TV & Movies

Shonda Rhimes Discovered The Bridgerton Books After Making A Common Travel Mistake

Julia Quinn detailed the lucky way she ended up with a Netflix deal.

by Candace Cordelia Smith
Secrets from the 'Bridgerton' set. Photo via Liam Daniel/Netflix© 2020
Liam Daniel/Netflix© 2020

Since its debut in December 2020, Netflix's Bridgerton series has held the attention of an estimated 82 million subscribers and counting. The TV adaptation of Julia Quinn's Regency-era novels that follow the opulent Bridgerton family is a certified hit, but the author revealed that producer Shonda Rhimes' interest in her novels came "out of nowhere."

During a recent interview on Tamron Hall's talk show, Quinn detailed the surprising way their partnership came to be. “It came out of nowhere,” she began. “I was just sitting there as one does, pretending to write in a Starbucks, and my phone rang and it was my agent and he said, ‘Have you heard of Shonda Rhimes?'"

Quinn continued, "And I just went, ‘Uh, yes.’ He said, ‘Well, I just had the most interesting call.’ I practically fell off the stool 'cause nobody was adapting romance novels. People will ask me, ‘How did you sell it?’ and I’ll say, ‘I didn’t do anything.’” So, Quinn made a regular Starbucks run, as many mortals do, pretended to work, and walked out of said Starbucks with a huge business deal? Hereby declaring that staring at a blank computer screen in a coffee shop is actually a boss business move.

Quinn went on to explain how Shonda first heard about her bestselling series after experiencing every bookworm's worst nightmare: not bringing enough books to read while traveling. The way I understand it, Shonda ran out of books to read on vacation and somehow stumbled on one of mine. It’s crazy to think that my life is forever changed because Shonda didn’t bring enough reading material on vacation, but that’s honestly what happened,” she added.

Thanks to Rhimes, the romance drama massively propelled interest in Quinn’s Bridgerton books. This week, The Duke and I holds the top spot on the New York Times bestsellers list for its third week in a row. The second and fourth Bridgerton novels, The Viscount Who Loved Me and Romancing Mister Bridgerton, respectively, also landed on New York Times’ prestigious literary tally. “Sales of all eight books in the series have increased exponentially since the premiere of the show,” a spokesperson from Avon Books told People.

Quinn and Rhimes are forces to be reckoned with on their own. Together, they're unstoppable. Netflix just greenlit Bridgerton Season 2, so their rule over the streaming platform isn't coming to an end any time soon.