The Toilet Was Where it Began: Author Mary Roach on Experiencing Science for Journalism

Apr 27, 2015

Mary Roach’s first book proposal was the product of a dare on New Year’s Eve. She says she never envisioned herself as the author of several New York Times best-selling books.

“I’d been writing for magazines for 10-15 years. Writing a book seemed daunting, but I worked in an office with a lot of writers. We would make predictions for what we would all do in the coming year. Someone said I would get a book contract, and then it was October, and I figured I needed to get started.”

I'm the kind of person that says 'yes' and then doesn't really give it much thought until it's too late to back out.

From then on, Roach says she came to be known as “that woman in California that does stuff” and has since stuck her arm into the stomach of a cow, had sex in front of a camera in a lab and experimented with using a space toilet.

“I’m the kind of person that says yes, and then doesn’t really give it much thought until it’s too late to back out,” she laughs.

During this hour on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Roach who is the author of Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, and Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, among others.

Hear Talk of Iowa weekdays at 10:00 a.m. on Iowa Public Radio.