Great Time for a Coffee Break: How ‘Bridgerton’ Author Julia Quinn is Preparing for Season 3

Debra Wallace
Authority Magazine
Published in
10 min readMay 15, 2024

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Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in the Nextflix series, Bridgerton

With the much-anticipated Season 3 of Bridgerton around the corner, it is more than timely to check in with Julia Quinn, the distinguished author of the eight Bridgerton novels that led to the hit Netflix series.

The popular romance series Bridgerton, based on Quinn’s series about romance that debuted in December 2020, is headed back to the streamer for Season 3 on the shoulders of yet another incredible cast.

Seasons 1 and 2 told the stories of the Bridgerton clan as portrayed in Quinn’s first two novels, Season 3 will skip the third book.

Instead, it will follow the events of her fourth book, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, diving deep into the relationship between Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton).

On Thursday, May 16, fans of both the books and the streaming series, will be able to bask in the splendor of “The Ton” a gorgeous place that transports us back in time to debutante balls, courting with chaperones, and extreme limits on women’s rights when it comes to property, ownership, and marriage.

Despite these limits, most young ladies in the series are marriage-minded. In Season 3, one of our favorite characters Penelope gives up her crush on the third Bridgerton son, Colin, and decides that it’s time for her “To take a husband, preferably one who will provide her with enough independence to continue her double life as Lady Whistledown, far away from her mother and sisters,” according to a Netflix media release.

Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his travels and is disheartened to receive the cold shoulder from Penelope.

“Eager to win back her friendship, Colin offers to mentor Penelope in the ways of confidence to help her find a husband this season,” the Netflix release added. “But when his lessons start working a little too well, Colin must grapple with whether his feelings for Penelope are truly just friendly, or if there is something more.

Coughlan promises that while her character and others plunge head first in a new season of debutante balls and other high-society activities “Season 3 will be the steamiest” of the offerings so far.

What is it like to receive an outpouring of fan support from both your Bridgerton book lovers and your series lovers?

Julia Quinn: It’s a little surreal, to be honest. Especially as the world keeps getting bigger, with every collaboration. Suddenly the newest one is like Bridgerton dog sweaters.

Do you have any favorite ways of interacting with fans? I would imagine that when you first wrote the books, (in the year 2000), there might have been letters or readings or in person, where now it’s more about connecting via social media.

When I first started, I had an email link where people could email me from my website. At the time I didn’t have a website until like book five or something. Then it got to the point where I had to take that down because it was taking me so long to answer. I decided that I would rather not receive those emails than be unable to answer them.

Now the biggest way that I connect is through social media. I’m on Instagram and Facebook. That’s it. I’m fairly certain if I tried to do TikTok I would cringe. So, I don’t even try. Although I love all the social media stuff that other people are doing. I still do a lot of events. I just came back from a tour of South America which was incredible. I made five stops. I was in Lima and then I did two stops in Santiago, one in Montevideo, Uruguay, and one in Buenos Aires. It was incredible. It’s extremely nice to meet the fans in person when I can.

What is the success of the Bridgerton series and sharing this world like for you, knowing it came from your vivid imagination?

To know that people love this world so much that they want to bring elements of it into their everyday lives is sometimes so crazy I often laugh with delight. When you are just so delighted that you laugh. We have many of those moments around here, so it’s pretty incredible.

Have you spent any time on the set as an advisor or gotten to know any of the actors?

Yes, I’ve been to the set at least once a season. I don’t get out there nearly as much as I think people think I might. When I go it’s not so much as an advisor, it’s just to go have fun and watch. I am technically an advisor on the series, but it’s about something ahead of filming they would come to me with questions about.

By the time it’s getting filmed any questions that they have for me have already been settled. I’ve gotten to meet a lot of the Bridgerton actors. The only one I’ve gotten to hang out with more than a short time is Adjoa Andoh, (who plays Bridgerton’s Lady Danbury).

That was just recently when we were both in New York for International Delight Coffee Creamers. We were at the same hotel, so we agreed to have breakfast. It was the first time I’d gotten to hang out with one of the actors for a solid 90 minutes and we had a great time. She’s just fabulous.

Do you have specific plans for watching Season 3 of Bridgerton? There was a two-year break between the two. Do you have any watch parties or family and friend gatherings that you are planning?

Well, I’m going to the premiere, which will be in New York, so there’s that. I will be there with my husband and our daughter and then we’re not quite certain who’s getting the fourth ticket yet. I might have to raffle it off in my family. Beyond that, I don’t know. I’ll probably just sort of snuggle up at home with snacks and coffee and stuff and watch at home like everybody else.

What advice would your Bridgerton characters have for modern-day dating? With speed dating and apps swiping left and swiping right, it can give me a headache.

I honestly think that my characters would be completely befuddled by it. They would need somebody from modern times to take them through it, as would I because I’ve been with the same person since 1988. I do not know how to work the apps and stuff like that. In terms of just advice, it would be to make sure you get to know someone. I like the idea that if you are using the apps to spend a little time messaging with the person first before you meet in person and get a sense. Somebody can catfish you, but I think there’s a lot of beauty in the written word, and I like the idea of sending messages and getting to know somebody in writing, even if it’s just through DMs for a little bit before you meet them in person.

What do you foresee with your partnership with International Delight? Instead of the traditional British tea and crumpets perhaps having a coffee party with these new items?

Well, yes. I tend to be more of a coffee drinker than a tea drinker. I enjoy drinking both. But definitely, I would say it’s kind of in terms of volume imbibed I’m ten-to-one coffee. So, I see no reason why I can’t just have all the trappings of British high tea and have my mug of coffee instead. I think that’s what we will be doing.

What’s your favorite way to enjoy a coffee?

I like it light. Not too light. And just a little bit sweet. With International Delight, I like having just a little dollop. My husband pours a huge glug in and then that’s a little sweet for me. But I like it with a little dollop and it’s perfect. I’m a huge coffee drinker. Somebody asked me how do you take your coffee and I’m always like…often.

What is it like to have major products like this named after your books and series?

People ask me where the name Bridgerton came from or if it’s supposed to be this secret name for a bridge. I respond, “No, I just made it up and have no idea where it came from. “ Now to see it on English Toffee Coffee Creamers is both wonderful and surreal.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton on Netflix

When you watch the series is there ever a time where you’re looking at these costumes and this scenery and the carriages and being swept away, and you forget for a minute that you created all this originally?

Oh, absolutely. In large part because the original creation was so long ago. I figured out I wrote the first book in 1998 based on the timing of when it came out and how long it took in production. But I also think that Shondaland has done such an amazing job of bringing it to life and adding the visual component that you don’t get in the books. Having sound has just expanded the world so hugely. So, yes, I sometimes forget and get swept away like everyone else.

Do you ever think about what it would be like to put on the corset and one of those gorgeous gowns and dance the night away?

I have personal experience with this since I was an extra in Queen Charlotte. I’m in episode six. So, I put on the gown and the corset and it was very interesting. You stand quite differently and you sit quite differently when you have that on. I do think about it a little, but just for one night, I think maybe is all I’d want.

Would you want to live in the time period depicted in Bridgerton?

I’m an absolute no. I don’t want to live in any period before the advent of antibiotics and vaccines. I like the hygiene. I also really like to vote. I think it’s fun for me to watch as sort of a fairy tale and to write as sort of a fairy tale. But I enjoy wearing my yoga pants too much to be a true Regency diamond of the first water.

What upsets me is that women couldn’t inherit property. So, you have this woman who should by rights have all this land and all this money and all this title, but because her husband or father dies she gets nothing and she’s beholden to all the men.

This year I’m the ambassador for an organization supporting libraries called Every Library. I’m doing a lot of advocacy activities around book bans. I am against them. Next year I’ll be an ambassador for an organization called Landesa, which is all about land rights. They do a lot of work around women’s land rights, too. At first, it doesn’t seem like it’s a natural fit, but in many ways it is. So, I will be digging into that next year.

The show focuses on love, sweeping romance, and courtship, so I have to know, are you a romantic?

I think I must be. I’m kind of a sarcastic, snarky romantic. I will say my husband’s better with romantic gestures than I am. He comes through in several ways. He’s the one who has incredible romantic gifts. I just try to show it by doing everything I can every day. But he’ll come through. For our 25th anniversary, he gave me a pendant that was filled with water, which was melted snow from the top of Mount Everest. He had climbed Mount Everest five years earlier. So, yes, he’s good with the big gestures.

Tell me about any current or future projects. What are you writing?

I am digging in more with the advocacy than with the writing. I’m extremely upset about the rise in book bans and challenges right now, so I’m doing a lot of work with Every Library to raise awareness and funds for them. So I’ve been doing a bit more of that than actual writing. I do need to get back to that at some point, but I’m enjoying having a platform now that I didn’t have before thanks to the television show.

I feel it’s more important at this time to speak out about some of the things that are going on in this country, specifically around book bans that I’m horrified by. Never in human history have the ones banning the books turned out to be the good guys. They just aren’t. You know, if you don’t want your children reading something that’s your business, but you don’t get to decide mine.

What advice do you have for young women, and even older women, in terms of where they are in society? Obviously, we can vote and we can be CEOs, but so many girls and young women still lack the self-confidence to pursue their dreams.

We need to keep talking to our daughters. We’ve got to get them while they’re young to get that confidence built up. It’s not even just confidence, it’s the awareness of the possibilities. I think you’ve just got to teach them while they’re young. I saw this great meme, which I shared on Instagram the other day. Some fourth-grade girl said, “Apart from myself Judy Blume is my favorite writer.” And so, I’m just like that’s the kind of confidence I want to see in all women writers. I think we need to intercede when they are young.

Please tell me the difference between your book fans and your Netflix series fans.

They’re both incredibly passionate. I think that series fans can get more divided into extremely specific fandoms about specific couples, so they can get very much behind that one couple. So, they tend to separate into these segments. They can get very, very passionate about their favorite couple, especially if they think their favorite couple is getting wronged in some way. Whereas the book fans tend to be more overall for the whole series. I appreciate every one of them.

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Debra Wallace
Authority Magazine

Writer, autism activist, motivational speaker; all with the intent of improving the world one story at a time.