Saturday, November 28, 2015


Welcome best selling author Joanna Bourne who lucky me got to meet in October and chat with at the Washington Romance Writers of America luncheon for bloggers, readers  and authors.  Yes a total fan girl moment  for me and I was gushing and in awe  a definite thrill me!

So I was so honored when multiple RITA winner and best selling author Joanna Bourne agreed to honor me with an interview as she is what I call one of my Queens of historical romance which is the only genre I read who is stopping by today at Celtic Barb's Blog to chat.

Joanna has written a wonderful selection of books we all love set during the Napoleonic wars such as The Forbidden Rose, The Spymaster's Lady, The Rogue Spy, My Lord and Spymaster, The Black Hawk and also  Her Ladyship's Companion which was her debut in 1983. I don't think a lot of people who discovered during her first Spymasters series realize as I myself thought it was new release until I did a little research.

I am also giving away a free book giveaway mass paperback copy of Black Hawk  as I know this a busy holiday weekend so I will give you all a week to comment and winner will be picked randomly all you have to do is say hello to Joanna in the comment section of this interview.

Joanna lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge with her family, a medium-sized mutt and a faux Himalayan cat.

She writes Historical Romances set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars. She's fascinated by that time and place -  Joanna says such passionate conviction and burning idealism ... and really sexy clothes.

Joanna's website -

Joanna's Blog -

Joanna Facebook -  Joanna Bourne

Joanna Twitter - @jobourne

Welcome Joanna Bourne and thank you so much for stopping today at Celtic Barb's Blog for an interview I can't thank you enough. This is totally a fan girl moment for me as I have been a fan for close to twenty five years!

CB: What is your favorite novel you have written and why is this novel so near and dear to you?

JB: Blast. I have to make the same answer I’ve seen other authors make. My favorite story (and the one that most frustrates me and drives me nuts and delights me) is the one I’m working on.

JB: The thing is, I don’t look back. Once a story is told I move ahead to the next one. I never read the old books again. I don’t think about them unless I need to backreference in the new story.

JB: My favorite hero is Doyle. My trickster. My strong, stoical one. My wise man.
JB:My most difficult character to write was probably Lazarus. Hard to make a villain charismatic and dangerous, ruthless and yet appealing.
JB:My favorite heroine is Justine, who has the longest journey and the longest wait for her Happily Ever After.
The character I’d most like to jump in bed with is Hawker. Because . . . well . . . Hawker.

CB: What characteristics do you look for in your male heroes and female heroines?

JB: All my heroic characters have strong principles. They believe in something or someone. They care passionately. They have the bravery and strength of will to do what’s right.

CB: The first romance novel you ever read and loved and put on your keeper shelf?

Joanna: I was in my teens before I started reading Romance. Probably my first Romance keeper was Shanna. Not my first keeper book, by any means. But my first keeper in genre Romance.

CB: How much time do you spend in your "writing cave" per week?

Joanna: Ooohhh. That’s a hard one. I can write for about six hours in a good day and then my mind dries up. I have to stop. I manage to write most days. If I called my job a 40-hour week, I wouldn’t be far off.

CB: How long does it typically take to write and finish a novel before sending off to proof readers, editors etc.?

JB: A year. That is, a year going downhill with the wind behind me, God willing, and the crick don’t rise.

CB: Last novel you read and loved and your favorite place to read?

JB: The most recent book I really enjoyed was Tony Hillerman’s Coyote Waits.

JB: As to where I like to read
Do I get to say ... Paris

JB: More seriously, I do love to curl up in a big comfy chair in front of the woodstove. Snow on the ground outside. The wind howling at the window. A shawl wrapped around me to keep out the drafts. A hot cup of coffee at my hand. My dog snoring at my feet.

CB:With so many books going in the route of Hollywood these days would you like any of your books to become a motion picture, cable television series, or mini television series or even a Broadway play?

JB:Let’s make it Spymaster’s Lady. That one has lots of good dialog. I think the action would work out well in a movie.

CB:What made you choose your profession to become an author and why did you choose this genre with so many other genres in romance?

JB: I love Romance. I love history. Historical Romance makes a nice match with my interests, doesn’t it?

JB:'I always wanted to be a writer. I rather expected I’d be writing Science Fiction though. That’s what I mostly read growing up.

CB: Do you have a mentor or another author friend that gave you advice when you decided to become a writer and write your first novel?

JB:Not really. My mentors were the books. That’s where I learned the love of writing and sorta unconsciously picked up the techniques.

CB: What advice would you give to aspiring writers today?

JB: Just go ahead and do it. Trust yourself. You’re storyteller, part of an ancient tradition. Don’t worry about technique or what will sell. Just tell Your story.”

CB: Thank you so much for stopping byCeltic Barb's Blog tonight Joanna and giving us some insight on how those multi talented creative juices flow! I was a total honored  as I have been a fan since Spymaster's Lady as I have found each and every book has a little of everything in them mystery, suspense, adventure, drama and love plus lots of twist and turns where your just never quite know what the result will be. I am looking forward to more of your books in the future as I know your readers as well. Keep writing those fascinating stories your readers like myself all love. Thanks again I really appreciate you taking the time.

Now for the giveaway all you have to in make a small comment in the comment box bellow and you will be automatically entered. The contest will be open through December 6th 12pm winner will be picked randomly on December 7th.

I will announce the winner here at also at my book group Tartan Book Reviews. A place I do a lot of promoting authors in historical romance genre too, talk history and all kinds of fun stuff. Also do Free giveaways there as well.  Thanks again this was so much fun and remember continue on the WRW BLOGHOP lots of bloggers will be interviewing more authors in every genre in romance after all everyone wants to fall in love! 😀❤️


  1. I love the Interview . Will need to get this one

  2. I like the sound of this one and the spy master lady

    1. I sure do hope you like it. If you get both Black Hawk and Spymaster's Lady, I'd read TSL first.

  3. Love it! And I love all your books. And yes, I'm sort getting all high-pitched and squee-ing. *ahem*

    I love your discussion about language, especially Spymaster's Lady, when they're shifting languages and their syntax changes and you talk about how their voices change when they speak German. And, of course, Hawker learning Gascon French by cussing at donkeys in Forbidden Rose.

    It's funny: I read the series in the order they came out and a friend read them starting with Forbidden Rose, which apparently made a difference in understanding the people. I'm going to have to do it in that order the next time. I'm about due for a re-read.

    1. The whole business of writing the books out of order -- it's something I fell into by accident -- has turned out to be both good and bad. I don't recommend this kind of writing to anybody ... but it did have advantages.

      For instance, it's likely Forbidden Rose (1792) was better developed because it came after I'd written Spymaster's Lady (1802). The characters were backdated, as it were, to match what they would become. I was constrained to write Doyle in a certain way in FR because of what we'd already seen of him "ten years later" in TSL.

      My Hawker in FR and TSL was going to be senior in the Service in 1818. I knew this from Her Ladyship's Companion. When I plotted out TSL, in fact, I decided Hawk would be Head of Service. The Hawker/Doyle relationship in TSL and FR was written knowing that someday Hawker would be Doyle's boss.

      It makes it a little trickier to write, all this.

  4. Thank you so much! Remember just by commenting Demetra you are automatically entered for free giveaway of The Black Hawk which is an awesome book, the thing about Joanna's book yiu can read as stand alone book. I recomment in book order well just because it's fun connecting the dots per say. Plus forst scene on Spymaster's is a prison scene and I really felt for the heroine. Joanna's books really get you from the the Huge fan can you tell.

  5. Love the books, Joanna, and the one burning question I always have after reading one of them is how the heck did you learn all those details about France during the revolution, the British Secret Service, and the London underworld? What's your favorite go-to reference?

    1. I've done a good bit of research on this stuff. There is bookage to come.

      For France During the Revolution ... the 'straight history' is just everywhere. The battles, the politics, the philosophical significance. You can't walk into a library without tripping over it.

      Maybe try for a real brief 'crash course'.

      A little harder to find are books that talk about what it was like to live in Paris then. Try,

      Daily Life in the French Revolution, Jean Robriquet.

      Also maybe look at the Nicolas Le Floch TV series. It's in French but available with subtitles. It's set 20 years before the Revolution, but the visuals are lovely and gritty and the details of everyday life hadn't changed much. (fashion did.)

      For the London Underworld:

      Thieves' Kitchen, Donald Low
      The Regency Underworld, Donald Low
      London's Underworld, Peter Quennell
      Mayhew's Characters, ed. Peter Quennell

      Now. As to the British Secret Service ...

      My British Intelligence Service didn't actually exist. It is created from whole cloth.

      Could something like 'The Service' have existed?
      Well, maybe not something exactly like what I've created.
      But we do know information about genuine historical English spy organizations of the period was fiercely suppressed and papers destroyed.

      So maybe a 'British Intelligence Service' existed, Maybe in 1820 or 1830 it neatly tidied away all proof of its existence rather than be used against liberal British groups. Maybe the Service went underground for a generation or two, reporting privately to the Admiralty or to Parliamentary committees on an informal basis. Maybe Colonel Creighton in 'Kim' was part of it, playing the Great Game in 1890. Maybe that core tradition that went back to Walsingham went on to form the core of the Secret Service Bureau in 1909.

      Who knows?
      A good bit of genuine Regency spying went on though. For 'real historical spying' you could look at

      The French Secret Service, Richard Deacon (Only the first couple chapters)
      Most Secret and Confidential: Intelligence in the Age of Nelson, Steven Maffeo
      Secret Service: British Agents in France 1792 to 1815

      That's probably more than you wanted to know.


  6. I love your stories, Jo, as you know--all of them. I like the way you think, the intricate details, the history. Sigh. It's all good. And Shanna was one of my early favorites, too!

    1. Oh and I must add that in Rogue Spy, I loved the little sayings you added to the chapters. So clever!

    2. I had so much fun writing those Baldoni sayings.

    3. They were so well done. Best book of 2015.

  7. I love them all and have listened to a few. I think I'll do a re-read ... just because! Eagerly anticipating the next one!

    1. I know I have been so bad and dilatory getting this next book out. I'm writing away at it and will eventually finish. Honest.

      I do have a short story out in the anthology Last Chance Christmas Ball that is on the shelves now. But it's only a very short story.

  8. I have looked forward to this interview and was not disappointed. I loved Jo's answers. I would be hard-pressed to pick a favorite--whichever one I am reading at the time would likely be my answer. But Spymaster's Lady is the one I go back to again and again.

    1. I can't pick a favorite myself. I guess, in a way, it's all one extended story.
      Does that make sense?

  9. This series, the language.....What I'd want to ask would be directed to those who know Jo best: is she as complex as her characters? I've read these books twice, each time noticing something new. Bet when I read them again I'll discover another nuance, too. Thanks, Jo, for these fascinating stories and characters!

    1. *cough*

      I'm actually a very simple person. Look into my head at any given time and it will be full of --
      "Should I make a pecan pie tomorrow? The kitchen has a board full of flour and I could make one ..."
      "Will I drink the last of the orange juice? Or not?"
      "How do I get these two characters into bed? How? How? How?"

      None of this is particularly profound.

      My characters are much smarter than I am. My readers are also much smarter. It is somewhat dismaying how smart my readers are.

      (jo waves at her readers.)

  10. I love it! I have Deacon's book on the British Secret Service, and I'm in the middle of William Wickham's Swiss adventures. Thanks, Jo!

    1. Wickham is one of the folks I was thinking of -- the ones who were careful to destroy all the written evidence.

      But when it comes down to it, my Service is fictional. I read the real history, but I'm not trying to recreate it.

  11. How can we get you to BC? A book promo, a conference...a great chat over a bottle of wine with accommodations provided? I know you are wary of travel. Is there a way to help you overcome that?��

    1. I'll be in San Diego for RWA16 next summer. Does that count? I will probably stop in San Francisco on the way back. And Washington DC on February 13, 2016.

      That is just a wild amount of travelling, isn't it?

    2. It is and it sounds exhausting. I think you might need a little R & R on Vancouver Island. Just sayin'.

  12. Joanna I first heard you speak at the Surrey International Writers Conference, in BC in 2010. I think often about what you said about dialogue and characters doing something when they speak.

    1. I had such a good time at SIWC. So much fun.

      Craft is just endlessly fascinating, isn't it? I'll be talking about Point of View and Voice next February 13 in Washington, D.C.

  13. Okay, dear folks,


    Off to bed now.

    Well ... clean up the kitchen, maybe have a last thin slice of pumpkin pie, finish up the last of the orange juice and THEN off to bed.

    It has been wonderful talking to everybody.

    Remember comments to the blog here between now and December 6 count toward winning a copy of The Black Hawk. If you have a friend who might enjoy the book, urge them to come by and drop down a word or two.

  14. That is an awesome interview. AND love that book name, just rolls off the tongue.... lol

    1. Okay.

      (I'm not really here.)

      About the name:

      My editor: Let's call it Black Hawk.
      Me: You mean, like the helicopter?
      Editor: What helicopter?

      Sometimes I think folks in New York are not all-knowing, after all.

    2. lol, I get it, Black Hawk Helicopter. But thats not what think of when I see your book and say the name. I am seeing someone named Hawk, and he is HAWT!!!! lol

  15. I love your books. I love their voice, which I imagine comes from years of diplomatic service the way I imagine Grace Burrowes' voice comes from years of family law, but it could be that this is just the voice you choose to tell stories in for this series. However it happens, I appreciate it. I discovered you because I have a friend who writes romance novels, and I asked her to give me the names of really good authors, and she began with Forbidden Rose, and I was lost. I loved Hawker swearing at the donkeys, and Guillaume saying "I am just a shining example to youth" (I am not checking--this is memory) and I loved the conversation Maggie had with the rabbit, and it's fair to say I loved the entire book. So of course I read all I could find and then novels as they came out. And because of you, I read romance now, which I'd read only for a single year decades ago, living on an island in the 9th grade and swapping copies of Barbara Cartland because that's what the girls on that island in the 9th grade did. But then I moved to anther country and culture and didn't look at romance writing again till meeting my friend who writes romance, all these decades later. Yours are such good stories, and so well-written, and such a pleasure to read. Thank you.

    1. I am so glad my books helped lead you back to Romance.
      I do love reading Romance.

      My work here is done.

  16. Good luck with the book Jo, awesome interview Barb, sorry I'm late, time difference sucks.

    1. Well. With a blog there's a good long time for responses. I like the blog format.

      So comment here till December 6 goes into the hat for the drawing.

    2. So glad you made it Ann well your always 5 hour ahead with that wee pond between us.

  17. Great interview. I'm sad you're not traveling anywhere near me for your book tours.

    Hilarious about your editor and the name Black Hawk.

    1. She also didn't know about the Chicago Blackhawks.

      But I tried to kinda work the title into the story some.

  18. Great Interview!! I need to add this book to my TBR!!!

    1. I do hope you get a chance to read one of my books ... and like it. Yes. Let me add that real quick.

      If by some chance you don't win the copy of The Black Hawk, try your local library. Some of them have my books in their collelction or can get them from the central library.

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  21. Since this is part of Washington Romance Writers bloghop here is the full list of bloggers and authors. Thank you again Jo for stopping by Celtic Barb's Blog it was an honor and pleasure to have you.❤️ Remember the Black Hawk book giveaway contest is open through December 6th so keep the comments coming, I recommend all of Joanna's books as they are really SPECTAULAR reads each and every one! 😀

    Washington Romance Writers Bloghop Schedule:

    Nerd Girl Official:

    Elisabeth Staab: Nov 27

    Lynne Silver: Nov 28

    Meredith Bond: Nov 29

    KellyMaher’ Blog:

    Lynne Silver, Nov 28

    CelticBarb’s Blog:

    Joanna Bourne, Nov 28

    ReadLove Blog:

    Cristin Harbor, Nov 28

    Kimberly Kincaid, Nov 28


    Caryn Moya Block: Nov 19

    Rachel Rawlings: Nov 29


    Elisabeth Staab Dec 15

    Wendy LaCapra Dec 15

  22. Fascinating interview. Just read the short in Last Chance Christmas Ball which is my first taste of a Joanna Bourne story. My TBR list is growing

    1. I don't do lots of short stories, but I had fun doing that one. I hope you enjoyed it. The novels are, well ... longer.

  23. Super interview! I haven't read this one but I'm DEFINATELY going to check out the entire series. I would love to win and I also love the cup! I am always looking for authors to add to my treasure list!

  24. Hello Joanna, I would love a copy of The Black Hawk ♡ Thank you
    Happy Holidays

  25. I've not read any books by Joanna. This one sounds great! Thanks for the chance!

  26. Drum Roll please all names were put in a Christmas stocking and the winner pulled out by my daughter is Kimi C.!!!!

    Congratulations Kimi C. just send me a FB private message with your ship to address and I will ship The Black Hawk out to you. Thanks again everyone for all your wonderful comments and check my blog periodically as there will be more book giveaways! Next giveaway will be Cadha's Rogue by R.L.Syme, a Scottish historical romance.

  27. YAY, this is so fricken cool. Thank You Barb and Jo Bourne for this giveaway. too awesome.

    1. Your welcome let me know when the book arrives Kimi. Congratulations!