Millions of fans around the world have now watched Queen Charlotte and King George fall in love. against all odds, in the new spin-off of the immensely popular Netflix show “Bridgerton.” And while her palpable chemistry and steamy love scenes have likely inspired a whole new slate of fan fiction, the on-screen lovers’ story continues on the page, thanks to the woman responsible for the entire Bridgerton universe.

just a few days later “Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story” began streaming on Netflix this month, author Julia Quinn novelization of the drama series was published. While Quinn Bridgerton The book series inspired the similarly titled show, the Netflix adaptation spin-off project served as the seed for the Book “Queen Charlotte”.

“I think people thought we were in a room somewhere [writing]Quinn tells POPSUGAR. “I got the scripts when [series creator Shonda Rhimes] So she did her thing and then I did mine.”

The project meant that Rhimes gave Quinn the same trust that the latter placed in the iconic television producer and creator with her original book series: “Wow, Shonda Rhimes trusts me to take her baby and run with it.” Quinn, 53, reflects on writing. her latest romance novel. “I mean, I was very flattered by that. And there was some pressure because I needed to do something Shonda would be proud of. I mean, it’s Shonda.”

But Quinn relished the opportunity to further develop the characters played on screen by india amarteo and corey mylchreest, among others. “One of the things about a book versus a TV show is that now we can get inside the heads of the characters,” Quinn notes. “And that’s part of the way I really wanted to build the romance even more.”

“At the show, at the wedding, you’ve seen them dance, and it’s super romantic,” Quinn explains. “In the book, you can really see what they’re talking about. And that was a lot of fun.” She also gave her more space to delve into George’s personal struggles and really build on how Charlotte finds out that her husband is unwell, she adds.

Putting the pieces of the book together was “really a lot like a puzzle, putting the pieces together,” says Quinn. “Being like, ‘I really like this conversation here, but I can’t put it there because that scene is in someone else’s point of view. So I’ll move that conversation here, I’ll move this one there.” It was a really fun process.”

Read on to learn more about Quinn’s new companion book to the Netflix series “Queen Charlotte.”

POPSUGAR: I want to go back to when you first heard from Shondaland about bringing the Bridgerton books to the screen. What was that feeling?

Julia Quinn: That was in January 2017. I was sitting at Starbucks and got a phone call from my agent. We typically send more emails than phone calls. Of course, I answered. And he said, “Have you heard of Shonda Rhimes?” And I said, “Yeah, yeah, I got it.” And he said, “Well, I just got a very interesting phone call. They want to know if the Bridgerton rights are available, and if so, are you interested in pursuing them?” And I was like, “I can’t believe you thought you had to call me. Hang up right now. Call them again. Say yes.” And then he went from there.

PS: Did you ever anticipate how gigantic it would become?

JQ: I thought we would do well. I didn’t think we were going to fail, because I had read the script. We knew it was good. I knew there was an audience out there. . . . At the time, I was thinking about the women who love these romance novels, the women who love, let’s say “Poldark,” and they were there for the romance, or “Downton Abbey,” but they love the romance part. I knew there was an audience out there. . . but I didn’t think I was going to do this.

PS: People love to negatively reduce romantic fiction to being undignified or unliterary. For you, as a romance novelist, what has the process of getting recognition that this is worthy of your time and not frivolous fiction been like?

JQ: It’s been amazing. I feel like the stigma has been falling apart over time. It was already thinning out a bit. But this really broke through in a big way. All these people who love “Bridgerton” are like, “I wonder if there’s anything else like this.” I’m like, “Yeah, you could read a romance novel.” And many of them now do. I think a lot of people didn’t understand what a romance novel was. And that’s part of the reason they scrapped it.

“Why can’t we honor books as something that is a pleasant pastime, when we can honor the things we see?”

I also think there is this idea that we will call certain things guilty pleasures, even with television as well. But there’s this idea that it’s okay for TV to be for fun, but a book has to improve somehow. There’s kind of an idea that if you’re going to take the time to read a book, instead of just passively looking at something, it can’t just be for the sheer pleasure of it. And I think that’s crazy. I mean, why not read for pleasure? And I am not saying that there is no value in all other things. But why can’t we honor books as something that is a pleasant pastime, when we can honor the things we see?

PS: You mentioned that this process is different. How different was it for you to have this source material versus you originating the plot?

JQ: It was just different in every way, but great for me to have a way to shake up how to write. . . . This is a huge shakeup of the how, in the sense that Shonda wrote six scripts, he handed them over to me, and then I had to figure out how to turn this into a novel.

The first big decision was to focus only on the previous timeline. So the book really is just young Queen Charlotte and those characters. There’s a bit at the beginning and end, but really, that’s just for framing. And there were a couple of different reasons for that. One is: how much space and time do I have? I mean, the book is still 100,000 words, almost. Also, I really wanted the story to be as close to a romance novel as possible, because it’s not the same way as my other books.

And then once I was just focused on the earlier time period, then it’s like, “Okay, well, what point of view are we at?” because we have four points of view. Also, am I including all the stories? What areas can I develop and expand?

PS: Is creating these internal monologues and developing these characters further in the book intimidating or difficult when you have to live up to an already shaped performance by an actor?

JQ: In some ways it adds a challenge, and in some ways it makes some things easier. I went to see the actors. And for that part, it really informed it, in a way. Reynold’s character. I started writing Reynolds, and then I went on set and I met Freddie and I said, “I didn’t know he had that deep voice. And I didn’t know he was so regal.” So I said, “Oh, I need to reinforce Reynolds like this.” And then George, when he’s having fun, bites his lip. And so I put that. But not of him doing it. She did, but that’s something Charlotte noticed about him. So it was actually cool to have these aspects, these performance elements that she could weave into.

PS We have the queer plot with Brimsley, and that’s the first time in the Bridgerton universe that there’s a queer main plot. Why was it important to develop that in the book?

JQ: I’ve really had weird characters before, though as you say their stories aren’t as prominent, and part of the main reason is that in none of my books do I explore side romances. . . . It’s just not my way of working. So back in the times I’ve had the queer characters. . . you didn’t see their courtship, romance or anything like that in the future. So this was the first time I was presented with a way to do it, because I was writing from four points of view. and i loved it

Because you can get inside the head of one of these characters, I really wanted to show how that heady feeling of courtship is the same. There’s a part of the book at the beginning where Brimsley says: she never thought of Reynolds. I mean, the way I would think about a guy in the early stages of dating or the way I’ve written about heterosexual couples in the early stages of dating. I just wanted it to feel like maybe when they get together, their bodies work differently, because they’re two men. But the emotions of falling in love and wondering if someone likes you and your crush is the same.

“The emotions of falling in love and wondering if someone likes you and the person you like is the same [with Brimsley and Reynolds].”

We also have the race theme with George and Charlotte. The race thing had a lot of history around it with the great experiment and stuff. In this case, I just wanted to show that the emotions were the same.

PS: Writing a sex scene, is there someone who is your instinct? Is it a friend or her editor telling her to up the ante or tone it down?

JQ: When I do them, I tend to make my characters talk a lot. Because I think if all you’re doing is explaining what went where, I just don’t think it’s interesting. . . . If you’re writing a romance novel, the sex scene should do something to explore the characters, deepen the characters, or move the plot forward. If you could remove it and the story still works, then you haven’t done it right.

So I really like my characters to talk and in a way maybe learn something about each other through that. And then you can also add a little humor, things like that. . . . Within the world of romance novels, I’m not known for being particularly steamy, to be honest with you.

PS: I don’t know anything about that. There is a scene with a mirror and one of the Bridgertons that I think the entire internet is dying to see in the third season of Bridgerton.

JQ: Oh it’s true. I’ve seen that. And I’m like, “I need to look at this book again because I don’t remember what the hell that was.” . . . This is horrible. I would have started that book in 2001. It’s been a long time.

PS: In those 22 years, how much have you changed as a writer?

JQ: It’s hard to say. I honestly don’t know. I mean, in my personal life so many things have changed. I had children, they grew up, I have an empty nest. Whereas before, people were like, “What character are you?” I’m like, “Oh, I’m a mix of Eloise, Penelope, and Francesca.” And now I’m like, “Oh, it could be Violet now.”

This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Image Source: Getty/Lia Toby/Amazon/Photo Illustration by Aly Lim

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