Joanna Bourne has made a big hit in the romance community with her debut novel, The Spymaster’s Lady and the follow up, My Lord and Spymaster. Ms. Bourne possesses a delightful sense of humor (my husband and I got the biggest kick out of her blog entry about the DA BWAHA contest. Please give Joanna a warm welcome. Leave her a comment or ask her a question, and you’ll qualify to win a copy of My Lord and Spymaster!
My Lord and Spymaster
Raised as a poor but cunning pickpocket, Jess Whitby may have grown into a wealthy young woman, but now she must once again rely on her guile. Her father’s been wrongly accused of selling secrets to Napoleon, and he is going to hang-unless Jess finds the real traitor in the London underworld. She never dreamed her search would begin by waking up naked in a rude captain’s bed. Or how little she’d mind…When Captain Sebastian Kennett prevents a kidnapping on the London docks, he takes the headstrong would-be victim home. He’s infatuated with her courageous spirit. She’s enthralled by his commanding strength and the sexy spark in her eyes. The she discovers something else about the spellbinding seaman: He could be the traitor she’s hunting, the man whose next move could determine her father’s fate- and her future as well.
“Bourne’s latest espionage-based series historical (following The Spymaster’s Lady) entices with subtle subterfuge and heated romance. Jess Whitby, daughter of suspected spy Josiah Whitby, is doing everything in her power to exonerate her imprisoned father. In order to free him, she must prove that someone other than her father is the Cinq, a notorious mole. But Jess has met her match in Capt. Sebastian Kennett, wealthy bastard son of an English nobleman, equally as clever at keeping tabs on Jess as she is at tracking him. Sebastian is responsible for Josiah’s arrest; Jess believes that Sebastian may be the Cinq; their mutual attraction proves a lovely foil for their suspicious minds. Glimpses of the leads’ sordid pasts add depth, and Bourne’s consummate way with a story line and an explosive denouement do the rest.”
Joanna Bourne Interview
BK: Thank you for joining us, Joanne!
The Spymaster’s Lady and My Lord and Spymaster have taken the romance world by storm. Were you surprised by their success? Was there a moment when you realized, I’m going to be a hit at this romance writing thing?
JK: My first and overwhelming sensation was delight that Spymaster’s Lady sold at all.
It was kind of a close thing. We were going through one of those, ‘Historical Romance is Dead,’ periods, so they were buying less Historical than they might have. And there’s the common wisdom that Romances set outside America and the British Isles don’t sell well.
Spymaster’s Lady was a little weird in some ways, I suppose. I remember one rejection I got — the nice woman pointed out that I was making a number of grammatical errors. Was English my first language?
Anyhow, Berkley took a chance on me.
I was flabbergasted by the lovely reviews and the interest and the kind support.
I have RITA FINALIST Nominations for both books.
I haven’t got over the flabbergasted stage, really.
“Wow,” says I, and, “Oh my.”
As to being a ‘hit’ in terms of selling lots of books . . . *wry grin*.
I don’t know whereas hit-dom is exactly just on the immediate horizon. But I do hope the Maggie book — out in 2010 from Berkley, God willing and the crick don’t rise — will avoid the books-that-suck category.
BK: Interesting, the way the romance market waxes and wanes. It seems like the moment they figure out a trend, it’s finished and something new is happening, doesn’t it?
What is sure to distract you from sitting down and working/writing?
JB: Criminy. What doesn’t distract me? I have a hummingbird of a mind, always flitting off in any random direction, headed for the next showy flower.
Anything will pull me away from the writing. I will scrub the kitchen floor in preference to sitting down to write. I’ll wash the dog. I will watch bad TV.
I have to schedule a regular time every day and go somewhere OUT of the house to work, where there’s nothing to do but drink coffee and work.
BK: What are you working on presently? What about upcoming releases?
JB: I’m in the middle of Maggie’s story. Maggie and Doyle. These two appear as secondary characters in The Spymaster’s Lady and My Lord and Spymaster. This is how they met and fell in love and managed to stay alive despite considerable and concentrated effort from various interested parties. Adrian’s in there too.
is set in France in 1794. We are smack dab in the middle of French Revolution, in the time of The Terror, and fairly terrifying it is.
You think American politics are rough? In 1794 ,when you annoyed the Powers That Be, they cut your head off.
BK: What’s the best compliment you ever got on your writing or a book?
BK: Somebody called it ‘intelligent fiction’.
BK: If you could time travel to any time or place—the past or future—where and when would you go to, and why?
JB: I’m going to answer for how I feel right now at this minute. Other minutes, you’d get other answers.
I’m sitting in a coffeeshop, listening to jazz. It’s raining outside. The street is black with it and it’s all beaded up on the windows. Just beautiful.
I imagine myself in Paris in the 1920s, on the Left Bank. Since this is imagination, I make myself skinny and dressed in slinky black. I find a table way in a quiet corner of the Cafe de Flore. They all come in, singly or in groups. Brooding. Thinking. Settling down with a notebook to write. Drinking pernod. Reading. Arguing loudly and passionately. James Joyce. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda. Pablo Picasso and some bimbo model he’s dragged along. e. e. cummings. Sylvia Beach. Gertrude Stein and Alice. Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Hemingway.
BK: I can just picture it. Jack Finney would say you were the perfect candidate for time travel with that imagination, Joanna. 🙂 Thank you for visiting with us today, and best of luck in future works.
Leave Jo a comment to qualify to win a copy of My Lord and Spymaster. The winner will be announced during the evening of 4/13/9. For those of you who already haven’t done so, be sure and enter the super Daring Time Contest and win BIG!