- “Bridgerton” writers changed Kate Sheffield’s surname to Sharma to reflect her Indian heritage.
- Author Julia Quinn called the decision “terrific” and said it was executed in an “authentic way.”
- Writers of Indian descent brought elements of their own stories to the character, she told Insider.
Julia Quinn, the romance novelist behind the love stories that inspired “Bridgerton,” is completely on-board with the amendments that the show’s writers made to her character Kate Sheffield.
Season two of the Netflix series will loosely follow the 51-year-old’s second “Bridgerton” novel, “The Viscount Who Loved Me” (2002), which delves into Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sheffield’s enemies-to-lovers romance.
In line with the reimagined, diverse version of early 19th-century London that creator Chris Van Dusen brought to life on season one, the show’s writers opted to give Kate an Indian background in the script, shedding the moniker Sheffield in favor of Sharma, a common surname in India.
“I love the changes that they made,” Quinn recently told Insider while discussing her new book, “The Wit and Wisdom of Bridgerton: Lady Whistledown’s Official Guide,” published by HarperCollins on Tuesday.
The show’s casting team selected Simone Ashley, a 26-year-old British actress of Indian descent, to front the season as Kate.
Quinn added: “Simone Ashley is perfect as Kate.”
The author gave up creative control shortly after discussions of a Shondaland adaptation began but still serves as a consultant on the show. She told Insider that she was clued into the season-two changes before they were announced to the public in February.
Quinn called the decision to introduce Sharma as Kate’s last name a “wonderful way to make the show more inclusive,” adding that “there’s quite a lot of historical background” on the relationship between India and England in the early 19th century.
“It makes a lot of sense. I think it’s terrific,” she said.
Going into season two, it was a priority for the “Bridgerton” team to ensure that Kate’s story is both accurate and personal. Writers of Indian descent were heavily involved in crafting the on-screen version of the character.
“I loved that they were able to do it in a really authentic way,” Quinn said. “They were able to bring to it authenticity and elements of their own stories that I myself would not have been able to do as well. I’m very grateful that they’re able to take the story and expand it in that way.”
The author added: “One of the smartest things you can do in life is recognize when other people are smart and have more expertise than you do and get out of their way, which is what I’ve been doing.”