Rogue Spy – Interview with Jo Bourne – Giveaway

Interview and Giveaway With Jo Bourne

Welcome to the Risky Regencies, Jo Bourne! I am so excited to have you here to visit. Please, do come down from the pedestal I keep you on…

About Jo Bourne

Author photo of Joanna Bourne. She has short curly hair and glasses.
Joanna Bourne

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 – such passionate conviction and burning idealism … and really sexy clothes.


Where to Find Jo


About Rogue Spy

Cover of Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
Cover of Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne
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. . .

Read an excerpt:

Our Risky Interview

Q: At the Riskies, we love research stories. Can you tell us about some of the research you did for this book?

The problem with talking about research in a book that’s hitting the shelf now, is that I wrote it and did the research for it a year or more ago. I have trouble remembering the research I did last Tuesday, (hint: it was about small rivers in Kent,) let alone what I was looking at in April a year ago.

I do remember Rogue Spy was stuffed with foreign language — Latin and Italian mostly — but with odd bits of this and that tucked in various places. I spent the whole writing year up to my keister in lists of Latin phrases, trying to find something Classical that would work in my dialog.

The Italian about drove me crazy. (Note to fellow writers — Google Translate is NOT sufficient.) I am soooo glad I was using Tuscan, the mother of modern Italian, rather than some other two-century-old Italian dialect.

Can I give a shout out to my publisher, Berkley? They gave me a copyeditor who apparently spoke all these languages (or knew how to do really good language research.) Anything I got right, the copyeditor did it.

Q: Have you ever come across a historical fact where you just went “Huh. Who’d a thunk it?”

One factoid that struck me recently . . .

In the Work in Progress I send my protagonists riding through deserted stretches of countryside, headed from London to the southeast coast of England. The Dover to Folkestone area.

Did you know the big road running down to Dover and Folkestone is a Roman road?

Okay. Okay. Everybody else in the world probably knows this.  Maybe I even knew this.  But I’d never thought about it.

The A2, Dover to London Road, is Watling Street, a Celtic trackway that was there when the Romans invaded and started paving everything. This is probably the road Chaucer’s Pilgrims travelled.

That was all not-so-useful factoid because I didn’t use the A2. My action was better suited to the A20.

I spend a lot of my time looking at period maps.

Q: Have you ever wanted to write in another historical period?

If I couldn’t write Regency/Napoleonic War books — let’s say the market dried up or became saturated or whatever — I’d probably scuttle over to Urban Fantasy.  It would be such a relief not doing half an hour’s research to find out when the bridge in Farningham, Kent was built. (It’s Medieval.)

If I were going to write in another historical period . . . Classical Rome. What delightful, ruthless, aristocrats. What politics. What clash of ideals.

Did I mention the really cool Roman clothing?

Q: Read any good books lately?

Oh yes.  Yes. Let me list a few Historical Romances that just came out or are about to:

  • Grace Burrowes, What a Lady Needs for Christmas.
  • Donna Thorland, Mistress Firebrand. (Okay. That’s not actually out yet.)
  • Mary Jo Putney, Not Quite a Wife.
  • Jeannie Lin, Gunpowder Alchemy. (Umm … that’s another one not quite on the shelves.)
  • Shana Galen, Love and let Spy.

Q: Volcanoes. For or against?

One has to applaud the showmanship. The edge-of-the-chair anticipation. The brilliant reds and oranges. The ionized lightning that flashes from the ominous plumes of black rising to the sky.

On the other hand, there’s the possibility one of them may bring civilization, as we know it, to an end. Or destroy all life on earth.

Not good.

So I’m fence-sitting on this topic.

Q: Favorite historical weapon?

Black, well-honed, carefully balanced throwing knives.  They are not so much weapons as works of art.  But you knew I was going to say that.

Q: What’s next for you?

I’m working fitfully and with varying levels of success on the Séverine story. We will see how that comes out. Eventually.


We’re giving away three copies of Rogue Spy! Digital or print, winner’s choice.

Rules: Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Must be 18 to enter. For a digital copy, you need to be able to accept a gift card from a US-based vendor.

Winner chosen at random from among the commenters at the blog. Comment before midnight Eastern, Friday, October 31, 2014. Alternate winners will be chosen for winners who do not reply to my notification after 10 days.

To enter, comment with your guess as to Jo’s favorite color. (Being right or wrong on this has no bearing on your chances of winning, so feel free to be creative.) Like, “Jo Bourne’s favorite color is the soft blue of the sky at dusk.”

About carolyn

Carolyn Jewel was born on a moonless night. That darkness was seared into her soul and she became an award winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical and paranormal romance. She has a very dusty car and a Master’s degree in English that proves useful at the oddest times. An avid fan of fine chocolate, finer heroines, Bollywood films, and heroism in all forms, she has two cats and a dog. Also a son. One of the cats is his.
This entry was posted in Giveaways, Interviews and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

67 Responses to Rogue Spy – Interview with Jo Bourne – Giveaway

  1. Ok you have me with the language research. I want to read this. Latin I get. French I muddle through. Italian? I’d like to.

    • jo bourne says:

      The thing about writing the Regency is, educated people would have spoken French, would have been able to toss out Latin phrases.

      This was the valued knowledge. Not the only valued knowledge, of course, but a typical one. If you want to show someone in 1790s or 1820 is an intellectual type, you put some Latin in his (or her) mouth.

      I, of course, do not speak any Latin. If I’d only known back in high school how useful it would turn out to be…

  2. Welcome to the Riskies, Jo! That thing about the major Roman roads (Watling Street, Fosse Way, Ermine Street) being basically still in use today? I, too, was really amazed when I found out about that.

    As to volcanoes – I really like the idea of chocolate volcano cakes. 🙂

    • jo bourne says:

      Isn’t it cool about the Roman roads? This is true in the north of England, too, apparently. Roads running up to York and beyond were paved by the Romans.

      I am more a fan of volcano cakes than more actual volcanoes, I think.

  3. neurondoc says:

    Waiting (not-so) patiently for Rogue Spy. 🙂

    I will take a wild guess: Jo’s favorite color is a lovely living green, sort of the opposite of dusty old period maps…

    • jo bourne says:

      The thing about nature is that it’s not one green. It’s lotsa greens. Every leaf a little different shade and that different where the sun hits it. Nothing stays the same from day to day.

      You don’t see ‘green’ — you see the journey from the curled gold leaf in bud to the shouting orange and red we’re getting outside my window today.

  4. Jan Goodard says:

    I absolutely love regency spy stories. I will definitely get yours. Red like a glorious sunset over the Blue Ridge Mountains would be your favorite color.

    • jo bourne says:

      I don’t know how to post a picture here, or I’d show you one of the sunsets or sunrises I’ve photographed in the hills here.

      So wonderful. And they’re all free.

  5. Let’s see now…Jo’s favorite color is blue, like the shirt in her author photo, or black like the knives whose virtues she extolls.

    That’s the thing about England I love best: You step on history to step into history.

    • jo bourne says:

      Much to be said for black, jo agrees.

      You got my spies who voluntarily to walk a bit in the shadows. Good? Bad? I dunnoh.

  6. Oh, forgot to add, please do not include me in the giveaway.

  7. Joanna Moreno says:

    Love the cover! (like that’s any surprise to anyone 😉 )
    Those little facts is what keeps me reading historical, fiction or not. The fact that you ladies do so much research in the name of your work makes the stories so much more interesting. Thanks for that!
    And I’m going to say Jo’s favorite color is the color of the sea as it would look to a Captain as he sails his way to his beloved on a calm and peaceful day.

    • jo bourne says:

      Ah. That is such a cool image of the captain headed how to some beloved woman. I see him walking up that last winding path to the house they share …

      I, too, love the Riskies and the history they lay out for everybody to admire.

  8. Rebecca Hall says:

    I think Joanna’s favorite color is the color of sunset – the luminous fuchsia color that fills you up until you overflow.

    • jo bourne says:

      Did you know the color fuchsia is named after the flower? And the flower is named after the botanist Leonhart Fuchs. Orange is another color word that comes from the plant.

      In both cases we call the color after the flower or fruit. Presumably English just didn’t have a good name for that shade before.

      Ummm … from this you can tell I’m a sort of word nerd.

      I’m trying to grow fuchsia here, but they are not happy and I am getting the impression they do not care for my climate at all.

  9. I have been looking forward to this one!! And you had me at research, as everyone well knows! And languages, as I speak a few to varying degrees.

    Jo’s favorite color ? Hmmm. Slate blue, like the sky just before a storm.

    • jo bourne says:

      I do hope you get a chance to read Rogue Spy — whether you win a copy here or not.

      Folks who like Historical Romance are so lucky. We come away with a sense of the past when the book is over. I know I learn new things all the time.

  10. Aly P says:

    Jo’s favorite colour is the colour of the bitterest chocolate.

    Jo will you write a book in one of the periods/genre you’ve mentioned? I’d love a book from you in any of those 😀
    Thank you for writing!

  11. Marianne says:

    Oh yes! Ancient Roman romances. That sounds delightful.

    Favorite color? Ho about the vivid blue of his eyes that mirrored the ocean at noon.

    • jo bourne says:

      Sometimes when I’m trying to decide how a character will look, I walk around looking at faces, staring, coming up with words to describe exactly the kinds of eyes I want.

      People think I’m odd.

  12. Alanna Lucas says:

    I think Jo Bourne’s favorite color is blue- the deeper the better. Oh wait, that’s mine! I’m still going with a deep midnight blue 🙂

    • jo bourne says:

      I am interested in the whole idea of ‘midnight blue’. I am what you might call skeptical of it. Is midnight ever blue? Have I just missed the blueness of it somehow? Do other people’s eyes see what mine don’t?

      This is one of the things I think about when I’m stumbling around in the darkness which is fairly dark hereabouts.

  13. Susan says:

    I will take a shot at red, since Jo seems to have a firecracker of a personality. Saw her speak with Raybourn and Kearsley last winter, quite the wit! And you had me at research (librarian here).

    • jo bourne says:

      I love librarians. You guys don’t just hand over the cultural heritage of the world in return for a library card, you give sanctuary to book lovers and word geeks.

      You’re a safe place.

  14. Kim says:

    I’m enjoying this series and looking forward to reading Rogue Spy. Any chance we might get a novella about Justine & Hawker’s HEA?

    Since your website is trimmed in blue and you’re wearing a denim blue jacket on your website, I’ll go with that color.

    • jo bourne says:

      I know someone who has ‘denim blue’ colored eyes. Love it.

      Looking around the net I discover that denim is appropriate to my era. The word was hanging about.
      But it doesn’t ‘feel’ like a Regency word so I’m not likely to use it.

  15. Julie Fetter says:

    I’ll guess Jo’s favorite color is the vibrant yellow of a sunflower.
    I’ve never read a Recency spy romance yet. There seems to be no end to the variety in romance.

    • jo bourne says:

      I’m fond of sunflowers.

      I feed the birds sunflower seeds. I used to feed them the whole mixed bunch, but they seem to mostly just eat the sunflower seeds, so I decided to cut to the chase, as it were.

      Anyhow, I got a bunch of volunteer sunflower plants all around where I feed birds.
      So next year I’ll plant some sunflowers.

      But they probably won’t come up.

  16. Glittergirl says:

    Well this is a total guess cause there are no clues here…she likes sexy clothes and her website she’s in several colors…I was going to guess red cause of the sexy clothes BUT on her website she’s got a two piece outfit in Turquoise so that’s the color I’m going with :-). Thanks for the giveaway! I found your books through Grace Burrowes recommendation by the way.

  17. Cyn209 says:

    Jo’s favorite colors are the colors of the Fall, when the leaves are changing in the Northeast!!!

    • jo bourne says:

      You should see outside my window. We are having really lovely color change this week.

      We haz All The Colors.

  18. Molly R. Moody says:

    I think Jo’s favorite color is the black of the “well honed throwing knives” mentioned earlier.

    • jo bourne says:

      I like that.

      This is the ‘matte’ black that doesn’t reflect light. You have a knife this color and you and get it out and carry it — or use it — and you won’t betray your position with some random reflection of light.

  19. Lynn Pauley says:

    Spies , Regency time period , Drop dead gorgeous hero, angst — can’t wait to read this!

    Jo, I would love to read an Urban Fantasy novel by you.

    I would guess Jo’s favorite color is that beautiful blue-green color that you see in blue opals.

  20. librarypat says:

    I like spy stories, and the Napoleonic period was a perfect time to set them in.
    I’ll go with black as a favorite color. The satin black with a sheen to it. Much like a raven’s feathers or the hair of a black Irish hero.
    I enjoy your books. The hours of research show and are appreciated. Best of luck with finishing your WIP without too many road blocks. An urban fantasy by you would be interesting. I am sure many of your fans would like to see what one would be like.

    • jo bourne says:

      I’d say Annique’s hair is like that — the glossy, straight, raven’s wing black.

      One of the great things about writing is you get to imagine how the characters look. Then you get to put that description inside another character’s head and write the description as he sees it, putting in all the history and attitude he brings to that decription.

  21. Lena says:

    Please write Annique’s mother’s story. Would love to find out if, or how, she might have survived the fall over that cliff. Pretty please with chocolate on top.

    My guess for Jo’s favorite color: grey. As in the grey misty shrouded London fog that would be oh so helpful to our intrepid Meeks Street spies.

    • jo bourne says:

      Heh heh.

      I think I will leave Lucille’s story for anyone who wants to, to write in their own head.

      Any good Fictive Universe has all sorts of corners left for the reader to fill with her own stories. And, yes, I did leave Lucille’s story open ended on purpose.

  22. HJ says:

    Several of the roads in England are Roman roads; they covered the country with a network of roads. Since most of our roads are bendy, if we get a really straight stretch we tend to think: is this Roman? and often it is.

    It’s one of the things I love about living here, how the history is so close at hand. For example, many of the street names in the City of London (the middle bit which is within the old Roan walls) have the same names that they had in medieval times. The street plan is pretty similar, too.

    I can’t wait for Rogue Spy!

    • jo bourne says:

      I cannot spell. If there were no spellcheck I would NEVER get a book written.

      I love the history that lurks just under the surface anywhere in the British Isles. (I watch Time Team.)

  23. HJ says:

    “Roan” should be “Roman” walls.

  24. HH says:

    Jo’s favorite color is black.

    • jo bourne says:

      I am the ultimate goth.

      I was just thinking I should wear black to the RWA National Convention. And, y’know, sneak about.

  25. Julee J. Adams says:

    Love this post and thanks for the fun! I would say your favorite color would be royal purple, the deep eggplant color of velvet in a royal cape. Much success and glad to see the shout out to Grace Burrowes!

    • jo bourne says:

      Didjaknow that the dye in the stripe on a Roman Toga or the ‘Royal Purple’ — Tyrian Purple — was made from predatory sea snails?

      (That’s actually a really good insult, by the way. If you shout out, “You’re a predatory sea snail” at someone who annoys you it is almost certain to stop them in their tracks. But I digress.)

      Wikipedia tells us that ” It came in various shades, the most prized being that of ‘blackish clotted blood’.”

      Truth, she be stranger than fiction.

  26. Satu M. says:

    A regency spy story and a giveaway? This is too good to dream of. I’ll have to get my hand on this one. 😀

    I guess Jo’s favorite color is blue.

  27. Linda says:

    Jo’s favourite color is emerald green, because it’s so vibrant & alive

    • jo bourne says:

      Whenever somebody says ‘Emerald Green’ I think of Ireland. (Which really is just amazing green.)
      (Though not emerald colored.)

      And I’m a quarter Irish.

  28. Bettye McKee says:

    Jo’s favorite color is the deep, intense orange of lava, the stuff that makes volcanoes beautiful.

    I hope this is true, because I really want to read “Rogue Spy” and I’m way over budget on books.

    • jo bourne says:

      I understand about the book budget. I really really do.

      I’ll just mention that I am delighted when folks get their copies of my books from the library. If the library doesn’t have it — ask — and a lot of times they will order it for you.

  29. Nancy says:

    Jo’s favorite color is midnight blue – the color that cloaks two lovers illicitly meeting at night.

    Also, please, please, PLEASE one day write a Classical Roman romance. I love the regency period as much as the next girl, but I would love to see more romances set in Roman times.

  30. bn100 says:

    blue for the Blue Ridge Mountains

    • jo bourne says:

      I’ve been looking around the mountains lately and when they’re in a bit of shadow or in the distance, they are indeed sort of blue.

      I wonder if there are other place in the world they take note of this.

  31. Jo has many colours. She alternately cloaks her characters in sombre hues and rich exotic tones. But Jo, I think, is washed in shades of yellow. The bright glow of a morning sun and the warm wash of the orange sunset. That is Jo. I wish some day to share a coffee in that rising shine or share a glass of wine as it sets softly on the horizon. Canadian, I probably don’t qualify for the contest. But, that’s okay. Jo, know I think you are wonderful, wrapping me in the warmth of your tales and inspiring me to fill my own quilt with the down of my imagination.

    • jo bourne says:

      I try to add some moment of just plain simple enjoyment into the worst parts of the book. Because … when times are bad, the very simple things can get us through.

      So a sunny yellow for hope and healing. Yep.

  32. Make Kay says:

    What a fantastic interview! More at questions (and answers)

  33. Maribelle says:

    This blog is almost as good as reading a book. I also keep finding new authors, which is both good and not. I won’t ever run out of anything to read, but sometimes i’d rather not see my credit card bill 🙂

    I’ll take a wild guess; Jo’s favorite color is red, or shades in red, like the colors flashing in autumn as the trees reluctantly part with their leaves.

    • jo bourne says:

      A great blog, the Riskies.
      When I do research on some Regency-era detail, the Riskies keep coming up in the googlesearch. So much good information here.

  34. Elaine says:

    I truly appreciate a writer who researches facts and historical events and hate it when it’s all wrong. For a favorite color, I’m going to guess deep purple. It’s such a powerful majestic color!

    • jo bourne says:

      Hi Elaine —

      I try to be open to many interpretations of history. I enjoy — really enjoy — a lot of ‘wallpaper historicals’. Great romps.

      But I will admit, a big ole historical blooper does knock me out of the story.

      I try not to make them, but I know I do.

Comments are closed.