Julia Quinn is the author of 17 consecutive #1 New York Times best-sellers including “Mr. Cavendish, I Presume,” which reached #1 on the mass-market paperback fiction list. Julia is one of only 16 authors to be inducted into the Romance Writers Hall of Fame! Her most popular series, The Bridgertons, is currently being developed by Shondaland as a Netflix series, with Scandal veteran Chris Van Dusen adapting and show running. Julia completed her latest novel, “The Other Miss Bridgerton,” in November 2018.

Johnson County Public Library: How did you get started writing?

Julia Quinn: I began “Splendid,” my first novel, during the summer between my junior and senior years of college. I honestly don’t remember what led me to sit down in front of my computer and write the first few words, but by the end of summer I had four chapters done. I picked it up again after I graduated, and I worked on it while I took pre-med classes and applied to medical school. Amazingly, I was accepted to med school the same month I got my first book deal.

JCPL: Why did you choose Romance? Did you start out trying to write a romantic/love story? Did you have characters in mind that would lend well to Romance?

JQ: It was what I loved to read!

JCPL: What is the hardest thing about writing?

JQ: Actually doing it. Unfortunately, the only way to finish a book is to finish it. Believe me, if there was another way, I would have figured it out by now.

JCPL: We’ve read that you have songs that remind you of your books. Do you listen to a specific playlist or station as you’re writing? Do you randomly hear a song on the radio and think about how it relates to the book you’re writing?

JQ: It’s rare that a song will directly inspire a book, but in the case of “The Lost Duke of Wyndham” and “Mr. Cavendish, I Presume,” I can trace the idea directly to the Dire Straits song “Industrial Disease.” I’ve always loved the irony in the line: “Two men say they’re Jesus. One of them must be wrong.” From there it was a quick jump to “Two men say they’re the Duke of Something. One of them must be wrong.” This origin story led me to develop soundtracks for all of my books. They’re not very long, just four or five songs each, but it’s been a fun way for me to connect with readers. Some of the songs listed are ones I loved while I was writing the book; some had an element that seemed to fit the story or characters. I have all of the soundtracks on my website, along with brief explanations of why I chose the songs. When I’m writing at home, I don’t actually listen to music unless it’s instrumental. I find the words too distracting. Interestingly, though, I have no trouble with this if I’m writing at a café, which I often do. The music becomes part of the general ambiance and I don’t pay attention to the words.

JCPL: If someone hasn’t read any of your books before where would you suggest they start? Do you have a favorite series?

JQ: It depends on whether they are already a romance reader. For people who have never tried a romance, I often recommend “What Happens in London” because it doesn’t seem to fit the stereotype that many people have of romance novels. For people who do read romance, I usually recommend the Bridgerton series. It’s my most popular, and it’s currently being developed for Netflix, so there has been a big resurgence in interest.

JCPL: What can you tell us about the books being adapted into a Netflix series? Did you ever think your books would be adapted for the big screen?

JQ: To answer your second question first--No. Hollywood has not traditionally looked to romance novels for source material, so I never dreamed my books would be adapted. “Downton Abbey” demonstrated the public’s thirst for period pieces but, but it wasn’t until the success of “Outlander” that Hollywood began to realize how hungry readers were for adaptations of historical romance. “Outlander” isn’t technically a romance series, but the romance between Jamie and Claire is a huge part of the story, and it’s no secret that romance readers make up a large part of Diana Gabaldon’s audience. I wish I could spill the details on the upcoming Netflix series, but we’re still very early in development, and I honestly don’t have many details to share.

JCPL: What is your favorite time period or era to write about?

JQ: All of my books are set in the late 17th and early 18th century, and all but two are set in Britain. “The Girl With the Make-Believe Husband” takes place in British-occupied New York City during the Revolutionary War, and “The Other Miss Bridgerton” is set primarily on a ship. But the characters are all British, so the flavor and ambiance are similar.

JCPL: If you didn’t write, what would you do for a living?

JQ: I would imagine I’d have finished med school. So, I’d be a doctor.