Erika Engelhaupt is the author of Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science. Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science is a book that explores the strange and shocking realities of our minds, our bodies and our universe, taking readers on a fascinating tour of the “dark side” of science. Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science features top-notch reporting, interviews with leading scientists and a healthy dose of wit. It blends humor and real science. YEM was able to speak with Erika Engelhaupt about the process of making her book, her favorite part of the book, and a science fact that was not put into the book.
Young Entertainment Mag: When did you first get the idea to write Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science?
Erika Engelhaupt: In 2013, when I was sitting in my office and noticed all the science books on my bookshelf with titles like Blood Work and That’s Disgusting! I realized I was fascinated by science that had elements of the gross, weird or taboo.
YEM: Where did your interest in science come from?
Erika: I’ve always loved nature and animals, and as a kid I read magazines like National Geographic and Discover. And when I took my first biology class in college, I was hooked.
YEM: What did you learn from making Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science?
Erika: I learned to trust my own creativity and instincts. I realized that if I find something really fascinating, other people probably will too.
YEM: What did it feel like when your book was released to the public for everyone to read?
Erika: It was so exciting, and such a relief, because the pandemic had delayed the book’s publication for nine months. It was like waiting for a baby to be born!
YEM: What was the process of making Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science like?
Erika: Working on a book is a lot of hard work, but I loved getting up every day and chasing new ideas. I interviewed a lot of scientists about their work over the phone, and got to travel to see some of their research.
YEM: Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a writer?
Erika: Don’t let anyone talk you out of your dreams! Some people will tell you that you can’t make a living as a writer, but that’s not true — it just takes passion and hard work.
YEM: How long was the process of making Gory Details: Adventures From the Dark Side of Science?
Erika: I started the blog Gory Details in 2013, so in that sense the book was more than seven years in the making. But I was really working on it full-time for about a year.
YEM: What do you hope your readers take away from reading your work?
Erika: I hope they walk away feeling even more curious about our big, weird, icky, messy world!
YEM: What is your favorite part of your book?
Erika: It’s hard to pick! But I sure love a good mystery, so I really enjoyed writing about the tiny crime scenes that a woman named Frances Glessner Lee built in the 1940s and ’50s as a tool for detectives. And I got to see them in person!
YEM: Who was the first person to read your book after you wrote it?
Erika: Well, technically my editor at National Geographic Books! But as soon as I received the first hardcover copy, my husband Jay got to read it cover to cover.
YEM: What is a fact not in your book that you think people would enjoy?
Erika: Nearly half of all known animals on Earth are parasites!
YEM: Do you think you might write a book that is not science related one day?
Erika: I would love to write fiction — maybe a thriller or a mystery! But I bet there will still be at least a little bit of science in it if I do — maybe a sci-fi thriller!
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