Ali Hazelwood Interview: Love on the Brain, Feminist Romance, and More

One of the most satisfying recent trends in publishing is the love story STEminist, a charming moniker for contemporary romances and rom-coms that feature diverse heroines from diverse, often non-traditional backgrounds, working in STEM fields and breaking down barriers as Easily as they could break hearts.

These kinds of stories aren’t just about women falling in love, but about addressing a host of timely and relevant issues, from sexism in the workplace to issues of equity and inclusion, and the fact that even today , male opinions are often privileged over female voices. not because they are right or more experienced, but simply because they are men. Also, if you’ve ever had a soft spot for problem-solving nerds, this is absolutely 100% the genre for you.

Author Ali Hazelwood has become known for her romantic fiction STEMist: Her Debut The love hypothesis it’s a New York Times bestseller that became a viral sensation on BookTok and her second novel, love in the brain seems to be on the way to similar success. (Turns out neuroscience is really sexy, y’all!)

We had the chance to chat with Hazelwood herself about love in the brainher unique experience as an author, her favorite romantic trope, and what she’s working on next.


Paste Magazine: You took such an interesting path to becoming an author. I know you have a personal background in STEM and have been very active in the fanfiction communities. Can you tell our readers a bit about how those things have played into your journey of writing so much? The love hypothesis and love in the brain?

Ali Hazelwood: I have been very inspired by the environments I find myself in every day and in my academic career. I started writing fanfiction when I was in grad school as a way to de-stress, and then I ended up writing romance books about people in STEM academia.

I think fanfiction is honestly an amazing medium and gets an unfair bad rap from people who don’t value or understand it. Good fanfic is art! How has being a fanfic writer shaped the professional writer you became?

I had never written fiction before fanfiction, so everything I know about writing I have learned from fic! For me, it’s an easy way to approach writing for those who aren’t experienced writers, but I understand some people may not like it and to each their own!

Paste: One of my favorite things about her books is that they don’t require their heroines to be inferior in any way: Bee is smart, career-focused, ambitious, and successful in the kinds of careers we don’t often get. opportunity to see women stand out on the page. Tell me about Bee’s character and her journey through this book.

hazel: I think Bee knows what she wants, but she’s had some setbacks and hasn’t been able to get it yet. The book is very much the story of her going after what he wants and managing to find love in the process.

Paste: Enemies to lovers is one of my all-time favorite tropes (second only to marriage of convenience!), but I love how you wink and subvert that a bit in this story. (Are they really enemies? Have they ever been?) Tell me a bit about how you conceptualized Bee and Levi’s bond.

hazel: One of my favorite tropes is miscommunication, and I love stories where everything can be cleared up with a simple conversation, but the characters don’t have that conversation because they’re at a point in their lives where they just aren’t. . They can’t have it, usually because of things that happened to them, or misconceptions that they have, or their emotional wounds. I think Bee and Levi are just that: two people who aren’t, or weren’t, in a position to have an honest conversation, but they’re slowly becoming that.

Paste: What do you think is about some of the specific romantic tropes and themes that appear in (enemies of lovers, the You’ve got mail communicate unknowingly) that engages readers no matter how many times they meet them?

hazel: Not sure about other people, but I’m definitely a mood reader, so being able to select a book by trope helps make sure I’m going to love it and get exactly what I need. I need for a specific time.

Paste: Marie Curie fangirling thread throughout love in the brain it was so good and felt so fresh. (And I’ll admit I knew very little about her life story other than the fact that her bones are still radioactive due to her work with polonium and radium, so I felt like I learned a few things!) What made you choose her as one? sort of older? avatar for this story?

hazel: I got the idea seeing I have never, in which the story of Devi (the main character) is narrated by a famous tennis player, John McEnroe. I wondered: who would Bee choose to narrate her story? And how would Marie Curie’s life resonate with Bee’s?

Paste: What is the one thing you hope readers take away from this book?

hazel: I hope you have a few hours of fun!

Paste: According to Goodreads, you are working on a third book that is scheduled to come out next year. Can you tell us something about it?

hazel: love, theoretically is a fun twist on the fake dating trope: what if the main character, instead of ending up with the person he’s falsely dating, ended up with his brother?

Paste: What are you reading right now? What kinds of books do you tend to gravitate to as a reader vs. author?

I read a lot of romance novels and thrillers! I am reading right now before letting go by Kennedy Ryan, which is a second chance romance, and I enjoy it immensely – the writing is beautiful and I feel all my feelings!

>love in the brain
is available now Books.

Lacy Baugher Milas is the book editor for Paste magazine, but she loves learning about all kinds of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.

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