Tuesday Special Author: Julia Quinn Interview
Author Name: Julia Quinn
Genre: historical romance
Latest book in shops now: It’s in His Kiss
Before we begin this interview, I need to check that you’re still grounded and that your head isn’t swollen from all of your success, so with that in mind, what was the last thing you bought at Walmart, and do you know how much a loaf of bread costs? (grin)
I actually don’t live near a Walmart. In fact, I’ve never lived near a Walmart (which may in itself be a minor miracle, here in the USA.)
I think the bread we buy is around $2.50.
What were your favourite books as a child?
Way more than I could possibly mention. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, definitely. And by the same author—Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth. I read all the Bobbsey Twins, all the B is for Betsy books, all of the Wizard of Oz books, the Chronicles of Narnia, everything by S.E. Hinton (did you know she has a new book coming out?)
Oh, Judy Blume, of course. I remember reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing in second grade and thinking I must be pretty amazing for being two grades ahead.
When I was eleven or twelve I devoured everything by Victoria Holt, in all of her incarnations.
I guess you read lots huh? *g*
What does a typical day as a writer consist of?
I wish I had a typical day. I think I’d get a lot more done.
Name your top five favourite books of all time.
For romance, off the top of my head:
Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas (Is this the one you wanted me to read Kristie?)
Sweet Liar by Jude Deveraux
Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught
Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Wildest Hearts by Jayne Ann Krentz
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Lost in Place: Growing up Absurd in Suburbia by Mark Salzman
The Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
But I’m sure if I listed them tomorrow, I’d think of something else. (Especially the romance).
Which authors are you glomming at the moment? (reading a lot of?)
Eloisa James, absolutely. I adore her writing. I’m also really enjoying Suzanne Enoch’s contemporary novels but unfortunately, there are only two right now. It’s hard for me to glom anything—I can’t remember the last time I “discovered” an author after she already had a lot of books out.
Do you have other close romance writer friends, and if so who are they?
I have many close romance writer friends, but I prefer not to list them as I might inadvertently leave someone off and hurt her feelings.
When did you realise that you wanted to write books, and who or what inspired you?
I honestly don’t know. I just had some extra time one summer and thought I’d give it a try.
If you could have a one-to-one conversation with a famous historical figure, who would it be with and what would you talk about?
This one is too hard on only a single cup of coffee. The big question would be—would you choose someone good or evil?
Well somebody evil would probably be a lot more interesting I guess. *g*
What is your ultimate goal when it comes to your writing?
To keep writing novels that are interesting to me and entertaining to my readers. And to not repeat myself. When you’re working within the parameters of genre fiction (any genre), you have to work hard to keep things fresh.
How has the romance industry changed from when you first started writing, and which of these changes were you happiest/unhappiest with?
The biggest change by far has been the internet. I didn’t even have an email address when I sold my first book. The internet has revolutionized author-reader interaction. This is probably the change I’m most happiest with. I’m not a writer who likes to toil away in a vacuum. I want my work to be read and enjoy hearing reader response and opinion.
On the flip side of the coin, sometimes reader response can be overwhelming. Not in numbers, more in its nature.
As for the changes I’m least happiest with—probably the narrowing of the historical romance market. I may write regency historicals, but I like to read lots of different time periods.
In this day and age, do you think it’s possible for new romance writers to make it without having some kind of presence on the internet?
I would recommend that any writer today have a website, but I don’t think it’s critical for authors to have an interactive presence, ie bulletin boards, blogs, etc. It’s nice, and it can be very enjoyable, but it’s not necessary.
In your vast experience, what would you say was the most effective method of marketing a romance novel?
A good website. And in all honesty, a good book.
With the alleged decline in historical romance, do you think there’s an element of risk in continuing with books set prior to the 20th Century?
No. Historical romance doesn’t do as well as contemporary in the hardcover market, but I’m okay with that. I suppose I could add to my readership by writing romantic suspense, but I wouldn’t enjoy it, and frankly, I’d be terrible at it.
Which of your books is dearest to your heart, and why?
Probably The Duke and I, because it’s the first of the Bridgerton novels, and also I think it is the book in which I made the most growth as a writer.
I’ve always wondered about this, but as an author, once your books are published, do you actually go back and read them yourself, and if so, are you able to enjoy them, or do you perhaps see things that make you want to chew your own arm off in frustration? (grin).
I don’t go back and read them. Sometimes I go back and read some favorite scenes, but that’s it. By the time I’m done, I’ve read the dang thing so many times I don’t want to see it anymore.
Has anything a reviewer or reader said or written about you changed the way you write?
No. I do pay attention to what reviewers and readers say, and sometimes I might keep something in the back of my head, like—Hmmm, I should try to write a scene with a bunch of Bridgertons in it--but I wouldn’t say I’ve ever changed the way I write because of outside influence.
Earlier this year, RWA attempted to try to define romance, and it caused a bit of a furore round the blogosphere, due to the limitations of the definitions. What were your thoughts on this at the time, and do you think it’s possible/necessary to define romance in a way that doesn’t exclude other sub-genres?
To be honest, I didn’t pay very much attention to this discussion. I probably should have done, but I was busy with some other stuff at the time.
I’ve always defined a romance novel as a book in which the “A” story is the romance, and it has a happy ending. Period. I’ve never quite understood why there is so much confusion.
I tend to agree actually.
When was the last time you went overseas and where did you go?
Mexico last spring. Scandinavia the spring before that.
Who are your favourite romance hero and heroine of all time?
Way too hard to answer!
What kind of characters would you say you typically wrote?
Nice ones. People you’d want as friends.
If only one person could read your book, who would that be? (as in the person who you would want most to read your book)
I have no idea. Does this mean one person in addition to my current readers, or just one person, period? The latter is too depressing to contemplate.
If you had to pick, who would you say has been most influential within the romance genre?
Tough one, but I’ll go with Jayne Ann Krentz.
Aha! You’re the first person to mention her for this question!
What was the last movie you saw?
Pride and Prejudice! (You had to ask?)
Name your top five favourite romantic films.
Oh gosh, I don’t know.
What was the last book you read?
One of the books I’m judging in the Ritas, but I can’t say which. The one before that was an advance copy of The Taming of the Duke by Eloisa James. Loved it!
Have you ever written a book that you didn’t particularly care for, and do you cringe if you see people picking it up to read it?
No, I still like all of my books. I do think my early ones aren’t as good as my later ones, though.
What do you enjoy most about being a writer?
The flexibility and the creative process.
What do you least enjoy about being a writer?
My own lack of discipline.
As you’ve been there, done it, and have the badge to prove it, what is the number one advice that would you give to aspiring writers out there?
Read lots! And write lots. The world is full of first chapters. The trick is to get to “The End.”
Hear that Anne? *g*
Finally, when’s your next book due out, and what’s it about?
My next novel is called On The Way To The Wedding, and it is the final book in the Bridgerton series. I’ve got the back cover blurb up on the coming soon page on my website.
Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer these very nosy questions!
That’s all for now folks, next week, I’ll have Shelby Reed in the hot seat! Can’t wait!
Ciao for now!