Ali Hazelwood on the ‘Love Hypothesis’ and ‘Love in the Brain’

Suspension

Ali Hazelwood is hiding in plain sight. Search the Internet’s bestselling romance author’s name, and you’ll see plenty of photos of the smiling and stunning brunette, not to mention TikTok bravely signing her on a fan’s chest (caption: “When you get the book signed isn’t enough”). But she prefers not to reveal her real name.

So who is the woman behind the nickname? Here’s what we do know: She was born and raised in Italy and keeps her charming accent. She is a neuroscientist and university professor who lives with her husband somewhere in the United States of America. And her age…

“Can you just say I’m in my thirties?” Ask more than zoom. “I’m sorry. Is this weird? Am I weird?”

“Strange,” like many of her words, comes out with an “A” at the end: strange A. But the answer is no. Pen names are not out of the ordinary at all, especially in the world of romance. However, she still seems conflicted about the whole thing.

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The truth, she explained, is that she did not intend to keep the identity of her world separate from that of her author, because she did not intend to become a writer. Creative writing—specifically writing thriller fan fiction about Mr. Spock from Star Trek—was just a hobby, and a way to disconnect from the stressful academic world.

Spock, though? really? Who played Zachary Quinto? Oh no, I explained, Leonard Nimoy too.

“Even as a child, I loved Spock very much,” she says respectfully. “He’s just a racy and emotionless science guy, but every two or three episodes, something happens, and they make him feel all the emotions.”

Fan imaginations showed Hazelwood her potential. One story, inspired by Kylo Ren and Rey from the Star Wars series, had just enough depth and humanity—and the setting of the STEM Academy was different enough from “a galaxy far, far away”—that when literary agent Thao Le stumbled in 2020, she thought it I already read it as an original story.

“Honestly, if you didn’t know it was inspired by characters from ‘Star Wars,’ you wouldn’t recognize it,” Low says.

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One lucky connection on Twitter later had the pair turn Hazelwood fans’ imaginations into “The Love Hypothesis.”

“It was she who helped me make a quantum leap from writing fictional characters to writing.” Mine “Fictional characters make them,” Hazelwood says.

And now it is, less than a year after its debut, it is a bestseller and days after the release of her second novel, Love in the Brain. Both are about female scientists who fall in love with fanatical men of science. Hazelwood has also published three new novels this year. (“I should I’m doing research, “But I’m doing something else.”)

Hazelwood novels fall into the growing genre of “STEminist” novels that also include the bestselling Chemistry Lessons for Feeling Good, by Bonnie Jarmus, and The Soulmate Equation by Christina Loren. “Love on the Brain” is about two scientists, Bee Königswasser and Levi Ward, who are Working on a NASA project to create a helmet that uses transcranial magnetic stimulation to reduce an astronaut’s “flashes of attention”, which, as Pee describes it, are “those little gaps in consciousness that are inevitable when many things happen at once.”

There are a lot of interesting encounters in “Love on the Brain,” but cute banter isn’t your typical romantic thing. It may consist of a scientific discussion about why couples break up. “Emotions are fleeting in nature,” Bee Levy School. “They are temporary states caused by neurophysical changes that are not meant to be long-term. The nervous system has to return to balance.” To which Levy answers: “And what about prairie mice? They make a bond for life.” fainting.

How did this romantic type find happily ever after?

“The Love Hypothesis” has been hugely popular on TikTok, with young women singing her praises and quoting her “hot” clips. This begs the question: Do Hazelwood students really not know about the alter ego? What about her co-workers?

“No one’s ever said anything to me,” Hazelwood says. “I don’t think they know. They probably don’t read romance. And there are many authors whose faces I don’t know.”

Hazelwood hadn’t thought that she was living this “weird life of Hannah Montana” until the “love hypothesis” began to surface, but by then she wasn’t sure how to bring up the topic of her book with people he recognized as a scientist.

“If someone came into my office one day and said, ‘I wrote this, I’ll own it,’” she says. “Right now, the hard thing is just asking people, like, ‘Oh, by the way, I wrote this book.'”

Pen names are common in the romantic genre, which has been stigmatized and belittled throughout history despite its massive and growing popularity. (Three romantic authors—Colin Hoover, Emily Henry, and Taylor Jenkins Reid—currently dominate the bestseller list.) But Hazelwood says she doesn’t keep her identity a secret because she shy away from writing about sex.

On TikTok, crying is encouraged. Colin Hoover’s books get the job done.

She is proud of writing romance. Ten years ago, she might have been embarrassed, but the fan communities she belongs to I changed it.

“I found my people, and by finding my people I was able to accept myself better,” she says. “I find writing and reading things incredibly exciting, you know, it’s something that makes me happy.”

Hazelwood also finds her people in the events of the book, although she doesn’t do much reading. (She has the probably wrong impression that her fans won’t appreciate her accent.)

“It’s strange, because I’m not hiding,” she says, before stopping and starting several times to balance her words.

“People who know me as Ali Hazelwood, readers, I don’t want them to know my real name,” she says. “But I don’t mind if people who know my real name find out that I have Hazelwood.”

That’s fine, because with another romantic comedy ready to take TikTok by storm feel like it It could only be a matter of time.

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