Julia Quinn: Author Finds Niche & Loves It, by Deborah Bouziden

Julia Quinn was born Julie Cotler, and later became Julie Pottinger when she married her husband, Paul. Like other authors, at the onset of her career, Quinn decided to use a pseudonym. Hers was chosen because she wanted to be on the shelf next to Amanda Quick, who was a best-selling romance author. While the initial space location may have garnered her some readers, most readers find Quinn because she writes great books and continue reading because they love her characters.

Quinn began writing at an early age. She loved to read, and her favorites at the time were any books in the Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High series, much to her father’s chagrin. He told her she could read them if she could show they were good for her. To get by her father’s disapproval, she told him she was reading these books because she wanted to write them.

“Today, he’s my biggest fan,” Quinn said. “In fact, he’s a novelist now, too, writing young reader fiction.”

Three years following that initial confrontation, Quinn completed her first book. She sent it to Sweet Dreams and was rejected. But Quinn’s dream didn’t die; it was just shelved for a while.

After Quinn received her degree in art history from Harvard, she decided to pursue a career in the medical field. While working on completing her science prerequisites, she started writing again. She chose the Regency time period because that is the period of books she had been reading. By the time she had been accepted and entered Yale medical school, three of her books had been published. After a couple months of med school, Quinn decided she’d much rather be writing than anything else, so she dropped out of school and headed back to her computer to pursue her writing career full-time.

As of May 2010, Quinn had twenty novels, four novellas, and six short stories published. Her books have been translated into nineteen languages. While all of her books are good reads, her most popular seem to be the eight Bridgerton Family series books. Six of those eight, An Offer from a Gentleman; Romancing Mr. Bridgerton; To Sir Phillip, with Love; When He Was Wicked; It’s In His Kiss; On the Way to the Wedding; as well as The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever; The Lost Duke of Wyndham; and Mr. Cavendish, I Presume; have been on the New York Times Best Seller List. Publishers Weekly named To Sir Phillip, With Love, a best original novel of 2002. In that same year, the Romance Writers of America (RWA) membership voted Romancing Mr. Bridgerton one of the top ten books of the year. In 2003, Time magazine wrote a profile piece about Quinn, something not commonly done for romance writers. In 2007, On the Way to the Wedding won the RWA RITA Award for Best Long Historical Romance and in 2008, Quinn walked away with another RITA for Best Regency Historical Romance for The Secret Diaries of Miss Miranda Cheever.

While Quinn continues to write in the Regency time period and at times her characters show up in different stories, every one of her books is different. She works hard at keeping her plots original and her characters engaging.

“I write fairly detailed outlines, but usually the stories end up being as much about characterization as they do about plot. And of course the story frequently veers off course. Most of my favorite scenes, in fact, have come out of the actual writing process as opposed to the outlining process.”

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