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For the Love of the Thrill: A Conversation with Benjamin Percy

Karen Roussel

On this edition of Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with novelist Benjamin Percy about the elements that combine to create thrilling fiction: suspense, tension, urgency, and violence.

"It’s a way to safely appeal to our base desires, and safely work our way through the dark, the basement, the long drop, the tight space," he says.

"It’s a way to, in these safety-belted, air-conditioned, helmeted times, where everything is fenced in and so safe, it’s a way to experience something sort of primal and it’s exciting. There’s that rush of endorphins that gets unleashed in your brain when you experience something like that in a darkened theater or in your darkened living room when cracking open a novel."

In his first work of nonfiction, Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction, Percy breaks down the techniques writers use to keep readers up all night. In this interview, he talks with Charity about the book, his love of genre, and why he loves a good scare.

Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa