The Guardian interviews my University of Wisconsin-Madison colleague and friend, Deborah Blum, on what inspires her to write about science: "Deborah Blum on science writing: I'm a neurotic over-researcher".
Or to give you another, more recent example, consider the complex chemistry and biology of plants. It sounds like a dust-dry topic but I love being able to demonstrate that it's wholly fascinating. So stories about plants run like a theme through my Wired blog: the chemical reasons that chocolate is poisonous to dogs, the way that rice plants have an affinity for arsenic, for instance. Or the surprising way that grass – plain old grass in a Texas field – can in conditions of stress, actually generate hydrogen cyanide and kill cattle.
The grass story reminds me of a point that the 19th century psychologist-philosopher William James liked to make. What science shows us, time and time again, is that the real world is a fantastical, wonderful, impossibly complicated piece of work and "nature is everywhere gothic". When I'm aiming high, I like the idea of being a kind of "gothic science writer" in the best Jamesian sense!
It's a great interview with many useful thoughts about how to take your writing to a higher level of interest and depth.