original, and sometimes I used an original character name to hint at a role they might be playing. The most different character is certainly my Helen, but then it's pretty clear she's occupying a different role as Jane's sister.
Me : Other than Jane Eyre, what are your favourite classic novels?
Tina : Probably my all-time favorite is Pride and Prejudice. I love Jane Austen! I'm a big fan of Charlotte Bronte as well, of course. My favorite of her novels is probably Villette. Other favorites include Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham, and Saki's short stories.
Me : Tell us few words about the second instalment of Ironskin.
Tina : It actually focuses on Jane's sister Helen! Jane is in the novel too, but I wanted to have the chance to see Helen's side of things and watch her come into her own. It's set six months after the end of Ironskin. The city has become a much more dangerous place, particularly for the ironskin. Helen has decided to help Jane with the task Jane starts at the end of Ironskin. But disaster strikes, and Helen finds herself drawn into the dangerous world of the fey in a way she's not expecting.
Me : Are you working on any other project than Ironskin series?
Tina : I have a couple YA novels I was working on right about the time I sold Ironskin. So I've been looking over those lately. One has witches and the other mermaids. They're very different from Ironskin, so it's been fun to have that change of pace. I also have a podcast called Toasted Cake where I read flash (very very short stories) and that's been great fun. I've read some amazing stories by a lot of talented folks this year.
Me : If you have given a chance to be one character from your favourite classic novel (other than Jane Eyre of course), who would it be and why?
Tina : When I was little, I used to spend a LOT of time pondering this! Some of my top answers were: Trot from L. Frank Baum's Oz series (she gets to meet mermaids in one of the books!), Emily from LM Montgomery's Emily books (she becomes a writer! Although her big romance is agony until it finally plays out...) and a whole bunch of different characters from Noel Streatfeild's books, who get to work on stage or in the circus. I particularly like Sorrel from Theatre Shoes.
Me : Thank you Tina, for your time and stopping over my blog for this lovely interview.
Tina : Thank you so much for having me!