Day 8 Julia Quinn – Strong Links To Romance

Vintage Julia

Julia Quinn has graciously accepted the invitation to participate in Read-A-Romance Month in both 2013 and 2014, but she felt her essay for last year would have been perfect for this year and found herself stumped by what to say beyond the sum_450responses to the questions (which are practically essays themselves anyway). So instead of badgering JQ on her essay, I decided to find some interesting interviews and share a question or two and then link you back to the originals, in case you were interested in reading more of them. I hope you find them as fascinating as I do!

1 – From a 2012 interview at the International Business Times by Cristina Merrill (not to be confused with romance author Christine Merrill):

Critics of the romance genre say that it gives women unhealthy ideas about relationships. What do you think of that? I think it’s funny. What does that say about murder mysteries? Do we now think that every murder is going to be solved? What about spy thrillers or novels where people have sex and then that’s it? That’s healthier? I just don’t understand how a novel where the ending is two people committing to a long-term, monogamous relationship is unhealthy. I think for quite a lot of people that is a goal and that is something they would like. Whenever I read articles where critics are saying that, the books they are citing as having read are all from like a decade or two ago, or more, and the genre has changed dramatically. So I’d like someone to do their due diligence. There used to be a lot of rape fantasy elements but you’d be very hard pressed to find that now. But critics still go back to that. My characters wouldn’t stand for that.

2 – From a vintage interview, circa 1998:

What do you believe makes the perfect romantic Hero?   Oh gosh, if I knew that, I’d write a self-help book and make a million dollars.

3 – Then there’s this gem of an intro I found in an interview by Laurie Likes Books, originally published in 1996 that now has a home at All About Romance and gives a humorous peek into why we love Julia Quinn, and why we celebrate romance:

Several weeks ago when I was looking at my rather large library, I decided I had nothing to read. Actually, I needed to take a break from the dark and intense medievals I’d been reading. As I scanned my bookcases, Julia Quinn’s Splendid caught my eye. For some reason, I checked the copyright page and when I saw the dedication, I knew I had found what I had been looking for – humor. You see, Julia’s dedication included this clever snippet about her fiance: And for Paul, even though he insisted that the title ought to be Splendid in the Grass.

4 – Finally, I found a bunch of recommendations in a Barnes & Noble featured author spot. Some great books in there!


SSJQStefanie Sloane! She’s not very well known (yet!) but she’s a fabulous writer, and I really think that people who like my books will like hers. Here we are at a U2 concert.

Questions for the Author:

Describe the most daring, adventurous or inspiring thing you ever did.

I tried out for a game show! I lived in London for four months in early 2001, and while I was there I got hooked on The Weakest Link. When I returned to the States, I heard that they were developing an American version of the show, and then one day I was driving in my car and the radio DJ announced that there were going to be tryouts the next Sunday. I got there early, and there was already a huge crowd. I couldn’t believe it, especially since I don’t weakest-link-logothink the show had even aired in the US yet. The first round was standing up and saying your name, age, and occupation in front of a crowd (I guess to make sure you wouldn’t melt of stage fright) and then we had to take a 20-question quiz. Then we all sat around and waited while they picked 30 people (out of about 300), to move to the next level. I was pretty confident because I spoke clearly and had an interesting profession (and I aced the quiz, but then again, who knows if they actually wanted smart people?)

I made the cut, and they moved us to another room where we had to do a mock version of the show on camera. It was pretty goofy, and the whole thing lasted no more than thirty minutes. Then they basically said, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” and we all left. About three months later, they called, I squealed, and they flew me to LA, put me up in a hotel, made me sign a thousand waivers and gag orders, and I made it onto the show!

And I won!

Tell us about your journey to becoming a writer. (How did you decide to get started? Did you always know or was there a specific moment when you knew?)

When I was about twelve, my father caught me reading Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High books, which he thought were terrible, so he told me I could keep reading them if I could come up with one reason why reading them was good for me. I immediately said, “Vocabulary words,” but when pressed, I couldn’t find a single word in the books I didn’t already know. So then, panicked that I’d lose my favorite reading material, I said, “I’m studying these so I can write one myself.” He said, “Okay,” and that night he sat me in front of his computer (we were the first people on the block to get a home computer–it was one of those old Osbornes with the 7-inch screen) and told me to get to it. Much to his surprise, when he JQDadcame back three hours later to see how I was doing, I’d written two chapters! I eventually finished the book, and I sent it off to Sweet Dreams to try to get it published. I got it back within days, with a form letter rejection. To this day, I believe that as soon as they read in my cover letter that I was fifteen (it took me three years to complete the book, since I only worked on it on my summer vacations) they immediately moved the manuscript to their reject pile. Which was too bad–I pulled it out a few years ago and reread it. It was really good!

I also want to say that my dad is now my biggest cheerleader, and in fact, for the first time in my life, he’s following in MY footsteps. He’s an author now, too. He writes the Cheesie Mack middle grade series. They’re really terrific–my favorite review comes from Kirkus, which called them “sneakily educational.”

Tell us about The (or A) Book That Changed Your Life. (Why?)

See above. When I applied to Harvard for college, this exact question was on the application, and I wrote about the book I’d written. To this day I am convinced it was why I was accepted (early action, no less!) I had great grades and SAT scores, but so did everyone else who applied. My teen romance novel was the only thing that made me really unique.

Julia is generously offering ten copies of The Sum of All Kisses, seven to U.S. readers (entry form below) and three to international readers (enter here).

julie-home#1 New York Times bestselling author Julia Quinn loves to dispel the myth that smart women don’t read (or write) romance, and several years back she did so in grand style, competing 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.

In 2010, Ms Quinn won her third RITA Award in four years and was the thirteenth author to be inducted into the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages, and she has been profiled in USA Today and TIME Magazine. Her twenty-third novel, The Sum of All Kisses, was released in late 2013.

Please visit her on the web at or on Facebook at

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