Kristen Roupenian's New Short Story Collection Delivers On The Promise Of Her 'Cat Person' Success

The author of the most talked-about short story of 2018 discusses the furor that surrounded it and all she’s learned leading into the narration of her new collection, ‘You Know You Want This.’

You know you read this: "Cat Person," the short story that took the world by storm when it appeared in The New Yorkerin late 2017. Bringing up squicky issues of consent at a time when the #MeToo movement was bursting into the mainstream, the story felt exquisitely timed and perfectly calibrated to the cultural moment. But while think pieces proliferated and online debate raged, we didn't hear much from its author, a former Peace Corps volunteer with a PhD in English and an MFA in fiction. As she told editor Kat Johnson in the following conversation, she'd closed up her laptop and turned off her phone to drown out the noise--likely a wise decision even if she weren't working on the first of a major two-book deal.

That book is now here, and it's everything you might expect from the author of "Cat Person"--and so much more. Creepy, funny, and biting (sometimes literally), You Know You Want This is a genre-defying collection of stories with an equally surprising cast of talented narrators. Listen in as Kristen shares the process of creating the audiobook, the experience of going viral, and why horror stories are the best kind to be read aloud.

Note: Text has been edited and may not match audio exactly.

Kat Johnson: Hi there. This is Audible editor Kat Johnson, and I'm here with Kristen Roupenian, the author who gained instant fame when her short story "Cat Person" went viral after appearing in The New Yorker in 2017, published when the #MeToo Movement was gaining a lot of momentum. The story struck a chord with readers around the world as it illuminated issues of consent, power, and sex, and introduced a fresh and startling new voice on the literary landscape.

Now, Roupenian has published her first book, You Know You Want This, a collection of dazzling and dark short stories that revolve around issues of power, and in which "Cat Person" is included. The audiobook features a diverse cast of buzzy actors like Aubrey Plaza and Finn Wittrock, accomplished narrators such as Will Damron, and even the author herself. The collection is already in development for television with HBO. In between that and all the conversation around "Cat Person," this is definitely one of 2019's buzziest fiction debuts. I'm so excited to have her here with us. So welcome, Kristen, and let me first say congratulations on your first book.

Kristen Roupenian: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me here.

KJ: You're welcome. We're so excited. I know you've talked about this to death, but I feel like you're literally the only person on the planet right now who has had a short story go viral. So I just wanted to know, what was it like for you to see "Cat Person" get so big?

I'm very lucky, in terms of the opportunities that it ended up affording me, but it was very, very surreal and very strange.

KR: It was very unexpected as you can probably imagine. I think a year and a half later I'm still wrapping my mind around it and trying to work through what it all meant. In a very practical sense, it happened so quickly that it just felt like getting sucked up in a whirlwind and then spat out somewhere very far from home.

In terms of the difference between what you expect when you're writing, specifically short fiction -- which is, I think, a very passionate level of engagement, but from a very maybe small and distinct set of readers, rather than what ended up happening with "Cat Person," which was this really broad engagement with readers who addressed it from just such a wide variety of perspectives and with such different expectations and desires about what a short story could do. So yes, that was really unexpected. I don't really expect to ever have anything like that happen to me again. I'm very lucky in terms of the opportunities that it ended up affording me, but it was very, very surreal and very strange.

KJ: I'm sure it must've been. Why do you think that it resonated with so many people?

KR: I think it's hard to know. I think that's one of the things that I'm still trying to unravel. Whenever I talk about the phenomenon of "Cat Person" separate from the story itself, I feel like I have to add the caveat that I feel like I missed it almost entirely. I did not see it unfold in real time. Pretty quickly after it started happening, I shut my computer and turned my phone off. I caught up with everything that happened largely through the think pieces that were written by other people. But I do think that having now had a year to reflect on it, it seems like a bunch of different things kind of came together in a singular moment. I think there was a particular hunger at that moment in time for ways to talk about some uncomfortable and complex sexual experiences that people had been having for a long time but hadn't quite felt like they had the language to describe it.

I think that "Cat Person" wrote about one of those kinds of experiences but then served as a kind of catalyst for a bunch of other conversations around that same topic. And I think, in retrospect, it's amazing because one of the things that it did was allow for people to talk about their own personal experiences via fiction, in a way that, I think, had Cat Person been as some people. The thing is, for a personal essay, there would have been a different set of expectations, understanding about what was appropriate to do in terms of discussing why Margot made the choices that she did and whether she was right or wrong. All of those things have one sort of valence when it's a personal essay. But when it's fiction, there's so much more freedom just to talk about why she might have done what she did, whether we would do what she had done and it allowed for an astonishingly layered and nuanced conversation.

So I think that was a really good thing. I also think the time was probably right and hopefully it continues to be right for people to recognize that short fiction gives them a chance to talk all at once about the same thing, in the way that it's easy to talk about a TV show or an essay, right? That feeling where everybody's reading the same thing at the same time feels wonderful, but it's really hard to do that with a novel because everybody is going to be reading it at a different rate over the course of days or weeks or months. But a short story, it's like, why not? Why not have a short story that's essentially an internet-wide book club about a single piece of fiction.

KJ: Right. And I think too, it's like you writing this story in your thirties about an experience a woman in her twenties, so many of us can relate to but couldn't articulate at that age in the same way. I mean, I really identified with that, so I appreciated that.

KR: Yeah. Thanks. I think there was a level of distance from Margot, but also shared vulnerability with her that I saw in a lot of the conversations that I really thought were the most thoughtful. Where we can recognize a piece of ourselves in someone, while at the same time, being grateful for the distance that lets us see where they might have gone wrong, or where they might be getting tangled up in things they don't understand.

KJ: Right. How does it feel now having your book come out into the world versus having "Cat Person" come out as a short story? Do you now feel like you're kind of world weary and you know how all this goes, or is it a different feeling?

['Cat Person' was] good practice for recognizing that you put a book out in the world and then you let readers do what they want with it...

KR: It's funny. One thing that's really different that I'm still getting a grip on is when "Cat Person" came out, I knew that, well, I knew I didn't want to engage. I knew I kind of couldn't engage and I had good advice telling me like, you can just step back and let this have the life that it has. So now actually, I feel very confident talking about "Cat Person" because I've had a year to think about what the story has meant to other people in addition to what it means to me and to have some distance on it. To me it feels like the natural thing, when you put a book in the world, is then to immediately go on vacation and hide from everyone for several years [Laughter], and let everything settle down. Instead, apparently what you're supposed do is do a bunch of interviews and talk about it. Which is kind of the last thing that I want to do. Like having to learn how to let go of a story was good in the face of that kind of astonishing whirlwind of reactions. Well, it's good practice for recognizing that you put a book out in the world and then you let readers do what they want with it and they come to it from as many different angles as they come to the short story. I think it certainly enhances my sense that I like much more talking about myself and about the world from behind the veil of fiction than I do actually giving my opinion on things.

Every time I feel tempted into saying what one of my stories means, I then immediately feel embarrassed. But you know, what can you do? Here we are. There are many, many good things about getting to talk to readers in person actually, which is a thing I didn't get to do with "Cat Person." Now that I've been on tour, I've been able to have in person conversations with people and I never had that experience, so that, I have found to be really wonderful.

KJ: That's interesting. And probably exhausting, but I imagine very enriching too.

KR: Yeah, very.

KJ: I also wanted to ask you just kind of about ... you know, your stories in this collection are so varied and some of them are so realistic. It's like, painfully realistic. Then there's a lot of them that have this sort of supernatural element. Some of them, there's even that, the fairy tale one, "The Mirror, the Bucket and the Old Thigh Bone," which I love.

KR: That is "The Mirror, Bucket and the Old Thigh Bone." Yeah.

KJ: But I think what's in common about them is there's this kind of current of dread that runs through each. I'm just curious, when you felt like it was necessary or you wanted to have these supernatural or allegorical elements, and when did you feel like realism was just horror enough?

KR: I think in a large part, the mix of genres and the collection reflects just my own reading habits. I'm always jumping back and forth between horror, thrillers, literary fiction and kind of mixing them up in my head, and always have. So I think partly it's just that's who I am and it's the way that I like to approach reading, and then eventually writing. I wrote the stories over a period of several years. Like five or six years old, the oldest ones, and I do think that maybe part of what happened, as I was evolving as a writer, was that I love horror. I especially loved writing horror at a moment when I felt like I was learning how to put a plot together. How to make a story, a story. One of the things that's wonderful about horror when you're writing is that there are such clear metrics versus success, and that feeling of dread and catharsis, like you're aiming for it.

It's sort of like writing a joke, right? Like it either works or it doesn't. Your reader's scared or you're not. When I first started writing horror, it felt like I could look at the stories or the books that had given me that feeling, and I could pick it apart and see what the structure was that created that effect, and I could kind of build a story with that knowledge. One of the things that I think maybe happened over the course of writing those stories, and "Cat Person," and "The Good Guy," and actually "Death Wish," were the three most recent stories. And they are the most realist. I doubt ... I think I will write horror my whole life. But I think maybe there is a kind of sense where like I have the confidence in my own ability to make people feel that dread, or that need to move through the story without.

I can drop some of the plot elements that I used to feel more reliant on. But I feel great if it seems like when you're reading "Cat Person" or "The Good Guy," it feels like a horror story in that you feel kind of sick, and pulled forward and compelled. Yet I think it is, it has been for me, harder to do that in a story that is largely internal, the way that "The Good Guy" or "Cat Person" are.

KJ: Interesting.

KR: You know, that most of the horror is happening inside. I think ideally and in the best horror, it's happening in both places. You know what I mean? I don't think that drama has to be external or whatever, but I do think that for me, I learned later to create that effect more internally than externally. So maybe that's part of what the shape of the book ended up being.

KJ: That's so interesting. Because obviously, like everybody else, I read "Cat Person" by itself, in isolation. Then reading it again in this collection, the scene where Margot's like, "This guy could kill me", and you're like, "I'm in a world where he definitely could. That wouldn't surprise me." Yeah.

KR: Right. I thought that exact thing. When "Cat Person" went viral, it was so funny to me to see a story that I had always imagined in this collection of essentially horror stories have the life that it did, and also the effect that it did, in isolation. I'm proud that it did. You know, that people felt that kind of dread apart from it. That's exactly the moment that I was thinking of what I wrote the story. I was imagining it in the context of a collection where you truly didn't know what the stakes were. Could he kill her? Could she not?

And also there's an idea, I think, that ties a lot of the stories in the collection together about the horror stories that we carry around in our heads specifically as women. Which I do think range from, "My friend went on this bad date with a guy, and then he called her a whore", to the girl who got murdered in your home town and you were the same age as her and thought about it too. Like fairytales in which you made the wrong choice to get married and like it destroyed everyone you love. You know what I mean?

Those are layers of stories and in a moment like the one that Margot's in, one of the feelings of confusion is like, "Which story am I in right now?"

KJ: Right. That's so interesting. And as women we're always, you know, we have those feelings of dread and then, but we're too nice and we suppress them. Even if sometimes they're warranted.

KR: Yeah. Or you're like, realistically you're like, "Why am I thinking about getting murdered right now? There's no ... " You might be like, "Well, on one level it's absurd, but on the other level I've been taking in these stories my whole life."

KJ: So interesting. So I want to talk to you a little bit about obviously the audio book because I think it's ...

KR: Definitely.

KJ: ... total extra layer of, I don't know, of range that's shown here. You've got, instead of just one narrator, you've got this really eclectic cast, which I think feels kind of cinematic. So how involved were you in this process? Can you walk us through it a little bit?

KR: Sure. Well, basically, they pretty early on gave me a list of people that they were thinking of for reading each story. So they always had the idea of a cast rather than a single narrator. And immediately I was like, this seems incredible. I approve everything. I did not get too involved, because I was kind of astonished and amazed by the possibility that this many people would be willing to get involved, and to read so many odd and dark and kind of obscene stories. It's beyond belief.

It was other people who selected, who had made the invitation to the different narrators and put together the range of actors and narrators, but I approved it and was enthusiastically cheering from the sidelines the whole time. They also asked me which story I wanted to read and I said I'd be willing to read any, and they asked me if I wanted to read Biter. I felt overjoyed both because that meant I got to close out the audiobook, but also because it's maybe the story that I have the most pure affection for.

So I felt really happy to be able to read it and to be able to spend so much time with it on a kind of line by line level because it's a story that, for all its grossness and darkness, makes me very happy.

KJ: There's a lot of satisfaction in that ending, for sure.

KR: Exactly. Exactly. Satisfaction was exactly what I wanted people to feel, and it was what I felt writing it and then reading it. So I felt lucky to be able to do that.

KJ: Wow. I'm wondering too, I mean, I guess with "Biter" because you narrated it, but you know, your stories, even when they're fantastical feel so real and they feel like lived experience. I know when "Cat Person" came out, a lot of people thought that it was a personal essay. I was like, that's insane, because we clearly dated the same person at some point, but I'm just ...

KR: Right. Maybe we did, who knows!

KJ: I know. Let's talk about it later offline, but I'm wondering ...

KR: Oh, exactly.

KJ: I'm wondering if any of them do feel particularly autobiographical to you?

KR: Yeah. Well, some of them feel more or less personal. But a thing that I have said, and sort of stick by, as absurd as it sounds, is that almost all the stories have approximately the same mix of autobiography and total fiction in them. Whether or not they're stories about murders and monsters, or whether they're stories about bad dates. The part of my brain that just kind of turns up my own experience and spits out a story always mixes in a lot of just purely made up things. To the point that it's often funny, like when I'm reading a story or talking about it, I'll think, oh yeah, I completely made that up. Then I'll remember that actually, yeah, that's true, but this one particular line or this particular moment happened exactly to me and sort of ended up in the story in a pure form.

The example that I've given that I think surprised me because genuinely I had forgotten it was that, you know, the story of "The Night Runner" is set in Kenya and it's about a peace corps volunteer and it's a male peace corps volunteer. He's a teacher. I wasn't a teacher, it's a totally different experience than I had. But in that story, he's walking home and a group of children follow him meowing because they say that his blue eyes are like a cat's eyes. Someone asked me, "Where did you come up with that? That's so weird." And I was like, "Oh, that exact same thing happened to me." That was just a moment that happened, I didn't interpret, 15 years went by and then it shows up in a story. So all of the stories have little moments like that.

Then the stories that I think of as the most personal tend to be more personal because of where I was when I was writing them, or the process of bringing them into the world. Some come more easily than others, and maybe like your more difficult children, hold a special place in your heart even if you love them all the same. Yeah, so Biter actually was kind of pure in its writing experience. I wrote it after I wrote "Cat Person," but was before "Cat Person" was published. So in a sort of sweet spot of writing regularly. But before any of the attention or public stuff had happened.

I wrote it and just felt it's one of the stories that, yeah, it's satisfying in that in this collection that's so much about the ambivalence of desire, and how we get punished for our desires and how other people force their desires on us. It's a troubled story about a somewhat bad person, but it's also a story about a woman who wants something and gets it, and gets away with it and then just kind of walks off stage. That was really satisfying to write after having written all the other stories and it's then satisfying to read. I guess I just spoiled it for all the listeners.

KJ: Sure. No, I think that's okay. One of the things, too, I love about that story is even though there's some horrific elements that happen, she's also thinking about, she spends all her time crafting marketing emails that nobody reads and she's weighing the pros and cons of losing her job. So it definitely has a lot of realism to it as well. But what was it like for you to narrate your own work? What did it feel like? You can talk about recording, the performance aspect, whatever comes to mind.

KR: Sure. I guess I can start with a slightly side story, which was I'd only ever done anything remotely similar once, which is that I read "Cat Person" for the New Yorker podcast. That was funny, because I do actually read my stories out loud as I'm writing them, that's usually a stage at that process, is to have read them out loud to myself to catch things that sound wrong or aren't quite setting. So I'm used to hearing my stories out loud. It's very different though, to read them out loud to an audience, even an audience of one person and a moment that where I fully felt that my life had gotten almost too strange to comprehend. Because then I had to read "Cat Person" for the podcast and I didn't have anyone to practice with but I was at home with my mom. So I was like, Mom, listen to me practice reading the story and then read her this obscene story full of bad sex.

She helpfully was like, "I think you should slow down here!"

KJ: That's amazing.

KR: But it felt deeply, deeply strange. Yeah, I feel like she's the one who deserves a prize after this bizarre year.

KJ: I actually had it on the other day. I was embarrassed for my husband to walk in. I think it was the first story, and I was like, oh my god.

KR: Exactly. I know. It's like, there is such a dissociation that takes place both with writing something ... I mean it's such an act of trust, I feel like. To put a bunch of stories out in the world and then just to be like, "Mom, just trust that I'm fine. Trust that none of the things that you're the most afraid of are autobiographical. Let us exist with this, you know, polite fiction." That is also the truth, that there's a distance between me and my stories. So reading that aloud, I do think puts the focus on that.

It shines the spotlight on how much these stories, even if they're not autobiographical, came from you and are of you, and you have to take responsibility for them again. In a way that, I think it's really different when it's in a book with its cover closed on your end table. When I'm reading it I have to own the fact that I invented all these very twisted and dark scenarios. That they came from my brain.

Which is good, because I did. I should take responsibility for that. But reading "Biter" in particular was wonderful. I loved doing it. The recording happened at a time where I was doing a lot of sort of preparatory interviews and writing nonfiction essays in advance of the book coming out. So it was really great to be able to say, "My job today is just to sit down, and go sentence by sentence through something that I wrote, read it out loud, hear how it sounds. I mean, you do have a moment where like, oh my God, it's too late to change anything. It's just terrifying, you know? You realize, "I've never read a story out loud to an audience of at least one person, without realizing that I put at least one word in that I have only ever read and never said out loud and I don't know how to pronounce it." And then I feel pretty confused and ashamed.

KJ: Busted.

KR: When I read "Biter," I realized I didn't know the word ... it is pronounced, I know now, satyr. S-A-T-Y-R. But I thought, my whole life, it was pronounced sadder. I don't even know.

KJ: Sateer? I thought it was a sateer.

KR: Exactly, right? So you just learn about how different the world is in your head from the real one. So I did that, practiced it, I read it to my girlfriends. But I also realized, and this is something I've gotten practice with now, that reading something too many times can also be deadening. You probably know how to keep that from happening if you're a professional narrator. To not drone because you've read something so many times. But for me, I think there's a sweet spot where you've read it enough that you're confident, but you haven't read it so many times that the words have lost their meaning. So I read it a handful of times. Read it closely. I thought about little moments where I had to decide how to read a "like," and backslash, or decide how I was going to put in some of the things that only ever made sense to me on the page. Like her list of right and wrong. How I wanted that to sound.

Then I went to the studio. It was just this little spot I'd never been before, filled with old musical instruments, which was delightful. I think they mostly record bands there, so that felt very cool. Then one of the editors guided me through it. But I read it alone, actually. After all the practicing with other people, I read it alone in a room and into a microphone with headphones on. I don't know, I think, in that one moment, I tried to pretend that I was reading a story that I hadn't written, and just reading a story out loud to, you know, people who wanted to hear one.

I think that was a lot of fun. It was fun to think about too, the stories, to the extent that they're scary stories. They're horror stories. What kind of story is more designed to be read aloud, like around a campfire? So I did have that kind of wonderful feeling of, "Gather closer, listen up. Something scary is going to happen." So yeah, in the end it was really fun. I was very happy to have had the chance to do it and to see my story from that very different angle than I usually look at it.

KJ: How about from hearing the other narrators read your work? Did that give you another perspective on your work, or was there anyone's performance that you especially thought was surprising or lovely or ... ?

KR: The truth is, it's still hard for me. So I did the recording for myself and then I never listened to it. I've never listened to myself read "Cat Person," because I cannot do anything other than focus on my own voice. It's cool to listen to the audio performers and I love it. But I also felt like I wasn't really hearing it because I wondered if they would make the story strange again to me and I think not yet. I still felt, I don't even know how to describe it except for like a physical sensation, which is slightly blushing and feeling on the spot. Where you feel like, "Oh, that's me and they're talking about me and it feels strange." I think I'm actually, in the same way that I'm the worst person sometimes to ask to interpret my own story, I'm the worst person to ask to interpret the audiobook. Because I still feel like right now, I can't believe that Aubrey Plaza's reading my stories.

That's amazing. What did she think of it? I don't know! Then spiral out into a melted pool of self-consciousness. So, I wish I had better answers, but I am really thrilled by it. I could not believe the range of talent and how a professional can act a story. You know what I mean? That to me seems like, I think I'm decently good at reading a story out loud as though it's a story. The idea of being able to embody one of those voices and act it and have such a range of personality in a single story, and to embody different characters within the same story. I just feel like it's so incredible and I was blown away. So I could recognize how amazing it was, even though it was more surreal than anything else to listen to. I also find it particularly delightful that the actor who read "The Good Guy," Finn Wittrock, had a stint on American Horror Storyplaying a killer clown.

KJ: Oh, did not know that.

KR: So it just added another layer.

KJ: He's brilliant, yeah.

KR: I mean, he's so brilliant and talented, and maybe double check that. Yeah. But it's just that to me was that is the first association that comes when I hear that voice. All of "The Good Guy" opens with that very gruesome and bloody image.

KJ: That first line.

KR: Exactly. The whole story, trying to unravel that. But I feel like it's another layer of, pardon my French, but like a mind f*** to have it be in the voice of a voice that I associate so directly with horror.

KJ: That's amazing.

KR: That kind of lethal, amoral horror. Yeah.

KJ: I totally agree. Let me ask you, we're going to wrap up shortly, but I want to ask you two more questions. Do you listen to audio books at all? Are you an audio book listener?

KR: I do, although I actually have a very, very narrow thread or type of audio books that I can listen to. Perhaps you can tell from listening to me during this interview -- I have pretty severe ADD and so, it's hard for me to focus. With the exception of nonfiction, conversational books about mindfulness and about attention. For whatever reason, the books that are about attention call me back to attention enough that I can listen to a full audiobook without losing the thread. I've now listened to quite a few. So the one I listened to most recently was 10% Happier by Mark Harris. It was about meditation and mindfulness. And I listened to Why Buddhism is True. It was this weird discovery of the last few years, where I would continually start audiobooks and then just find myself physically distracted.

But if I listened to this one particular kind, I could shift my brain into the right groove. I'm sure everyone who's listening to this conversation does not have the particular problem that I have ...

KJ: No, no...

KR: ... but it was funny and delightful to discover that it solves my attention deficit.

KJ: I think that's fascinating.

KR: It's actually expanded my mental universe. Yeah, no, it's true. I've listened to like four or five, I could make a list. Every time I finish them I'm like, wow. I managed to do this thing that I thought I could never do, which is listen without having something to do with my eyes and my hands for, seven, eight hours. I love it.

KJ: Oh my gosh, that's fascinating. I'm always multitasking when I'm listening, and I would like to sort of sit still and listen, so maybe I'll try a mindfulness title.

KR: Yeah. What I can't do is multitask. That's exactly the description of it. Like as soon as I'm looking at something else, I've forgotten where we are in the story and just start over. Yeah.

KJ: That's fascinating. Then, just really quick, I feel like I've noticed there are so many amazing short stories out there right now. I'm here for this short story renaissance. A lot of them are by women. A lot of them are kind of dark and a little bit horror tinged. I love Carmen Maria Machado and Kelly Link.

KR: Same, yup.

KJ: Then Samantha Schweblin. Do you know Samantha Schweblin? She has a book called Fever Dream.

KR: I do. I've read Fever Dream, and her collection [Mouthful of Birds] is on my list. I haven't read it yet, but I'm really excited for it.

KJ: Yeah. I feel like there may be a lot of people who aren't really short story people who are definitely going to be listening to your collection. I'm just curious where you might point someone who wants to read more like this or wants to hear other short stories?

KR: You're right, that there are so many good ones it's hard to even know where to start. One that I read recently that I loved, that I feel like if people they came in through "Cat Person" and liked my work, there is a book called Certain American States by Catherine Lacey. That's a collection of short stories that I really loved. She's got the same sort of dreadful interiority that surfaces in "Margot." With thinking about something and thinking about thinking about something, and then ending up in a sort of nightmare of self-consciousness, that I deeply identified with. That's a great book. There is a collection by Rita Bullwinkel called Belly Up, that came up with a small press last year, that I loved. It's also dark and kind of gruesome and mixes a bunch of genre and other elements together. Then the last one that I would say, it's not a woman actually, it's a man, but it's a collection called Friday Black. Have you read that?

KJ: Oh no, but that's on my list. That's on my list. I'll do that next.

KR: I love it. I mean truly, I think in terms of moving you almost violently from humor into horror and then back again, to the point that it's a physically exhausting but incredibly satisfying experience, that collection as a whole does something really unparalleled and incredible. I love it more than I've loved a lot... almost any book this year, so.

KJ: Okay, great. That is my sweet spot. So that is officially on my list. Yes, exactly.

KR: I bet you'll love it.

KJ: Kristen, I feel like I could talk to you all day and I want to. I want to discuss all the people we've dated and how similar they are, but I have to let you go.

KR: Tragic. [Laughter] Thank you.

KJ: But I'm so thrilled for you, and I'm so happy we had a chance to talk today and I really appreciate you taking the time to talk to us.

KR: You too. It was a really fun conversation. Thank you so much.

KJ: Thank you too. I wish you so much success with this book and I hope we get a chance to talk again soon.

KR: Yeah, definitely. We can sit down and have a drink and you know, swap stories.


Up Next

Theoretical Physicist Sean Carroll Reveals The 'Big Picture'

We spoke with the renowned expert and author about his poetic approach to naturalism, the mystery of consciousness, and understanding our place in the universe.