Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Helen Hoang's heartwarming new novel...plus a book giveaway

Photo by Eric Kieu
Introduction by Melissa Amster

When I read The Kiss Quotient in 2018, I was immediately impressed by Helen Hoang's writing style. And the fact that she was masterful at writing steamy scenes was a bonus for me. A year later, I included The Bride Test on my 2019 favorites list. So I was more than eagerly anticipating her latest novel, The Heart Principle. It was worth the wait...and more. Check out my review. Not only is Helen a great writer, but she is so kind and gracious to her adoring fans. I think you'll enjoy her answers to my questions. Thanks to Berkley, we have one copy of The Heart Principle for a lucky reader! (Please note that there are some spoilers for The Kiss Quotient in this novel, but it can be read as a standalone.)

Helen Hoang is that shy person who never talks. Until she does. And the worst things fly out of her mouth. She read her first romance novel in eighth grade and has been addicted ever since.

In 2016, she was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in line with what was previously known as Asperger’s Syndrome. Her journey inspired THE KISS QUOTIENT.

She currently lives in San Diego, California with her husband, two kids, and pet fish. (Bio courtesy of Helen's website.)

Visit Helen online:


Synopsis:
When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands. The more unacceptable the men, the better.

That’s where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second, and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex—he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she herself has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna’s family she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for, until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love, but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. (Courtesy of Amazon.)

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing The Heart Principle?
The biggest challenge that I faced while writing The Heart Principle was definitely overcoming my anxiety. I had frequent panic attacks, which required me to stop writing, reset my brain, and continue when I'd calmed down. I was writing very painful, uncomfortable things, and I knew I'd be disappointing lots of readers because they craved something light and fun and easy. But even though I sensed it wasn't the best thing for my career and people's opinion of me, this was the story that I needed to tell. Making it through and staying true to myself creatively was the reward. If readers don't connect, I have to accept that.

How did it feel to go from writing in third person to writing in first person?
Transitioning from third person to first person was actually really easy. I don't know if I'll continue writing in first person in the future, but for this book it felt very natural. I think it was the personal nature of the story that made it so.

If The Heart Principle were made into a movie, what are some songs that would be on the soundtrack?
I'm a big fan of Max Richter's music, his recomposition of Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" especially, so the soundtrack for this story would belong to him (in whatever fantasy alternate reality where this was remotely possible). In my mind, the piece that Anna struggles with is similar to one he's written called "Mercy." Mari Samuelsen's performance of this song is simply breathtaking.

Which TV series have you been binge watching lately?
The most recent series that I've loved are The Expanse and The Queen's Gambit.

What is something you have learned about yourself during the pandemic?
During the pandemic, I learned that I do, in fact, need human interaction to be mentally healthy. While it was a relief not having to interact with strangers on a regular basis (this is extremely stressful for me), I needed the handful of people close to me (my husband, my little sister, and my writer friends whom I talk to via text messages) in order to stay sane. I'm antisocial--but not as antisocial as I thought.

Did you have any back-to-school rituals when you were growing up?
I loved getting school supplies and organizing it all. I clearly recall the joy I felt in packing my backpack with new folders and notebooks and carefully fitting my writing utensils and things into my pencil box. Even now, it's hard to top the joy I get from a brand new set of pens.

Thanks to Helen for visiting with us and to Berkley for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

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Giveaway ends August 29th at midnight EST.

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29 comments:

Padmini Rao said...

I would always wear a new outfit for the first day of school.

traveler said...

New shoes for the school year.

DianeM said...

I had a new book bag for the first day of school.

Suburban prep said...

New shoes and until I was in a school where we wore a uniform--a few new outfits.

EvieH said...

I loved getting all my school supplies. I was so happy when Staples opened all the
supplies in one great store!

Mary C said...

New bookbag and notebboks.

Short Girl Reads said...

New note books, backpack, and folders!

MissJina311 said...

wearing my new clothes was always a favorite of mine. And a freshly clean notebook :)

Cynthia Ortiz said...

Getting together with my friends to figure out what we were going to wear and go over our schedules.

Jane Vogler said...

I'm so excited for The <3 Principle. Thanks for the chance!

StoreyBookLover said...

I always got super excited for school supply shopping! I still love the smell of crayons! I loved having a new outfit and all new supplies, the feeling of hope on the way to school. <3

Nina said...

I always bought new colorful folders and notebooks!

diannekc said...

I wore a uniform to school, so no new outfits for school. Just the normal new school supplies.

Charlotte Lynn said...

We always got a new backpack and school supplies. For my kids we would have a last "fun day" Going to parks, having a special lunch, and making it all about them.

susieqlaw said...

I went back to school shopping for clothes and school supplies with Mom. Also, I packed lunches for my family…kitchen duty was my chore growing up.

Meghan Scott Molin said...

NEW PENS AND PENCILS <3

Kim said...

We always went shopping for new clothes before the start of the new school year!

Jami Birnbaum said...

In elementary school, my mom always made sure we had a new lunchbox for the new school year. I remember one year I had a light blue one with smurfs. It was my favorite.

Cherisse said...

School shopping at the mall!

Cecilia R Rodriguez said...

Organize my supplies, make sure that I had my schedule and city bus pass

dstoutholcomb said...

new outfit, shoes, school supplies, etc...

Mary Preston said...

We always had haircuts before going back.

Nancy P said...

Not really. Mom took care of everything.

Mary Patricia Bird said...

No back to school rituals for me when growing up. For my kids my husband always away for a festival in his home village so I did all the back-to-school shopping with my kids as well as went to the movies and spent some quality time together.

Bonnie K. said...

I don't know that we had rituals. My brothers may have had their hair cut the week before. I think our clothes were sorted and necessary things were bought. I do remember loving new binder paper and binders.

elena said...

Nothing crazy... new supplies like notebooks, pens etc

bn100 said...

not really

Kelly Rodriguez said...

Not really.

Maria Malaveci said...

Not really but usually new shoes!