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Krys Boyd: Quick Thinker

NPR listeners might easily recognize her voice—the inquisitive host of KERA’s Think program is arguably the midday commuter’s best friend and ultimate supplier of clever discussion points. We know her as Krys Boyd, but children Ben, 11, and Clara, 8, simply know her as “mom.” From the minuscule world of ants to the state of our nation to uncovering the vital significance of dirt, the 40-year-old working mother makes for a fascinating interview herself.   
 
You remarried a little over two years ago. How did you meet?
I met my husband [Matt DeMoss] for the first time in person at a coffee shop after meeting online. We dated for 10 months before we got engaged. Nine months after that we got married. So now I’m blessed with Ben and Clara and my two “bonus children”—Heather, 11, and Harrison, 9—from Matt’s previous marriage.  
Do your kids listen to your show?
Most of the time, they’re in school when I’m on the air, but NPR is always on in the car. When they hear me they’re used to it so it’s not that big a deal, but sometimes their friends will hear my voice and say, “Hey, is that your mom?” And when it comes to topics like ants, outer space—things National Geographic would cover—they’ll be interested and tune into those programs.
Since Think also airs on television on Fridays, is there a big difference between being heard on the air vs. being seen in front of the camera?  
Each format has its own share of benefits, but yes, being in front of the camera is a lot different. With radio, it’s more intimate, and you can interact with your audience more since listeners are allowed to call in during the show. That isn’t the case with television—although it is nice to be able to see people’s facial expressions. And on TV, you can’t just read off questions. On a lighter note, you also get to have makeup artists make you look good!
How do you deal with an awkward moment on the air?
I’m not out to catch my guests off guard—it’s not that kind of show; they are glad to be there. But it’s always good to have plenty of discussion points up your sleeve, just in case. That being said, there was one particular guest, choreographer Twyla Tharp, who’s notorious for being rather abrupt and curt during interviews, but I managed to pull through quite well. It was like being able to ski down a black diamond!
Ever been put on the spot by your children? What’s your take when it comes to your kids’ inquisitive questions, especially when the questions merit, say, not-so-simple answers?
I’m a huge believer in being honest. If I avoid the answer or circle around it, I think it would pique their interest even more and they’d ask someone else, like a kid at school who wouldn’t necessarily give an accurate response. I’d feel better that they got their info from me rather than someone else out there.
What’s the most valuable lesson your children have taught you? 
That they come prewired. You can shape values or how they deal with conflict, but you can’t change their basic nature … you have to accept that nature, no matter what it may be. 
Five words that you’d use to describe yourself …
Curious, humorous, relaxed, organized (at least when it comes to work), lucky.
Five words your children would use to describe you …
Loving, tough, funny, impatient, interested.
Living or dead, who would be your dream interview?
Chelsea Clinton. She grew up in a fish bowl—I mean, we all watched her grow up. I’d be very curious to know how she dealt with it all.
Who are some of your more memorable interviews?
[Author and grandson of former President Dwight D. Eisenhower] David Eisenhower; [MacArthur genius grant recipient] David Montgomery; [actor] Adrien Brody.
Favorite place to frequent with the family?
Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens and the Dallas Museum of Art.
Favorite Food?
We all love hummus, especially from Ali Baba. The kids are adventurous eaters. There’s also an Ethiopian place we recently discovered. And we love Indian food, too.
When it comes to art, who or what do you like?
I’m fond of mosaics, contemporary art and Latin painters. I’m also a fan of Piet Mondrian’s works—before the squares, when he was painting windmills.  
Favorite piece of furniture?
I’m really not all that attached to things. My grandmother was always one who believed that “possessions can possess you.” I feel the same way. However, I do have this green overstuffed chair where I like to sit to prepare for my interviews.  
But if your house caught fire, what five things would you take with you?
Folder containing all our important documents; Ben’s favorite blankie; A stash of food for the kids; My iPhone; The Kindle [e-reader].
The Kindle?
Oh I love it. I read at night and I often lie on my side so it’s nice not having to turn pages. And since it’s not actually a book, it feels different enough that I can read for pleasure. I read so many books for work, that even when I feel like picking up a book to read for myself, I feel guilty that I should be reading [a book for one of my interviews].
Favorite time of day?
After dinner. We read books to the kids. Sometimes they read to us and they’ll talk about the books as well. We have a particular book for certain parent/child combinations: When it’s the six of us together, we read The People of Sparks. When it’s Matt, Ben, Clara and me, we read Al Capone Does My Shirts. But when it’s just the three of us [Ben, Clara and me], it’s Leon and the Champion Chip
Philosophy on motherhood?
Be honest. Pick your battles. Know when to laugh.