Five Things You Didn’t Know About Ben Mezrich

The prolific Boston author trades the world of Ivy League intrigue for UFO hunting.

ben mezrich 27th parallel

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To suggest that Ben Mezrich has found a method that works for him is putting it lightly. The Boston-based author has kept up nearly a book-a-year pace since 1996, with multiple movie adaptations under his belt. While his past efforts have focused on strivers trying to break into a world denied to them (the MIT cardsharps of Bringing Down the House, Mark Zuckerberg in The Accidental Billionaires), his latest examines a very different set of outliers: UFO fanatics. The 37th Parallel, out September 6, follows a man trying to discover the truth behind American UFO lore. Ahead, Mezrich shares some of his writing tactics, as well as his thoughts on the possibility of extraterrestrial invaders.

1. It’s no coincidence his books have made the leap to the big screen.

“There are lots of writers who write a book just to write a book. For me it’s never been that. If I didn’t think there was a possibility for a movie, I would choose a different topic.”

2. His research-gathering methods occasionally resemble movie scenes.

“For the Facebook story, I was handed court documents in a bathroom in Penn Station. You get these things in weird ways from people who want to tell the story.”

3. He wrote his latest book under the influence of K-pop.

“Korean pop—have you ever listened to it? It’s very UFO-y, sci-fi-y. So on Spotify, I have a K-pop playlist that goes continuously. You don’t understand the words, but that kind of works, in a way.”

4. His real secret for writing: Boston winters.

“Honestly, I need cold weather. I have to lock myself up half the year, and so I like a good, deep winter.”

5. Working on the new book converted him from skeptic to tentative believer.

“To me, it was always some guy out in the field who said he saw something and that’s it. But the reality is much bigger than that. And it wasn’t until I got into this story and I did the research that I started to really believe.”