‘Happy endings’ key to success of Bridgerton author

Julia Quinn, author of the popular historical romance series “Bridgerton” on Netflix, said at a recent visit to Poulsbo recently that people like it so much because, “It’s a guaranteed happy ending.”

She added, “That’s important to a lot of people.”

Quinn spent an evening chatting with fans at the Jewelbox Theater in Poulsbo.

Attendees wore costumes to the Regency-period-themed event and chatted about the Bridgerton books while sipping champagne and eating chocolates.

“It’s exciting to see so many people who connect with the characters and the books,” Quinn said.

Quinn said she was drawn to the Regency period because, “It’s far enough in the past that we can give it a fairy-tale quality. It’s kind of in this nice little sweet spot where it’s modern, but fairy tale, and you can kind of get away with stuff.”

Quinn’s good friend, Seattle author Martha Brockenbrough, led a lively conversation while spilling the tea on the Bridgertons. She had the audience laughing as Quinn answered questions about her inspiration for the books, the characters and what’s next for the TV series.

Quinn said that she didn’t set out to be a romance writer. She actually earned an art history degree at Harvard and went to Yale medical school briefly before deciding to pursue a career in writing. But it was in medical school where she met a student with a “fairly severe stutter” who inspired the character, Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings.

“I basically gave Simon the worst family in the world, and then I created the Bridgertons as a foil. So, I thought, let’s give this guy the best possible family to marry into,” Quinn said.

For more than 20 years, Quinn has been writing historical romances because she liked reading those novels, “and it just really kind of went from there.”

Quinn shared how the book became a television series.

“I was sitting at Starbucks when my agent called and he said, ‘Have you ever heard of Shonda Rhimes? Well, her people just called to ask if the rights to the Bridgerton series are available and if so, are we interested in talking to her about it?’ And Quinn said, ‘I cannot believe you felt the need to call me first right now!’”

It took almost years after that call for the show to premiere. “It was a really long time, and I had to keep it a secret,” she said.

Fans were happy to hear that Netflix has renewed Bridgerton for a fourth season, and she’s hoping for eight, to follow the book series. Quinn has visited the set a couple of times in London and was amazed by the level of detail and grandeur of the production. “You just can’t believe it.”

Just to create the character Daphne’s 104 costumes for Season 1 kept 35 people working full time.

Quinn also shared that the Bridgerton franchise is expanding. She’s working on a new spinoff series called, Queen Charlotte, a Bridgeton story. “It’s about the only main character who wasn’t in the books. I love the Queen Charlotte character.”

After a question and answer period attendees met with the authors to sign books and shared how they discovered and connected with them.

Monique Blackwell, a Silverdale mother of three, said she’s always been a fan of the British royal family and really enjoyed reading the stories, especially the plot twists. She began reading the books after her youngest child was born and her Navy husband was on a long deployment.

“It honestly got me through the deployment. It was rough. Some of those days were really challenging, especially with COVID,” Blackwell said.

Sydney Sorensen and her mother drove from Bainbridge Island to attend the event and said they love the books, and discussing the stories leads to fun discussions.

Sorensen discovered Quinn’s books while living in Denmark for a year. “I was looking for a new show to watch during the height of COVID. I had just moved, and so it was really rough, and I was away from my family. And a show that was about family really spoke to me. And then I found out it was a book series. I’m an avid book reader, so I just scarfed it all down.”

Sydney Sorensen of Bainbridge Island speaks with Julia Quinn during a book signing event in Poulsbo.

Sydney Sorensen of Bainbridge Island speaks with Julia Quinn during a book signing event in Poulsbo.