Julia Quinn versus Anne Robinson…and shares her experiences of being a contestant on The Weakest Link in the US!
It is a fiction almost universally accepted that readers of romance novels must be in want of a brain. Writers of romance novels tend to be judged ever so slightly higher on the IQ scale – even the most hardened of literary snobs will admit that one must possess a few brain cells to put together 400 pages of complete sentences.
After a number of years fighting against this stereotype, I decided it was time to put my money where my mouth was, and I tried out for the game show The Weakest Link. I’d become hopelessly addicted to the Anne Robinson show when I lived in London in 2001, and I was beyond thrilled that she was bringing her scorn and derision to the States. Plus we were moving. I needed to buy a new house.
A few months later I found myself on a sound stage in California, with lights flashing and music pounding and a strange disembodied voice telling me to “look thoughtful and pretend to write down someone’s name.” (It only takes two seconds to jot down the name of who you think is the weakest link, but they need to draw it out, so they splice shots of the contestants furrowing their brows and writing veeeeeerrrrrrry slowly.)
My biggest terror was that I’d be the first one booted off. My second biggest terror was that I’d blow a question about Jane Austen. As an author of historical romances set in the Regency era, I would never live that one down.
Thankfully my questions were Austen-free. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for plush toys, country music, and certain former presidents of the United States. Herewith, all my Weakest Link questions, with the answers in white (highlight the space below each question to reveal the answer.)
I’ve starred the ones I got wrong. See how you measure up!
Which US President won a Pulitzer Prize for his essay, “Profiles in Courage?”
John F. Kennedy
In transportation, what British automaker manufactures the Silver Seraph and Corniche?
**What country singer recorded the album Trio with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris?
In geography, what British territory do Argentines call Islas Malvinas?
The Falkland Islands
What US coin is currently being minted with 50 different designs, one for each state?
Which maker of “brisk tea” introduced the flow-through bag in 1953?
**What former partner of Don Simpson produced the movie Pearl Harbor?
The green card allowing foreigners to work in the US is issued by which agency?
The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS)
In the United States Army, what is the rank immediately below major?
In geology, sapphire and what red gemstone are derived from the mineral corundum?
**What line of adoptable plush dog dolls did Tonka introduce in 1985?
What ancient Roman city destroyed by a volcanic eruption was rediscovered in 1748?
What renaissance artist painted The Virgin of the Rocks and also designed an early version of the helicopter?
Leonardo Da Vinci
What is the name of the relic at the cathedral of San Giovanni Baptista believed to be Christ’s burial cloth?
The shroud of Turin
What bouncing device invented by George Nissen became a gymnastic event at the Sydney Olympics?
In geography, Addis Ababa is both the capital and largest city of what country?
In fashion, the name of which sheer transparent fabric is the French word for “rag?”
In the 1988 presidential debate, George Bush called Michael Dukakis a card carrying member of which organization?
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
**What actor from the film The Empire Strikes Back is a spokesperson for Colt 45?
Samuel L. Jackson
Which bird is depicted in the logo of the National Broadcasting Company?
Which Andrew Lloyd Webber musical features roller skating actors singing the song Pumping Iron?
What country is the birthplace of the thick, brown, salty paste known as Vegemite?
**Yokozuna is the top rank in what Japanese sport?
In television, which BBC cooking show is hosted by Jamie Oliver?
The Naked Chef
In geography, Lhasa is the capital of which region between Nepal and China?
**In transportation, what car manufacturer recently unveiled its first convertible model, the SC430?
In December 1777, what Pennsylvania village became the main camp of George Washington and the Continental Army?
A poem that is written in iambic pentameter normally contains a total of how many syllables in each line?
What documentary filmmaker and author of Downsize This also had a prime time series called TV Nation?
In geography, what is the southernmost U.S. state capital?
**Before becoming a U.S. president, George W. Bush was a co-owner of what major league baseball team?
What name for a type of single-story cottage surrounded by verandas is derived from the Hindi for “a house in the Bengali style?”
Cue the dramatic lights and music. I won!
We at Piatkus think that Julia deserves extra special congratulations – not only did she defeat the formidable Anne Robinson, but she recently won her third RITA award for Best Regency Romance of 2010.
Look out for Julia Quinn’s fantastic new novel Ten Things I Love About You, out now.