Tuesday 21 May 2013

Iron & Wine Review plus Interview with Candace Osmond

iron  Iron & Wine by Candace Osmond


Iron & Wine is an Urban Fantasy novel set in world full of hidden magical places and secret societies cloaked by modern-day. In the first instalment of the Iron World Series, young artist Avery Quinn reluctantly leaves behind her quiet and comfortable home in the country and moves to the city with her best friend Julie Ryan. With the expectation that college will be the most exciting part of her life, Avery hopes that her little world remains quiet and simple. But after a troublesome blue sprite looking for help appears in her bedroom one night, her boss turns out to be a three hundred year old vampire, and her best friend accidentally reveals herself as an orphaned pixie, school quickly becomes the least of her worries. Every aspect of Avery’s life explodes with mythical beings and legendary creatures who all play a very important role in her existence. Some are friends, some are guardians, while others quickly become life threatening and deadly enemies. Avery must learn to juggle living in both her world and theirs. But, in this magical tale of strange love, strong bonds and scary beings; what once was nothing more than mere fairy tales told to her by her Aunt Tess are now a scary reality and Avery has somehow landed deep in the middle with little or no way out except death or worse…the loss of her humanity.

Lisa's Review - 4 out of 5 stars

The last few years I have devoured pretty much every paranormal type book I could - vampires, werewolves, witches and so on. One of the reasons I wanted to read Iron & Wine after reading the synopsis was because I had yet to read a book that involved a lot of my favourite mythical beings, as well as adding to the mix an array of fairies, pixies and sprites! It's like a mix of fairytale/paranormal! I was also rather intrigued by the name, but Iron & Wine soon becomes very clear as you read and fits the story well.

I loved the way Candace Osmond writes the story of a normal teenage girl, then fits this whole other world filled with magical creatures, painting a beautiful image for the mind to capture, and it doesn't get 'awkward' or dull. I admit that some of the characters were slightly predictable, although it doesn't stop the fun of reading on to see if you guessed right. I think I have worked out another of the characters which will hopefully be revealed in the next book - but again, I now NEED to read the next book to see if I got it right!

I did enjoy the story, and the characters were great. I do admit that I did feel slightly too old as I read it, I am sure if this book had been around when I was in my late teens/early 20's I would have enjoyed it a lot more, but still it was very good anyway. Saying that I am rather young at heart so will be very much looking forward to the next part of the Iron & Wine Series!

Candace Osmond

co Born in 1985 as Candace Osmond in North York Ontario, I began to travel with my parents at the very young age of four years old. I had lived all over Canada and seen everything my country has to offer, from the enchanting shores of Newfoundland to the gigantic snow-capped mountains of British Columbia all by the time I was ten. I did, however, spend most of my life in Eastern Canada where I was surrounded by folklore and legends, not knowing how they would shape my personality and imagination for the rest of my life.
Being the only girl of my age in a small group of kids, in an even smaller town, left me spending most of my time by myself and, in result, letting my imagination take over. I would sit by the shore and dream up stories of mermaids and other fantastic creatures to pass the time. Coming from a family with writers and artists dispersed throughout, it was only natural that I spend my time writing, drawing and reading. I dreamed of becoming nothing more than an artist, a creator of any kind. By the age of eleven, I spent most of my waking hours scribbling down short stories, poems and anything else I could think of, while adding my own personal illustrations. By the age of fourteen, I had won numerous local and minor arts and writing competitions.
I excelled at anything art and literature related so, naturally, I planned to attend university for nothing more or less than that. In 2003 I planned to attend university for Creative Writing and Literary Studies. But, with the fear that I would spend all my time and money on an education and end up in a field that I may very well struggle to succeed in, I backed out and attended school for Design instead. Now, a successful Designer specializing in interiors, I met a man and fell in love. His passion and talent for art far exceeds my own, but he motivated me and awakened my old habits of staying up late and waking up early to scribble down dreams and ideas before I had forgotten them and they disappeared forever.

I am very happy to share this great interview with Candace to the Booky Ramblings readers! And Candace has kindly shared an excerpt from her next book in The Iron World Series, Blood & Bone!

Thankyou, Candace, for joining us today!

1.       What inspired you to write your first book?

A few years back, I had this idea for a book.  Just rough ideas at first, then I started to dream up the characters and from there it sort of fell together. I became obsessed and I didn’t stop until it was done. I was inspired from a number of things; the folklore that surrounded me as a child in Eastern Canada, my tastes in TV and movies, and just plain imagination. I created a magical world that I wanted to live in.

 2.       Do you have a specific writing style?

Yes, I call it drink-a-lot-of-coffee-and-hope-for-the-best! Just kidding!  I actually have a strange writing style. First, I dream up the idea. Then, I spend months writing notes on anything I can find until I have enough to compile a rough draft. Then, I piece it all together like a movie.

3.       How did you come up with the title?

Oh, that’s a fun one. The title Iron & Wine was inspired by many things. It represents the struggle that Avery faces when juggling both the real world, full of iron objects, and the magical world of Faerie. It also represents the two most important people in her life; Jack, the vampire she often refers to as an iron cage, and her fairy friends.

4.       Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes, especially to young girls. Value yourself, value your innocence and your humanity. Don’t waste your life wishing and wanting to be someone else. Oh, and stay in school!

5.       How much of the book is realistic?

Not much, really. It seems realistic because some of it is set in the real world that we all know. But it’s really all fictional. The only “real” things you can find are my own habits that I instilled into Avery like coffee, junk food, and being a sucker for blue eyes.

6.       Are your novels based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

No, not really. I mean, I used a lot of characteristics of friends and family to create my characters, but that’s about it. The rest all come from up here *taps head*

7.       Which of your projects have influenced your life the most?

The Iron World Series, hands down. It was my very first real writing project that went to publication. It inspired me to make the decision to become a full-time writer, and gave me the confidence to do it.

8.       If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

I know it seems cliché, but I have to say Stephenie Meyer. Not because I love her books, which I do, but for the fact that her whole experience with writing Twilight was just like mine. I had never published anything before, and wasn’t sure how my friends and family would accept it. So I wrote the whole book in secret, even hiding it from my fiancé. I was terrified of rejection, that someone would tell me I was wasting my time. But, I did it anyway, and now look! The Iron World Series will wrap up this year, I have a thriller series in the works, and I’m co-authoring a handful of projects. Plus, her books became movies. How cool is that?

9.       What book are you reading now?

The Hobbit, when I find time.

10.   What are your current projects?

I’m currently getting the second book in The Iron World Series, Blood & Bone, ready for publication. I’m also about three-quarters of the way done with writing the third and final book in the series. I’m working on a thriller based on a secret society of organ harvesters. Plus, I’m co-authoring a few erotic fiction projects as well as a new YA series about a group of young boys who survive a vicious werewolf attack. Phew! It’s even tiring to talk about it!

11.   Do you see your writing as a career?

Absolutely, it’s what sets me apart from that scared young girl who wrote a novel in secret. If you want to be taken seriously in this industry you have to be professional about it and treat it like a career. But, at the same time, don’t forget that it’s what you love to do. The day I stop loving it is the day I should stop writing.

12.   If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

Yes and no. Now that the whole vampire hype is over, I wish that there weren’t any in my books. But, I keep telling myself that the series isn’t about vampires, it just happens to have some appearances. All three books are based on the magical world of Faerie and the creatures that come from it. And, as the series progresses, it’s focused more and more on those creatures and less on the vampires.

13.   Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

Yes, it all came from reading. I was never into sports as a kid. I was obsessed with books. My parents enrolled me in the Scholastic Book Club and I counted down the days to every new flyer. Then, as I got older, I found myself reading stories and making my own notes on how to improve them or what I would have done instead. And from there came my passion for writing.

14.       Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Oh my gosh, yes! Time is my enemy. There’s not enough of it in a day. Take an authors average day and throw in some freelance writing projects, a toddler, a fiancé, and a thousand loads of laundry and that’s my life in a nutshell. I swear it’s a miracle that I get any writing done at all.

15.       Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not yet, but I will in the near future. After this online book tour I’m going to plan a local tour with a few locations in Alberta. Plus, I hope to be at RT Con 2014 in New Orléans!

16.    Who designed the covers?

My wonderful, talented, and amazing fiancé designed my book covers and all of the graphics you can find related to my work. I lucked out and ended up with a graphic designer. It was sort of fate. 

17.       What was the hardest part of writing your book?

In a recent interview I answered this same question and said that finishing the story was the hardest part. But now I think that going through the editing phase is the hardest. It has its ups and downs and can be very challenging.

18.       Do you have any advice for other writers?

Pick an editor that’s right for you and your style of writing. And, yes, you will need an editor. Don’t think you’re too good for one. I had that mind-set, once upon a time, and I totally regret it. Yes, your spelling and grammar might be perfect but an editor will see things that you won’t. They will enhance the story and make you a better writer. I love my editor. Without her, my stories would be a flop and so would I.

19.       Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Always keep reading. If it’s what you love then don’t stop because someone else thinks it’s not cool. Don’t be afraid to try new books, they will expand your mind and introduce you to worlds you never knew existed.

And here it is, a sneak peek excerpt into Blood & Bone, Candace's second book in The Iron World Series!

20.       Can you share a little of your current work with us?

Oh, I dunno…SURE! Here is an excerpt from the second book in The Iron World Series. It’s called Blood & Bone and ill be released soon, I promise! Oh, and SPOILER ALERT!

“No, don’t back out now!” I took my jacket off and threw it on the floor. I reached up and nearly ripped my shirt as I hauled on the collar to expose my naked neck. “Come on! Do it! You said you’re not accepting no for an answer, and my answer will always be no, so just do it Jack!”

A deep and fierce growl erupted from his throat. He lunged toward me. I braced myself for the pain I knew was coming. But, instead of the expected sensation of my throat being ripped out, Jack grabbed my arms and held them tightly at my sides.

“Stop it,” he warned. I’d seen him angry before, but not like this. “I would never do that. Do you think I want to spend an eternity with two females hating the sight of me?”

It took me a second to gather myself and play back what he’d said in my head.

“What do you mean? Who else are you talking about?”

“My sister.”

“Why would she be mad? Wouldn’t she be relieved that I could defend myself too?”

“Yes and no,” he replied. “Celadine wants you to be able to protect yourself, but she doesn’t want me to…she doesn’t want you to be a vampire.”

I felt something unexpected; disappointment and rejection. My beloved Celadine didn’t want me forever.

“Oh, I see.”

Jack rolled his eyes and huffed a deep sigh in annoyance. “It’s not like that.”

“Oh, what is it like then?”

“I can’t really explain it.”

“Here’s an idea; try,” I quickly reply.

“That’s not something I’m willing share with you.”

I gasped. “You want me to live forever with you but you plan to keep secrets from me?” I let out a guffaw. “Nice, real nice, that’s a sure-fire way to convince me.”

“Damn it, Avery! Why do you have to be so stubborn?”

“Me? I’m not the stubborn one, mister!”

He let out a loud growl this time and pounded his fist into the wall next to him, caving in the concrete like it was baby powder.

“I can’t force you to change because you will hate me for an eternity and I’ll lose my sister in the process. I almost lost her once; I won’t make the same mistake again.”

The same mistake? What had he done? Geez, why was it always a brain puzzle trying to talk to these people? I quickly scanned over what I knew and what he’d just said. Changing me against my will would be considered the same mistake, and he would lose Celadine by doing so. Celadine would be destroyed because of her bond to me. Like the bond she’d had with Derek, the human she loved so long ago and lost when he had given up his humanity to a vampire. Then I realized what he meant by the same mistake.

I began to back away from Jack. He looked like a monster to me right now, the very thing I didn’t want to become. My classroom was in shambles once more, as were my nerves. He noticed me putting distance between us and quickly figured out that I’d pieced it together.

“Avery, wait!” he begged and came toward me.

I threw up my arms. “No! You stay away from me!” I was crying now. “I can’t believe it, after everything, neither one of you told me.”

“Avery…we didn’t want to scare you. We wanted you to trust us,” Jack paused until he could make eye contact with me. “Which you can, I swear.”

“That’s sounds ridiculous,” I reply. “You want me to trust you when all you’ve done lately is pressure me to become a vampire, letting me think that I have a shred of a choice in the matter. But I don’t, you say it’s only a matter of time before Evaine finds me, well now I think it’s only a matter of time until you can’t stand it anymore.”

He just stared at me, unable to deny what I was saying.

“You were the vampire who changed Derek, weren’t you?”

He blinked twice and swallowed nervously. “Yes.”

“How could you do that to Celadine, your own sister?”

“You could never begin to understand my reasoning,” Jack replied hastily.

“Good, because I don’t want to,” I grabbed my jacket from the floor and stormed out of my classroom, leaving him behind.

Thankyou so much Candace for your time! I hope our readers enjoyed the interview as much as I did! Have a look at the links below to find out more about Candace, and her books!






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