Friday, June 27, 2008

Joanna Bourne: Interview! Contest!

Joanna Bourne writes excellent books. You don't have to take my word for it--check out just about any review of The Spymaster's Lady. And then read it yourself, if you haven't already. You'll thank me.

Jo's new book, My Lord and Spymaster, is officially coming out on Monday, though the sneaky booksellers have been filling the shelves with it early. To celebrate the fantabulous release, I roped Jo into an exclusive (somewhat wacky) interview, and we're giving away a Signed Copy! Check the end of this post for contest details. First, the interview:

Susan: Congratulations on the wonderful reception of The Spymaster's Lady, and the release of My Lord and Spymaster! I can't wait to get my hands on it.

JO: Thank you so much.

Susan: Now, the interrogation. Annique, the heroine of TSL, was a strong, crafty--but somewhat naïve--French spy. Tell us about Jess, the heroine of MLS.

JO: Jess is a slum-born Cockney. Guts, luck and brains got her out of the grim rookeries of London and a life of crime.

Now she's headed back to those mean streets. They're more dangerous than ever. She left unfinished business behind her, and dangerous enemies, and chunks of her soul.

Guess she still needs the guts, luck and brains.

If Annique is juggling the fate of nations, Jessamyn is fighting on a different, more intimate, scale. She has to save her father, and the man she's falling in love with. Maybe that soul, too.

Susan: The rumor is (and I am totally making this up) that you love to write about spies because you were, in fact, a spy. True/False? (or if you answer, will they send someone to wipe my computer after?)

JO: Oh, good heavens, no. You would have to see me. I'm this dumpy, little round woman with glasses.

I am perfectly willing to pretend to be a spy, though, if that lends authenticity to the series.

Jess is a master merchant. I'm not actually a merchant.
(Jo tries to assume the mien and demeanor of commercial genius.)

Susan: Over at the Compuserve Books & Writers Forum you're renowned--some might say worshipped--for your detailed posts about the craft and mechanics of writing, featuring Myrtle the Vampire. Any chance Myrtle could come out and play for a minute? (question for Myrtle: illustrate the difference between show and tell with an example)

JO: Worship like with incense and chanting, or worship as in turning me upside down like Ganesh?
Ah well.


Myrtle pretended to be a spy, a sensual Mata Hari, a vamp, instead of a vampire.

She'd hope Bond would think she was interested in death rays, instead of corpuscles. Maybe he'd lock his secrets up safe and bare his neck.

Bad choice for him, if he did.


"Tell me about the MS-27." Myrtle unhooked the back of her dress and let it slither to the ground. Then she did some slithering herself, approaching. "You know you want to."

"I think not." Bond considered her cleavage. He was shaken, but not stirred. "Shall we discuss the weather instead? I'm British."

She licked his sternocleidomastoid. Yum. Yum. "Have you ever made love to a dead woman?"

"Not that I know of."

Susan: Perfect!! Seriously, thank you for the massive hours you must have spent over the years teaching and mentoring other writers. Who do you consider your mentors?

JO: Diana Gabaldon is endlessly helpful and supportive to everybody at Books and Writers. Darlene Marshall and Pam Patchet are beautiful comedic voices. I've learned a lot from them.

Susan: I know you've been at this crazy writing business for a while now. What has your journey to publication been like?

JO: When I was six, my mother took all five of us kids and drove through Mexico in an old woody-sided stationwagon. It had a bullet hole in the side (but that's another story), and was not entirely reliable in the radiator and oil pan departments. One time, we drove off and left my little sister behind at the border crossing. Once, we got stopped by what was either a zealous community watch organization or bandits, and I got amoebic dysentery.

Oh. Flat tires. Lots and lots of flat tires.

That's what my journey to publication has been like.

Susan: {recovering from belly-laugh} Hokay. Serious Face. Is your approach to the writing any different now that your books are on the shelves? How?

JO: The major difference is that now I have deadlines. That appalls me and fills me with dismay. I do not think deadlines make me write any faster. They just make me miserable.

I also have book reviews. The bad ones confound and devastate me. Or puzzle me. The good ones always feel like they must be about somebody else's book.

Susan: Any final bits of advice for aspiring writers?

JO: Write what you love. Love it so much you don't care whether you get published or not. Listen carefully to advice. Ignore most all of that advice.

Ah, Jo, you rock. Thank you again.

The CONTEST: Add a comment to this post, including your name somewhere. You have until MONDAY JULY 1st! Monday morning whenever I get into work, I'll do a random drawing and select one winner. The winner will receive a Jo-signed copy of My Lord and Spymaster. Ready? GO!


Precie said...

Worship. Without a doubt, I'm among the worshippers! (No incense or statues...but certainly lots of bowing...and intercessory prayer.)

Congratulations, Jo, on the release of MLAS! I wish you much success!

And thank you, Susan, for hosting this wonderful interview!

Carol A. Spradling said...

Congratulations Jo on your new release!!!

MM said...

I love Jo's thoughts on getting published

Kathy Chung said...

Congrats on your new book, Jo. And thanks for all the great writing posts at the forum.

A Novel Woman said...

Oh, I HEART the Jo!

And I HEART Jo's books which are awesome. I'm flattered beyond measure that Jo would think of me as a mentor, when she has done so much for all of US in the forum.

Long may she reign at the top of The List where she belongs.

And I'm so happy the latest cover is more subdued. My teenagers can stop giggling every time they pass "that ripped guy" on the kitchen table.

Connie said...

Jo's humor and intelligence, plus a great story! What's not to like?


Linda said...

Great interview! I love Myrtle (and Jo, too, of course).

Anyway, pick me! Pick me! _I_ want a jen-u-wine signed copy!!

If I don't win, I'm gonna make Jo come up to No-Va and sign one for me here. And then I'll take her to all the local bookstores and make her sign those copies, too. She could wind up with writer's cramp. I hear whiskey is good for that. I probably have some around here someplace. Of course, then she might get drunk, and no telling _what_ she might write in those bookstore copies...but I bet it would be good. {g}

Linder, who can't wait to get her hot little hands on a copy of the book in question.

Cindy said...

I am *so* excited to get my hands on this book! Pick me!

It's nice to see the kudos going where they so clearly belong. Great job, Jo!!!

Hélène Boudreau said...

OMG! I promised my mom I'd pick up Jo's new book before I head to Cape Breton. Better get a move on, I leave next week. :-)

We both LOVED the first!

Deniz Bevan said...

Congratulations, Jo, on the release of My Lord and Spymaster - I'm on Chapter 2 and I reaaalllly don't feel like working today - just want to stay home and read! I wish you lots of success!

And thank you, Susan, for hosting this wonderful interview!

Lottery Girl said...

Great interview, Suze, and I know Jo's book will be fabulous, just like the last one!


I'm so childish about these drawings!

Beth said...

Jo and Myrtle. Happy sigh.

I really think you should pick me because, unlike Stephanie, I SO deserve to win this. After all, she, like, won a prize or something at Surrey last year for this story she wrote, and I didn't get squat. ('Course, I understand it's harder to win if you don't send them a story.)

I've never had an autographed book from Jo. Never. I need this.


Helen said...

Nice interview! And it even included a Myrtle snip *happy sigh*

(Oh, and I've made this mistake myself about ten times this week: Monday is actually the 30th of June. The 1st of July isn't until Tuesday. FWIW *s*)

Moth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Moth said...

Mrytle the Vampire and Bond, a match made in Heaven? Or the Underworld?

That was hilarious! Great interview. I can't wait to get my mits on a copy of this book.

Oh, and Jo, don't be coy. We all know you were an international secret agent. You don't fool us. :D

Sarah said...

Terrific interview! Congrats to Jo, I can't wait to read this book.

--Sarah N.

Lori Benton said...

Fun interview, you two. Jo, your road to publication sounds eerily familiar. I think I'm on that road....

I have a file on my computer full of years' worth of your sage & myrtle advice on the writer's forum. Thank you for being so available, and such a great teacher.

Congratulations on the new book!

Julie Weathers said...

This was wonderful. Thanks for taking time to do this.

Congratulations, Jo. Very well deserved success from one of your steadfast fans.


Rachael said...

I liked the "spy" question, LOL! That's great.

Congrats to Jo on another success. Can't wait to get my hands on a copy, free or otherwise. *grin*

Anonymous said...

Finding Spymaster's Lady was one of the best books ever..It was funny,engaging, had likable characters all around(not just the hero),it gave us just enough of mystery, romance, humor, details and emtion to make it one of the best books I have EVER read...after hundreds of books and seven years of reading at least one book a week.. GREAT just GREAT!!!
Jo--two words--- WRITE FASTER!!!!!

Lottery Girl said...


We all know that Beth is soooooooo good 99% of the time. But when she is bad, she is wicked, and I KNOW I need this book worse that she does. Dontya think?

Julie said...

Okay, just getting in under the wire - pick me!!!!!