Chat With an Author Giveaways

Chat With An Author and Giveaway: Julia Quinn

We bring out the Red Carpet to welcome Julia Quinn!

Writer of fabulous historical romance novels and the one writer responsible for yours truly foray into the Romance Novel World. Julia Quinn has published two fantabulous books this year The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr Cavendish, I Presume both making my top 10 of 2008 but she has a pretty extensive backlist, of which I read every single book – and loved them. It is with great joy (and a lot of Squeeeeee!), that I present you with a chat with Julia Quinn:

The Book Smugglers: Firstly, congratulations on another Rita for The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. You must be thrilled – it is the second year in a row!

Julia Quinn: Thank you! It was amazing. Fabulous. Stupendous. Really, I could go on and on, but I’d sound like a thesaurus.

The Book Smugglers: Your new two-book series The Two Dukes of Wyndham has a very unique and clever premise – to tell the same story from different point of views. How did you come up with that idea – was it very difficult to keep track of the events? Did you write them simultaneously?

Julia Quinn: Some time ago I was humming an old Dire Straits song called “Industrial Disease,” and I got to the line: “Two men say they’re Jesus. One of them must be wrong.” Being the historical romance writer I am, I immediately change that to: “Two men say they’re the Duke of Something. One of them must be wrong.” The trick there, though, was to figure out how on earth the succession to a Dukedom could be in doubt, because that sort of thing was generally well-documented.

Once I came up with a way to make the plot work, I started thinking about the characters. Which would be the bad guy–the current duke or the long-lost duke? Then I thought–wouldn’t it be so much more interesting if they were both good guys?

At that point I realized I’d need two books, since if both were hero material, both would need to their own love stories. At first I thought I would write them sequentially, with one picking up where the other ended, but as I delved into the plotting, I realized that there were so many scenes that were crucial to both sets of characters. I couldn’t bear, for example, to show the big reveal scene (when the characters learn who is the real duke) from only one hero’s point of view. So I ended up writing two novels that take place at the same time, which meant that I would have to write them simultaneously. If I didn’t, I would have cheated one set of characters. I didn’t want to write one story and then have the second one be completely dependent on what I’d already set down on paper.

Keeping track of events wasn’t that difficult. The scenes that take place in both books were written at the exact same time; I’d literally hop back and forth between stories every few paragraphs. The hard part was writing the joint outline–it took me forever!

The Book Smugglers: The first book, The Lost Duke of Wyndham tells the story of Jack – a lighthearted, funny guy – and Mr Cavendish, I Presume tells the story of Thomas a much colder, strict man. Both very interesting but oh so different – what
is your favorite kind of hero to write? The funny guy or the intense guy?

Julia Quinn: I really like a mix. I don’t know that I’d call Jack lighthearted; he’s certainly very funny, but sometimes he bordered on insolent. He was a new type of character for me. All my heroes have senses of humor, but he really pushed the edges of politeness at times. And as for Thomas–I just adored him. He was a very different take on the tortured hero. Most heroes are tortured by something in their past; for Thomas, it’s all (or almost all) in the present. His life was fine (fairly empty, but fine) until Jack came along.

The Book Smugglers: In The Lost Duke of Wyndham you have Jack and Grace talking about art and Francois Boucher’s portrait of Marie-Louise O’Murphy; in Mr Cavendish, I Presume Thomas and Amelia discuss geography and old maps – these bits and pieces of history and art are subtly intercalated in your stories, they never detract from the romance but they add substance to your books. Do you have to do a lot of research before writing?

Julia Quinn: I don’t do a lot of research before writing; I find that I need to do my research as I go along. I had no idea, for example, that I would include the Boucher painting or the maps in either of the books until I got to those scenes.

The Book Smugglers: You are a graduate of Harvard and Radcliffe. You went to Yale School of Medicine for 3 months before deciding on becoming a writer – what made you take such a turn?

Julia Quinn: It wasn’t really so much of a turn. I wrote my first novel while I was taking my pre-med classes just after I finished college. I got in to med school the same month I got my first book deal, then deferred for two years while I wrote. Then I got it in my head that I should give med school a try; after all, I’d worked very hard to get in. But after a few months I realized that writing was a much better fit, and I haven’t looked back.

The Book Smugglers: So far you have written only historical novels – would ever consider writing in another sub-genre? Contemporary or paranormal for example?

Julia Quinn: I never say never, but for now, I’m very happy in my historical world.

The Book Smugglers: You have written 8 books in the Bridgerton series (and a few second epilogues, available online only ) – do you plan on ever
revisiting that world?

Julia Quinn: I can’t imagine I’ll never revisit the Bridgertons. They’re wonderful characters and it’s such a warm and familiar world for me. But I have several other projects on the horizon first.

The Book Smugglers: Most of your books have at least one very funny scene ( I still remember how much I laughed when I read the bathroom scene in Everything and The Moon) -do you consider yourself to be a funny person?

Julia Quinn: I’m pretty good with the dry quip. But I was never the class clown or anything like that; I’m actually pretty reserved. (Not terribly shy, as anyone who knows me will tell you, but still pretty reserved.)

The Book Smugglers: If you were stranded on a desert island, which 6 books would you take with you?

Julia Quinn: Desalinization for Dummies would be number one but after that I have no idea.

The Book Smugglers: And what are you working on next? Anything planned for 2009?

Julia Quinn: I’m writing a spin-off of The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever. It’s about Lady Olivia Bevelstoke. I’ve paired her up with an all-new character named Harry Valentine. Olivia is such a great character. I think it’ll be a lot of fun!

That’s it folks, our chat with Julia Quinn – a great, big, wholehearted thank you to Julia Quinn for saying yes and for being around today!

Now, for the giveaway: leave a comment or a question for Julia Quinn on this post and two lucky winners get to pick any book they want from Julia Quinn’s book list. If you are already a fan of her most recent work why not try her past titles – why not Everything and the Moon? – or maybe you want to try her for the first time? So go with The Duke and I, her first Bridgerton novel or The Lost Duke of Wyndham – the choice is yours! You can have a look at all her books here.

Contest runs until Saturday midnight, Pacific time.

Good luck!


  • Marg
    November 7, 2008 at 1:03 am

    I am a huge Julia Quinn fan. I started with the Bridgertons and now I am working my way through the baklist of all of Julia’s other books – or the ones I can get hold of at least!

    A question for Julia – you have said that you can’t see yourself writing a contemporary novel, but can you see yourself moving away from the Regency period to a different time, or even location.

    PS Ana or Thea – are you getting my emails?

  • DMoss
    November 7, 2008 at 5:06 am

    Hi Julia!
    Can’t wait for Olivia’s story next July! 🙂

    I was wondering if you have any idea yet when the next two Bridgerton epilogues will come out? Thanks!

  • Tabitha C
    November 7, 2008 at 5:25 am

    Hi Julia! I have only started reading your books a little over a month ago when The Duke and I was available online for free. Since then I have glommed most of your books — except for the recent two and the 2nd epilogues! I’m still holding out for all of the 2nd epilogues and having them in one book so soon as they are available, I’m in line for my copy. I can’t wait for Olivia’s story to come out..The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever is one of my fave of your books!

  • Katiebabs a.k.a KB
    November 7, 2008 at 5:27 am

    Hey Julia!
    How many words to do you think you write per day, and what do you do to get past any writer’s block you may have?

  • Cindy W
    November 7, 2008 at 5:47 am

    Julia, you have been in my tbr pile for years!!!! I guess I need to bump you up!

  • AnimeJune
    November 7, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Any book at all? No fair! So many to choose from!

    I’m working my way through the Bridgertons right now (I’m finished with Daphne, Anthony, and Benedict – Colin’s next!).

    And you can bet I’ll be wolfing down “The Lost Duke” and “Mr Cavendish” once they come in the mail – I had the great luck to win them at a charity auction Julia Quinn and Eloisa James’ message board held. ^_^

    Marg – Reading the dates of some of Julia Quinn’s books, she has written outside the Regency period – but only in years. The Regency, strictly speaking when Prinny was Regent, was only about ten years! ^_^ After that came William, and then Victoria.

    I always feel a little sorry for William – the Georges, the Regent, and Vicky all got time periods named after them, but not him.

  • Kara
    November 7, 2008 at 6:23 am

    I have to say that I am probably the only person who has not read Julia Quinn. I do have The Duke and I on my wish list at both Amazon and Fictionwise. I would like to start reading this series!!!

    What a great interview – it is nice to get to know the authors.

  • Maered
    November 7, 2008 at 7:14 am

    Great interview! I love the Bridgertons. And Lady Whistledown! You have to do another Lady Whistledown anthology, they were great.

  • Lana
    November 7, 2008 at 7:14 am

    I’m a giant Julia Quinn fan! I love my romance novels to be both emotional and funny – a hard combination to come by, but Julia’s books always fill the bill.

    I’ve never laughed so hard as when I was introduced to Bridgerton croquet… It should be a required sporting event at romance novel conventions!

  • CrystalGB
    November 7, 2008 at 7:33 am

    Great interview. I am huge fan of Julia’s books.

  • Lori
    November 7, 2008 at 7:57 am

    Great interview! Julia, I loved meeting you at RWA. I just wanted to say that Dancing at Midnight has always been my favorite book of yours (although TLDOW is now running a close 2nd).

    Do you have a favorite? And if so, why?

    BTW, I own JQ’s entire backlist, so no need to enter me into the contest. Thanks!

  • katayoun
    November 7, 2008 at 8:17 am

    great interview!
    a question, what made you decide on regency romance?

  • Barbara
    November 7, 2008 at 9:02 am

    Hi, Julia 🙂 Love, love, love your stories. Everything and the Moon happens to be my favorite. Robert was the best!

    So, since my copy completely shot from re-reading it a gazillion times, if I win I would choose that book 🙂

    Oh, BTW, if I don’t win, I recommend it to whoever does win 😉


  • Amanda
    November 7, 2008 at 9:03 am

    That’s a great interview! I haven;t read her books but am interesting in her Bridgerton books. It sounds like an interesting aspect…two books from two different perspectives on the same people. Being in med school, what made you pick historical fiction and in particular this time period?

  • M.
    November 7, 2008 at 9:12 am

    “Desalination for Dummies” haha!
    good with the dry quip, indeed!

    also, what a great idea to team up in cyberspacw with the lovely Eloisa James. Good cross-pollination.

    (no need to enter my name – had recent good JQ fortune on another tour spot in blogland, eagerly awaiting arrival of lost dukes!)

  • Renee
    November 7, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I just started reading Julia Quinn in the last month, and am working my way thru her backlist.

    I loved the sense of humor in How to Marry a Marquis, and am waiting for book 3 of the Bridgertons series A Offer from a Gentleman.

    Looking forward to checking out Lost Duke/Mr Cavendish!

  • Julia Quinn
    November 7, 2008 at 10:06 am

    Hi everybody! Thanks so much for the warm welcome.

    Marg–I do have a few ideas for historicals not quite in the regency period, but not for the next few books, at least. Actually, I’ve always thought it might be fun to invent my own country. At the very least, no one could fault my research!

    dmoss–I’m not certain yet when the next two 2nd epilogues will be out. I was trying to do two per year but I had to delay the ones for 2008 due to a family illness (all is well now, though!) Right now I’m trying to get caught up with my regular writing–once I do that, I’ll have a clearer idea of the epilogue schedule.

    Tabitha–I’m so glad you gave The Duke and I a try! It’s really helpful for us to get feedback on these types of promotions. And I hope you enjoy Olivia’s story. I’m currently way behind on it (don’t tell my editor!) but I’m about to enter deep-write mode, and I think it’s going to be really fun.

    katiebabs–I have no idea how many words I write per day. I wish I did, because that would probably mean that I kept to a somewhat decent schedule. As for writers block, I don’t really get it, but I do get writers malaise. The only way to get through that is, IMO, panic.

    Lori–I don’t really have a favorite of my books. I love them all for different reasons. And they all have bits and pieces which to me are extra-special.

    Katayoun–I don’t think I ever consciously decided to write in the regency period. I certainly didn’t consider anything else. It was really a case of—write what you like to read!

    Amanda–I actually started writing before I went to med school. And I’d been reading romance for years before I even thought about medicine as a career.

    m.–seriously, what good would Shipbuilding for Dummies be if you’ve run out of potable water?


  • Julia Quinn
    November 7, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Oh, and thanks to everyone else who left comments but didn’t ask me a specific question. I really enjoy your feedback.


  • Alie
    November 7, 2008 at 11:09 am

    I have crazy love for Julia Quinn, she’s one of the few historical writers that I consistently come back to.

  • Kim
    November 7, 2008 at 11:15 am

    I started to read JQ during her Bridgeton period and haven’t yet gotten to the backlist. Your bulletin board makes Brighter Than the Sun sound like a must-read. I’ll read them all eventually.

    As for a question: Romances can be similar in structure, but the plots quite different. Do you ever have trouble coming up with new and fresh ideas? Also, how many book ideas are in your head at one time? You mentioned that you have a few story ideas over the next few years. Will you write them or do they sometimes get thrown out? Thanks.

  • Hagelrat
    November 7, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Immortal Warrior arrived, thank you!!

  • Tracy
    November 7, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Wonderful interview Book Smugglers!

    Julia – I love your books. Now I’ve only read 2 so far (TLDOW and MCIP) but I’ve started ordering them 1 by 1 from the library so that I can read them all. I have The Duke and I currently on order. I’ve heard nothing but good things about your Bridgerton series and frankly all of your books. Congrats on your success, you deserve it.

  • Carolyn Jean
    November 7, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Oh, fun interview! I just started with my first Quinn book, the Duke and I, and I definitely plan to read more. I really enjoyed your story about how you came up with the 2-Duke plotline. Wonderful.

  • toohotforturtle
    November 7, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Julia- I like that you do research as the story goes along. Sometimes I think that authors focus too much on their research and mold characters and plots just so they can “use” their research materials. Your characters seem very multidimensional. What do you feel helps you build such interesting characters?

  • Karin
    November 7, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    Great interview! I really enjoyed reading it, but not as much as I enjoy your books, Julia. My grandmother and I are big fans.

  • icedtea
    November 7, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Thanks for the interview. I haven’t read a lot of Julia’s books outside of the Bridgerton series, but I love the humour in them and look forward to reading more.

  • Kate
    November 7, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    Lana – Bridgerton croquet – I laughed out loud thinking of it when I read your comment. Definitely terribly delicious scenes!

    I start reading JQ’s work with Wyndham and Cavendish, and am now working my way through the Bridgertons. The art scenes in Wyndham were particularly lovely to read! Always a delight to read your works!

  • Patty
    November 7, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Ana and Thea get the credit for exposing me to Julia Quinn’s books! I haven’t been able to read them fast enough!

    I’m currently making my way through the Bridgertons after having read TLDOW. I’m up to Colin’s story, although I have managed to find all the books, so Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth are waiting patiently for their respective stories.

    My question for Julia is this: I’m awed by how you’ve written the stories of the Bridgerton siblings so deftly through time. How did you keep track of eight different stories and timelines and weave them together so seamlessly?

  • ArkieRN
    November 7, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    Hi Julia!

    Just wanted to say I love your books. Especially the Bridgertons. Can’t wait for Olivia’s story.

  • Pam P
    November 7, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks for the interview, Julia. I’ve got all your books, loved that croquet scene, and the epilog with more on that later on was fun, too.

  • Maureen
    November 8, 2008 at 4:10 am

    I have enjoyed Julia’s Quinns stories for years but Jack from The Lost Duke has to be one of my favorite heroes.

  • Juliet
    November 8, 2008 at 5:53 am

    Great interview!

    I love Julia’s books and my favorites are the Bridgerton ones, specially the earlier ones, because I loved Lady Whistledown and in a certain way I missed her voice at the last ones :o)

    To all that haven’t read Julia’s books yet, do it and you’ll soon will be glooming her backlist.

  • Julia Quinn
    November 8, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Back to answer more questions…

    Kim–I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. It –can– be difficult to keep things fresh and interesting as a writer. And I firmly believe that if my projects aren’t interesting and fun for me, they won’t be interesting and fun for readers.

    I’ve found (I think I touched upon this in the interview; if I’m getting it confused with a different one, I’m sorry) that for me, the best thing is to try creative approaches with the writing process. That’s why the whole Two Dukes thing was such a good project for me as a writer.

    As for how many ideas I have floating around in my head, I usually don’t have more than one. Right now, I know which character I want to write about next, but I don’t really have a plot yet.


  • Julia Quinn
    November 8, 2008 at 8:50 am

    toohotforturtle–Thanks so much for the compliments on my characters. I think that is something I work on quite hard as I’m writing. That said, I’m not really sure how to explain what I do to build them. I know that I spend a great deal of time before I even start a book figuring out their history and childhood. Even if this stuff never appears in the book, it helps make them fully formed in my mind, which I think comes through when I’m writing.

    Patty–If there is one thing I’ve learned, it’s that if I ever write another eight book series again (not likely, I’ll admit) I’m going to do a bit more planning ahead of time. I originally set it up to be a three-book set and so when I got to some of the later books, I’d written myself into a bit of corner. (I had to make Francesca a widow in An Offer from A Gentleman because I realized that if I didn’t, I’d have three 27/28 year old spinsters in a row.)


  • Patty
    November 8, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Julia, in all of your books the thing that I like best is the over-lap. I really enjoy how the books and the characters dovetail and mesh together. After all, that’s how things would happen in real life. Even if it was sad for Francesca to lose her first husband, and it took awhile for things to get straightened out with Michael, I’m glad you found a way out of the corner for her. I’m still just amazed that you can keep the years straight for everybody- LOL! Do you write it down on paper or keep a huge bulletin board with post-it notes? Thanks for writing great stories!

  • Robyn
    November 8, 2008 at 10:32 am

    Great interview! I loved the Bridgerton series!

  • Ellen W.
    November 10, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Great interview! I really enjoy these books and look forward to reading your new books in the future.

  • Ellen W.
    November 10, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    Great interview! I look forward to reading the upcoming books!

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