What inspired you to write The Love Hypothesis?
The Love Hypothesis was originally a fanfiction: I was participating in a fandom exchange, and a friend said that they’d love to read a fake-dating story. I’d just watched (and adored) To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, so I claimed the prompt and started writing!
What inspired you to write Love on the Brain?
The idea for it came from my amazing agent! The Love Hypothesis was on submission for a while, and my agent (Thao Le) and I brainstormed ideas for what other books I should be writing while we were waiting to hear from editors. She said that she’d love to read something about rival scientists who thought they were enemies, but were also communicating through other channels without even knowing it. I started playing around with the idea, and the rest of the plot developed from there
How have you been able to use your background, knowledge and experience as a scientist when writing?
I’ve been able to use a bunch of settings I’m familiar with (classrooms, labs, glad student spaces, etc.). And in my second book, Love on the Brain, the main character is a neuroscientist, which is the training I’ve had, too. It was lots of fun to grab some of my favorite things about brain science and inject them here and there in the story.
Why do you think rom com novels about women in STEM and academia fascinate readers all over the world?
I’m not sure why other people are. The reason I personally like to write about these settings is that they’ve historically been very stressful to me, and writing about them within fictional works gives me the opportunity to find comedy in them and to laugh about a lot of their downsides.
What is so fascinating about this specific environment?
It’s hard to say, because I think everyone feels differently. Personally, I chose a career in STEM because there were specific research questions that I wanted to tackle, and because I really love the process of designing an experiment, collecting data, and analyzing them.
Which women in STEM do you take inspiration from when writing?
All the women I’m surrounded with—friends, mentors, colleagues!
Given the role of @WhatWouldMarieDo in Love on the Brain, and your salute to this amazing scientist, what is your favorite fact about Marie Curie?
I love her relationship with her sister Bronya. Marie worked for six years to financially support her sister while she was studying to become a medical doctor, and once Bronya was done, they switched, and she financially supported Marie. I love that they found a way to help each other follow their dreams.
Which of your characters do you most relate to?
Schrödinger the cat, in the sense that my favorite activity is lounging about.
Was there an author who inspired you to start writing?
There were several, but one that comes to mind is PsiCygni, a popular fanfiction author in the Star Trek fandom. I remember reading her works and being soooo motivated to learn to write myself!
What kind of books do you personally like to read?
Lots of romance, lots of fanfiction, and thrillers/mysteries/horror!
What is your favorite romance trope?
Fated mates—bonus point if they’re enemies.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I crochet while watching k-drama. It gives me so much joy.
How do you balance your writing career and your work in science?
I don’t! I’m always late and everything I turn in, for either job, is a total mess ??
Why do you love the romance genre?
Everything! I love the tropeyness, the fact that it’s so character-focused, knowing that I can expect a happy ending, the feelsTM, the steamy scenes!
JUST FOR FUN
What is your dream Hollywood cast for The Love Hypothesis?
The cast of The Last Jedi (2017), dir. Rian Johnson ?? (Plus I feel like Bradley Cooper would be a good Tom Benton, not sure why?)
What is your dream Hollywood cast for Love on the Brain?
John Krasinski as Levi, Mila Kunis as Bee, Aubrey Plaza as Rocío, Reese Witherspoon as Kaylee (Okay, the ages here are all over the place, so let’s pretend that I own a time machine and can go back in time to when these actors are the perfect age for their role and then and bring them to the future. Sounds like a legitimate use for that kind of technology, right?)
What are three fun facts readers should know about you or your books?