Flashback Friday – Julia Quinn
I’ve been so lucky in my life to not only meet amazing people, but question them and learn from them. I’ve been able to amass a pretty large catalogue of interviews because of their generosity, and they have really helped me get my foot in many different doors. So first, to all the people who have been gracious enough to give me their time and patience, thank you!
I’ve created the Flashback Friday series to show these interviews and reviews. They’ve been locked away in my archives but now it’s time to share them. I hope you enjoy this look back on the articles that got me started and introduced me to some of my best friends. Enjoy!
Julia Quinn, for those who haven’t heard. is a fabulous writer. Time Magazine called her the new Jane Austen. High praise – and accurate. She writes love stories with remarkable wit, depth, and compassion.
There are two authors that have inspired me to become a writer. She is one of them.
I was fortunate enough to have interviewed her a while ago and just adore her. In honor of her newest release, here is my interview with the one and only. Enjoy!
Admittedly, whenever someone says they do not like romance novels, the first thing I do is tell them about the Viscount Who Loved Me. It’s almost indescribable to explain how awesome that story is to someone who hasn’t read it. Suffice to say that the hero’s particular traumas and heartaches are like nothing I’ve ever encountered in a romance novel before. You make each character’s struggles (not just in the Viscount Who Loved Me, but in all your books) incredibly real and sometimes very dark. What’s the inspiration for giving your characters such backstories?
The backstory inspiration for Anthony (the hero of The Viscount Who Loved Me) came from a relative of mine, whose father died quite young. He’d had scarlet fever as a child, and his heart was damaged as a result. He was one of the first people ever to have open heart surgery, but unfortunately he died on the table.
As a result of this, though, my relative really felt like he was going to die at a young age, too. I don’t think he felt this as acutely as Anthony, but it was always in the back of his head that his time here was limited. When he passed the age at which his father died, it was as if a giant burden was lifted from his shoulders.
You have been called the “contemporary Jane Austen”. And I can absolutely see why. Your “voice”, your style and your stories…all amazing! Your voice especially is so unique. Did that take time to develop? Did you have to write several manuscripts before it emerged?
I think my writing has gotten more complex and polished over time, but it’s remarkable how true my voice has remained to its roots. A few years back I found a Young Adult novel I’d written when I was fifteen. There were a thousand things I’d change now, but it was obvious that it was my work!
Your books not only entertain me, but they also make me not ashamed of wanting and waiting for true love. Do you ever think about the way your books might resonate with readers once they are published?
All the time. I don’t know that I could have been a writer before the internet age. I would have felt too isolated. It can take me over a year to answer reader mail (although I’m much faster on my bulletin board and Facebook), but I love knowing how readers are reacting.
Let’s talk about the new book, the Lost Duke of Wyndham! On your amazing website, http://www.juliaquinn.com , you talk about the book and what a reader can expect. But I’m wondering: how hard it is to juggle writing one book while editing and promoting a second? The Lost Duke of Wyndham comes out in May, the second book comes out in September. Is it difficult to switch gears and go back and forth?
Normally I would say yes. I’m not the kind of writer who likes to work on more than one project at a time. But The Lost Duke of Wyndham and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume are a special case because the stories are very heavily intertwined. A great many scenes occur in both books, but from different points of view. I wrote them simultaneously because I didn’t want one book to be dependant on what I did in the other.
You have a bulletin board on the website, a Facebook page, a Myspace page, and you do a fair number of interviews and guest blogs – and I’m definitely grateful for that! How do you prioritize the time you spend on reader interaction and answering fans with writing?
The writing should always come first, but the truth is it often doesn’t. It really depends on where I am with regards to my deadlines. I just turned a book in two weeks ago, so you’re getting nice long answers–if you’d queried a month ago, you’d probably get three-word sentences!
I’ve also learned that I have to delegate where I can. I don’t update my own website (although I do have to provide the content), and I have a virtual assistant who manages the bulletin board and my myspace page. I answer my own reader mail (hence the long delay), and I do my Facebook page.
Your stories read so effortlessly. Every word on the page just seamlessly leads into the other. I’m imagining though, that writing the story isn’t as fluid. Do you ever find yourself up against a brick wall or unable to figure out what happens next?
Yes. All the time. The most wonderful thing I’ve ever read in one of my reviews was: “It takes a very good writer to make it look this easy.”
And speaking of your books, they’re so well paced! I’m always so disappointed when I get to the end of one of your books because I wanted them to be longer!!! (Actually, I’m never disappointed at the end of any of your books. No way!) Pacing is hard though, to explain and even harder to master. What’s your secret for being able to time your stories so well?
I have no idea. Seriously, I wish I did. It probably wouldn’t take me as long to finish a book.
Finally, Julia, you’re a bestselling author. You’ve been interviewed in Time Magazine. Is it everything you dreamed it would be?
It’s great! There’s nothing else I’d rather do.