Your latest novel, – Speaking in Bones – now released in Italy with the title La verità delle ossa, is the eighteenth bestseller featuring Dr Temperance Brennan. Could you talk about it?
Tempe doesn’t solve every case. And it bothers her that a few nameless dead languish unidentified in her lab. Information on some of these UIP’s, unidentified persons, is available online, and “websleuths” work to match them with MP’s, reported missing persons. At the outset of the story, Tempe is visited by one such amateur detective who believes she’s successfully connected skeletal remains in Tempe’s storage facility to a young woman missing for three years. What seems at first to be an isolated tragedy takes on a more sinister cast as Tempe uncovers two more sets of bones. Still reeling from her mother’s diagnosis and the shock of Andrew Ryan’s potentially life-changing proposal, Tempe tries to solve the murders before the body count climbs further.
Could you tell us a little about your protagonist, Dr Temperance “Temp” Brennan? What inspired you to write her? Is she similar to you?
Professionally Temperance Brennan and I are exactly the same. Tempe has only one child, while I have three. Tempe is divorced, while I’ve been married for over 40 years. Tempe is a recovering alcoholic, while I’m inclined to that second glass of pinot. Tempe is much more impulsive than I am, and tends to get herself in trouble. I like to play it safe and leave the adventuring to her. I think what gives my books authenticity is that I do what it is I’m writing about. I think the fact that I am in the autopsy room, I go to the crime scenes and I work in in a full-spectrum forensic lab gives my books a flavor they otherwise wouldn’t have.
What are the main differences between the literary character Temperance Brennan and the TV character?
TV is a different animal than books. When we sold the idea to Fox, they decided early on they they’d prefer a younger version of the character. When we cast Emily Deschanel in the role of Tempe, she brought her own style to the part. The social awkwardness of TV Tempe was partly her interpretation of the role. I’ve been very pleased with the show, and I think Emily has been a wonderful Tempe.
What role does the Internet play in writing, researching, and marketing your books? Or is more important your direct experience?
I research some topics on the internet. Speaking In Bones introduces the topic of websluething which is an online pursuit. As usual, the story emerged from the coalescence of different idea particles floating around in my brain. Thousands engage in websleuthing worldwide. I was intrigued by the concept and thought my readers might also find the topic interesting. Brown Mountain, located in my home state of North Carolina, is famous for an unexplained phenomenon of floating lights whose origin no one can explain. The Blue Ridge Mountains are home to many unusual and little-known religious groups, some of whom handle poisonous snakes and speak in tongues as part of their worship. I took these disparate bits of knowledge, threw in some old cases, and Speaking in Bones was the result. I am always searching for ideas and new topics for the next book, so really it is a mix of cases I’ve worked on and cases I read about. I start with a case or situation and think “what if…” Deja Dead is based on my first serial murder investigation. Death Du Jour drives from work I performed for the Catholic Church, and from the Solar Temple cult mass murder-suicides. Fatal Voyage is based on my work in mass disaster recovery. Grave Secrets was inspired by my participation in the exhumation of a Guatemalan mass grave.
What is your relationship like with your readers? How can readers get in touch with you?
I love hearing from and meeting my readers. I do a lot of book signings and presentations, and get to hear stories about how Temperance Brennan has inspired readers and viewers to pursue careers in anthropology, forensics or a science related field. Readers can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kathyreichsbooksTwitter: https://twitter.com/KathyReichs Instagram: https://instagram.com/kathyreichs/Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/kathyreichs/ or they can visit my website at http://www.kathyreichs.com
Finally, the inevitable question: what are you working on now?
I am actually working on an off series book now. New characters, new premise, not Temperance Brennan… but no more spoilers!
Originally post in Liberi di scrivere