#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 one of only sixteen members of Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame, her books have been translated into 29 languages, and she currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.
How JQ Became a Writer
During her senior year at Harvard College, Julia Quinn (often known in cyberspace as JQ) realized that she didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. This depressed her. In fact, the only thing that saved her sanity during this dark, dreary time was the fact that none of her friends knew, either. So she sat down with a big tub of Ben & Jerry's and a good book and decided to figure out what to do.
Getting a job seemed too difficult. She wouldn't mind HAVING a job, but she certainly didn't know how to get one.
Law school seemed too annoying. Everyone hated lawyers, and Julia liked to be liked.
Business school was not an option. They only took people who had been in the work force for at least two years, and, as noted above, Julia didn't know how to get a job.
The only option left (this shows you how narrow her world-view was) was medical school. "Aha!" she thought. "I could be a good doctor." She quickly picked up the phone and ran this idea past her parents, who were understandably baffled, since her degree was in Art History, but being the cool people they are, they said, "Great!"
Julia hung up the phone, blinked a couple of times, and said aloud, "Okay, so I'm going to be a doctor. Cool." Then she pulled out a pad of paper and proceeded to figure out how long this would take. (Note: careers in medicine are not for those who crave instant gratification.) It turned out that it would be over two years before she could even ENTER medical school since she had to take all those pesky science classes in order to apply. Clearly, she needed to find something to do during that time, since she knew from experience that she probably wouldn't be studying as much as she ought.
That's when she looked at the book next to the tub of now-empty Ben & Jerry's. It was a romance. "I could write one of those," she thought.
And so she did.
Two years later, just as Julia was deciding between Yale School of Medicine and Columbia College of Physicians & Surgeons, her agent called to tell her that her first two books were the subject of a fierce bidding war between two publishing houses.
So she put off medical school for a year and wrote a third novel. Then she put off medical school for another year and wrote a fourth. Then she got a little nervous and thought that maybe she ought to give med school a try and so she picked up a scalpel, started dissecting cadavers, and learned more about the citric acid cycle than anyone (including most med students) wants to know.
A few months later, however, she realized that she must have experienced a bout of temporary insanity and she withdrew from medical school and never looked back.
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I love meeting readers! Here I am in São Paulo during my 2017 tour of Brazil.