writing Historical Romance
Dear Author also posted a most glowing review:http://dearauthor.com/book-reviews/overall-a-reviews/a-reviews/guest-review-the-black-hawk-by-joanna-bourne
A friend of mine sent me a copy of that review. It just takes my breath away.When you have somebody who sees what you're doing, somebody who can read between the lines . . . it makes it worthwhile. I'd love that review even if she hadn't given me a wonderful rating.
That's just an amazing review by Christine -- so smart and on the nose. When I read the questions at the ends of the various interviews asking for clarification of timelines, relationships, etc, I thought sheepishly to myself, "wow, I really am obsessed. I have all that stuff in my head." I'm embarrassed to confess how much time I spent pouring over the spreadsheets you had up at one point. I always want to know everything an author is willing to tell me. If I were an academic, I would be a book historian and spend all my time in the archives going over a writer's earlier drafts, reading marginalia intended for the publisher or printer, finding out information about print runs and distribution, and just generally sticking my nose in where it was never intended to be. Sorta like Muffin.
I love the review on Dear Author. I felt the same way about the huge sweep of their romance, the years spent together and apart and the life changing experiences they shared. I am supposed to be working but I just can't stop thinking about this book. It's in my breath, in my muscles, everywhere.
Hi Annie --I didn't actually take the info tables down. Blogger went mad at one point and removed all my images.I'm still working away at restoring images through all the long history of the blog. It's a tedious and exacting job, tracking down the pictures and putting them in place again. I do it when I have time free, which is not all that often.I want to add the info on those spread sheets again. It will take a while to update everything and then reconstruct the process that allowed me to post those sheets. We are not talking any time soon, I'm afraid.
Hi Lady Leigh --Isn't that a great review. I'd think it was nuanced and thoughtful if it was about a book I didn't know anything about. I spent a couple of hours this morning going to the three Barnes and Nobel stores nearby and signing stock. One poor woman I had to send back to the stockroom to find the books.
Thanks for the excerpt. I'm reading all the little previews in your blog tour until I get the book.
I am walking around in a daze, just thinking of this book when I should be cooking or writing policy briefs. Its just wonderful. My only frustration is that it doesn't tell us anything about their relaitonsihp in the time between when Adrian gets shot and the end of the war. Can you tell us that? Should I hoard up that question and wait until more people have read the book?
Hi Kim --I went to THREE Barnes and Noble here in San Jose, (the California San Jose, not the others,)and signed stock.In one case the bookseller had to go get them out of the storeroom. So I'm glad I went by.I hung around in the interior Starbucks to leech off their internet. While I was there, somebody bought a book. I have never seen somebody buy my book. It felt . . . scary.
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Hi Anon --You know how, when you're in a big house and there's somebody else there . . . your husband or a kid playing . . . you always know where that other person is. You sorta feel them moving around downstairs while you're sorting the laundry and making the beds.For Adrian and Justine, Europe was like that. They'd always be a little aware of what the other one was up too. Sometimes they ended up in the same city, butting heads over some spy-related topic.But I think those are bits of other people's stories . . .
I see. So I can hope to see more of them--that's good news, actually. And..um, it feels weirdly rude and personal to ask this about a book character but I am going to...15 years is a heck of a long time. When they tell each other there was no one else for either of them, did you mean that was true physically as well as emotionally? Especially for Hawker who has enjoyed women since he was a preteen apparently, (and who has kissed so many beautiful women)? Feel free to tell me its none of my business, or that everyone has to have their own interpretation, or that Hawker hasn't told you, or something. THere are so many things that I love about this book, and one of them is how flat out romantic Adrian is about Justine--watching her in her sleep or from afar. So maybe so...Also, on a separate note. I have now read the final scene of the first flash back three times and I cried every time. And I don't cry over books. That's just an amazing scene. So powerful in the way we feel Justine's pain, in the way that Hawker understands and feels it... I love how he sits one stair up....I feel like it sets up their entire relationship as being so much more profound than just physical so it makes everything later on richer...I could just ramble on for hours about all the things I love in this book.DLS
Hi DLS --As to their sexual activities . . .Adrian is faithful to Justine between the time they first made love and the day she puts a bullet in him. Justine was faithful back.They were not celibate through the many years they were apart. The relationship was over. These are young, vital people, living dangerous lives. Justine finds friendship and comfort where she could in these years. Adrian enjoys himself immensely.Neither of them was able to commit to anyone else. I think they never stopped loving each other.When they meet again in 1818, each knows the other is now considerably more experienced. I don't want to say the past lovers weren't important -- but they were not significant to either Justine or Adrian.
I'm glad to know that Justine really was cured--not just overwhelmed by Adrian. It would have felt wrong otherwise...I think its very clear in the book that they never stopped loving eachother or was able to commit to anyone else...Two more questions, if you don't mind my being a total pest:Did they ever have children? I see them both as enjoying children and fiercely protective of them--I can imagine Adrian teaching them to use knives and Justine to use guns, to keep them safe. But of course they are older, and may not be able to have them.And...do we learn in Pax's book why the Cache talks to him in the chess salon? If not, can you tell us?DLS
Hi DLS --Never a pest. I can talk about writing, my own or anyone else's *g*, endlessly.Second question first . . . I hadn't planned on going into this in the Pax story. We'll see if I need to.The Cache knew he (the cache) was in the cafe on serious business. He (the cache) was giving a warning to Pax that something was coming down. He (Pax) should get out of there.He (the cache) recognized Pax. Pax didn't recognize the cache back. Adrian and Justine are in their mid thirties in 1818, certainly young enough to have kids if they want them.I think they did have kids. It's not fixed in stone yet. If someone wants to see it differently I would not want to stop them from doing that.
Thank goodness they weren't celibate. It didn't strike me as realistic, and the idea of it made me sad.
I feel this way myself. I like to think of themselves having many experiences and adventures even though they're apart.But a book is always a bit of a collaboration between the writer's intention and the reader's.Until or unless I write stories into those years and tack down the details, a reader can perfectly well imagine Justine and Adrian doing and being anything they like.
Hi Joanna,Congrats on the RT nomination! Look forward to reading Adrian's story. Hoping for a glimpse of Grey and Annique as well. I love reading all the answers to fan questions. Canadian fan.
Hi Canadian Fan --I will tell you right out that we do not see Grey or Annique in Black Hawk.And I love it when somebody has a question I can think about and answer. A lot of this is stuff I've never thought of.
Hi Joanne Do we ever find out how Adrian and Gray end up in the prison with Annique? Annique got me hooked to your books by the way, she was just so refreshingly different, and so thoroughly French, even if she wasn't :)I think your books are the only ones I've ever spent so much time thinking about after I have finished reading them. I've been wandering around the last couple of days wondering what Adrian and Justine got up to in there years apart, it must have been interesting. I hope we might get snippets here and there in your future books.
Sorry, I meant Joanna, why do you always notice these things after you hit sent, or print or post!
Hi, Jo. Taking a coffee break. Do we ever learn the color of Justine's eyes? If it's there, I missed it.
Hi Mrs. Bourne; this is Mirna from Egypt and I'm almost 15 :)Actually this is my very first time to check your blog and I really liked it so much and liked your way connecting to your fans.Actually I'm in love with writing novels, I write since I'm 9 and now I'm getting ready for a novel during the 18th century in France and I need some info like: politics, habits, occasions, inventions, food, and costumes of course.P.S: did they had cars back then? how did it look like? And was it expensive or not? I mean what class of the society could own a car during this era?Thank you so much I really wanted to have assured info from an expirt like u ma'am.SincerelyMirna El Mahedee
I'm so unfortunate that those books aren't available in Egypt, I've looked for them and they aren't available.Is there anyone that I can get those books, without paying a fortune, cuz buying them online is fortune (IN Egypt).Well, I know that they are so cool and wanderful even without reading them.SincerelyMirna El Mahedee
Hi Katie --You can use Joanne or Joanna and it doesn't make any difference to me. In real life, most folks call me 'Jo' except for the ones who say, M'am or 'You there'.Annique ends up in prison because she was walking up the length of France, trying to get to England. She's betrayed by somebody she trusts and Henri is sent south to bring her to LeBlanc in Paris.Adrian, bleeding, crawls out a window at the Louvre and skedaddles, LeBlanc's men in hot prusuit.He's cut off from Headquarters so he makes his way alley to alley, across town to Les Halles and one of several safehouses there. By dark, he's across the street from one, watching to see if it's safe. It's not. Adrian gets picked up and Grey, keeping an eye on the same safehouse, gets scooped up with him.Pax's story is going to be set in 1802, so we won't get any appreciable Adrian/Justine action I shouldn't think.
Hi Martha --Justine has brown eyes. (I am so glad I know this.)
Hi Mirna --I'm delighted to have somebody else writing a book set in France. We definitely need more writers working in that period.I do not know if a kindle or nook will allow you to buy my books on-line in Egypt. What is available depends very much on where you are. The Book Depositor delivers books worldwide. The shipping is free.http://www.bookdepository.com/Now, if you want to read about the Eighteenth Century in France, you might start with some fiction:A Tale of Two Cities, Charles DickensThe Scarlet Pimpernel, Emmuska OrczyThe Three Musketteers, Andre Dumas (set a little earlier)These are available free and you can download them at: http://www.gutenberg.org/There's also, These Old Shades, Georgette HeyerIt is available at:http://books.google.com/books?id=63VsrJx-DcwC&printsec=frontcover&dq=%22these+old+shades%22+%22Georgette+heyer%22&hl=en&ei=jbi5TtetJeTkiAKDu43tBA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CD4Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false These four books would be a good introduction to Eighteenth Century France.
Thanks Jo, I've been reading your blog for a while and love getting the little bits and pieces of background you post.
I'm so glad to know that they have children - once Adrian gets over thinking that Justine is going to die in childbirth and it's all his fault, he'll be a great father. Can't you just see him with a daughter? Buying her hair ribbons and throwing knives at any boy who looks at her in a way that Adrian objects to... Don't know how he'd be with a son ... I think there might be some rivalry there
Hi Katie --There's so much we 'know' about the characters that never really fits into any of the books. I'm glad to have a place to put it up.As you will imagine, I really like my people and my fictive world and love talking about them.
Hi Valerie --Now, ye see -- there you are. So long as I haven't tacked this down in any book, anyone is free to fill in the blanks.A book is a collaboration between writer and reader. I provide the words. The reader provides the imagination.
Thnx Mrs. Broune sooooooooooo much xxx
HiWell, I'm taking you at your word about liking to talk about your characters and your world. Can you tell us a bit about the timeline problem that you faced? I've been assuming that you felt you couldn't give them a HEA until the Napoleonic wars were over, because you wanted them to each be equally committed and passionate in their beliefs for their country.But of course it may have been something totally different. Meeks Street: I have to say I was thoroughly surprised that Adrian had a house. I just assumed he lived at Meeks Street full time. Was the home a late acquisition when he became Sir Adrian or do all the British Service have other homes and use Meek Street as a residence only when work requires it? He seems essentially itinerant (actually, the house Maggie and Doyle set up for him also really surprised me, but I can see it was so right--I thought he would stay with them if he went at all.) I'm fascinated by this because the ending was so right--Adrian had been homeless his whole life--and I think Justine since she was 11--so having him feel he was home--and also the image of what he always wanted being walking in and finding Owl doing something interesting as a miniature of their homelife in the future--was just perfect. Some smaller questions: Will we ever learn what happened to Lazarus and Fluffy? Somehow I expected some part of Adrian's story to deal with Lazarus, but I guess in a way it would have been a repeat of Jess, and also of course Justine would not have been involved...I've been thinking about the marvelous subtle ways you show the two growing up, and one of the ones I really like is how Justine moves from being unwilling to have anyone know that Severine's sister had been a child whore, to having the courage to take up a position in British society and face it down. (Also, the way both Adrian and Justine can't admit when they are young that there is no one else for them but they can when they are adult.) And two trivia questions: Who is George? Is that Fletcher? What are Marguerite and Camille working on in France, 3 years after the war? As you can see I have not successfully gotten my brain out of the book and back to work...DLS
Great to read a few more bits and pieces on the characters and to read others' questions or ideas about what went on with characters after the story or the in-between times. Myself, I wonder if Adrian could remain the Head of the British Service if he is married - or is that so high and more an administrative role that being married is ok? The 15 year gap was okay because a) Adrian got shot by Justine and b) the wars were in full swing and their careers were rising so the risk and liability was greater. very believable. I wondered the same about Grey - did he give up being a spy at all after he gets married? myself I just can't see Grey and Annique living too quiet a life somehow. you have some hints about all this for Doyle and Maggie after all, but they are a special case, in my opinion.
My next question is who replaced Galba, or is he still there in 1818?
I just read the last chapter again and answered my own questions about Adrian remaining as Head of the Service - being married is probably a benefit, and with Justine even more so, she gives him even more credibility with her family background and also can watch his back (and cuddle it too!).
Hi DLS --The timeline problem.What happened was, long ago I wrote a slight slim Regency Gothic with the character Sir Adrian Hawkhurst. It was set in 1818 and Adrian wasn't married.When I started the Spymaster series in THIS century, I was happy to use Adrian again, because he was going to be a secondary character.Then . . . then . . . somehow he ended up with a book of his own and he wasn't going to have his HEA till 1818.I'm glad I could tell Adrian's whole, years-long love story. But it was complex doing it.My advice is -- don't write your series out of order.
As to Meeks Street.Meeks Street is an intelligence headquarters. It has the office and records and equipment and so on it needs to do that. But it's also on-call and staffed 24/7. There's always somebody on site willing and able to go wake up the Head of the Admiralty or the Prime Minister at three in the morning if that is what needs to be done.In practice, this means the most senior unmarried agent in London lives at Meeks Street. Galba, widowed for many years, lived at Meeks Street about half the time. The other half he played his role as Earl and lived in the West End mansion.Grey, before Annique, and Doyle, before Maggie, lived at Meeks Street full time. After he got married, Doyle lived in Meeks Street when he was in London. If he was stuck there any length of time, Maggie brought the kids down to a house in Hampstead and Doyle stayed there with them.Adrian stayed at Meeks Street while he was in town. Even later, after he acquired quite a nice town house, he only stayed there when he had to entertain or impress somebody. Justine is going to fix that. She's going to make the social duties easy. She's going to keep the shop, too. I mean, she is going to be Formidable.At any given time, there might be a dozen sitting down to dinner at Meeks Street. There are men and women who work in London and don't want to be bothered setting up their own household. Agents stay at Meeks Street when they're in transit. Independent Agents are 'attached' to Meeks Street and generally claim a room there between assignments. There are always one or two apprentices hanging around. And some experts, not agents but still working for the British Service, live outside London and stay at Meeks Street when they come to work.There's a staff of five that maintains the house. Three of them live in.
Lazarus.We might meet Lazarus again. I'm not sure. I'm thinking about this.George is one of the servants who work in the house. He and his mother live above a mews five or six streets away. Marguerite and Camille run orphanages in England and in France. This takes some managing on their part. Between the two of them, they have control over a good bit of money.
Hi Carol --You're right about Adrian being married and staying Head of Service. Justine, and being even more firmly entrenched in the power structure, is going to be an asset.After 1818, the Service continues gathering high-level political intelligence in the Courts of Europe. The Service also expands into the Crimea, the Eastern Mediterranean and India. Folks with background and language skills in those areas begin working for the service any time after 1810.Grey, soon after marrying Annique, stopped being Head of the English Section and went into deep cover in the south of France as an Independent Agent. He stayed there till the fall of Paris.
Hi Martha --By 1818, Adrian had taken over from Galba as Head of Service.
Whoa -- Grey as an independent agent. With Annique? This is all fascinating -- I love that you even know where and with whom George lives. I'm just curious as heck about Felicity, whom I imagined to be Adrian's project in the same way he was Doyle's. I love the scene where Felicity stomps noisily around picking up dishes and Adrian echoes Doyle's words to him in TFR.
I'm so sad that we haven't gotten to see any more of Grey and Annique in any of the subsequent books. I absolutely loved their dynamic (and each of them as individuals). Will we ever learn more about their life together?
Thanks, Jo. So Sir Adrian is not just Head of Section. My goodness. And Galba is an Earl. Wow. Does Annique inherit a title? Not usual with females, but it has happened on rare occasion.Thanks for answering these questions!
Any progress in finding a word processing system that you like?I am having trouble with keeping my bits and pieces in any sort of order, especially as there are more and more of them, but the problem is the way my brain works. I love Scrivener because it's better than Word, but the organization thing is still an issue.Can't, unfortunately, add mental RAM, but maybe a program would help.
And here I am FINALLY answering.Hi Annie --Yep Grey and Annique spend the later years of that war working in the field in France. I'll admit that I honestly don't know where Felicity comes into all this. It'll come to me.Hi Anon --I'm toying with the idea of Annique and Grey appearing in the Pax story. It's not in any way a promise. That story is very much a work in progress and its plot is in a state of flux. But there's a possibility.Hi Martha --Yep. Galba's always been an Earl. I think that's somewhere in Spymaster's Lady . . . unless it got edited out at some point.The Head of the Service has to hobnob with an elite. The custom has been to fill this position with a skilled agent of good family. In Adrian, they had the skilled agent. They faked the good family.Annique is not in line for any title. She inherits a good deal of wealth through her father's family, the Joneses. But she and Grey will someday live happily in their small manor house. As to the word processing -- I am working with Bean. So far, it has not annoyed me. I don't have a problem organizing a WIP, thank goodness. I find that if I take a copy of a reasonably late draft of the manuscript and insert pictures comments and URLs right into the draft, I always know where to find my references.