Author Interview: Helen Hoang

USA Today bestselling author Helen Hoang returns with The Heart Principle, a witty and sizzling new romance that shows how wrong you can be about someone…and how right they can be for you. We spoke with author Helen Hoang about the inspiration for The Heart Principle, the indie booksellers who supported her, and more!

The Heart Principle

By Helen Hoang

The Heart Principle wears its heart on its sleeve.”


Please tell us a little bit about what inspired you to write this book and how this story took shape for you.

This book was heavily inspired by my own life experiences over the past three years. Like Anna, I struggled with creative burnout. Also like Anna, a family emergency took me away from my work and heavily impacted my mental health. The Heart Principle came together as I clawed my way out of a dark place and tried to make sense of what had happened.

In two sentences or less, what’s something that might surprise listeners about your audiobook?

This is my first audiobook that has dual narration!

Have you listened to your own audiobook? What struck you about the narration?

I haven’t had the opportunity to listen to this one yet (I’m writing this pre-publication, so the narration isn’t finished), but I’m very much looking forward to it! One thing that I really love is that both of my narrators are mixed-race Asian, like I am. Growing up in suburban Minnesota, I rarely met other people like me, so it’s special that my book managed to connect three of us in this way.

Are you an audiobook listener? What are some of your favorite audiobooks?

Audiobooks are usually a family event for me, so my favorites are mostly children’s books (I have two kids, ages 7 and 10). They include The Graveyard Book and Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, and The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.

My favorite audiobook for adults is Educated by Tara Westover. What a phenomenal memoir.

The Graveyard Book

By Neil Gaiman • Narrated by the author


By Neil Gaiman • Narrated by the author

Howl’s Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones • Narrated by Jenny Sterlin

The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune • Narrated by Daniel Henning


By Tara Westover • Narrated by Julia Whelan

What have independent bookstores and/or booksellers meant to you personally and professionally?

This book, The Heart Principle, is the most personal book that I’ve written. As I was preparing to release it (and feeling extremely anxious and vulnerable), I got numerous messages from independent bookstores and booksellers. They told me how the story touched them and shared their own experiences, and it really helped me feel like my work mattered and that exposing myself to the public in this way made a difference. I can’t articulate how important and meaningful their support has been to me. They have my deepest gratitude.

Looking for more?

Playlist: Helen Hoang's Audiobook Picks cover

Playlist: Helen Hoang’s Audiobook Picks

View the playlist

Header photo by Adam Amengual

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