Petit Fours » A group blog of authors writing in different genres

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Q & A with Julia Quinn, today’s Guest Chef!

Ladies and Gents, please help us welcome Guest Chef JULIA QUINN to PFHT today. We’re thrilled to have Julia with us. She’s offered to do something a bit different and answer questions from the audience, so please post your questions in the comments and Julia will do her best to answer them.

By way of introduction, here’s Julia’s “Official Bio” and photo I pinched from her website:Author photo of Julia Quinn

#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 the youngest member of Romance Writers of America’s Hall of Fame, her books have been translated into 24 languages, and she currently lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest.

Julia’s latest books, Just Like Heaven and A Night Like This feature the Smyth-Smith Quartet. Beautiful covers, aren’t they?

Want to know more? Ask and ye shall receive answers.





Julia, thanks so much for being here.

I’ll start the Q & A by asking about a little rumor I heard. Is it true there will be giveaways today? Dare we hope a book might be involved?





Debbie Kaufman - September 26, 2012 - 12:10 am

Julia, welcome to Petit Fours and Hot Tamales! What a treat to have you with us. Since my historical costuming friend and I are presenting a Regency wardrobe workshop at M & M, I’d love to know about some of your favorite sources to clothing research–if you care to share one or two.

C.E. Hart - September 26, 2012 - 1:55 am

Hi Julia,
What is your favorite book you’ve authored?
And your favorite book not written by you?
I realize this is like asking to chose between your children, but I’m doing it anyway. LOL

Mary Preston - September 26, 2012 - 4:10 am

Is there a genre you have not written in yet that you would love to?

Marilyn Baron - September 26, 2012 - 6:08 am

Thank you so much for blogging with us. I can’t wait to hear you speak at Moonlight & Magnolias next weekend.
My question: What do you think of the digital publishing revolution?

Linsey Lanier - September 26, 2012 - 8:34 am

Hi Julia! I’m so thrilled you’re with us today and I can’t wait for M&M. What is your writing process like?

Pam Asberry - September 26, 2012 - 8:36 am

Hi Julia! I will join in the chorus of thank-yous for blogging here today. I would like to know about your writing life. Do you write every day? Do you adhere to a schedule? And where do you find your inspiration? I am looking forward to hearing you speak at M&M as well. I’m counting the days, as a matter of fact! :-)

EC Spurlock - September 26, 2012 - 12:36 pm

Welcome Julia, and thanks for being with PFHT today! You are my current #1 favorite author, and I want to let you know how much I enjoy your books and love your writing style.

One of the things I love about your books is the way they all link together, with scenes from one book often appearing in another from a different character’s point of view; like the cameo by Colin Bridgerton in Just Like Heaven, or the ultimate in this paradigm, the Lost Duke of Wyndham duology, where essentially the same story is seen from both sides of the coin. Do such links and interactions between books make subsequent books easier or more difficult to write? Or in the case of the small cameo appearances, is it just a matter of finding a place to fit them in, or did thinking about the rationale of why Honoria would have gone into such detail when talking to Colin about his injury in the previous book inspire Honoria’s story?

Thanks again for being with us today and answering our questions!

Maxine Davis - September 26, 2012 - 1:05 pm

Julia, Ditto on the thanks for joining us. Most of my questions were already asked. Can’t wait to hear your answsers! This may be a silly one: Do you come up with your book titles? There are some great ones! It’s in His Kiss, When He Was Wicked …. Which is your favorite title?

Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 2:25 pm

Debbie, my favorite spot for clothing research, is Candice Hern’s website. If you’re not familiar with Candice, she’s a fabulous author of traditional regencies and regency historicals. She’s also an avid collector of regency era fashion prints and she posts them on her website.


Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 2:29 pm

C.E., I could never choose! I love all my books for different reasons. Sometimes it’s something I learned during the writing process, sometimes it’s a scene I loved… It’s always different.

As for a book NOT written by me, that’s also an almost impossible question, but right now I’m raving about WONDER by R.J. Palacio. It’s actually a kids’ book, but it’s amazing.

Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 2:32 pm

Mary, there’s no other sub genre of romance that interests me just now (I live my historicals) but I’ve always been very into children’s and young adult literature, and lately the market has been exploding. Not sure when I’d ever ding the time ro try something new, though.


Debbie Kaufman - September 26, 2012 - 2:40 pm

Thanks, Julia. Yes, I love, love, love Candace’s site. Have to admire a woman who does such thorough research. BTW, all your comments should go through automatically now. Sorry for the approval delay, sitting in a PICU room with granddaughter and just got on the internet here :)
See you at M & M !

Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 2:44 pm

Marilyn, I hardly know where to start! Overall, I think it’s a good thing. Readers have easier access to books, and they’re buying more, and thus reading more. I do think that my experience will be much different than someone who is self-publishing—we have very different issues to consider.

Probably the most important thing right now is to figure out pricing. It’s nice to bring prices down a bit, and I do think that ebooks should be cheaper than paper books, but i worry about the novel being devalued and readers starting to expect that all romances should be $1.99 or less.

Come to my chat with at the conference and I’m sure I’ll have more to say!


Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 2:53 pm

Linsey, I’m definitely more of a plotter than a pantser, although my “outlines” tend to be as much about characterization as plot.

When I’m actually working on a manuscript I’m constantly reviewing what I’ve already written and editing as I go along. The downside of this is that I write fairly slowly, but the upside is that when I’m done, I’m done. My first draft is my only draft!


Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 2:58 pm

Pam, I WISH I followed a schedule–I’d probably get a heckuva lot more done!!


Pamela Mason - September 26, 2012 - 3:02 pm

Holy Crow JQ! “…first draft is my only draft!”
How do you save your work ?? You must have backups galore!

Can’t wait to meet you and love your posts on the AvonRomance site.

Sia Huff - September 26, 2012 - 3:10 pm

Hi Julia,

I love your voice. And look forward to hearing you speak at the M&M conference.

Would you mind sharing your writing process?

Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 6:23 pm

EC, I’ve always loved looking at scenes from different points of view. I would never do the whole Two Dukes thing again, but I loved doing it and felt that I learned a lot from the experience. What I found was that the books themselves were not harder to write, but the joint outline was a nightmare. I think I went through 17 versions before I figured it out. I realized from the beginning I’d have to write the stories simultaneously. Normally when you write a romance, you can make your secondary characters do whatever you need them to to support the story. But in this case I had two sets of protagonists. If I had written one book before the other, the second set of protagonists would be governed by whatever I’d had them do in the first story.

As far as Honoria and Colin go in Just Like Heaven, that was pretty much a happy accident that I was able to fit him in.


Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 6:28 pm

Maxine, titles are funny. Sometimes they just pop into my head, and sometimes we struggle for weeks (months) trying to find a good one. I’m well aware that I’ve had a lot of good titles, which I think actually makes coming up with new ones even harder because I feel like I have to live up to the older ones!

Anyway, some of my titles I came up with, and some other people did. I think most were from me, but they were often not the working title but rather my second or third stab at it.


Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 6:30 pm

But Pamela, remember that I’m CONSTANTLY revising. It’s not like I whip the whole thing out and it’s perfect the first time.


Julia Quinn - September 26, 2012 - 6:31 pm

Hi Sia–

I actually talked about my writing process in one of the comments a little bit up the page. But thank you for your compliments for my voice! I’m going to take it personally since I pretty much write the way I talk. (In other words, people who know me say that can totally “hear” me when they read my books.)


Carol Burnside - September 26, 2012 - 7:05 pm

What fun it’s been having you with us today, Julia! I don’t have more questions, but can totally identify with your ‘CONSTANTLY revising’ comment. I write the same way. I’ve tried and tried not to, but always end up with the same process, so now I’m embracing it. :)

Julie Burke - September 26, 2012 - 7:55 pm

Hi Julia! My friend shared about your being on the site and I was interested in knowing more about your work. I have not read your books, but now I will! Julie Burke

Sia Huff - September 26, 2012 - 7:59 pm

Yes, you did. I think our comments got crossed. Sorry I didn’t see your answer before I asked again.
Your earlier answer was infromative when I saw it. Thanks :)

robin delany - September 26, 2012 - 9:16 pm

Hello Julie,
I’d like to start by saying that I love your writing and have read nearly every book you’ve written (still have a few more on the to be read/listened pile)and I wanted to say thank you for the wonderful dialogue workshop at Nationals. It was wonderful to meet you.

My question is, how do you keep your love scenes so unique and interesting. I’ve never felt any monotony while reading them. Do you come into a novel with a unique idea on how you will do them, or do they just work out that way based on the characters?

Laura Russell - September 27, 2012 - 3:55 am

Hi Julia,
I am goggling over your writing process- I like it. You keep re-writing as you go along. Do you have time-outs where you tell yourself ‘no more revising first three until…’? Then when you get to the next turning point in the plot, you go back?
Sorry my question is so late!

Susan Carlisle - September 27, 2012 - 8:55 pm

So excited to have you here. Your covers are beautiful. I look forward to meeting you at Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Atlanta next week.

Julia Quinn - September 28, 2012 - 10:56 am

Hi Julie–

Sorry for the delay in replying, but thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you enjoy my books.


Julia Quinn - September 28, 2012 - 10:58 am


First off, I’m so glad you liked the dialogue workshop. I really enjoy giving it, especially because it comes out differently every time.

Secondly, I don’t plan out the love scenes in advance, but I do consciously try to make sure that they move the plot forward or deepen the characterization in some way. That’s probably why my love scenes tend to have more dialogue than most. The last thing I want is a love scene that feels like it was pasted into the book.


Julia Quinn - September 28, 2012 - 11:01 am


Well, when I said I revise as I go along, I didn’t mean that I start at the beginning each time. Usually, I’m just tinkering with what I’ve done in the last week or so. And then about 3-4 times during the course of writing the book, I’ll go back to the beginning to refresh my memory. And of course I end up doing a little editing then, too, but usually nothing drastic.


Julia Quinn - September 28, 2012 - 11:02 am

Susan, thanks for having me!


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