In this podcast, Caroline Kepnes talks about the origin of Joe Goldberg, writing short stories, kidnapping Barbies, and much more.
About Caroline Kepnes
Caroline Kepnes is the New York Times bestselling author of You, Hidden Bodies, Providence, and You Love Me. Her work has been translated into a multitude of languages and inspired a television series adaptation of You, currently on Netflix. Kepnes graduated from Brown University and then worked as a pop culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and a TV writer for 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. She grew up in Cape Cod, and now lives in Los Angeles. Her latest book is For You and Only You.
Thanks for Listening!
Help out the show:
- Support the This Is Horror on Patreon
- Listen to the This Is Horror Podcast on Apple Podcasts
- Listen to the This Is Horror Podcast on Spotify
- Rate and review the This Is Horror Podcast on Apple Podcasts
- Share the episode on Facebook and Twitter
- Subscribe to the This Is Horror Podcast RSS Feed
Let us know how you enjoyed this episode:
- Caroline Kepnes
- Original photo by Scott Joseph Anthony
Dark Dead Things
Dark Dead Things is a brand-new horror magazine and issue one is out right now in paperback, eBook, and audio.
The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson, narrated by RJ Bayley
Michael David Wilson 0:28
Welcome to This Is Horror, a podcast for readers, writers and creators. I'm Michael David Wilson. And every episode I chat with the world's best writers about writing, life lessons, creativity, and much more. Today I am chatting with Caroline Kepnes, the author of the popular Joe Goldberg series adapted for Netflix as you. She's also the author of the wonderful providence and is frankly one of the best short story writers in the world. Now, I had such a great time chatting with Caroline to coincide with the release of a brand new novel for you and only you and today's episode is the first of a two part conversation. In this part we really get into the origin story of Caroline as a writer some early life lessons she learned and those formative years. But before you hear this fantastic conversation, it is time for a quick advert break.
Bob Pastorella 1:42
Dark dead things is a brand new horror magazine issue one is out right now in paperback ebook and audio cosmic horror check Cyrillus absurdity check. Brand new story from spider punk Award nominee Chandler Morrison. Oh hell yeah. Better still, we're looking for your stories for future issues. Got something scary, disturbing and plain weird. send it our way. And if your story doesn't fit neatly into a genre, we want it. For more information and submit your story check out dark dead thanks.com Dark dead things available on Amazon at a dark net thanks.com
RJ Bayley 2:11
It was as if the video had unzipped my skin, slunk inside my tapered flesh and become one with me.
Bob Pastorella 2:20
From the creator of This Is Horror comes a new nightmare for the digital age. The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson, after a teacher receives a weirdly arousing video his life to send to the paranoia and obsession. More videos follow each containing information no stranger could possibly know but who's sending them and what do they want? The answers may destroy everything and every one He loves The Girl in the Video is the ring meets fatal attraction for iPhone generation. Available now in paperback ebook and audio.
Michael David Wilson 2:50
Okay with that said here it is. It is Caroline Kepnes on This Is Horror. Caroline, welcome to This Is Horror Podcast.
Caroline Kepnes 3:03
Michael. Hello. Thank you for having me. Yeah,
Michael David Wilson 3:06
it is a pleasure. And it is a long time coming. Because I said to you off,
Caroline Kepnes 3:12
like a long time, right? We're talking like a long time. Because yeah, started with dark. Right?
Michael David Wilson 3:18
It did. It did just now. Yeah. So I think it must have been a couple of years that we've been wanting to have this conversation. But you know, it's been a wild two years, both on a kind of global level. And also like, there's been some stuff going on personally with me. I know. There's been stuff going on, personally with you too. But we're doing it. Yeah.
Caroline Kepnes 3:47
For a year. Yeah, I feel like and that's kind of in the air. It feels like everyone is having a moment and is or is just like coming out of a like, you know, thing that I feel it in the road when I'm driving. I feel it just in the grocery store just today like little scary.
Michael David Wilson 4:03
Yeah, yeah. But we are gonna go much further back than the last two years. Because since I traditionally like to do with these conversations. I want to know what early life lessons you had growing up in Cape Cod. And it doesn't necessarily have to pertain to writing or creativity, but just anything that you gleaned during those formative years.
Caroline Kepnes 4:31
Life lessons, I like that I think that like both my parents were really passionate about the things they loved. And I saw like before I understood what I was seeing that like it's just really good to love those things you love and have like something you're obsessed with in a and then have to help all different things so there can be like seasons with them. So I felt very encouraged to be my obsessive self and spend a lot of time with my dollhouse. Like I really believe in play. And I feel like that skill you take through life that like if your tendency is to like, find a way to play with things to find adventure like those cheesy, that cheesy Instagram version of it would be like every day is a gift and but it's like it is. And I try to like, take that into things. And I feel like it's helpful when things don't go your way. And it's also helpful when things are good because it like you don't get to like, I guess it takes you out of like, feeling like you're reacting to things or waiting for permission to feel certain ways. It's so important to be able to get a kick out of things and make yourself happy. Like no matter what the hell is going on. Like whether you're getting good news or bad, sir. Yeah. Yeah, so yeah, I had Barbie doll house, all the sick things going on in there. And that just brought me great joy.
Michael David Wilson 5:52
Yeah, I mean, it I often like to know as well about, you know, first experiences with story. But it sounds like that might be kind of intertwined with that. So was the first experience you kind of getting these late scenarios with the Barbies and the doll house. And I like how you said six things happening. So what kind of things did the the board get? For dolls,
Caroline Kepnes 6:21
like, it was just never normal. And part of that was I felt free to Alright, it wasn't like asking myself why but like, I'll put it this way. I was like assembling the toys. Like my brother had the Star Wars figures that were mostly men and monsters. And I have these little dolls called Glamour gals that were so 80s that they would take now because literally glamour girls, like the best ad that I ever found was like parties like galahs. And toward, like all these words that are all like shopping fun, like they're dancing, they're, you know, they're like, basically coat cores. And then at the end, it's like, some of them basically like, but so I put them together in my dollhouse. And that was great fun, because I want it all, you know, a world with all different kinds of people, monsters, and, and then there was this room upstairs. And I remember like, that was where someone was always trapped and locked. And that was just the way it was. And that was always changing. And I remember having a friend over and she was like, that's supposed to be like the baby's room. And I'm like, what like that is the upstairs dungeon like, and then I'm, like, weird about that. But like, in a good way. And then with my Barbies, it was more about kidnapping. Where do you remember that holla note song out of touch, right? Yeah, yeah, for whatever reason, like, play that cassette and when you had to rewind, rewind over and over again. And Barbie would just be going along and get put in this van and taken away. And then there were the more innocent things like my brother and I, like I just I feel like it was this thing of being industrious and very much wanting to be an adult, but in a playful way. Like we ran all the Qt Express, which in our house was this like wagon, that the stuffed animals had to get dropped off and picked up like almost like we were driving this bus. And the the lives that we developed for them just kept getting darker and darker. Like it would start off like oh, there, you know, he's going out to lunch, got to go to the hospital like, oh, like someone's getting arrested. Like, just and then it was that who as kids in our neighborhood, like, I grew up in Cape Cod, which is like, in the winter in the offseason, in our neighborhood, especially just more deserted. So it was very conducive to like wild imaginings of like someone squatting in a house or like, Is someone in there and always imagining that my brother and I before we understood it was not like how the world works, would also just go through people's mailboxes and bring it back. But it was like I always had this curiosity about what's going on in other people's homes. Like, and what did they get? And back then, especially with catalogs, it was just fascinating to see like catalogs that we didn't get or, or wonder like, what what the letter in there is about the same thing. And again, we didn't like it wasn't illegal in the sense that we didn't steal the mail. We did take it out and like look through it. We're just like an interception between the US Post Office and the you know, the person getting
Michael David Wilson 9:12
Yeah, just a kind of quality control thing. Rankin Sure. You know, it's so legit.
Caroline Kepnes 9:18
Yeah. And I love to having that sense of living in two places where there would be that time when like they're the neighborhood was just so much quieter and desolate, and the lake frozen over and like imagining like terrible things going on in this island on the lake. And then in the summer, just very crowded. Very like you know Josiane in that spirit, like, like, New England summer and I liked that living in two places. And that's something that I don't know that I always feel like come I come back to a lot and where did you grow up?
Michael David Wilson 9:51
So I grew up in the UK so I grew up in the Birmingham kind of region in between Birmingham and was So in the center of the UK, yeah. Yeah, kind of just the middle of the road, gray, rainy town, a very, very stereotypical kind of the Midlands, I suppose. Yes, yeah.
Caroline Kepnes 10:19
Could you walk things or?
Michael David Wilson 10:22
Yeah, I? Yeah, I mean, you could walk to things I think, you know, compared to places like America and Australia, most things are kind of in walking distance. And even though I lived in, like quite a small town, you could walk to a marginally busier one in in an hour. I know, an hour, but it's okay.
Caroline Kepnes 10:48
Everything whenever I go over there, yeah. And they described as a short walk, and I'm like, that was a fucking hike, like, America. Like, I love that. There's a whole different system of gauging that.
Michael David Wilson 11:01
Yeah, yeah. And I think like, I'm in some British listeners might disagree with me. But I think relatively speaking, the train system is quite good. I know people listening will be like, Yeah, but it's never on time. But well, I mean, it turns up eventually, so you can get somewhere. Yeah.
Caroline Kepnes 11:22
Pretty good. Like, I'd say that's, you know, yeah. Functioning.
Michael David Wilson 11:27
Yeah. So I mean, you could, if you So to close, you could go from my little town, you could walk to the other town in, in an hour. Or if you happen to get a very infrequent bus that takes you 20 minutes, then you could get a train to Birmingham, which is the second biggest city in the UK. And you can do that in under an hour. So even though it was somewhat rural, it was connected.
Caroline Kepnes 11:57
Yes. And that, to me is so empowering. Like, that's what I like where I lived. Cape Cod is like, you know, you go over a bridge to get there. And you can't really you can't walk to anything. And there's no public transport. That's where I grew up, like fantasizing about cities and thinking, yeah, like, you can just go somewhere. You don't need someone to take you there. And you don't necessarily need a car. And
Michael David Wilson 12:18
yeah, yeah. It's interesting as well with the UK how different like different cities are even if they're like, relatively near because I mean, Oxford is like, a whole other world entirely. And everyone's on bicycles there, even though I mean, you could you can walk easier in Oxford than you can see. The town that I grew up in, but I think it's part of the charm, really, people on bicycles with scarves and little Baker boy hats and things like that.
Caroline Kepnes 12:55
Yes, I Yeah. And I feel like I always want to try it again. But as a child, like me, and bicycles, we could just not get along. And yeah, I had that. We were doing, I feel like my friends and I were doing in a neighborhood invasion thing. And I fell off my bikes and the person in the house like, I was the one leftover, and that just scarred me. And I had, you know, scraped my knee and just never felt safe on a bike. And I think, Oh, that's a liberating thing. And I want to try it. But I know I probably won't. Yeah,
Michael David Wilson 13:25
yeah, yeah, I don't really use a bicycle much at all. It's like, I can walk places. I can drive. It's like you're surely more useful. Even walk, drive or take the buses and trains. And I mean, here in Japan, again, the public transport system is like, I mean, it's better than the UK because everything is connected. And on this occasion, things actually turn up the time that they say they will. Which is, was quite a novelty initially. Hang on. Wait, the bus is on time.
Caroline Kepnes 14:05
Because you can't believe that, like, oh, it says 1001 and it's 1001. And it's here. So like,
Michael David Wilson 14:11
yeah, the The only danger with that is like, I'm kind of rather than adjusting case person, I'm adjusting time, which means I'm always rushing for whatever I'm getting. And these things are so on time that it's like, if you turn up and it's like 1001 and 45 seconds, a minute a gun, so you've got to almost set your watch a few minutes earlier. Later, in fact, yeah, than it actually is. Yeah. But we've, we've deviated quite far somehow from kidnapping Barbies, but I know when you said that, when you said that. Yeah, yeah, I was thinking we just kind of for shadowing, you know that the glass room and Joe Goldberg it's like, even from an early age when you didn't know that what you were doing?
Caroline Kepnes 15:08
Yeah, I mean, I feel like that there. There are two different kinds of imagination sometimes like people who just imagine a lighter world, and we need that. And then there are people who have a darker world and we need that and we crave those different, like, like, I'm reading a book right now that I feel like it's very sweet. And like, you can tell that it's going to have a happy ending. And I like that. And then I know tomorrow I'm starting something that is not that way. Yeah, and yeah, I've always like, yeah, I just, I always think the worst I imagined the worst. I expect the kidnapping. I always expect something bad to happen. Growing up, like my bedroom was at the front of the house and faced the front yard. And it was just like, every night, someone's coming through that window. Yeah, no, I'm like, I realized, like, other people wouldn't think that. You know, I think that's what's weird about and funny about growing up and kind of knowing yourself. Like, yeah, like, Okay, I'm someone who sees the window and thinks about someone breaking it.
Michael David Wilson 16:10
Right? Yeah, yeah, we you talking about reading something that you know, it's very comfortable, and you know, that you're going to have a happy ending. Now, you must have had this experience, but occasionally, there is a book or a film, where it it just completely does a hard left turn, like in the kind of third act or, or, you know, towards the end of the second act, and I absolutely love the way that they catch me off guard. And it's like, yeah, I I know, because I read such a wide variety. But when I'm reading something that's cozy, it's like, Wouldn't it be fun if they just invited this and just absolutely fuck things up. And occasionally they do. And it's amazing.
Caroline Kepnes 16:59
The reverse of that, too, when you're watching something dark, and you can't help but think even if you know that, like it's not the kind of story where things work out. Like I think of the strangers. Yeah, it was like someone's gonna say this. And it's like, nope, nope, like that. I was like, Why did I bought Why did I waste my energy? Like wanting something like for like a twist, you know, for them to overpower the people? And it's like, that's why I don't know, I love that movie for that, because it made me so aware of like, this conviction that like, there is gonna be a twist. And when there is no twist, it's almost twist, like,
Michael David Wilson 17:35
yeah, I guess that it doesn't happen commonplace because this thing that we want, that is not the norm, not kind of regular kind of audience expectations. And I guess, you know, people get a lot of pushback from it. But this one film, I don't know if it's called a Miracle Mile, or if I've got the wrong title here, but it's from the 80s. And it starts off as if it's pretty much a standard romance. And then it turns into an apocalypse film, about the halfway point. And I love that because it comes out I know.
Caroline Kepnes 18:15
Yes, yeah. Yes. love things like that. And when I feel like there's so much art in that, and it's more like the way that life is.
Michael David Wilson 18:23
Yeah, yeah, exactly. Sometimes you live in a romance. And then it's an apocalypse, which seems strangely apropos for the last few years.
Caroline Kepnes 18:35
Yes. And sometimes, like, there is no out and the bad guy does win. And I think that's what another thing, like, it's just always been my tendency, like when I would write short stories, and they would always be dark. And there wouldn't be that, like, the girl fights back and lens. And for me, I'm like, to me, there's catharsis and reading that because it's just like, unfortunately, we live in a world where there there are predators and its nature. And I've that's what I've heard from a lot of readers over the year who are like, this was cathartic for me to see the story that like, help, like helped me understand how I got into this situation, and how you don't always know what you're dealing with. And yeah, like,
Michael David Wilson 19:23
yeah, yeah, I mean, that's the interesting thing, too. We've watching a lot of Japanese cinema particularly, particularly so called romance and social commentary. Because, yeah, I feel. I mean, it's kind of a given with a Western romance that the two people are going to get together at the end or if there's some injustice that that at least on some level is going to be overcome. But the amount of times, I've watched a Japanese, so called romance or drama, and the end is late. No, it just her life because it usually, unfortunately, is a woman who's getting fucked over in these situations. It's I lived, it didn't get better, it got worse, like, and she's suffering all these injustices. And nobody did anything about it. And so, like, often, I can go away from these dramas feeling more depressed than if I'd watched a straight up horror.
Caroline Kepnes 20:26
Absolutely. And I don't know, like, are those like, Do you tend to go see those in a theater? Because I wonder when the lights come on, like the atmosphere of something like that, you know? Or do you mostly at home,
Michael David Wilson 20:37
much of the time, I'm watching them at home because my Japanese isn't quite good enough to kind of get by without some form of subtitles. Like, it'd be great to be able to do that. You know, like in the cinema at some point, but yeah, it's mostly at home right now. Although, I guess the best of the that kind of film, you'd probably be seeing more in an art house or an independent cinema rather than the commercial ones, which, I mean, at the moment, commercial cinemas seemed like
Caroline Kepnes 21:15
I liked that this story that like lit that lets it not all that doesn't feel like it owes you that, you know, lift, like sometimes things don't work. Yeah, and I feel like all like, America is so obsessed with things working out. And like, I love that movie When Harry Met Sally, but I remember being young. Yeah. And I love them when they have those little interviews with a couples but I'm like, I know that what this is doing is like programming is that like, yes, it works out works out. It works out. It's like, yeah, not all
Michael David Wilson 21:47
is. Yeah. Well, I mean, these days, if I'm seeing a movie, I try not to what, watch the trailer or read anything about it. Because then like they normally they normally show you parts of the third act, and I want to go into things cold.
Caroline Kepnes 22:07
I know I do, too. Like I was happy to see a friend's film last week where I didn't read anything on purpose. And it's not going to be out for a while. And it was such a refreshing experience to go in truly knowing nothing. And I wish we could have that experience more often. And I think maybe there will be some like reverse marketing. Because especially I think those trailers to were more effective. Years ago before there was so much ability to see so much every day and to watch so many clips. Like I have this thing right now of watching people roller skating, whatever. It's just like they're there. And I'm like, I can't rollerskate I like the music. And I like the choreography. But I'm like, Yeah, to think of like earlier eras, when we just couldn't watch that many short things. trailers had an impact. But now like when they just in a slew of other things you're in taking? And yes, they show so much more than they used to show. And they kind of tell you how to feel going in. And I hate that. It's and I don't like Rotten Tomatoes. Like I don't want to know what anyone don't always want to know what everyone thinks about everything. So it's getting harder and harder to avoid knowing that like,
Michael David Wilson 23:17
yeah, yeah. And I mean, like, sometimes the rotten tomatoes or IMDb score can, it can give you a broad indication, but sometimes, in my opinion, just the consensus is wrong. You know, you'll get something that has been absolutely panned. And it's like, no, this was great.
Caroline Kepnes 23:39
Like, certainly 1% You know, right. Or, you know, whatever it is like I'm like, oh, like I know, I want to see that thing that's not well reviewed and well received, like,
Michael David Wilson 23:49
yeah, yeah. years ago,
Caroline Kepnes 23:54
more than a few years ago. They someone made that trailer for The Shining, or they had the Peter Gabriel song Solsbury Hill, and they made it look all sunshiny, I wish to do that for because I feel like and kind of pull it off. So that you would go into it like whether it was a horror movie, if they would do it like that. If it was a love story, they would make it look like a fucking nightmare stalking thing, and then go on and be like, Oh, wait, what happened? You know?
Michael David Wilson 24:22
Yeah, no, I love those kinds of trailers. They're spoofs those mashups because they also saw one way that they've done it for Mrs. Doubtfire. And they made it into a horror story. Because if you kind of think about it, I mean, it can be it's like this. This guy is creepily through methods of deception, getting access to his children that he shouldn't have access to.
Caroline Kepnes 24:51
Yeah, I feel like now if you did that, like tried to pitch that movie it be like, Oh, what's wrong with you?
Michael David Wilson 24:57
Yeah, yeah. And you Yeah, you you could do that for so many things, particularly your like British sitcoms from, I guess the 70s and 80s, like, Fawlty Towers. I don't know if you're familiar with that. But I mean, it's about this narcissistic hotel owner who's like, bullying his wife, his employees, his Spanish waiter, particularly. I mean, I don't think he probably couldn't do that today. Is this like, this is? Yeah, this is too much,
Caroline Kepnes 25:33
much older, but even something like I love peep show. And I feel like they wouldn't really do that today. But like, everything about it, it's like, like, it's one of those to be that deep in their heads. And I love when like, right, it starts talking. Just like not
Michael David Wilson 25:50
like, yeah, yeah, no peep show is up there with my favorite shows of all time. I guess for similar reasons as to why I love Curb Your Enthusiasm. This is kind of awkward commentary on situations and people just Yeah, making these absurd kind of remarks. And,
Caroline Kepnes 26:17
yes, they let it be like, I love the the nothing of it, that they're just out there living, you know, like, there isn't the like, elaborate plot. It's just that's the brilliance. And yet they're like in curve, I guess. The plot is so elaborate. I feel like it's all twisty. So that's not true. What I just said, but but still, there's that element of like, you feel them just kind of hanging out. And yeah, I love that kind of thing. And I feel like that's why people always go back to Office and the friends here. Because those were the last two, like super popular, widely seen things really before cell phones. And yeah, this book, right now is making me think of it because the girl time travels to the 90s. And the first thing she says when she walks cool is like, Oh my God, no one's on their phone, like they're all walking around. And it's like, there is something as a human that like when you think of what it means to be a human. And the world has changed so much in that way in a short matter of time. Yeah, and I try and remember, sitting in a restaurant waiting for someone without a cell phone, like what did you do? Did you just stare at people like?
Michael David Wilson 27:21
Yeah, I mean, it can be quite surreal being on the subway and like, if you actually look around, and no one's looking at anyone now looking at these devices. And I think too, like there could be an argument that it almost creates a social pressure for you to to look at your device, because we've created this bizarre situation, where now if I'm looking at other things, it's like, it's not going okay, we got a problem here. Why? Why is he just like, looking straight ahead? Is he gonna do something?
Caroline Kepnes 27:57
The way that socialization and ingestion of things goes on in there, we think if someone's not constantly communicating, or absorbed in something, that there's something wrong with them, which is crazy. Like, you're that's so true. Yeah, that like, yeah, I feel like a good stare is just great. And the way that like, yeah, doing that now makes you look like there's something wrong with you.
Michael David Wilson 28:19
Yeah, yeah. But I guess mentioning peep show and Curb Your Enthusiasm. I can certainly see how some of that stylistically, has come into you and has come into Joe Goldberg with his make observations. And I mean, yeah, and for me, I mean, he's the most kind of charismatic and I guess, infectious kind of personality, who you know, you shouldn't if not, like then be drawn to but you know, the best since Patrick Bateman for me it really, he really is a character who who has that about him.
Caroline Kepnes 29:04
And I love the reading American Psycho was just like a major experience in my young life that, like, open the door have like, Oh, this is a book like I just remember I kept closing it like, Yeah, this is so happy. This is a book that like, this is something I want to do. Like I like this. The way he's just going on about Whitney Houston for pages and pages. And, and then yeah, you know, mixed up like that mashup. Yes. So I like that because I also feel like in those books, it's not like you're, you're with someone, when you're reading. It's such a unique experience that way. It's like, you're so the person you're with, it's not about they're not real, and that's part of the point. But if you're with anyone for that amount of time and that intensity, it's very possible to feel close to them. And uncomfortably close and that's what I love is that feeling that like it's a safe way to like, warm up to someone who in real life. Number one, you might more I'm up to because they might seem okay. And number two, who if you knew these things you would never? It's
Michael David Wilson 30:06
Caroline Kepnes 30:09
Happy to hear you say that. Yeah, that's what I, or even I remember when it was first coming out. I was always I've always been so bad at like Synopsys and describing them right. And I will always, well, he's this guy. He's had a hard time and he loves to read. And you know, he works in a bookstore. And it took me forever to get to the murder part because there's a level of denial. Because yeah, he does stuff that way. And that I feel like it's also where I like him as a character, because that was part of where I liked finding my way into him of like, imagine how great it would be to kind of always like, never always see yourself as justified in everything you've ever done. Yeah, pretty good. I want to see
Michael David Wilson 30:50
what yeah, like, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, he has main character syndrome to a point that you really do. And, I mean, he's obviously capable of a reflection, but I'm, I'm just not convinced that he's ever had true empathy. You know?
Caroline Kepnes 31:11
No, we're like, what was really fun with this book is like that, in the last book, he was there was kind of an obsession with empathy. And the woman in the book, open the empathy bordello bookstore. And in this one, it was like, I love people getting to think of how that process changed him, and changed the way that he rationalized things. So I love the idea like, Well, if he was going to write a book, with most people, like there's an element of like, facing your demons, and with him, it would just be like, No, re absolutely understanding on an even deeper level, how nothing was his fault. And how right he is the victim of being drawn to these women who are just terrible. And so then associating with people who are not good people. And I love the idea that like he would go through this process of writing a novel, and come out feeling better than himself about himself than ever.
Michael David Wilson 32:04
Yeah. Yeah. And I want to speak a lot about you and about Joe Goldberg. But I want to go back a little bit before we really dive deep into it, because I want to know, like, what were the first stories that you wrote? And what was the first point where you decided, okay, this is something that I want to pursue professionally, because I know, you've said that, of course, you were playing with these doors from a very early age, you released Stephen Crane in 2004. So what? And then it wasn't until 10 years later, of course, that you came out in 2014. So let's talk a little bit about those early years and the, I guess, evolution of yourself as a writer.
Caroline Kepnes 32:57
Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, when I was little, in our school, we had to write these little short stories, and mine were always bleak. And I remember there was one that I started reading, like, I wasn't normal child, and I'm like, you know, there was a princess and, and it was and then suddenly, and they and she, you know, the President's like, well, not everyone lives happily ever after. And he dealt, like someone dies, or there's divorce or something. And the teacher is like, oh, Caroline, and I'm like, Oh, my God, no, like, so that was always there. And then in high school, I wrote a short story about a girl who overdosed on Angel Dust and was so speaking from death. And I was a very, like, I'm 14. Like, I didn't know how you even did Angel Dust. I'd be like, I loved the phrase. I loved the name of it. Yeah, idea. And it was a very dark story. And like, no, no real joy to come of it. And it got me, you know, time with the school guidance counselor. But it also got me a typewriter from sassy magazine, which was just my, like, my religion in high school. Right. So that was a very experience that I liked short stories. But as is often the case, like, I was so excited by that, and to have that kind of, like, life altering thing of like, Oh, my God, my name's and my favorite magazine and the story. It's an honorable mention. And I'm young, the next thing I wrote was like, so terrible, right? Just terrible. Because it was totally like, it's I feel like it's an experience that learning for a long time over and over of like, sometimes when you feel really good, it's the worst time to go and write. Right. And that happened to me again, in college where I wrote a story. And my professor was like, This is amazing. Like, this is you know, everyone stopped talking about it. I just, you know, this is fabulous. Like, this is like, who was it that she compared it to? And I remember just getting puffed up, like, not Eudora Welty, but someone like that, you know, someone like so then I go into her office, and I'm like, actually, it's a novel. And she's like, okay, and I go and do the same thing. Again, we're then I'm puffed up, and I write. And it's embarrassing to even say out loud. But it was one of those things where I'm like using indentations and using the blank space. And that was not my style, like some, right? It's part of what they're doing. This was a complete, like, I was in my ego. And she was like, this is like, terrible. And so it's, it's a process of like, learning know that, like, you don't need to necessarily feel bad about the world about yourself. But there has to be, it can't come from this place of like, I'm doing this because someone said, I'm good. And that's where, like what you learned by writing a lot, a lot. And I'm always trying to get back to that place of like, be as being hard on myself being hard on the thing. And so I just kept writing many, many short stories. And then I went to work in journalism, and felt that like, that problem for me, well, I worked at Tiger Beat, which I don't know, it's like a magazine about pop stars. Right? And that was all fiction, where so many times like, we would just have pictures of the artists and just make up quotes, because so I was like, this is perfect for me. Because like, I like making stuff up. And I knew that that was all problem and realism. But after that, and sometimes we would do interviews, but you know what I'm saying, like you if there's a picture of a, you know, guy holding a puppy, he can say, I love dogs, like dogs are the best. And like, who's gonna get mad at that? Right? Like, right? Oh, publicists didn't, he never said he loves dogs. I didn't want to entertainment we and where I learned about fact checkers. And like, I would go to went to a Soprano's party, and I had a great time. And I had some drinks. And I'm like, write my whole thing up. And they're like, where are your notes, I'm like notes like, this is my memory, pretty much like everything is pretty much in there. Like, there's no lunch. And I'm like a tiger. But we didn't have fact checkers. And so that experience was really good, of like, really hardcore writing close reading, close editing, to try and review a book or a TV show or movie in like 300 words, was so much harder than if you have like 2000 words, you then have to go so many rounds of edits, and really like extra extra intensively think about every word in there, on a microscopic level and have different editors doing the same thing. I loved that process like that, like experience was really good. And made me like, I feel like helped me become a better writer. And then I went and did gossip reporting. That was like, good, just only kind of served my like, I must do creative writing. Like, I don't want to, like be eavesdropping. I want to shop and let it into it to make something up, you know what I mean? And then I went to work in television, and in a room with writers. And I liked that element. But like, I feel like all the while the one thing that the constant in my life has always been short stories, that like no matter what I was doing, I was always had to be some short story I was working on that, like my brain without that would start to go haywire and sad. And then I made a short film. And that process of like, dealing in the real world. And with not having permits, and night shoots and lighting and all the elements like after that. I was like, okay, like, I am now ready to sit down and write a novel like because the way you get a novel like, not so much like you don't artistically control when you're like trying to figure it out. But the way you don't have to answer to anyone explained to anyone the way it's such an immersive kind of secret experience and what I had written, I feel like a couple of books before Oh, and the Stephen Crane thing like that. I love that experience, too. Because I didn't know what year it was until you said it. And something in that book that he had talked a lot about was how experiences have to go through the filter. And I loved when I was writing you coming back to Stephen Crane, and thinking oh my god, like I remember when I first moved here and I was at the Los Angeles Public Library downtown every day like digging up all these books about Stephen Crane, it was just like very exciting, you know, to be in writing a book that wasn't a novel but about learning about someone who wrote novels and their individual process and how kind of like the way everyone's is different. And I feel like that's a thing that in our culture of massive advice and instructions is so important to know that like you can get get all the advice in the world, but there's no way to escape learning how your brain works. And I feel like that took for that first stop for like the first novels I'd written. Just didn't feel like me or I was doing a cheap thing where I'd take a bunch of short stories and do a search and replace and try Yeah, my patch novel. And like, no. So with you, it was like, once I, I liked being in his head, I worked so hard on that first chapter almost as if it was a short story and gave myself like, like living in there like for months of just like rewriting doing that like style of that from Entertainment Weekly of like treating each 300 words like, okay, each one matters. Why is there a better way, memorizing in my head walking down this, like reading it to myself, all of that. And then once I felt like confident in it like going forward, but still trying to always make myself feel better to think of it as a bunch of short stories, from this guy's perspective that are building, it was like the minute I start to think it's a novel, I'm like, oh, no, it's overwhelming. But when you think of things broken down, like when you find all these little mini beginning middles and ends, it's like, for me, that's a big, comfort space, you know, reminding myself that day, there will be a moment to like, take a step back and see how they all work together and what needs to be changed. But first, you have to like, have that something there?
Michael David Wilson 41:13
Yeah, yeah. Is that still? Yeah. Is that how you typically approach novel writing still to this day? I mean, and how much planning is going into it initially, before you sit down to write that first draft? Now, I suppose to we've having a publisher, it might vary a little bit too, because you've probably kind of got to give them at least an indication as to what it is you're working on?
Caroline Kepnes 41:43
Yeah, yes, like, absolutely. And I feel like I'm a really like, calendar deadline oriented person. So the same way that like, I have to make an elaborate outline and think, almost even in the back of my head, knowing none of this will work or happen. But I need that. Like I the same way that like when I'm, when I'm drafting I'm like, in my phone, it just looks like a crazy person where it's like page 12 through 36 Today, then eat then page 37 to 48. Like, I just I feel like make my own little gerbil. And I have to have these goals and constantly eating them. And I feel like that's a lift. And it doesn't there's doesn't necessarily isn't the best process in the world. But that's how I get through that first draft. And I also like in with every book more, now I'm more comfortable with like, okay, like if I'm, you know, 100 pages in, and I've just cracked a nut. I'm like, tomorrow, yay, is like a holiday from my calendar that was pre planned. And instead of, you know, 112 to 148, I'm going back to chapters two and four to like, use the knowledge that I just figured out to play with them. So I feel like I don't know, that's how I need to feel like some days, our school, our work days and other days our vacation, because I love that writing that feels like a vacation or like a reward for the work that you've done. It's all punishments and rewards, like all the way around. And yeah,
Michael David Wilson 43:07
yes, no, I, I certainly find myself that the first draft is the hardest of all the draft. So like I, I much prefer having the skeleton as template and then going back and working on it, you know that? I guess the hardest point is just completing that first draft and making sure that I'm not going back to the earlier pages, you know, when I'm yet to be completing the skeleton, but I liked this idea of giving yourself a holiday. So like, I mean, at the moment, the current thing I'm working on, I guess it's about 35,000 words through, it's probably going to be about 75,000. But it would, it will be a much more enjoyable day to be rewriting the earlier chapters rather than plowing forth.
Caroline Kepnes 44:02
Right, and it keeps your spirits up. And I feel like it's like any quest like when the wagon trains or boats, it's like there are those days where you push ahead. And then there has to be that day where like, the skies are good, you drop the anchor and kind of tidy the boat. That's how I look at it. It's like this is a way to appreciate how far I've come and what I've done. And it makes you kind of want to go forward. Because it's a good reminder for your brain that like, that's part of the fun. Now, I'm curious, are you the type of person who when you finish that first draft? Do you think this is it like do you get that high of like getting to the end and feel like it's actually not a first draft, but it's there it's the book, or do you like are you going oh my god, this is shit, like
Michael David Wilson 44:43
so it? It really does depend from project to project. But I, I think I think typically it's almost like there's a combination of what you've just described. So I'm very happy that I've got to the And, and it's not as shit as at some point I thought it might be. But I'm like right now, I can really go through and I can mold this. But what I have found sometimes is that then when I go back to it, and I'm reading the star and I'm like, alright, that's pretty good. Who wrote this? So it's always been in the second draft reading the first draft, when I've got some distance. I'm like, okay, maybe, maybe I do have something here. But I mean, the way that I'm planning my writing at the moment is so a month or so ago, I finished the first draft of a screenplay. And then I was like, right, I'm gonna, I'm gonna park that finished the first draft of a novel. And then when that's done, I'm gonna go back and I'm going to read, I'm going to redraft the screenplay. But I think you know, that that redrafting from the first draft will get it to pretty near the final draft, because probably I do free drafts in total, on average. So you've got the first one to just get it all down, then you've got the serious work and making it seeing. The third one is just really little details. And then I think I'm complete. And sometimes unedited does not think I'm complete. But you know, that's my time to send it to beta readers and editors, and my manager and just get some feedback on that.
Caroline Kepnes 46:38
Yes, yeah. And I think that that, like, it's so emotional, like you kept saying that where it is like, very, extremely mixed emotions, where you look at that part and think, yes, I did that. I did that. I did that. And then you have that, like, Oh, that's not done. Like, it's taken me like with every draft, I've finished, I have to like, kind of keep my mouth shut. Because I think that that's it. And even though I know it's not, I like have to almost get through that feeling. And then, and I believe, like you said, like time away from things is so important. It really is like, there's nothing better than finishing a draft to something immersing yourself in something else. Because I really believe to that stuff is going on in the back of your head. When you're not thinking about something. And I love that feeling. I think that's the best reward for coming back to something when you're like, Oh, my God, like, I didn't know how to fix this. And it's like something went on in those weeks, when you were like doing other work that there is this little place I picture all these little minions back there like doing work. Yeah. And they get to impress. They did.
Michael David Wilson 47:43
Yeah. And I've found to reading back, there are points where I foreshadowed things that I didn't realize I was foreshadowing, and it's like, Wait, something's gone on.
Caroline Kepnes 47:56
Is one of my fucking things of all. Yeah. And when they're things that like, you were kind of attached to for no reason. And they kind of, you see something later, and you're like, Oh, my God. That's why I asked you what, I didn't know why. And yeah, I love that so much. That's where I feel like the when the fun of it, that's fine. I feel like it can't be said enough. It's only like you get through that first job because of exactly that. Because it's of course, gonna be like, worse than you thought in some ways. But there are going to be those little magical surprises like that when you realize what you've done. And then you get to just sweeten it and do it. And but you don't get there if you don't have that first draft.
Michael David Wilson 48:39
Yeah, yeah, that's it. And I just think like kind of reminding myself like, well, I've completed this first draft numerous times before it's like it, this is a thing that I am capable of doing. I mean, actually, what we're talking about now, it's the subject of the next This Is Horror in his letter that I'm going to be sending out. So this is very much fresh in my mind. But I mean, the the overarching point that I'm trying to make to writers is don't compare your in progress, first draft with the final draft with the finished book of another work that you put out. And especially do not compare it to the work of other writers. It's like you've got no business doing that you just compete against yourself. Yes. And that's
Caroline Kepnes 49:31
where Be careful with your reading because I feel like your brain is so rife, self loathing, self doubt for like, oh, I may as well throw it away. Like that you have to prime yourself for reading after you finish the drafts and you have to I feel like that's when it's good to read. It like feels like another language, you know, and kind of far away from what you do because you're less likely to like, be analyzing it. I love I feel like there are all different kinds of reading that are so important at different times that it's like cravings, you know? Like meals? Yeah.
Michael David Wilson 50:01
Yeah. When you're writing something, are you kind of conscious of what it is you're reading at the same time? Do you kind of care? Right that? Or do you just read whatever the hell you want to read?
Caroline Kepnes 50:18
A little bit of both almost like, I feel like there are books that have realized I mentioned in the book, like, especially with the you books, you know, and I'll be like, Oh, my God, like, I mentioned that book, I want to know why. So I'll pick it out. Yeah, I'll get past that. Never finishing my book, this is wonderful. Like, I'm not a writer, and going and I don't necessarily finish things. And then I will, I feel like sometimes when you're in that place, too, it can be good to go in a bookstore and kind of roam around. And remember that the world needs many books, all different kinds of things. That's the point of like, we're all this self doubt is kind of a waste of time, or the, like, I feel like to make all that more part of the writing about the book not about you. Because yeah, like, cares what you are, someone else is going to read the book and like it, and someone else is going to hate it. But that's why there are so many books like that's where there's not one book. Like, I started reading the listener, and I hadn't read it in a while. And that was when I was writing you love me. And I was like, I can't do this right now. Like, I forgot how much I love this. Kind of like, I just love his prose. And it was getting me like, Why do I bother? And I was like, okay, okay, like, not right now. Like, you'll enjoy that another time. But you're not in the headspace. And also, when I'm in gel mode, it's all set up for me to just myself, you know?
Michael David Wilson 51:37
Yeah, yeah. Do you find since you know, you're so familiar with Joe now? Is it something that is more kind of organic to write because you've been doing this for coming up to a decade now? Or, you know, what, what is the mind space like now? Because, as you said, to begin with that first chapter, you went over so much, whereas now, I imagine it's almost second nature.
Caroline Kepnes 52:08
It isn't, that's can be a little, like, disturbing. And then But then comes back that that dealt with the writing that always happens of like, Is this him? Am I doing it? Right? Am I doing it? Right? And I've learned to know, like, didn't kind of know what it feels like when it's right. You know? And but the need also, it's like you have I always am like, Okay, starting is never easy. Like, it's like the first draft thing starting is just not easy. And yeah. And that's where I feel like sometimes it doesn't sound like him. And I can get very panicked of like, I don't know how to do this. And then it's like, I go out in the world, and something clicks, and I hear him in my head. And I'm like, Oh, that's right. And then I open up those pages. I'm like, Oh, I you know, I know what that fucker would do right now and say, and, yeah, so it's like, it's like almost getting the like, nature back. But then that's when they it's like so addictive. But the worry too. I've never written a series. And I didn't necessarily plan to. And to me, there's an inherent fear of like, it's kind of like, when you're a kid and you like, I did dance when I was little. And I would think how lucky are my parents, they get to go to the six hour recital and see all of this wonderful dancing, when in reality, like my poor parents, like all the parents for like, hours, and you know, and they all want to see their child but like, but that's how it feels to like, oh my god, I'm doing more about him. What do I have to say? Why am I more like, why the why is a big deal of like, what, like, it's not enough that I liked doing it. And also that the way my life was so different in 2013, and my emotional. So it's been a weird thing to like, kind of go back to like, what was it just a terrible, emotionally, like raw time. And I can get worried that like, well, he was born out of that. And it's like with any loss. I lost my father a few months before I started the book. But it's like, a not on a on the one hand, it can be a nice thing of like revisiting that time, and then imagining like so that character was born out of that. But it doesn't mean that he's he's the same person isn't the first book. But then it's like, why am I writing another book about him? Why? Yeah, I say that enough that I'm like, yeah, like, why does this go on and on and I let him and I like being I think it's probably because he's such a kind of punishing critical person that it brings you out and me. And yeah, I don't know if I where I was going, but you know.
Michael David Wilson 54:37
Yeah, I mean, the thing that I see with Joe and I see we have a lot of stories that have this kind of villainous protagonist one of a better term is I mean, the whole thing is like to make you as a reader side with them. On some level. You just make the other carry says even more awful. And I mean, that is a trick that we see people do time and time again is something that Nathan ballin grid does a lot, particularly in his first short story collection North American lake monsters because there's not really a kind of morally good person that Nathan Bellinger writes about but, you know, Frou Frou surrounding his characters with other kind of flawed characters, and potentially worse, it's like, you can start rooting for them. And anyway, I think we kind of liked that thing. Because it's more human, it's like, there is no such thing as a good or a bad person, we are all painted in these different shades of grey, these, this rainbow really of personality and moral ambiguity.
Caroline Kepnes 55:57
Absolutely. And that's what really drove me. And when I was, you know, coming up with it, and with every book that I'm going back to, like, we are in inside of his head, like it was impart born out of my, like, the growing intensity of social media. And I'm like, this is just a bizarre thing for humans to do to like, present ourselves to respond publicly, as if we're celebrities, when something happens, you know what I mean? As if we have to make a statement, and even carry around like to walk through the world with this lens of like, when you see something, am I going to share that and why not? Like just questions that didn't really exist before. My friend Lauren, our compliance rate writer and she, well that like, remember, like, you would just see a sunset. And if you took a picture, the picture has to be developed, there's not that option of sharing it with the world. So for me joke, like we can we're all we all have this little asshole part of us. And it's like, what if someone, their best friend is that asshole part. And they think that that's the best part of them. And that was part of Joe where I'm like, it's like an antisocial quality that all of this has made him more suspicious of people, where are your people more aware of their flaws? And I also think I like what you said, because it's also the way about how not about the exact like, they're being not good people, but the way different flaws. You know, or rub up against each other and are just terrible. Like, that's what I like. Yeah, like, like to put Joe with someone who activates his flaws. And someone who, yes, according to Joe is absolutely a worse person than him. But always remembering that, like, it's Joe's perspective, it's his hypersensitivity. It's his insecurity. And that's what I like. And I feel like that's what makes so many stories, not just these, but like, kind of click together of seeing, Oh, why did these two people have to meet because if they didn't meet, they both kind of assholes, but they would have been okay. But yeah, mix. And they can't coexist. And I just love that energy.
Michael David Wilson 57:59
Yeah, yeah. And I mean, in terms of the origin of Joe Goldberg, you were saying, you know, born from kind of tragedy and for personal circumstances of your father passing away, but I I understand that like some of Joe's sense of humor is from your father. So I'm really interested to tap into that.
Caroline Kepnes 58:26
You had the sickest, darkest sense of humor was like, you know, and loved Lord of the Rings, Stephen King, you know, all like, make a horror science fiction, but read everything, watched everything also loved like the Gilmore Girls Like, he could, you know, he was so alive and his love of things. It was adorable when he was he hated technology to like he absolutely hated it. And that's also where I felt weird about this whole process, because it was the like, Don't put me on Facebook. I hate that that's the end of the world. Stop looking at their phone. That's your grumpy old man. But when he got his iPod aipad, that he resisted at first, like a child with broccoli, when he found out he could like find it on YouTube. And he could play Scrabble. Like, see, it's not all so bad. And that was fun to see, you know, toward the end of that, I mean, it's like the way with all of this. There's a good side to it. And yeah, but yes, but yeah, that sixth sense of humor, like at some point when he was like really sick, someone sent a smiley face balloon and there was this picture might, you know, it was just, well meaning but it was just like, the funniest fucking thing when it's like, he's about two months out from the end, and we all know it right? And there's this picture of the balloon. It's very disturbing. And it really stayed with me. And then I've gone through the death. And I remember when I was writing the first book and thinking about that smiley face balloon and thinking of like, how it wouldn't make me cry, but then come around to laughter because of my dad finding it. So hysterical Yeah, and That was that like kept me up at night because it was like, I'd never obviously never lost a parent. And those things, someone being gone, when you're not getting that stimulation anymore is such a bizarre thing. So the way your brain goes back to them, and it has to go through the crying of like the shock of the godness, to the like, oh, but they were here, this constant process, like, I feel like that. That's a big part of Joe. And the way that like some like for me, he's kind of addicted to that a little bit. And that's where like, much as he says, he's looking for love. It's like, no, he likes for things not to work out because he is the guy for whom things don't work out. And it's a little bit going back to my dad with the cancer thing to me the comedy, something he kind of laughed about was like the way they would call it a battle. Battle. terminal cancer, like you're dying. Yeah, and it's comforting to Oh, fighting, it's also fucked up to like, kind of implies that someone didn't fight hard enough. And it's like, it's just funny language that we to give ourselves good feelings to try and lift other people up. So he always had a just a sixth sense of humor about everything. And yeah, absolutely. That was part of my like, wanting, knowing what he would get a kick out of, and then giving that to Joe, giving Joe a little bit of that, because that kind of thing also always fascinates me because I feel like if someone makes you laugh, they can get away with a lot just in life in general, you know, and on a personal level, on a character level. It's just how we are it feels good to laugh this thing. And like if Joe is even a little funny, if people are smiling a little there's an unconscious like, I like this person, because it's that thing of someone makes you That's right. So last week was like, sir, oddly, my comfort food and I'm like, No, I do get that because you know, it's anxious comfort.
Michael David Wilson 1:01:59
Yeah. Yeah, I'm thinking about well, first of all, I'm thinking about the image of someone died from terminal cancer hold in, like a smiley face balloon. And, like, I think like, you know, if I was dying, I'd find that pretty funny too. It's like, what went through that fucking balloon, this will be a good idea.
Caroline Kepnes 1:02:26
Like, that's where it's it is so much fun that way. Because there's so many just pure, dark, horrible things, you know. And also, I feel like the way men especially like, the day that we found out just how bad it was. My brother was there. My mother, my father, we're all in the same room. We're all talking to the same doctor. The news was not good. There was no way around it. You know what I mean? My mom and I get into it, or we're both sobbing, hugging each other just wreck. My dad and my brother get in another elevator. We all come out on the first floor and my dad and my brother like, What are you so upset about? Um, like, did you hear? And rather than my dad's up there like Oh, medicine, they don't know everything. And my brother's like, I've heard some positive of like, is this what it's like to be a man like, this sounds great. Like to just not know to be automatically go into denial like that, and feel good. And that's where I wanted to, like dive into that perspective, because it did to this day kind of fascinate me, you know?
Michael David Wilson 1:03:25
Yeah, I wish that I had that level of almost what I want to term accidental stoicism. It's like you're told that you're gonna die or that your dad's gonna die and you're like, Well, yeah, that's that then it might be wrong. Medicine don't know everything.
Caroline Kepnes 1:03:45
One of his lines was always you know, a common line we'd nobody gets out of this alive. So what's the big deal? We're all going to die. Like you're dying when you're born. I'm like, if it's still when it's actually happening in here, you know, any would have as dark sad moments and all that but I just love like that ability to like make the sick joke and make fun of me and I and I feel like as a kid especially like, that was a big part of it too that like with Joe that inside voice I feel like my dad would say a lot of those types of things out loud and now but like there are pictures of me like you know, outrage mad but it's like that great thing of someone taking the piss out of you and kind of allowing you to like laugh a little and relax, you know? And yes, I like it.
Michael David Wilson 1:04:31
Yeah, and and you know, you're so right in saying that, you know what, when you have terminal cancer or terminal anything to use linguistically to say like it's a battle, it's like, no, no, no, no, a battle you can win or lose. Maybe there's a draw, but if the outcome is predetermined, isn't a battle. That's strictly inevitability.
Caroline Kepnes 1:04:58
Yes. And I love and in that way to me, it's one of the great big fat like rationalizations that some that help us cope with so many things. And that's where I feel like that I've wanted Joe to be like constantly rationalizing like that but doing it privately. Because like, I get helpful like to think of that you have a shot at something like it reminds me of being in high school and I played on the tennis team. And one day I was playing a girl was like, no, like, there was no chance you know what I mean? Like, no chance. But I was like, Oh, well, how do I do this? If I don't secretly think there's a chance like, Why does anyone do anything? And it made me lighten up about getting my ass kicked. Because it was funny to one out there thinking for a second that like, well, I might win. It's like Dumb and Dumber when she's, you know, basically like one in a million. And he's like, so you're telling me there's a chance. It's like, we are humans. And I feel like we do. At the end of the day, I'm sure there were very many days where my dad secretly did think, oh, but I'm going to beat it. Like, I'm going to be the one to like, flip the switch, you know, that? Like we all like to think that we have that secret something and need to think like it is a good coping skill. But in the in the language of funny, yes. When when things are fatal. And yeah.
Michael David Wilson 1:06:15
Yeah, I think can particularly with you mentioned in the tennis match, I think kind of one of the secrets to happiness, but certainly easier said than done is if you can find the joy in just the pursuit of doing something rather than in an end game. If the satisfaction is in the act, then you've won.
Caroline Kepnes 1:06:37
Yes. And if you can, like in that like to kind of forget yourself and appreciate someone else's, whatever they're doing. I feel like that's another like secret to happiness, right like to, because I just remember thinking, Okay, well, it's how does she do that? Like, and I also would tell you learn about yourself. I'm like, Oh, I get it. Like, she probably does all the exercises that my coach coach would tell me to do. That's where she has like, a range of motion that I don't have. And no, she jogs. And I was told to do that. I didn't do that. Either. I'm like, I get it. Like, you know, it's part absolutely part talent. But it's also part like taking it, you know, working hard on it. And that was one of those things as a young person that was like I get I'm not ever going to be a professional tennis player, because I can very much live without it. And I'm never going to like, need it or work that hard at it. And it was like, Alright, I'm gonna figure out what I do. I am willing to like, kill myself doing you know. Yeah, writing was absolutely.
Michael David Wilson 1:07:37
Thank you so much for listening to This Is Horror with Caroline Kepnes. Join us again next time for the second and final part of the conversation. But if you would like to get that ahead of the crowd, if you'd like to get every episode ahead of the crowd, then become our Patreon, a patreon.com. Forward slash, This Is Horror. Not only do you get early bird access to each and every episode, but you get to submit questions to all the wonderful writers that we have on This Is Horror. And coming up in just a few episodes time, we have got conversations with the likes of Suzanne Young Joe R. Lansdale, Glen Massara of The Walking Dead and The Shield fame. And Grady Hendrix to name just a few. So do head over to patreon.com forward slash This Is Horror. Have a little look at what it is we offer and see if it's a good fit for you. Okay, before I wrap up, it is time for an advert break.
RJ Bayley 1:08:42
It was as if the video had unzipped my skin, slunk inside my tapered flesh and become one with me.
Bob Pastorella 1:08:51
From the creator of This Is Horror comes a new nightmare for the digital age. The Girl in the Video by Michael David Wilson. After a teacher receives a weirdly arousing video it's like descends into paranoia and obsession. More videos follow each containing information no stranger could possibly know but who's sending them and what do they want? The answers may destroy everything and every one He loves The Girl in the Video is the ring meets fatal attraction for iPhone generation. Available now in paperback ebook and audio dark dead things is a brand new horror magazine and issue one is out right now in paperback ebook and audio cosmic horror check so released absurdity check. Brand new story from spotted punk Award nominee Chandler Morrison. Oh hell yeah. Better still, we're looking for your stories for future issues. Got something scary, disturbing and plain weird. send it our way. And if your story doesn't fit neatly into a genre, we want it for more information and submit your story check out dark dead thanks.com Dark dead things available on Amazon edit dork dad thinks.com.
Michael David Wilson 1:09:50
As always, I would like to end with a quote and this is from Humble the Poet Love is not a finite resource. The more we give, the more we receive. spread love and watch it grow. I'll see you in the next episode for the second and final part of the conversation with Caroline Kepnes. But until then, take care yourselves. Be good to one another. Read horror. Keep on writing and have a great, great day.