| Love and Other Dangerous Chemicals
(published in the USA as Chemistry for Beginners)
Love and Other Dangerous Chemicals had a slightly unusual gestation. I started writing it before The Empress of Ice Cream, originally just as a short story. As I became more and more fascinated by the characters it slowly turned into a film script, then a novella, and finally I realised it was just crying out to be a novel. So eventually I came back to it and allowed it to be what it wanted.
It’s a slightly unusual novel, too. When people asked me what I was working on, and I told them it was a love story set in a sex research laboratory in Oxford, that the lead character is a scientist trying to pursue the female equivalent of Viagra, and that, oh, it was written in the form of a peer-reviewed scientific paper and a student’s blog, I could see them rolling their eyes and thinking I’d gone completely mad. On the face of it, it sounds like a bad Benny Hill sketch, or one of those terrible sex-comedies you see on late night TV. But actually there are no rampant rabbit jokes, just a science geek and an arts geek trying to figure out what they feel for each other, in the most confusing of circumstances.
Tonally, it’s closer to the light, sweet comedy of The Food of Love than one of my lusher, more historical romances like The Various Flavours of Coffee. I like to think there’s room for both styles in my writing. Let me know if you agree!
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