Dear Readers,

Today The Jaunty Quills have a special treat for you. Rita winner (the Rita is the most prestigious award conferred by the Romance Writers of America) Joanna Bourne makes her debut on the blog, and she’s graciously agreed to answer a few questions for us about life, love, and Rogue Spy (which releases tomorrow!).

 rogue spy cover amazon

Keep reading to find out how to win your copy of  Rogue Spy.

Shana: Welcome, Jo! Can I call you Jo? Tell readers who might not have read you (shame, readers, shame!) about Rogue Spy and the other books in the Spymasters series.

Joanna Bourne:  I’m going to offer the cover copy, since it’s informative without Giving Away Too Much.

Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever.

Shana: You’ve traveled widely and said in other interviews (yes, I stalk) Paris would be where you’d choose to live. One of many reasons I love reading your books is because it’s so obvious you have been to Paris and know the city well. If readers were to visit Paris, where would you recommend they go to really get the sense of stepping into one of your novels?

Volta marais 2


JB: Go to the Marais. It’s a big section of old Paris that didn’t get neatened out of existence by Baron Haussmann in the Nineteenth Century. (The Victorians were very fond of doing away with all that untidy history stuff.) There you can see the Medieval city and the grand houses of the aristocrats of the Seventeenth Century.

marais 20



My Spymaster people are quartered in the Marais in the 1790s. Some of the streets I mention are very much today as they were then. The Marais is a fine place to soak up atmosphere. The whole of Paris was once a city of small, crooked, cobbled streets and narrow stone buildings.

marais-garden in courtyard

Marais garden

Shana: What is your writing process like? Do you have a daily page or word goal? Do you write early in the morning or late at night? Do you plot or fly by the seat of your pants?

Joanna Bourne: I make outlines. I create a detailed scene-by-scene plan of the story. Not that I follow that, you understand, but I write it out. I do this to give myself confidence and to set my mind at ease.  Also, the publisher wants a synopsis before I start writing. I truly hope they never go back and compare that neat initial synopsis with the manuscript I actually turn in.  

But I’m naturally a Planner, I think. It is my process. I couldn’t do some of the mystery thrillery suspense bits of a story without knowing how the details fit in place. I have to be very structural.

As to the nitty gritty of writing — once I get my mind centered on the story, I write. Time of day isn’t so important. I guess I don’t approach this in an orderly fashion.

Hmmm …  I find I sometimes work better when I’m out at coffee shops or the library. That’s about it for ‘writing habits’.

I haven’t tried setting page or word counts. Mostly I write about five or six hours and then run out of steam.

I recently set up one of those ‘walking desks’. It is an experiment in progress.

Shana: I want one of those desks. Do you have a day job or do you write fulltime?

Joanna Bourne: I’m lucky enough that I can work full time. No day job. I have such respect for writers who hold down full time jobs or maybe have kids, and still keep up a productive writing schedule.

Way to go, says I.

Shana: Did you do any special research for Rogue Spy? Tell us one interesting fact you’ve learned from your research for Rogue Spy or another of your books.

Joanna Bourne: I have the notion of placing a scene in the next book at one of the clothes-washing areas outside of Paris. The city’s laundry would be carted out to the green fields of what was then the countryside, washed in the waters of the Seine, and spread out to dry on the grass and over the bushes.

 drying laundry Helene Schjerfbeck 1883

There’s nothing like period prints and painting to give us the details of the past . . . one painting, being worth a thousand words, as it were. I’ve been able to find dozens of wonderful pictures of French laundresses going about their work and bright French clothing lying over the fields.

 me 42 for website

Shana: Finally, tell us what’s next for you.

Joanna Bourne: Next up is the Séverine story, set in Paris in the early 1820s. I’m early in the process on that one and really don’t know exactly how I’m going to put it all together.  Some intriguing stuff going on though. A hero nobody’s seen before. Well, except Séverine’s seen him.

Shana: Oh, I’ve been waiting for this one!

Readers, now it’s your turn. If you could visit any country or city in the world, which would you choose? One reader who comments will be randomly chosen to win a copy of Rogue Spy. [U.S and Canada only). The winner will be announced on Sunday.

Visit Jo’s website to learn more about her.

Order Rogue Spy now





 Check out my Facebook page this week for a chance to win 3 of Joanna Bourne’s backlist. Super easy entry!

Nov 7

88 thoughts on “Interview and Giveaway with Joanna Bourne

  1. Angie Frawley says:

    I know it’s a widely popular place,but Scotland has my heart..My great grands came from there and deep in my heart I feel “home” when I research and dream of it..

    1. jo bourne says:

      Scotland is utterly beautiful. Good choice.

      Now I don’t write anything set in Scotland so i have only a ‘reader’s appreciation’ of it. I do see why it would inspire a writer.

  2. suejk16 says:

    If I could visit any city in the world? Id be torn between London and Edinburgh. Maybe I should just say, I would love to visit Great Britain and be able to go to both.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Somebody told me Edinburgh has more protected historical sites than any other city in Europe. It’s a beautiful place.

  3. Darlene says:

    I would love to visit Jamaica one day. I don’t know why but it has always appealed to me.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Warm, clear water. Long beaches. Tropical moon.

      Check. Check. Check. Sounds great.

  4. Belinda says:

    I think the perfect place would be Ireland. I love anything celtic.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Ireland is a wonderful place to just go through very slowly. Noplace greener. Just a miraculous green.

  5. Robin Marwick says:

    Great interview! So many possibilities, but I’d love to see Venice.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Venice. Everybody says how utterly beautiful it is.

      I’m a fan of Tuscany. Florence and the hills around it. The light is unbelievable. And the food knocks your socks off.

  6. Susan Gorman says:

    Ireland, Scotland and Wales!

    1. jo bourne says:

      Scotland, Ireland, and Wales.

      Yes, yes, and yes!!

  7. Raquel M. says:

    So many choices, but I will go with Florence, Italy because I have not been there yet.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I just fell in love with Florence. That whole part of Italy is beyond wonderful. I was travelling with a couple kids and everybody just loved kids

  8. Amanda V says:

    Greece or Scotland or maybe both. 😉

    1. jo bourne says:

      Greece has some of the friendliest people in the world. And it’s just beautiful.

      I love the Mary Stewart books that are set in Greece and, more recently, Ella Lathan’s mystery, When in Greece.

  9. Amy H says:

    I have always wanted to see Scotland, and visit the castles. It’s beautiful.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I was thinking of the lovely Scottish Historical Romances I’ve read. Grace Burrowes comes to mind. I don’t suppose Outlander is really a romance, but it’s such a lovely book.

  10. girlfromwva says:

    I would love to go to New York City here in the states. I would go to Paris, France as my dream spot to visit.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I think of museums when I think of New York City. There are a couple I’d love to visit.

  11. Great interview! I love Joanna’s books. If I could visit any city I’d want to go to Shanghai in China. I’d love to see the ancient art.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I would so much love to visit China.

  12. Liette Bougie says:

    Great inteview. I have yet to read Joanna’s books but you, Shana, already know I love spy stories. So, her books are on my TBR list.

    I can’t decide which one city I’d love to visit in the world. For me, you see, the world is sort of divided into sections. For Europe, I’d love to go to Scotland and visit the castles. In Asia, it would be China – the Great Wall and the Silk Road and I’d love a little foray into my husband’s country, Laos. We know that the house where he used to live has been turned into a small hotel (my niece’s ex-boyfriend went three years ago and sent us pictures).

    1. jo bourne says:

      Laos sounds wildly exotic and wildly interesting. So cool.

  13. Jo, welcome to the blog – it’s wonderful to have you here! I’m such a fan of your lovely books, and Adrian remains one of my favorite heroes ever. PS. You’re my hubby’s favorite romance writer.

    As for favorite country, it’s a toss up between England and Italy.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Those are two great countries to be tossed up between.

      I am delighted beyond words to be on your husband’s Romance hit parade. Yes!

  14. BonnieD says:

    There are so many places in the world that I would love to visit. My first choice would have to be England. My husband and I have always had this dream of winning the lottery, renting a house in France and traveling all around Europe from there. It would be awesome!

    1. jo bourne says:

      Me too. Me too. I want to go rent a flat in Paris and live there for a year.

  15. Kathleen Kathleen says:

    Joanna, so great to meet you here! Rogue Spy looks fabulous, and I adore your photos of Paris. Your passion for history really comes through, and I can’t wait to read the book. For me, though France and Italy are definitely high on my list, Ireland always comes in at first place. 🙂

    1. jo bourne says:

      You are so kind. Thank you. I surely do hope you enjoy Rogue Spy.

      When I think of Ireland, I think of those empty coast places with the little white houses and sea at the horizon. Love it.

  16. Brenda Powers says:

    Would love to visit Rome!!

    1. jo bourne says:

      Rome is an antiquarian’s dream. There are places you’re walking on 2000 years of history.

  17. Gretchen H says:

    I want to visit Scotland. My trip will have to be about 3 months long, though, as there isn’t just one city I want to see!

    1. jo bourne says:

      And the countryside of Scotland — just unbelievable.

  18. Anna says:

    How am I expected to pick just one? O.o Can I cheat and say the Aegean Islands?

    J’adore Paris. There was a place in the Marais called L’as du falafel where my husband and I ate when we were there seven or so years ago. If it’s still there and you’re in the neighborhood, it might be worth a stop. It was certainly one of the highlights of a very wonderful trip. Not that you can’t find plenty of delicious things to eat in that city! Lol.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I don’t think I ever had a bad meal in Paris.
      (jo looks at what she’s having for lunch.)
      I miss that place.

  19. Andrea says:

    Always has been England for me! I would love to see all the old historic sites!

    1. jo bourne says:

      If I were of an age and disposition to do this, I do the Youth Hosteling thing again. There are strings of hostels across the walkways of England. That is such a great way to see the country.

      I kinda went bopping from mesolithic site to mesolithic site.

  20. Laurie G says:

    I want to visit Salzburg, Austria. I want to visit where Mosart was born, lived, composed and played his music. I want to visit where The Sound of Music was filmed. I want to eat some of the delicious baked goods. I also want to see the government buildings and hike/drive into the Alps.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Baked goods. Yes!

      To just sit in a cafe and drink little cups of coffee out of cobalt blue, eggshell-thin china. Kaffee mit plenty of schlag

  21. amary says:

    ireland or scotland

    1. jo bourne says:

      As a writer, it’s the Regency period I’d want to see. As a reader or a simpler traveller, I especially like the prehistoric pits.

    2. jo bourne says:

      I love Ireland. That’s one of the places I’d like to go and stay in for a while, out in the country somewhere.

      They have lovely bread.

  22. Kelli says:

    I am lucky enough to have traveled all over the world. London, Paris, Venice, Rome. Hong Kong and Nagoya. Far more, if you want the truth.

    If I had to revisit a country, it would be France. New? Ireland. I’ve never been, and whole lots of my ancestors came from Co. Cork. Our family even has a castle (extreme fixer upper 😉

    Love your books, Joanna. So richly detailed and finely plotted. Can’t wait for this new one!

  23. jo bourne says:

    Thank you so much for the kind words. And France would be my go-to country as well. So beautiful and interesting.

  24. Kathalina says:

    Well I must say a huge thank you to Ms. Grace Burrowes to turning me on to Ms. Bourne. I wrote her early on while i was all caught up on her books and asked for one of her favorite reads and she recommended the SPymasters Lady which I devoured and loved:)

    If I had to visit just one place… Gosh this is so tough because there are tons of places i want to see, too bad time travel isnt an option either… For Historical love I am torn between Italy and Scotland. One for the art the other for the rough beautiful land scapes.

    My goal later in life is to one day own a bed and breakfast with a more stylized atmosphere of the old english or french arsitocratic homes with floor to ceiling library, huge gardens, a ball room, card room, and drawing room for tea:) Who knows one day maybe. not to mention a huge stable and a sheep barn as well.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I owe a debt to Grace Burrowes for recommending me.

      Italy for art. Yes. Beautiful galleries and art treasures that go back to the Etruscans. The mountain parts in the north are uncanny lovely.

  25. Dawn A says:

    I’d love to see all of Europe, but if I have to choose one country, Germany. After Germany, it would have to be Paris.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Germany has some lovely old cities. I kept going up to towers to look at clock mechanisms for some reason.

  26. catslady says:

    I would love to go back to Paris. I was there for only a couple of days many years ago. My husband was born there (military parents) but wasn’t there long but then went back for a few years when he was around 10. I also would love to visit Sicily because all my ancestors came from there. A little town outside of Palermo – Cefalo. They are not resort areas but not when my grandparents were growing up.

    1. catslady says:

      typo – so sorry – that was “they are ‘now’ resort areas.”

    2. jo bourne says:

      I think it would be cool as anything to go to the town my great grandparents and their grand parents and their grandparents lived in.

  27. Melissa Terry says:

    I would love to visit London and Paris. I want to see all the places I read about in books. I really enjoyed your interview and can’t wait to read your nook.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I do hope you enjoy it.

      (jo remembers that the book is out tomorrow and kinda bounces around)I remember (this is apropos of nothing in particular) going from one great house garden to another all across southern England and having a splendid time. I was surrounded by British gardeners and I loved it.

  28. CrystalGB says:

    I would love to visit Australia. It looks beautiful from photos I have seen.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Australia is somewhere I’d love to visit.

      Anne Gracie is a Historical Romance writer from Australia. She writes English Historical Romances, but she herself is very Australian.

  29. Sue P says:

    Only one – never! I’d love to go back to England with my husband in tow. Never went to Scotland when I was there before. Would also like to see France, Italy and Egypt.

    1. jo bourne says:

      I agree with all of this. I want to do all of this. The thing about Scotland is that there’s a surprising amount of it going north and north and north.

      I’d like to go to Scotland in the summer and walk, very slowly, from one country B&B to another along some old path. It just about never gets dark there in the summer.

  30. La Bourne, thank you for gracing us with your presence! I adored Rogue Spy and am so appreciative to have been given an early copy! I am going to Europe next week and plan to visit the Marais on your recommendation. If you have any favorite places for chocolate croissants, let me know those, too. Good luck with the book! I know readers will feel as I did: breathless with the beauty and thrill of the story.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Thank you for the very very kind words.

      I think you’ll enjoy the Marais.

      I was there once, photographing this and that so my heroes and heroines could ride past it and also a bit of a medieval structure, when this old street person came over and said, “That is not polite. You should not take pictures of me. I am a man.”

      And I said, “I’m not taking pictures of you. I’m taking pictures of that building, (I think it was the Hotel de Sens,) which is seven hundred years old and one of the treasures of Paris.”

      And so we parted, each of us satisfied by the encounter.

      I do not need to recommend a bakery. EVERYTHING in Paris is good

  31. SusanD says:

    Prague – I believe some of my family are from that area…

    1. jo bourne says:

      I can think of nothing more interesting than asking around among the old folks in the family and trying to track down some trace of ancestry across a city. What a great way to see it.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Now I’ve got The Girl from Ipanema stuck in my head.

  32. ML says:

    I’ve never been to Eastern Europe, so Prague or Bratislava or Kiev or…..

    1. jo bourne says:

      They say Prague is beautiful and swinging and (this was some years ago) relatively cheap. The pictures show fine, beautiful old buildings.

  33. Cindi Streicher says:

    would love to go back to Scotland. Been there once, but it wasn’t long enough.

    1. jo bourne says:

      And Scotland is a huge place. I don’t think one could see it in a single visit.

  34. Been to Spain, loved it would like to see London, Scotland.

    1. jo bourne says:

      One of the things I loved about England was its great train system. I went all over the place on trains.

  35. Quilt Lady says:

    Scotland is where I have always wanted to go!

  36. Lubnaa J says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Italy 🙂

  37. Lynnd says:

    Paris is one of my favourite cities with Vienna coming in a close second. The place I would most like to visit is New Zealand. It looks like such a beautiful and magical place.

    1. jo bourne says:

      You know they made Lord of the Rings there. You can visit the set where Hobbiton was shot. See Hobbit holes and the Birthday Tree.

  38. Pat Walker Pinkston says:

    Either London and Edinburgh. Also Ireland.

    1. jo bourne says:

      Ireland is a beautiful land to visit. I felt so at home there. Maybe it’s because I have Irish blood.

  39. Glenda says:

    I’ve been to England, went to Bath and other villages then spent a week in London. It was no where near enough time. I’d love to have a year or so just to travel England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Then there are other countries and cities to see… 🙂

    1. jo bourne says:

      It would be great to have little camper and go travelling around the British Isles.

  40. Barbara Elness says:

    I would visit London so I could see the setting of so many wonderful stories I’ve read over the years. My background is English, so I’d like to see where my ancestors are from as well.

    1. jo bourne says:

      London is a fascinating city. And England’s very easy to travel in. And if you have ancestors there I can imagine nothing more fun than tracking them down

  41. Georgie D says:

    My next wish list includes Germany, “Down Under” and Middle to East Coast of Canada, Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and Washington… Phew! I have been to London, Ireland and Scotland several times and my heart belongs in Scotland, but I love travel… TMI – LOL

    1. jo bourne says:

      ‘Down Under’ sounds like great fun. I’d love to see the wildlife, especially along that huge coast..

  42. Glittergirl says:

    I’d pick Scotland or Europe in general. I’ve fallen hard for those burly heroic Scots with their toe-curling burr 😉 But, as a former architecture student I’ve always dreamed of visiting those awesome buildings I studied in College…Someday I’ll see the Notre Dame and see those flying buttresses, sigh… Thanks for the giveaway *fingers crossed* as I can’t find it in the local bookstores.

  43. Marie says:

    Thank you for telling us about your new release! It sounds great. One of the places I’d like most to visit would be England. So much history, literature, and scenery! Thanks again for the fun interview!

  44. JoannaM says:

    Such a great interview! And for the love of me I couldn’t possibly choose just one city. There is so much to see, so many places to visit and so much history in just each one of them. I’ve always dreamed about traveling all over Europe so in all honesty I couldn’t just pick one, but Paris has just popped in a whole different light in my radar 😉

  45. Meredith Hillenbrand says:

    I really enjoyed your interview and would love to read your book! I have scottish castles in my heritage and ancestors from Ireland as well. I would love to visit both places. Thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  46. Janie McGaugh says:

    I’d choose New Zealand.

  47. Chelsea B. says:

    I would have to say Scotland. I’d absolutely love to go full tourist on that place 😉

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