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Julia Quinn on Her Brand-New Bridgerton Novel



On March 29, Julia Quinn releases her much-anticipated new Bridgerton novel, Because of Miss Bridgerton. Quinn's legion of readers are familiar with Edmund Bridgerton, the father of the eight Bridgerton siblings who have found love in Quinn's historical romances. But readers didn't know much about Edmund's own parents and siblings...until now.

Because of Miss BridgertonBecause of Miss Bridgerton opens in 1779 with Edmund's older sister Billie Bridgerton trapped on the roof of an abandoned farmhouse after trying to rescue a foul-tempered cat. And the man who comes to save her is the only Rokesby brother she doesn't like: George.

We spoke with Julia Quinn about her new novel, motorcycles, matriarchs, and more:

Amazon Book Review: Because of Miss Bridgeton takes place a generation before your other Bridgerton novels. What sort of research did you have to do for that new time period?

Julia Quinn: Initially my research was about the fashion. Even though the main character is not very fashionable, I had to know what was going on, so I looked up that. I was already fairly familiar with the social mores of the time. The politics of the time don't play a whole lot into this novel except that a secondary character [Edward Rokesby] is off fighting in "the Colonies," so I had to learn details beyond what we all learned in American history. I spent a crazy amount of time figuring out what regiment he should be in. I think it's ironic that the biggest chunk of research I did for the book never ended up in the book and was for a character who never appears in the book. But I needed to do that, especially because I knew the next book would be about that character. I also researched what the best crops were to plant in that part of England in the wet season. But other than that, it wasn't all that different from what I normally do.

So is the next book is about the brother, Edward, who's gone missing?

Yes.

Exciting!

Yes. [Laughs] I'm still trying to figure it out myself.

What themes do you keep coming back to in your stories?

If there's one thing that's fairly constant across all my books, it's that the hero and heroine are truly friends with each other; they truly like each other. It's more than a lustful attraction. People have described the relationship in Because of Miss Bridgerton as a from-hate-to-love story, but it's not really hate. They've know each other all their lives. He's the boy next door and she's the girl next door, and they really grate on each other. But they have a strong shared history of love and affection between their two families. I got to play with the antagonistic sparring that comes with their relationship, but they're not truly at odds over the important things.

You have strong matriarchs in your stories, including this one. Not matriarchs that are bull-in-the-china-shop strong, but instead matriarchs that are smart, empathetic…and get what they want in the end.

Probably because that's who I want to be eventually! When you have a character [like Violet Bridgeton] that is a mother with eight kids, you have eight books for her to be a good mother in. Violet Bridgerton grew over the eight books. If you go back and read The Duke and I [the first Bridgerton novel], you can see she's pretty one-dimensional in the beginning. I hadn't realized I was going to write eight books at the time, and she was put in there to help create a plot device. But as the books went on, she grew wiser and wiser. That was really fun.

Your readers love the Bridgertons and the Smythe-Smiths. Do you ever have days when you want to write about, say, motorcycle clubs in contemporary times?

You know, I don't. I haven't had the urge to write anything but historical romance set generally where I've set it. What's funny is that is not what I've been reading lately. I've been reading a lot of contemporary romance. But I don't have the urge to write it. I still enjoy what I'm writing. Maybe someday when I have more time, I'll write something in addition [to historical romances]…but definitely not motorcycle gangs. I'm married to a doctor, and the second-most common injury, following a head injury (which doesn't stop anyone from riding a motorcycle), is castration. Which is not sexy.

What sorts of contemporary romances have you been reading?

Military, a little bit of suspense…all over the place. Sometimes I'll go on a Harlequin Presents kick and come up for air four days later.

What is your favorite writing procrastination technique?

I have so many. So many. Really, I wouldn't even know where to begin. Lately, I've been playing geography quizzes online. [Laughs] I'm good. I can tell you the capital of almost every country.

If, like in The Matrix, you could have any skill set downloaded into your brain, what would it be?

Hmm... I would like to be more physically coordinated. I can't actually turn a cartwheel. I've never been able to turn a cartwheel. So I'm not going to ask for much: I'm going to ask to be able to finally turn a cartwheel. And I would like it to be retroactive so that it would take away all the childhood stress I endured as being the only one who couldn't do a cartwheel.

 

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