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Bestselling author Alexis Hall has a staggering 4 queer romance novels out this year

The popular author likens writing books to owning a pub. "It’s about wanting as many people as possible to feel welcome in that space," Hall told TODAY.
Alexis Hall queer fiction novels

Alexis Hall has four romance novels coming out in 2022. Yes, four.

“Something Fabulous,” out in January, is a historical about a duke in love with the wrong twin — the brother of the woman he's meant to be pursuing. "A Lady for a Duke," out in May, is a Regency novel about a pair of friends separated at the Battle of Waterloo, then reunited. "Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble," out in October, continues Hall's universe of rom-coms set within a "Great British Bakeoff"-esque competition.

And then there's "Husband Material," the highly anticipated follow-up to his 2020 break-out hit, "Boyfriend Material," a laugh-out-loud comedy about the son of a rockstar falling for a buttoned-up lawyer.

Speaking to TODAY, Hall says he doesn't necessarily recommend the publishing regimen. "I joke that I have absolutely no social life," he says.

Hall's recent writing schedule demonstrates a growing demand for queer romances. While LGBTQ romances have been around for decades — as Hall's career demonstrates — they have been reaching wider audiences of late. The trend is apparent across pop culture, with Billy Eichner heading the first-ever gay rom-com produced by a major motion studio, out in 2022.

With its Union Jack cartoon cover and British sensibility, Hall said his novel "Boyfriend Material" was a natural companion to the mega-popular 2019 novel “Red White and Royal Blue” by Casey McQuiston, also set in the U.K. (Both make for excellent beach reads).

“(Boyfriend Material) landed at the exact right moment for the market to be ready for it,” Hall said.

Following "Boyfriend Material's" publication, Hall, who has been publishing books since 2013, recalls getting phone calls from his team about the title's growing success.

“I was a bit thrown. I was like, “Suddenly, people want to buy this stuff!’ But I was very pleased,” he said. “As someone who has always written pan-LGBTQ books, I’ve always had a, ‘Rising tide lifts all boats’ attitude,” Hall said.

Hall said he ended up in this work schedule, and having four books out in a single year, “by accident.”

"I've been at this for a long time. I got a slightly bigger profile a year and a half ago now. And as a result, I suddenly got a bunch of offers that I was terrified to say no to so, I was suddenly doing lots and lots and lots and lots of things," he said. 

Yes, it's work for Hall — but for longtime fans of the author's, the publishing schedule is a windfall. Hall has a knack for writing sweepingly romantic yet cerebral novels. His characters are witty, leading to genuinely funny exchanges.

The verbal gymnastics are paired with the books' big, beating hearts. Hall is able to track characters' emotions precisely, the exact gradations of when, and how, the characters fall, and identify all those stages in luminous, thrillingly underlineable prose.

Fans have been following Hall's novels and blog (and writing enthusiastic Goodreads reviews) for nearly a decade. Hall said he was encouraged to write by the era of self-publishing, when anything felt possible.

"There was, at least, a perception the writing and publishing was going into this, 'Anyone can do it.' We were optimistic about the internet," he said, laughing.

"Glitterland" was Hall's first book, kicking off a series of interconnected contemporary romances between cis gay men known for their steaminess and emotional depth ("Glitterland" will be re-issued this year).

"The style of fiction I've always wanted to write, is, when you get right down to it, quite escapist," he said.

In a media landscape where so many queer romances have historically ended in tragedy, books like Halls aren an antidote. But Hall is wary of saying whether or not that's a good thing.

“There are plenty of people who find real value in darker stories, because there are people for whom that speaks to their real experience. Something that is more unflinching and less escapist has real value to a lot of people and other people. There are people that don’t like the kind of books I write for that reason. But the other hand, I think there is value in there being a choice," Hall said.

Hall calls himself "genrequeer" because he has written so many types of escapist romances, from rom-coms to historical books. But they are united in containing characters across the queer spectrum.

"A Lady for a Duke," for example, features a trans woman in a Regency era setting, reconnecting with her best friend from whom she had once been separated on a battlefield. "I wanted to write a really angsty, emotions-y, really classic historical romance," Hall said.

Or "Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake," out in 2021, features a bisexual single mother on a baking competition who is in a love triangle with two men.

With their side characters and main characters, Hall's books demonstrate the spectrum of queerness, which is what he was always interested in writing.

"It was important for me to tell pan-queer stories. I view the world in a very interconnected way and I think it's really important to recognize that everybody's rights intersect in very complicated ways," he said, and avoids "treating all LGBTQ people as a monolith."

With that in mind, Hall likens his approach to writing as novels as owning a pub.

"It's about wanting as many people as possible to feel welcome in that space. And you don't you can't really make people feel welcome if you implicitly erase them," Hall said.

Amid his growing success, Hall would rather us pay attention to his ever-growing world of characters than to him. Maintaining a strict hold on his privacy, Hall uses a cartoon as an avatar, goes without author photos, and conducted the interview from an audio-only Zoom.

Hall still holds onto his full-time job and offhandedly refers to writing as his hobby. “It’s partly self-deprecation,” he admitted, “but some of the some of the most dedicated and driven people in the world are hobbyists.”

Though he's a writer of romances, he doesn't see the romance of his career. He says there are no fancy "rituals" to his routine. Rather, he's on the “really tedious, really unsexy, ‘do a bit every day” writing regimen.

As for whether he's a romantic, all these romance novels later? He says he' s a romantic and a cynic.

"I'm the kind of romantic who's like, if the choice is save the person you love, but destroy the entire world, or save the entire world or sacrifice the person you love, I'm with the 'Save the person you love' side of that every time. I'm the bargains and 'deals with the devil' kind of romantic," he said.

We might not ever know all too much about Hall — but his books are portals to his generous imagination, one that dreams up happy endings and "save the person you love" moments for all kinds of people.