Inside the Story - Page 3 of 4 - Julia Quinn

Inside the Story

There is always more to the story — the story of writing the book, that is. For each book I gather a few interesting tidbits, sometimes some images, even a few videos. These appear on each book page, but I've also gathered them all here, too.

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.

Inside It’s In His Kiss

  • I knew Hyacinth was going to fall in love with Lady Danbury’s grandson, so I thought I’d set it up by having Hyacinth read to Lady D once a week. Naturally, I wanted the book they were reading to be as ridiculous as possible, and voilà! Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron (the book-within-a-book that would go on to appear in many of my novels) was born. Many years later, my sister Violet Charles and I turned it into a graphic novel.
  • 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.”

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.”

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.
  • This is the second Lady Whistledown anthology… A year before this whodunnit, these three authors and I wrote The Further Observations of Lady Whistledown.

Inside Where’s My Hero?

  • Ned Blydon, the hero of “A Tale of Two Sisters,” appeared in my first three novels: Splendid, Dancing At Midnight, and Minx.
  • 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).

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. 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.
First world postal stamp ever issued : the Penny Black, Great Britain, 1840.Public Domain as per Wikimedia Commons.

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.
  • A year later I rejoined with these three authors to write Lady Whistledown Strikes Back, another four-stories-entwined Lady Whistledown anthology.

Inside Romancing Mr. Bridgerton

  • Did you find mention of some of my “old” characters in Romancing Mister Bridgerton? 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.

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 blue 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

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.
The books and the shows come together here.