January 11, 2013 Patricia Cornwell has made the media rounds in recent months, celebrating the publication of The Bone Bed, the twentieth entry in her series of bestselling crime thrillers featuring Kay Scarpetta, a forensic pathologist. The Scarpetta novels, for which Cornwell has frequently done research at the Body Farm and National Forensic Academy at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, sparked the forensic science subgenre of thrillers that now crowds television schedules with shows like C.S.I. Investigation. Of this cultural phenomenon, Cornwell told The Philadelphia Inquirer, “I think you can blame Scarpetta. She opened the gate that made it accessible.”
In The Bone Bed, Scarpetta’s investigations lead her into dinosaur excavation beds and an epic tussle with a giant endangered leatherback turtle. Fans of Scarpetta have come to expect such wide-ranging adventures from their heroine, and Cornwell approaches the authenticity of Scarpetta’s experiences with great commitment and immersive research. As she told CBS News, the lines between the two women sometimes become blurred: “I created my characters, but they’ve also created me. … I do things because of them, and they do things because of me, and it’s a strange balance.”
Clearly, Cornwell respects that balance. Speaking with The Independent, she said, “Scarpetta walked into my life in the 1980s at a time no one wanted to write about these things, and she has evolved over the years. She is a character I enjoy working with and I am not bored with her.” That attention to character has been paying off for twenty novels now. In an online review of The Bone Bed Coast FM praised Cornwell’s enduring relationship to her heroine: “In the third decade of the Scarpetta series, Cornwell has lost none of her affection for or pride in her creation.”
Here’s a sampling of video and audio interviews Cornwell has given in support of The Bone Bed’s release:
To watch an Examiner.com video of Cornwell discussing how her process of writing the series has changed over time, click here.
To listen to Cornwell’s interview with Southern Illinois University’s Public Radio, click here.
To hear an audio recording of Cornwell’s interview with CBS New York, click here.
To watch a video of Cornwell discussing the book on Fox Business, click here.
To read an interview with Cornwell in the Financial Times, click here.
To read Chapter 16’s Q&A with Cornwell, which focuses on The Bone Bed, click here.
For more updates on Tennessee authors, please visit Chapter 16’s News & Notes page, here.