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Inside the Story

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Inside To Sir Phillip, With Love

  • To Sir Phillip, With Love begins mere hours after Romancing Mr. Bridgerton ends. Which means that Eloise doesn’t know RMB’s big secret! Her family could have told her halfway through the book, but I decided they wouldn’t, just to be cruel. (Not to mention that the logistics for me, as the author, were too daunting…)
  • Many of my books have a working title which never sees the light of day, but To Sir Phillip, With Love had two: The first was For Eloise, Wherever I May Find Her, inspired by the Simon & Garfunkel song “For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her,” which I think is one of the most romantic songs ever written. (Naturally, the S&G song is included on my “soundtrack”  for this book.) The second working title was The Importance of Being Eloise.
  • Eloise’s letters (which serve as epigraphs for chapter #2 and on) were written well after I’d finished the book. I wanted to do something fun, along the lines of the Lady Whistledown entries in my previous books, but the muse didn’t strike until To Sir Phillip, With Love was well into the editorial process.
  • Willow bark contains the same active ingredient as aspirin and is indeed quite useful in reducing a fever.
  • In 2019 Javaria Farooqui (of COMSATS University of Information Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan) and Rabia Ashraf (of Lahore College for Women University, Lahore, Pakistan) published a 10-page pager entitled Reconnaissance of ‘Difference’ in Cognitive Maps: Authenticating Happily Ever After in Julia Quinn’s To Sir Philip with Love in the Khazar Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Sometimes I get to see a copy of cover art before the type is added, and this time I’m glad I did! I loved the art—the pack of letters bundled by a ribbon is perfect for the book— but the postage stamp was a huge anachronism.To Sir Phillip, With Love is set in 1824, and postage stamps weren’t introduced in the UK until 1840.

    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Penny_Black_VR.jpg
    The “Penny Black,” generally acknowledged as the world’s first postage stamp. Public domain image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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Inside The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown

  • Suzanne Enoch, Julia Quinn, Mia Ryan, and Karen Hawkins moments before posing for our official publicity photo. I have no idea what we're looking at.
    Suzanne Enoch, Julia Quinn, Mia Ryan,
    and Karen Hawkins moments before
    posing for our official publicity photo.
    I have no idea what we’re looking at.
    All four stories in this anthology take place concurrently, and many of the characters “overlap.” For example, Susannah (my heroine) is knocked down by Anne Bishop, the heroine of “One True Love” by Suzanne Enoch, while ice skating. And when Susannah attends the theater, she does so with characters from “Two Hearts” by Karen Hawkins. We sent a LOT of emails back and forth to make sure that we got all the details right.
  • Even though Lady Whistledown is my character (introduced in The Duke and I with further appearances in The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer from a Gentleman, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton), the idea for this anthology was not mine. It was actually the brainchild of Karen Hawkins, who put the whole thing together. I had a fabulous time writing it, though!
  • The opening scene takes place at a ball hosted by Lady Worth, the mother of Arabella Blydon, heroine of Dancing At Midnight.
  • The winter of 1813-14 was the coldest on record in London, and the Thames really did freeze over.
  • 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 Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

  • Did you find mention of some of my “old” characters? In the Lady Whistledown columns you can find: Ned Blydon, Viscount Burwick (a secondary character in my first three novels and the hero of the novella “A Tale of Two Sisters“); his sister Belle (heroine of Dancing At Midnight, now Lady Blackwood); Lord and Lady Riverdale (hero and heroine of How To Marry A Marquis), Lucas and Jane Hotchkiss (also from How To Marry A Marquis). Not to mention Robert from Everything And The Moon, who hosts the Macclesfield ball–a very pivotal scene.
  • Speaking of old characters, I almost killed off Lady Danbury in this book. My editor said, “Noooooooooo!” and thank heavens I listened. Lady D has turned out to be one of my very favorite characters, and I can never resist including her in my books. She made her debut in How To Marry A Marquis, played a pivotal role in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, and then came back in a big way in It’s in His Kiss and Just Like Heaven. She has also made brief appearances in The Duke and I, The Viscount Who Loved Me, An Offer from a Gentleman, and When He Was Wicked.
  • Fans of Stephanie Laurens might have noticed a familiar name: Michael Anstruther-Wetherby, the hero of The Ideal Bride. But here’s something fun: when Romancing Mr. Bridgerton was released, Michael hadn’t yet got his own book; he was still known as the brother of Honoria, the heroine of Devil’s Bride.
  • In the first chapter, Penelope is reading a book called Mathilda by S.R. Fielding. This is from Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas, one of my all-time favorite romance novels! The heroine is a novelist, and Mathilda was a huge bestseller.
  • The working title for this book was Mr. Bridgerton, I Presume. Imagine my delight when I finally got to use a version of this title with Mr. Cavendish, I Presume! And to be honest, the title fits that book far better than it would have Romancing Mr. Bridgerton.
  • One of my summer jobs in college was working as a travel writer for Let’s Go: Greece & Turkey. I spent seven weeks on Crete, Cyprus, and a couple of islands in the Dodecanese. I drew upon my memories of Cyprus for Colin’s writings. His descriptions of Scotland are mine as well, drawn from my visit in spring of 2001.

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Inside An Offer From a Gentleman

  • Eagle-eyed readers will find mention of the Duke of Ashbourne and the Earl of Macclesfield (heroes of Splendid and Everything And The Moon, respectively) in one of Lady Whistledown’s columns. Neither Alex nor Robert actually appears in the book, though.
  • It took a while to come up with a good title for this book. The most humorous suggested title came from the folks at Barnes & Noble, who suggested Sophie’s Chase.
  • The shoe on the cover is a real shoe! I picked it out on a website featuring wedding couture and emailed the URL to my editor (who was married in shoes by the same designer!)
  • When I was in college, I had a teaching assistant from England whose last name was Crabtree. I liked the name so much I decided to give it to the caretakers of Benedict’s cottage.
  • All the terms and phrases in the fencing scene are correct and approved by my husband, who was captain of the varsity fencing team at Harvard. (He also fenced in the Junior Olympics!)
  • When I was writing Violet’s story for The Bridgertons: Happily Ever After, I rewrote the jail scene from An Offer from a Gentleman from Violet’s point of view. That scene never made it into the final book, but I’ve posted it, and you can read it here on juliaquinn.com.

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Inside The Viscount Who Loved Me

  • I went through three outlines for this book before I found a plot and premise that I felt worked. The story required Anthony’s father to have died about ten years before the book began, but in The Duke and I, which was completely edited (but not yet published), his father had died two years earlier. While doing the final proofread of The Duke and I, I had to go back and make all the changes. I was terrified that I would miss a mention!
  • Regular readers know that I love to include animals in my books. Newton, the overweight corgi, was modeled after Homer, a very friendly corgi who lived on my street. Corgis, while not an officially recognized breed in Britain until the 1920s, originated in Wales during the Middle Ages. Corgis are also very popular with the royal family. Queen Elizabeth’s dogs are “dorgis,” which are corgi-dachsund mixes.
  • If there is one scene (from any of my books) I hear about the most from my readers, it’s the Bridgerton Pall Mall game. And indeed, I enjoyed writing it so much, I brought everyone back for a rematch in the 2nd Epilogue to The Viscount Who Loved Me. But this famous scene almost never happened. I was about 2/3 into the book when I realized that everything seemed to be happening too fast. Specifically, Kate and Anthony seemed to have gone from dislike to admiration too quickly. I realized I needed to add a scene in which Kate realized that Anthony wasn’t such a bad guy, and the best way to do that would be to show him interacting with his family. And thus the Pall Mall game (and the Mallet of Death!) was born.
  • Speaking of Pall Mall, this was indeed the name for croquet at the time, or at least the closest thing I could find to it. I don’t believe that the rules were the same as they are today, but then again, I’ve never played croquet by the official rules.

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Inside The Duke and I

  • Of all my books, The Duke and I was the most difficult to title. I have a personal fondness for Daphne’s Bad Heir Day, but How to Bear an Heir was also a contender for the “Most Fun Titles You Never Used” award.
  • Eagle-eyed readers will spot a few of my favorite past characters in the pages of The Duke and I. The heroes from both Everything and the Moon and How to Marry a Marquis are mentioned in Chapter One (although neither actually says anything). And of course Lady Danbury is right there in the thick of it. She first appeared as a major secondary character in How to Marry a Marquis, and I liked her so much I thought it would be fun to bring her back. Little did I know that this would be the first of many, many Lady Danbury appearances. In fact, I think she might be my very favorite character to write.
  • Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers, which made their debut in The Duke and I, came about almost by accident. I was writing the opening scene, and I realized that I needed to impart quite a bit of expository information. I wanted the reader to know that Daphne was from a large family and that she was fourth in the birth order, with three older brothers. I couldn’t very well have Daphne and her mother mention all this in conversation, as this wasn’t news to either one of them, so I came up with the idea of putting it all down in a gossip column. It turned out to be the most happy accident in my entire career!
  • Many people have asked me where I got the idea to have Simon stutter, and the truth is, I’m not sure. I have never stuttered, nor has anyone in my family. I did a fair amount of research into stuttering, but there really wasn’t much to go on with regards to the regency era, so in the end I tried to simply imagine how frustrating it must have felt for someone as intelligent as Simon to be unable to communicate with as much facility as his peers.
  • Finally, while I was writing this book, someone very close to me was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and so I’ve decided to donate a portion of my royalties to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Scientists are getting closer to a cure every day, and in my book, that will be the greatest happy ending of all.

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Inside Scottish Brides

  • Gretna Greene came by its name because I’ve always been jealous of the mystery writers who get to use such fun puns in their titles. Unfortunately, the romance market doesn’t really have much use for punny titles (The Flame and the Flour, anyone? It’s a marvelous historical romance about two pastry chefs.). With a novella, however, the title of the story doesn’t go on the cover of the book, so I can get as punny as I like. Which is why Gretna Green, the historical village on the border of Scotland and England, became Gretna Greene, in honor of my hero, Angus Greene.
  • Margaret’s last name, Pennypacker, may sound awfully goofy, but it’s actually the name of my freshman dorm! My dad also lived in Pennypacker Hall, 27 years before I did (and three rooms down the hall.)

    Pennypacker Hall, Harvard University. My room was the one right over the entrance, with the balcony. (Right-most window.) My boyfriend once climbed up to go through the window when he couldn’t find someone to let him in the locked front door. And Reader, I married him!
  • To learn more about the other stories in the anthology, please visit the websites of the other authors: Christina Dodd, Stephanie Laurens, and Karen Ranney.

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Inside How to Marry a Marquis

  • How to Marry a Marquis is a book for which the title came way before the story. And then, while I was brainstorming the book (it took so long to brainstorm I wrote To Catch an Heiress first!) America went crazy over The Rules. (If you don’t know what this is, The Rules was a monster-bestseller that basically told women how to find a husband.) Suddenly I thought—What if a book like The Rules had come out in Regency?
  • Other fun points of interest—the main characters are all named after old alma maters. Elizabeth Hotchkiss is named after my high school (The Hotchkiss School) and James Sidwell, Marquis of Riverdale, is a nod toward my husband’s education (he went to elementary and middle school at Sidwell Friends, then transferred to The Riverdale Country School for high school when he moved to New York.) Elizabeth is also my cousin’s name, and her younger sisters are named after my mom and her twin sister, Jane and Susan. Lucas (the brother) isn’t named after anybody; I just liked the name!
  • Marquis_malcolmAnd lest I forget, Malcolm the cat is real. He’s actually a combination of my mother’s cat, affectionately known as psychokitty, and my sister’s cat Malcolm (pictured at right). You can read the book and decide which cat donated the personality and which donated the looks.
  • If you look hard you might find my buddy and fellow author Danelle Harmon. She’s right in there with William Dunford, the hero from Minx, who makes a brief appearance (he’s still a bachelor in How to Marry a Marquis, which actually takes place before Minx.)

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Inside To Catch an Heiress

  • The working title of this book was Starry Night. If you read carefully, you will find a theme throughout the book about stars and starry nights.
  • I had a lot of fun with the “definitions” that appear at the beginning of each chapter, but they turned out to be a LOT of work. It turns out that dictionary definitions are not public domain, which meant I would have to apply for permission to use them in my book. This meant that all the definitions would have to come from the same dictionary, so that I could make only one application for permission. The problem was, we discovered this after I’d written the book. So I ended up hunched over the Oxford English Dictionary (the kind you need a magnifying glass to read) for hours, looking up new definitions. Three cheers for Oxford University Press, who graciously waived their permission fees, obviously deciding that romance novels = excellent public relations!
  • To Catch an Heiress is the only one of my books that was conceived out of an opening line. The sentence: “Caroline Trent hadn’t meant to shoot Percival Prewitt, but she had, and now he was dead,” popped into my head, and I knew I had to figure out a book to go with it. (Except that Caroline wasn’t yet named Caroline. See below.)
  • Caroline’s name changed twice during the first few weeks of writing. First I named her Nathalie, but that didn’t seem to fit. Then I named her Lily. After about two hours it became apparent that wouldn’t work. Lily sounded too much like Ellie (the heroine of Brighter Than The Sun, which I’d just finished writing), and while this probably would not have confused any of my readers, it confused the heck out of me!

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Inside Brighter Than the Sun

  • Brighter Than the Sun had the working title of The Color of the Sun. I had wanted Charles to say that Ellie’s hair was the exact color of the sun at sunset. In the end, however, I thought it would be more romantic for him to say it was actually brighter than the sun.
  • A lot of people have asked me why Robert and Victoria (hero and heroine of Everything And The Moon) never made an appearance in Brighter Than the Sun. The answer is that the plot wouldn’t allow it. If Victoria had been anywhere in the vicinity, her sister Ellie would have had the option of moving in with her, and thus would never have entered a marriage of convenience with Charles. It would have been a very short book.
  • Charles makes a very brief appearance in my third novel, Minx, when he offhandedly mentions that he needs to marry soon. When I wrote Minx, I had no idea what his desperate situation might be, but I figured it would be a great set-up for a future book.
  • The berry jam incident is entirely true. In 1988, my father sustained second-degree burns over 25% of his body, when a pressure cooker popped open (it was his fault; don’t go trashing your pressure cookers), and scalding hot plum jam exploded across the room. He was hospitalized for three days, but I’m happy to report he made a complete recovery. Thanks to my dad for providing me with all the details of the accident. Incidentally, it required a flotilla of housecleaners to clean the kitchen after the explosion. Picture a patina of plum, on every surface, in every nook and cranny.

    This was the type of pressure cooker my father was using.