Inside the Story | Page 2 of 4 | Julia Quinn

Inside the Story

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Inside The Lady Most Likely…

  • When Eloisa James, Connie Brockway, and I decided that we were going to collaborate on a novel in three parts, we knew that we would need to get together to plot the book and develop the characters. So we took a fabulous long weekend to New Orleans—we got a ton of work done (and gained about six pounds–each!)
  • The original title for The Lady Most Likely… was The List. Eventually we decided that even though it fit the book very well, it wasn’t very interesting, so we changed it.
  • Alec’s name was originally Marcus. I changed it because I realized that I’m running out of good hero names. Since I already had an Alex (in Splendid), I figured I was unlikely to use Alec for a full-length novel. I ended up using Marcus as the hero’s name in Just Like Heaven.
  • Gwendolyn is often compared to Botticelli’s Venus in his seminal painting The Birth of Venus.
  • Gwendolyn’s mother makes up an impromptu song called, “A House Party La La La.” This was inspired by “A Weekend in the Country,” from the Stephen Sondheim musical A Little Night Music.
  • Eloisa James named the local village Parsley, so naturally I had to name the inn The Sage and Thyme. There is no mention of an innkeeper, but I am sure his wife is named Rosemary.
  • I loved the Duke of Bretton’s dry sense of humor so much in The Lady Most Likely… that when we decided to team up again for The Lady Most Willing…, I quickly claimed him as my hero. He is the only connection between the two collaborations, though.

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Inside Ten Things I Love About You

  • Sebastian first appeared in What Happens in London. He kind of stole the show, so it was pretty clear to me he’d need his own book.
  • Sebastian and Annabel meet at Lady Trowbridge’s party in Hampstead–the same party at which Daphne and Simon share their first kiss in The Duke and I. (Not the same year, though; I’ve decided Lady Trowbridge’s party is an annual event.)
  • In What Happens in London, Harry Valentine had to leave The Magic Flute after the first act, and Olivia had to miss the performance entirely, so I was happy to give them an opportunity to finally see the opera.
  • I have often been asked if I plan to write a paranormal romance. The answer is no, but I will confess to pride and amusement at my having managed to use the word, “undead” in this novel.
  • Lady Twombley is the former Cressida Cowper, who appeared as the “mean girl” in The Viscount Who Loved Me and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.
  • At the Hartside Ball, Annabel dances with a veritable compendium of characters from my previous books: Nigel Berbrooke (from The Duke and I), Mr. Albansdale (who married Felicity Featherington), Neville Berbrooke (from On the Way to the Wedding), Mr. Cavender (the villain in An Offer from a Gentleman), Prince Alexei (from What Happens in London), Sir Harry Valentine (the hero from What Happens in London), and Gareth St. Clair (the hero from It’s in His Kiss). Except for Harry, none of these men have anything to do with the plot of Ten Things I Love About You. But I needed to list the men Annabel danced with, and I thought I might as well use characters we’d seen before.
  • I can’t skip stones. I’ve always wished that I could.
  • In the epilogue, Sebastian says that if he takes Annabel’s advice he will “go down in a flaming pit of ruin.” I said the exact same thing to my husband, for the exact same reason.
  • Any Spinal Tap fans out there? This book goes to eleven.

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Inside What Happens in London

 

  • Although What Happens in London is a companion book to The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever, TSDOMMC’s hero and heroine don’t make an appearance. I had originally intended them to, but they didn’t end up fitting in the plot.
  • I’m not so sure I would have made my prince Russian if I’d realized how difficult the language is to translate. Because Russian uses the Cyrillic alphabet, it needs to be both translated and transliterated. I worked with five different Russian speakers to help me translate the text, and they never agreed on the best way to do it. In the interest of consistency, I ended up going with the translations as done by my copyeditor, whom I’m told has a Masters in Russian literature.
  • Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron first appeared in It’s in His Kiss as one of the books Hyacinth was reading to Lady Danbury. I had no plans to use it again, but when I needed Harry to give Olivia an unusual gift, it just popped into my mind. I LOVED writing the passages in this book. It is seriously fun to write bad literature.
  • I get a lot of requests from readers to write Miss Butterworth in its entirety. It’s tempting, but I’ll be honest, I don’t think I could do it justice.
  • In regency times, the wealthy had their butlers iron their newspapers before they read them. This was not to eliminate wrinkles but rather to seal the ink so that it did not rub off on people’s hands.
  • “Hell’s Vengeance Boileth in Mine Heart” is the most famous aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and is more commonly referred to as the Queen of the Night’s Aria. It is known for its difficulty, reaching a high F6, which is rare in opera.

Famed soprano Diana Damrau sings the Queen of the Night aria.


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Inside The Lost Duke of Wyndham

  • For years I’ve wanted to write a two-book set based on the premise: “Two men say they’re the Duke of Something. One of them must be wrong.” (Two points if you can guess where that line comes from. Or you can just peek at my this interview I gave.)
  • The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume take place concurrently, and their plots are very closely intertwined. When I began to develop these two novels, it became clear that if I didn’t want the plot or characters of one book to be dependent upon the other, I would need to write the two books simultaneously. Many scenes occur in both books, but from different points of view.
  • The working title of this book was The Two Dukes of Wyndham. In the end, that became the name of the two-book set.
  • The model who portrays Grace on the cover is actually the actress Ewa Da Cruz, who plays Vienna Hyatt on As the World Turns. I’d originally written Grace with brown eyes, but when I saw the cover, I changed them to blue!
  • This portrait of Marie-Louise O’Murphy by Francois Boucher is the painting that so captured Grace’s imagination:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Resting_Girl_by_Fran%C3%A7ois_Boucher_(1753)_-_Alte_Pinakothek_-_Munich_-_Germany_2017_(crop).jpg
Public domain image curtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  • The Lost Duke of Wyndham contains no references to any characters in previous books. After eight Bridgerton books, I think I was eager to create an entirely new fictional world.

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Inside The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever

 

  • Version 1.0 of The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever was written in 1994, just after Splendid (my first novel) was bought for publication. For various reasons, it never quite made it onto the publishing schedule, but I always thought it was the best of my early books, so I kept waiting for the right moment to finally publish it. With the Bridgerton series complete, 2007 seemed the perfect time. I’d planned to spend 2-3 weeks cleaning it up, but I quickly realized I’d need 2-3 months. I found the process enormously exciting and enriching–it was the first time in years I was free to just write, without having to worry about what was going to happen next.
  • I resisted the temptation to drop a Bridgerton into the story, but I did keep the mention of the Duke of Ashbourne, who was the hero of Splendid. I’d included him back in the first version and saw no reason to change him.
  • Most of the book is a blend of what was written in 1994 and 2006, but some large chunks and scenes come from just one version. The prologue is almost entirely from 1994, while Chapter One is completely new. The scene in the bookshop is also almost entirely from the early version.
  • Miranda lives in the Lake District, in the village of Ambleside, which in the 19th century was in the county of Cumberland. In 1974, however, the UK enacted the Local Government Act 1972, which reorganized many administrative counties. Cumberland was absorbed into Cumbria (along with Westmorland and parts of Lancashire and the West Riding of Yorkshire) and was wiped off the administrative map. The name still exists as a geographical and cultural term, however. But it’s a warning to historical romance writers everywhere–make sure you look at maps from the time period in which you are writing! It would have been terrible if I’d had Miranda living in Cumbria.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gray1824.cumberland.jpg
    1824 map of Cumberland Public domain image curtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Inside On the Way to the Wedding

 

  • I came up with the title of this book during the painful title search for It’s in His Kiss. I was going through the classic movie section at Amazon, and I stumbled across A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. I thought—hmm, funny things could certainly happen on the way to a wedding. On a related note, I appeared in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum my junior year of high school. I played the pivotal role of “Third Roman to the Left.” This is not to be confused with my pivotal role in the feature film Heartwood, in which I played “Bridesmaid #2.”
  • In the summer of 2005, after nine years of marriage (and seventeen years together in total) I learned something new about my husband. He can’t stand it if his shoes are put away with the left on the right and the right on the left. (He tells me he can’t stand it when my shoes look like that, either, which they frequently do, but I’m relieved to report that he just turns and walks away.) Anyway, since I had already decided to give Lucy a few obsessive-compulsive tendencies, I thought she could have Paul’s shoe issue. But just to be fair, I gave her my OCD thing as well, which is that I always count the stairs as I go up. (My mom says she does that, too!)
  • Did you all catch the reference to opera singers (and Kate’s distaste thereof)? If you don’t understand why she’s not fond of sopranos, read The Viscount Who Loved Me.
  • Quite a few people have asked if the name “Hermione Watson” is an ode to J.K. Rowling (whose character Hermione Granger is played by Emma Watson in the Harry Potter movies.) The answer is no, it’s just a coincidence. Or possibly something from the subconscious. At any rate, Lucy is much more like Rowling’s Hermione than my Hermione is.

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Inside It’s In His Kiss

  • This was actually the second version of the story. Originally, I had been aiming for a romantic adventure, so I had Hyacinth get accidentally kidnapped by privateers. After sixty pages, however, I realized that the story wasn’t working, and I set it aside. Gareth was always Lady Danbury’s grandson, though–I knew from the outset that I wanted Lady D in the story!
  • Eloisa James provided much needed help with Italian. Initially, she was just translating a few passages for me, but then I realized that what I really needed was to give her a passage in English, have her translate it into Italian and then back into English. Hyacinth isn’t idiomatically fluent in Italian, so when she translates, the sentence structure would end up somewhat awkward. And the double translation was the only way to get the full effect. For a more in-depth view of the translation process, visit Eloisa’s review of It’s in His Kiss on her website.
  • Did you see Jane Hotchkiss, from How To Marry A Marquis? Once I realized that she was about the same age as Hyacinth, and that she was related to Gareth by marriage, I knew I had to find a spot for her.
  • I had to research Little Bo Peep to make sure it was okay to mention the character in a book set in the 1820s. It turns out that the earliest mention (that I could find, at least) was in Shakespeare. Okay, okay, it was actually my dad who did the research. I was writing in Starbucks, back before they had free wifi, so I called him on my cell, and he did a web search for me. I told him I should put him on retainer, and he said, “Honey, I’ve been working for you since 1970.”

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Inside When He Was Wicked

  • When He Was Wicked takes place at the same time as both Romancing Mr. Bridgerton and To Sir Phillip, With Love. This turned out to be a major pain, but I’d mentioned Francesca just enough in both of those books that I had to set the book then. (Note to self: plan things out better next time you write a series!) This is why neither Colin nor Eloise is married at the beginning of Part 2. (Part 1 takes place four years earlier.)
  • Did you notice that one of the major scenes is set at Violet Bridgerton’s birthday party? Those of you who have read Romancing Mr. Bridgerton know what Lady Danbury is going to do next when she says, “This party needs livening up.”
  • One of my favorite scenes in this book is when Violet and Francesca talk about widowhood. Readers have long asked to learn more about Violet, and I realized that I wanted to learn more, too.
  • There was no working title for this book. Even my computer files still just say, “Francesca Folder.”

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Inside Lady Whistledown Strikes Back

  • Make sure you read all four novellas in order! Otherwise you’re going to know “whodunnit” before you’ve read all the clues.
  • Did you see Benedict Bridgerton in chapter two? He wasn’t mentioned by name, but fans of An Offer from a Gentleman will recognize him by his description.
  • The menu for Lady Neeley’s dinner party comes straight from Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management. My copy dates from the Victorian era, but I figured I could take a little poetic license when it came to food.
  • The Lady Whistledown columns narrating all four stories were written by me. It was rather fun to “comment” upon characters written by other authors.
  • To learn more about the other stories in the anthology, please visit the websites of the other authors: Suzanne Enoch, Karen Hawkins, and Mia Ryan.

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Inside Where’s My Hero?

Hero_minxHero_dancingHero_splendid

 

  • Over the course of these books, he grew up from a slightly immature
    university student to a more adult overprotective brother, finally emerging as a shameless flirt. But although readers asked me to write a story about him, I wasn’t quite ready to do so. To me, at least, Ned was still a bit young, and I needed time for him to grow up in my mind. Then, unfortunately, Splendid and Dancing At Midnight fell out of print. There was no way I could write a full-length novel about Ned without bringing back characters from those novels, and I didn’t think it would be fair to new readers who might want to learn more about Emma, Belle, and the rest of the gang from the Splendid trilogy. Three years later, Splendid and Dancing At Midnight were brought back into print, but by then I was very involved in the Bridgerton series and didn’t want to take time off to write a novel for Ned. So when the Avon editorial department came up with the concept for Where’s My Hero (in which authors bring back a secondary character who always deserved a story of his own) I jumped at the chance to write a novella for Ned. It was really well past time.
  • Only two characters from the Splendid Trilogy appear in “A Tale of Two Sisters.” I wish that I could have included more than just Belle and Emma, but the space constraints of a novella just didn’t allow it.
  • If you like the concept for Where’s My Hero don’t miss Hero, Come Back by Stephanie Laurens, Christina Dodd, and Elizabeth Boyle. This anthology features secondary characters who finally get their time in the limelight.
  • To learn more about the other stories in the anthology, please visit the websites of the other authors: Lisa Kleypas and Kinley MacGregor (Sherrilyn Kenyon).