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 writerswrite.com 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!

Recommendation: 

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 www.juliaquinn.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/AuthorJuliaQuinn.

Buy Julia’s Books:

availableon-amazon  availableon-nookavailableon-kobo

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  • Donna

    I’ve always been of the opinion that it takes an exceptionally intelligent writer to write humor well – and you do! Great Q & A. Thanks for the give away.

  • Courtney Cogswell

    First of all, I always enjoy your books and kudos to you for writing a book so young! I also was a huge fan of the Sweet Valley series when I was growing up and quickly moved into the romance genre. I’ve read a lot of books over the years but romance is and always will be my favorite. And for the record, I think I have a pretty extensive vocabulary thanks to my years of reading what many others deem “trash.” Thanks for your contribution to RARM and I look forward to reading more of your books in the future!!!

    • I never “dumb down” the vocabulary in my books!

  • Martha B

    Hi Julia,

    Ironically enough, The Sum of All kisses, is the only book of yours I have NOT read (or re-read). When it was released, we were traveling and I wanted a print copy… I haven’t gotten around to ordering it even though it’s on my (mental) TBR pile. Side bar, I love the Smythe-Smith musicales. They are dreadful musicians and still perform in public anyway. Lack of self-awareness? Year after year everyone attends and hilarity among the audience always ensues.

    The humor in your books and the witty dialogue make me laud-out-loud. That’s what made me a fangirl. That and the fact you write Regency historical romance. You impact way more people than if you had become a physician. . Thanks!

    • Thanks! I’ve never regretted the decision to write. I’m married to a physician; I see every day exactly what I’m missing!

  • Sue G.

    How cool is it that you were on The Weakest Link! I loved that show! Was Anne Robinson as snarky in real life or was that just for the show?

    • Actually, she was really nice! She sort of said at the beginning that she goes into character. Then she said, “This is the last nice thing you’ll hear me say.” Then she stayed in character until after the show when she congratulated me.

  • Angie Frawley

    Romance makes my life even brighter!!

  • Tammy H

    Great post!

  • Joyce Rajnyak Burkhardt

    I have read a couple of Stephanie Sloane’s books and they are great. Great recommendation! LOVE your books so much.

    • Thanks! Stef will be thrilled to hear you liked them.

  • angryreader

    I always know that if the book is by Julia Quinn it will be witty, literate, and playfully romantic, but even more,it will showcase familial love and true caring. That’s what really makes them sing to me.

  • Fern Martin

    I never hesitate to buy and read a Julia Quinn book. I have loved her for a long time.

  • Hannah B

    Thanks for sharing how you get started as a writer. Thanks for the giveaway.

    • I enjoy sharing that story–I figure no one else has a “how I got started” story quite like mine…

  • Debbie Oxier

    Never read one of your books. Hope I win! Lol!

  • Jen C

    Now I want to go watch Weakest Link!

    • Apparently I come on about every eight weeks on the Game Show Network.

  • Deb Hinshaw

    I love JQ books, and Cheesie Mack is a great book for my 5th grade students. My fave JQ is ROMANCING MR. BRIDGERTON because Colin is a perfect hero and I can relate to Penelope.

  • Anna

    I always enjoy Julia’s dedications to Paul. Without fail, every book has been dedicated to him (she actually said that it’s purposeful when I saw her speak a few years ago), and they’re usually sweet and/or entertaining.

    I wonder if we can find Julia’s appearance on The Weakest Link on Youtube?

    • If you find it, let me know! I’ve looked!

  • Erica H

    Julia Quinn, your books always make me smile!

  • Patty Vasquez

    “…the genre has changed dramatically. So I’d like someone to do their due diligence.” Yes! As Bobbi knows, just this week I traded a series of emails with the editor of our big city newspaper who wrote an article about smart women in academia who write books. She specifically mentioned Debbie Harkness, Diana Gabaldon, and Mary Bly who writes as Eloisa James. However, she referred to Eloisa James’ books as bodice rippers. I took exception to her use of that archaic term. Long story short, she did agree to rethink her use of the words when referring to historical fiction. I hope she wasn’t just humoring me! 😉

    • I really hate the term “bodice rippers.” The thing is, the people who use it don’t usually think they are using a derogatory term! They think it’s an accepted nickname.

      • Patty Vasquez

        That is exactly what she said in her initial response to me. This is the senor editor of the largest newspaper in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area:
        “I meant no insult to romance writers or to Mary Bly; I read one of her books and liked it quite a bit, and I recommended it in my summer reading package (which ran in June). The term “bodice-ripper” is pretty common, and I don’t see it as a pejorative; a quick look at any cover of any of her books will support the term. (I’m attaching one for you to examine.)”

        She included both the cover and the step back to An Affair before Christmas, which, in my opinion, is a beautiful cover.The step back features the shirtless back of the hero and the heroine in a beautiful gown. The book she read and recommended for summer reading was Three Weeks with Lady X which she referred to as well-researched and raunchy.

        Grrrr.

  • Michelle Harlan

    I’m such a fan of JQ’s books. An acquaintance suggested her when I said that I was in the mood for a romance with a little humor. Best suggestion ever!

  • Pam

    I am a huge Julia Quinn fan. Every single one of her books is on my “keeper shelf” (who am I kidding – every book I buy ends up as a keeper!) and she is one of my auto-buy authors. Her books are witty and believable. She writes about things we all experience or hope to experience – having or finding family and sharing love.

  • Bibliojunkies

    I adore Julia. I have a shelf dedicated to her books. I think I’ve re-read each of her books at least twice. But Romancing Mr. Bridgerton is probably my most worn copy. I almost need to buy a new one – LOL. Thank you for the lovely post and interview!

    • Now THAT’S a compliment–to read a book so often you have to replace it!

  • rebecca moe

    My daughter has banned me from reading JQ books when we’re spending time in close proximity (like, for example, when we had to share a hotel room that wasn’t a suite and she couldn’t get away from me without sitting in the hallway) because I giggle too much and “that’s annoying, Mom. Seriously.”

    Teenagers.

  • Enza

    I love her! She’s so lovely and her books are amazing! I have read almost all of her books. She’s my favorite author!

  • Toni Linenberger

    I love this!

  • alisha woods

    I liked her response to women having unrealistic views about men in relationships.

  • Bube

    Thank for the wonderful post and also international giveaway! 🙂

  • Kylan Alexander

    The first thing I ever downloaded onto my kindle app for my iPhone (before I ever had a kindle) was the second epilogue a for the Bridgerton series! 🙂 Love that Bridgertons!

  • Kim

    That’s interesting about her teen age novel.

    • I’ve still got it in my computer. (Had to transfer it from 5 inch floppy to 3 inch floppy to hard drive…)

  • M Kuxhaus

    Love the “essay” you put together, Bobbi! And The Weakest Link must be why Julia Quinn always looks familiar to me; I watched the show way back when. 🙂

    • Wasn’t that nice of Bobbi to put that together? I was seriously stumped, and by the time I finished answering the questions, it felt like I’d already written a whole essay!

  • Elizabeth ‘Liza’ Schroedle

    I love Julia Quinn’s books. I have all of them as JQ’s books are automatic keepers.

  • Judy C

    I always enjoy reading about one of my favorite authors.

  • Ann Mettert

    I found this really interesting.

  • Diana

    Love JQ’s books!

  • LisaVH

    Congrats on The Weakest Link!! So cool! I added a few of Julia’s books to my TBR.

  • Laurie Skinner Gray

    I love Julia’s very unique road she took to being an author of fantastic romance novels!

    • Well, I wouldn’t want to take the straight path…

  • Gen Sera Rubi

    I love Julia Quinn! Always so funny =D

  • Chris Merrill

    Drat. My secret double life as a reporter for the International Business Times has been uncovered. Next time I will pick a better name.

  • Eileen Aberman-Wells

    I loved reading about your journey to becoming a writer. I also love your sense of humor. You might consider revising that long ago written story into a YA book.

    • I’ve thought about it, but the YA market is so different now. Honestly, I don’t think it would work.

  • Stephanie M.

    I love all your books and can’t wait for the next one to hit my Kindle in January. 🙂

    • Thank you! I’m excited about the new one–very different sort of plot for me.

  • PEGGY ALLEN

    Just loved reading this. I am a fan. Also super funny reading the comment below me by Chris Merrill. That is so funny. 🙂

  • Julie

    Julia, I love your books. You are funny, fantastic and wonderfully talented.

  • Tammy Henderson

    Love your books. I’ve got my best friend addicted too.

    • Thank you! Truly, the nicest thing you can do for a favorite author is recommend her books to another reader.

  • Brenda E

    I love it that you influenced your father to become an author. Aren’t father-daughter relationships wonderful? Love your books.

    • Well, he had long been a writer. Just not an author of books.

      • Brenda E

        Sounds like you both had a positive impact on each other. Maybe your success helped him realize his own? Thanks for sharing your stories.

  • Sandy Xiong

    I have Stefanie Sloane’s books on my TBR list for awhile now. I got hook to them because of the covers (Regency Rogue series).

    • I hope you enjoy them. She has a wonderful dry wit in real life and I think it really shines through in her books.

  • Sheryl N

    Great post! Love that you won The Weakest Link, I used to watch that show when it was on. You are a new author for me so I am going to check out your books on Amazon

  • Janie McGaugh

    Your dad sounds like a great guy! Mine was always very supportive of me, too.

  • Glenda

    I love that your dad is your biggest fan and how he encouraged you! Winning The Weakest Link is pretty awesome too!

    • It was without a doubt one of the most surreal and amazing experiences of my life.

  • Sharlene Wegner

    I already own the Sum of All Kisses & the other books in the series, so I won’t enter. Just Like Heaven is one of my favorite books & I have read it 3 times! So far!

  • Sheila M

    Wow! I learned a bunch I didn’t know. Congratulations on the game show win.

    • It was amazing. My husband says, “It’s the only show that gets better every time I watch it.”

  • You have been one of my favorite authors for years, but you are now my hero. I tried out for Jeopardy! several months ago, and I’m still waiting for a phone call…

    • Good luck! I think Jeopardy! looks much harder than The Weakest Link.

  • Hope Stern

    And you and the Bridgertons have helped me laugh in an otherwise sad day, believe in kindness in an otherwise uncaring place and have hope for romance in what could too easily be a very cold world. Thank you for your gift of romance….and for helping me to write …..words and a story simply because I can. And because your work inspires….

    • What a lovely compliment—thank you so much!

  • Pamby50

    I loved the Weekest Link with Annie Robinson. Bye bye. Did they give you a copy of the show? No wonder why I like reading your books.

    • No, can you believe it? I managed to catch it on TiVo.

  • Linnea Bassin

    I use to watch the Weakest Link that is awesome that you were on the show. I love reading your books.

  • Michelle Alerte

    That’s amazing that you go on The Weakest Link…AND WON!!! I recently started reading your books and have been devouring them. Just finished the Bridgerton Series and waiting for the last Smythe-Smith Series!! Can’t wait 🙂

  • mariannewestrich

    You should publish your first “rejection”!

  • Angela H

    How cool that you got to be on a game show and you won too, bonus for you.

  • LSUReader

    I love Julia’s books. They are the best. I enjoyed the post and learned quite a few new things. Thanks.

  • Laurie W G

    Congrats on your amazing career! It was nice learning a bit about your dad and your early interest in reading and writing.
    I’m looking forward to reading more of your books.

  • I have a pile of Stefanie Sloane stories! 😉
    But you, Julia, occupy 1 1/2 shelves of read books and half a shelf of to be read in my house. Been a fan for a long time.
    That picture is in California, Santa Ana and we were lucky enough to meet both you and Jill. We were floating on clouds after. We met a number of other authors that we knew and some we didn’t. It was an awesome day.

  • Kortney

    Have not read any of your books but have two on my to read shelf!

  • Kenia

    My favorite of all!

  • Chelsea B.

    WHAT!!!! You were on Weakest Link and WON?!?! That is epicly epic! *Bows Down*

  • Erin F

    lol… I’m gonna have to youtube your episode 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  • Samantha L A Hutton

    Love Julia Quinn!!!!

  • Cheryl Hastings

    I’ve always wanted to be on a trivia show…but I would never have won in the categories you did….more knowledge in the ones you done know!!

  • I’m a huge fan of yours! I have every single one of your book, and I always preorder them before they come out. Can’t wait until your next book comes out!

  • Ruth

    Sweet story and support from your dad.

  • Debbie Kitzke

    Thanks for the essay

  • librarypat

    How wonderful that your dad was so supportive. It makes such a difference in a persons self-confidence and how they feel about themselves. You were a lucky person.
    Patricia B on rafflecopter.

  • Judy Goodnight

    Words cannot convey the absolute delight in having a new Julia Quinn book to read.