Day 25 Julia Quinn – Understanding The Power of Romance

From the Grand Gesture to the Intimate Details

Any student of history (and by history I mean the kind learned while sitting at a desk in school) knows that our textbooks are full of facts and events. We learn of kings and presidents, of wars and important documents, and when ordinary people enter the picture, they do so lumped together in groups so unfathomably large that we lose sight of the individual. It wasn’t until I learned that my own grandmother was almost killed in the 1918 flu outbreak that I was able to put a humanizing face on the pandemic that claimed more than fifty million lives worldwide.

One might say that romance matters because of the sheer number of people who love to read it. Romance is consistently the most popular genre of fiction, and nothing gives me more pleasure than to mention that my books have been translated into twenty-six languages. But to truly understand why romance matters, we need to understand moments like this:

I was signing books after a library event earlier this year when a woman approached me with well-loved copies of two of my novels. As I signed them, she gave me a handwritten letter, asking me to read it later, sometime after the event was finished. She didn’t say much to me; I thought she was perhaps very shy, but then I noticed that her hands were shaking, and she was holding her face in that expression that we all know so well but is so difficult to describe. She was trying not to cry.

Later that night I read her letter:

Your books have been an incredibly important part of my life. When I was in my early 20s, I was in and out of hospital suffering severe depression. I had always been an avid reader. My life was books, but the medication I was on made it almost impossible to pick up a book. That was really difficult for me.

It was during my first hospitalization that I first discovered your books. I was on day leave, and my mother had taken me to a book fair. I saw The Viscount Who Loved Me, and the title made me smile. When you’re in hospital for depression, anything that makes you smile you have to hold on to. That night I spent the night laughing. Yep, in hospital for suicidal thoughts and your writing had me cracking up. Romance novels –yours in particular— have been huge in my life ever since.

It would be a little extreme to say that you saved my life, but you certainly made an incredibly difficult period of my life bearable. I will forever be grateful to you. I am now completely stable, by the way, and have been for five years, and I’m writing my own romance novel. Hopefully next time we meet I’ll be an author who has made an impact in someone’s life like you have for me.

Romance matters.

Recommendations: It’s impossible to mention just one great romance, but I do try to recommend a historical romance every Monday on my Facebook page.


Questions for Julia:

What is the craziest or ugliest object in your house, and why do you keep it?

My Z-Coil sneakers. I get the strangest looks when I wear them, but they totally cured my plantar fasciitis. And bonus! My street cred among nine year old boys has gone through the roof.

If there was a movie made about your life, what would it be called? (And just for fun, who would play you?)

Dude, Where Are My Keys? Mary-Louise Parker.

What is the best non-monetary gift you’ve ever been given?

A dictionary of ME. My boyfriend in college made it for me, with about twenty definitions, all relating to me. And yes, I married him.

If you had to pick one romantic scene or couple to recommend to a first-time reader of YOUR books, which would it be? (Any picks for romance novels in general?)

I’d go with the Bridgerton Pall Mall scene in The Viscount Who Loved Me. Some might not find the world’s most vicious croquet game to be terribly romantic, but I think any good courtship needs a bit of friendly (and underhanded) competition.


You are reading this essay at ReadARomanceMonth.com. Be sure to visit the About Read-A-Romance Month to learn more, or the Authors & Contributors page to see a list of all the great romance writers who are participating in celebrating the romance genre during the month of August.

Julia is generously donating four copies of A Night Like This for U.S. readers and one copy for International readers (U.S. and International readers eligible) International readers enter here. To enter the domestic contest, either leave a comment here or enter the weekly drawing on the contest page. Or both.  (Only one entry per commenter per post, though – multiple comments on one essay does not give you more chances.)  Comment entries must be posted by 11:59pm EST Aug 25 to be eligible, though winners will be announced at a later date.

Also visit the Awesome Contests page to see how you can register each week to win “A Month of Romance” (31 books), e-readers, and even the Grand Central Grand Prize, an iPad mini. If you love romance, then this is the place to be!

 


#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don’t read (or write) romance, and in 2001 she did so in grand fashion, appearing on the game show The Weakest Link and walking away with the $79,000 jackpot. She displayed a decided lack of knowledge about baseball, country music, and plush toys, but she is proud to say that she aced all things British and literary, answered all of her history and geography questions correctly, and knew that there was a Da Vinci long before there was a code. Ms. Quinn is the youngest member of Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame, with over ten million copies of her books in print. She currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

 

Buy Julia’s Books on Amazon and Barnes & Noble
icon

 

  • Mary McCoy

    Thank you for your books! I agree that courtship can be a competition and I love your account of that croquet game!

  • Laura

    Oh yes, I recall that croquet game. Your writing brings me joy, 🙂

  • Kathy Nye

    Thank you for sharing the touching letter. I agree that romance and laughter are a wonderful combination and you are the best at it.

  • Lorelei’s Lit Lair

    Amazing what an impact an authors book can make to someone’s life. That letter was beautiful. Romance does matter.

  • Kim Cornwell

    I’m so happy you made a difference in her life. It’s ironic how small things can help others and make a difference. Thanks to you and all romance writers! Romance makes a big difference. It gives is a place to go and be happy!

  • Glenda

    Well said about the popularity. Of course those who claim to be experts in literary matters look down their noses on any writing that is popular with the “masses”. Why do they always forget about Shakespeare??

    And of course the letter was a wonderful example of how romance novels can change a life!

  • Martha Lawton

    I am so glad that you make people laugh even in the middle of despair. I loved the croquet match scene.

  • MK

    Excellent choice on Mary Louise Parker! And thank you for the essay.

  • mariannewestrich

    Absolutely love the sneakers!! 😎

  • Britney Adams

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful letter and your gift of writing!

  • Suzanne Clune

    I just wanted to say how much I love your books myself. They always bring a smile to my face and they are always beautiful love stories. I too find that romance novels make life happier and brighter. Oh by the way, I love the sneakers 🙂

  • Ann

    Thank you! The letter you share says so much about you, as a person, who has become the author we love.

  • Joanne Ozment

    Great story. I love that romance takes me away from the everyday troubles of life.

  • Melissa Cowling Terry

    I love your books. They also bring me laughter.

  • Deb Hinshaw

    I have many favorite authors, but you are, by far, number one on my list. Just ask the owners of the Indie bookstore I frequent….they always have your newest releases waiting for me. What a wonderful post today. The fan who wrote that letter found hope through books and found, like many of us, romance matters. Thank you, Julia, for writing such warm and witty stories of love, relationships, romance, hope.

  • Carrie Marie

    this post made me smile. and that Pall Mall game is one of my favorite scenes of your books, so good pick!! : ) the banter, the banter! you write it so well. : )

  • Patty Vasquez

    I love the pall mall and mallet of death scene! I adore Kate, too. I also want to thank you for your support of military families, military spouses, and veterans. I received a copy of The Viscount Who Loved Me from you last November; it is a gift I really treasure.

  • Anna

    I loved the Pall Mall scene. I thought it was such a fun way for Kate & Anthony to get to know each other better. 🙂

    Oh, and for JQ (one of my favorite authors) to appear on RARM on my birthday, what a fun surprise!

  • Ann Mettert

    I love your books. They are in the keeper batch!!!

  • Rowan Worth

    An amazing letter! And really fun shoes. Hadn’t seen those before.

  • Nancy Huddleston

    Love history more if there is romance involved.

  • Allison Siegel

    What an inspiring letter! Will definitely be checking out your books very soon.

  • gamistress66

    wow, what a wonderful letter to receive, thanks for sharing

  • Thank you so much for sharing this letter and for your words. Thank you also for the international gift!

  • Kristy Birch

    What an amazing letter from an amazing woman. Thank you for sharing it with us. I love the Pall Mall scene too! I was fortunate enough to play an indoor version with you last June in Colorado and had a blast!

  • rebecca moe

    OMG, I *loved* the croquet game! Classic.

    BTW, your books frequently get me into trouble with my daughter…for giggling too much while reading. I first read What Happens in London while the two of us were sharing a hotel room, and she was ready to kick me out by the end of the first morning!

  • Melissa Sullivan

    Aw, What a touching letter from a fan. I’ve been a fan of yours for “years” and love each and every one of your books. Some of your books are on my “when read i’m sad” shelf. I always leave from reading them smiling. ^w^

  • ki pha

    Hi Julia! That was such a great post and am very happy you shared it with us. Many authors have impacted a readers’ life and they need a medal for it. Every book that is written, every line that is read are special and we thank authors like you for it. Keep up the great work and never give up because people like us, your fans, will love you forever for changing someone’s life. Thank you!

  • Kareni

    What a touching post; thanks for sharing that letter, Ms. Quinn. That “Dictionary of Me” sounds like a wonderful gift. Thanks for your many enjoyable books!

  • Nicole Fortuna

    Great post! After a long break from romance I came back to it with your book The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever and have read all of the Bridgertons since. I love your books and can’t wait for the Sum of All Kisses.

  • wonderful story and yes i guess author often ignore how many people their writing can have helped

  • Angie Frawley

    I have always adored her writing! Now we have proof she’s pretty darn good!!!..Thanks for all the stories

  • Jean Consorti

    I love reading Julia Quinn’s novels. They are funny yet have depth particularly the female characters. Looking forward to the upcoming novel!

  • Letitia Paige

    I’ve been reading Quinn romance for the past 10 years. My gran gave “Romancing Mr. Bridgerton” to me as light reading after completing my first semester of college. She said I needed a break…and I’ve been taking breaks with Ms. Quinn lovely wit and lively characters ever since. 🙂

  • Erin Gill

    I love the Pall Mall scene in The Viscount Who Loved Me! I am always recommending the Bridgerton books for people starting out with historical romance!

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    I love your books. The first one of yours that I ever read was “How to Marry a Marquis”. I laughed so hard, I had to go out and buy all the books that you had written so that I could catch up with your writing.

  • Donna

    That letter put tears in my eyes! What a beautiful justification of what you do. Thank you so much for the years of enjoyable reading.

  • Monique Flasch

    Can’t wait for this new title to come out! Love this story.

  • Melanie Backus

    You do so very much with your writing. Thank you.

  • Tina Marie

    I have to say, that letter really shows what a good story can do for someone. I read a few different genres, but when I am looking to just relax and let my mind be happy, it’s romance I love the best. The Viscount Who Loved Me is an awesome story!!!

  • Sharon Gilbert Fournier

    The first book I ever read by Julia Quinn was “Splendid” and have been hooked ever since. Her writing just gets better and better!

  • bonnierz

    That’s a great story. My personal favorite is An Offer From a Gentleman.

  • Cyndee Martin

    Oh my gosh what a beautiful letter and what a wonderful gift from a reader!

  • Kim

    I’ve enoyed reading your books. It must be nice to know your books have helped people cope during difficult times.

  • Lori LaSpada

    I’ve read all of Julia’s books and yes she makes me smile. I will be hitting all the giveaways in hopes of getting a copy of her latest and greatest. I lost my job which means the only entertainment for me is free entertainment.

    Lori

  • ProgressiveVoice

    Julia Quinn has been a favorite of mine since I picked up my first book of hers. Star authors of romance, to me, are the ones who make me laugh or cry – even on the tenth or 100th reading! Ms Quinn keeps me laughing!

  • Mary Jo Burke

    Romance keeps the blues away and hope alive.

  • Linda Morrison

    That story brought chills. I love how a reader can connect so well to a book or a writer. I’ve heard tales of books read to loved ones as they lay in the hospital, of books that brought people through unimagined places, and this story of laughter in the suicide watch wing is just wonderful. I’m so happy you were there for that woman, even if you weren’t aware of it until now. Thank you.

  • Pamby50

    What a beautiful letter. I hope she makes it as a writer.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    Thank you for sharing that personal letter from your fan. Even in less extreme situations, a romantic and/or humorous love story can be great to restore a good mood. I don’t need to win A Night Like This – I already own it & loved it!

  • Ora

    You are one of my favorite historical authors. I can’t wait for The Sum of All Kisses.

  • Richa

    I love all your books not just because they have romance but the characters are so memorable!

  • Christina Fashant

    It has become a tradition for me to read the Viscount Who Loves me every time I go camping. I don’t know why, other than that I was camping the first time I ever read it. A few years ago my oldest son, who had just been diagnosed with slight, cough-variant Asthma, started having major coughing fits during our camping trip. I dutifully gave him his inhaler and kept an eye on him (hovering like a total mother hen). His condition began to deteriorate and he got very sick. I spent the whole day at the campsite reading next to the tent while he slept in my bed. By the next morning his coughing had caught the notice of a pediatrician who happened to be camping across from us. She told us to take him to the hospital (2 hours away) ASAP. By the time we got there his oxygen sats were in the 80s and he was a limp doll in my arms. He got triaged to the head of the line and I got to sit by his bedside while they tried to get him to keep down his medication. At one point he fell asleep, so I decided to pick of the book and read a few pages. It was the Pall Mall scene and I laughed out loud when Kate smashed the ball. I looked around to see if anyone was giving me a dirty look, but the only one who noticed was a nurse who simply smiled and later asked me what book I was reading. I think people understand the need for relief in times of great stress.

  • Hillary

    I love every one of her books that I’ve read, and I can’t wait to read more of them!

  • Cindy A

    I love romance books with humor. I think I fell in love with my husband because of this off kilter humor.

  • Nicole Wall

    I love the humor in Julia Quinn’s books. And the Pall Mall battle is definite winner!!

  • Jen C

    *tears* Aw.
    And that dictionary of ME sounds pretty cool!

  • Marcy Shuler

    The letter from the woman at your book signing was very touching. And yes, romance matters.

  • Kimberly Watson

    I love your books Julia. They always make me smile!

  • Sue G.

    Aww…what a sweet letter….thanks for the cry!

    How awesome that your husband made you a dictionary! Sounds like a keeper!

  • Margaret P.

    I think the favorite part of your books are the relationships among the 8 Bridgertons, including their croquet games. It was great meeting you in Burlington, MA!

  • Thanks for sharing. I love romance because it relaxes me so much. I’m a very high strung person, I don’t do “Don’t worry” well, romance helps me so much for that, and now that I’m teaching it gives me back my faith in humanity after teaching to 50 annoying 16 year olds.

  • leah g

    That is a great letter. Thanks for sharing. I love the “Dictionary of Me” that is so awesome!

  • Larena Hubble

    romances also have the ability to bring history to life to the point you actually enjoy reading about it.

  • Suzanne Brockmann

    Fantastic blog from one of my favorite authors!

  • Vonda M. Reid

    What a touching story. I’ve been a Julia Quinn fan since the Bridgertons arrived on the scene. Thank you for lifting me, too, out of “real life” for the moments I am engulfed in your stories.

  • BookLady

    What a lovely post! Your writing has touched so many lives. Thanks for sharing the wonderful letter.

  • Laurel Sorensen

    I think it is impossible for an author to understand how special it is for a reader to meet someone they have learned to love through their books. I live in Michigan, and have only had an opportunity to meet a couple of authors (Suzanne Brockmann, and Lora Leigh, (tell me that’s not a strange pairing!! LOL!) But it was an extreme honor both times. I will be forever grateful to every author I have ever read for taking me away from the current problems of my day, to a place where my mind could rest ….at least for a little while…. so I could find the courage to go back to the world again.

  • Molly Moody

    What an awesome post! Julia you’ve touched many, many lives and I’m sure you’ll touch many more in the future. I remember that croquet game very well. Croquet is one of the few games I was actually good at as a child even though I’m not and wasn’t all that competitive. Would love to win and read your book.

  • Vikki

    Thank you for taking your time to write this excellent blog. I have enjoyed your books for years. In fact, I recently re-read The Duke and I due to a conversation with one of the women in my RWA chapter. It was inspiring!

  • Tracy

    I have loved your books for years, you are on my automatic buy list!! Thank you!

  • Dana Shoulders

    Love the croquet scene and love your post! One of my top 5 favorites so far :).

  • Mary Chen

    I find romance to be inspiring too. It’s a wonderful genre, and you are all the more awesome for being a romance writer! 🙂

  • Carol Luciano

    lol Your street cred with 9 year olds had me cracking up. 🙂

    The letter you were given actually caused me to tear up. What a wonderful moment that had to be as you read that. What a great compliment.

    Thanks for your post and the chance.

    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  • Savannah Miller

    I love Julia Quinn’s books!! I fell in love with her Bridgerton books and have ever since found myself addicted to Julia Quinn books <3

  • Alrisha

    JQ is the best!! I read every one of her books, more than one. She made me laugh a lot. I got a copy of To catch an heiress close to me just for that moments when I need a laugh in my life.

  • MooMoo Cake

    You are one of my favorite authors. I re-read your books all the time and always find myself laughing and crying. Your books are familiar friends that I reach for when I really need a boost. Although your post didn’t make me cry, it touched me and made me laugh. Thank you for contributing to this event with such a great post and providing us with the chance to win a copy of A Night Like This. And for writing such great books 🙂

  • Becca Luman

    I continuously re-read your books and anxiously await the next release! Thanks for being a part of the giveaways this month!

  • Meredith Richardson

    Love those shoes!!

  • Lucimar Cardoso de Araújo Cost

    I love history, if the author notice something, I research to know if it’s true. And I love quote and to publish them, I love the information what a book contain.

  • Joan Varner

    Thanks for the blog. I loved your story about your fan.

  • Valerie

    So many things I want to comment on this…. I feel/empathize with your commentary story more than I want to….I love your favorite non monetary gift, that is so VERY sweet and wonderful… and that Pall Mall scene is FANTASTIC

  • Michelle

    Love her! I am also super excited because I’ve been suffering with PF for two years and nothing has helped. I’m going to buy some z-coil shoes!

  • Wonderful essay. I’ve worked in the mental health field…it’s so inspiring knowing that your books helped someone through one of the most difficult periods of their life. Definitely, romance matters. 🙂

  • Laurie W G

    How gratifying to know that your writing has touched so many lives!

  • Janie McGaugh

    That was a great story. Thank you for sharing it.

  • Karin Anderson

    I need to look into those shoes. 😀

  • una rusnawaty

    You are one of my favorite authors. I am-read your books all the time
    and always find myself laughing and crying. I’m
    obsessed and crazy about Julia to read books and sometimes I feel
    involved in it, I’m afraid my husband to forget and do not realize it
    when I was reading your book …. Oh I love Julia and romance books.

  • Pam P

    Oh yes, I still think about that Pall Mall rivalry, a favorite Bridgerton book.. Love your books, Julia, always recommend them.

  • Melissa Spencer Feehan

    The shoes scare me…….but I want to play pall mall with the bridgertons!!!!!

  • Monica Becker

    I love your books because they make me laugh too. What a great story.

  • SuzyQ

    Who could forget the mallet of death? One of my favorite scenes from one of my favorite series 🙂

  • Stephanie Fredrick

    Love the blog. Fantastic stories, always a great mix of historical, romance and humor. So great that your stories have helped people.

  • Bernadette Long

    Isn’t it wonderful that romance novels touch so many lives!

  • Kim

    Thank you for sharing that story! Romance novels (and just books in general) can provide something that we need to make life easier.

  • Brenda E

    Great blog, Julia. I so agree that authors influence us all the time in such a good way. Love your books.

  • Erlinda Mejia

    Back when I was working full time, raising my little girl, helping my husband get a college degree, and the most broke I had ever been, is when I discovered romance novels. They helped me relax at the end of each exhausting day, gave me hope for the future, kept my love life sparking, taught me about magic, bounty hunting, fencing, travel, horses, history and LOVE. Kept me going chapter by chapter. I would rather eat Top Ramen for lunch in order to buy your latest book. Thank you for sharing your incredible talent and your wonderful stories.

  • Tin

    Hi, Julia!

    Thank you for sharing that story — I can relate to her, but mine was anxiety not depression. Your books are light-hearted but you also touch on pain and heartache so well. Simon from The Duke and I remains one of my all-time favorite heroes.

    And, you nailed your own casting with Mary-Louise Parker. ^_^

  • Edie Spears

    I have loved to read ever since I learned how to. But I discovered romance the summer I turned eleven (I know young right). My best friend had moved to Rabat Morocco when her Marine Sgt. dad was stationed there and I had gone to three different schools that year and was facing beginning middle school with almost no one I knew. I read voraciously that summer and had a hard time finding enough books to read so I turned to my mom’s harlequin books (it was 1973….remember those). I would go thru 2 or even 3 a day sometimes and thus began my love for romance. One day I read a book by I read a book that was so witty and funny and I have been on a quest since to discover smart funny books with quirky characters that you can’t help but fall in love with and oh yeah I prefer they are historical. When I found my first Bridgerton book I also found my new favorite author. I always wanted to love and to be loved to distraction unfortunately the man I fell in love with and had three children with loved alcohol and drugs and cheating more than he loved me …more than he loved us. Books like yours help to heal that scarred place in me that longs for romance and love. I’m 52 years old and single and probably always will be but I still have delightful romance in my life. Thank you to all the authors I love but especially to writers like you Julia your books are truly a cut above!

  • Kerry Croucier

    I love reading Julia’s books! Great to hear. I can’t wait for the next book, they make me laugh!

  • Cherish Y

    A great blog entry, from a great author. It makes me glad that I found you on Goodreads. Keep up the good work.

  • Beth Re

    Julia
    Wow what a letter from a reader I teared up reading your post.
    Thank you for sharing

  • Brandi Schrieber Brennan

    I could really relate to the article about the letter you received from a woman suffering from depression. I, too, suffer from depression (although not as severe, I suspect, as the letter writer) and when I begin feeling those down moments, I always go to a romance book by one off my favorite writers (and you are one of my top favorites) an by reading a romance, I’m able to get outsude of myself and get immersed into another world where there is humor, romance, and love. Medication its often necessary for depression, but, for me, adding a great romance book to my other treatments just helps all the more. Authors have the ability to make people feel better by their words, and for those of us that those words help, thank you. You help make my depression better and I’m happy! and grateful

  • Kim Giardina

    Great post, and thanks for the contest. JQ books make me laugh & make me cry, but always leave me ready for another!

  • Anne

    Thank you for sharing. You are still one of my all time favorites. Please keep writing.

  • Amy Livesay Hart

    Love the cover!

  • Thank you for all the lovely comments, everyone! I’m honored and touched.

    JQ (who can’t seem to get Discus to upload my photo as my avatar.)

  • Patsy Kennard

    What a lovely compliment to you and your writing. I have been an avid reader since I learned how to read. It was my Aunt who turned me onto romance novels. I was always a huge fan of the Disney love stories, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Lady and the Tramp and so on. So when my Aunt loaned me a few of her Harlequin books, I was in heaven. And when I found out our local library would allow you to trade old paperbacks for others you haven’t read, well lets just say my Parents always knew where I was when not at home lol. I’m 49 now and still a devout fan of just about every type of romance book, the steamier the better lol. I have amassed so many favorite authors that I always have a stack of books waiting to be read as well as at least a hundred waiting on my Kindle to be read lol. As with the woman in your letter, my books have gotten me through some tough times such as broken hearts and always helped me remember that if you kept trying to find that special someone you would. I can attest to that fact, after three (cringe) divorces I finally found my soul mate. We have been married almost 8 years now and I’ve never been happier ;-). So thank you and all those who pick up a pen to write beautiful, wonderful stories to lose ourselves in another world and make our days or nights that much better.

  • Stephanie M.

    Thank you so much for all your books.

  • Mary Zwierzynski Slack

    Julia, I love your books because they make me laugh. I borrow them from the library, I buy ebooks, I buy the paperbacks. As long as you make me laugh, I’ll keep reading your stories.

  • Thank you for all the smiles … and belly laughs … I’ve found in your books. 🙂

  • Flora Segura-Buchler

    What a wonderful thing to be trusted with a letter like that, Julia! However, I truly believe there are many readers or Romance and other genres who use reading as a form of self medication. I know that when I am in pain reading helps to take my mind off of it for a little while. There is truth to the saying that laughter is the best medicine; just ask your DH!

  • Molly

    I love your books.