August 27, 2010 |
When Mary Roach describes her writing process, she is nothing if not self-deprecating. "I always know that there will be three or four months of utter confusion and no sense of what the book will be," she admits. "Usually there's a period of low-grade panic, of sad flailing. " The 51-year old author started her writing career as a copy editor and publicist before penning her first freelance column for the San Francisco Examiner. With her 2003 debut book "Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers," she unwittingly launched a bestselling series of hybrid humor/science books that includes "Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife" and "Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex. " Speaking via phone from her home in Oakland, she recounts her expectations for "Stiff": "I thought it was a one-off for sure.