If you take a peek at the novels being read on the beach, you'll most likely find one written by Patricia Cornwell. With over 100 million copies sold in 36 different languages in over 120 countries, this New York Times bestselling author corners the market on thrillers. Her popular Scarpetta series has been entertaining fans for close to twenty-five years. Recently, I had a chance to chat with her about her latest paperback release, Flesh and Blood, available in stores now.
1. What inspired you to write a series centering on forensic science?
It has to do with my wiring. Most people don’t know that my father was an appellate specialist, and so as an attorney he was the person who performed autopsies on cases. He had that kind of probing, detail-oriented mind. If you think about it, forensic science is a type of excavation. You take certain pieces and parts to reconstruct a life and death in order to tell the truth by interpreting the language. That’s what interests me about forensic science. It’s the deduction and observation.
2. Flesh and Blood is the 22nd installment of The Scarpetta Series. What’s your secret for keeping the storyline fresh?
If I am going to have a series out for this long, I need to find a way to make each creation as unique and inspiring. It also needs to be as much of an adventure for me while I am writing it. I have a tried and true formula for how I keep myself in creative fighting shape with Scarpetta. I try to do things every year that put me through my own paces. For example, in two weeks I will be scuba diving among the remnants of a plane crash in the Bermuda Triangle. Someone once said, it’s really important to do something that makes you feel insecure. So, I like to try something new every year that isn't always easy for me to do.
3. How does the title Flesh and Blood correlate with the story?
It means something on multiple levels. Of course, it alludes to the fact that Lucy, who is Scarpetta’s niece, is really her only flesh and blood. She raised her like a daughter, and so much of what is going on in the storyline centers on what is happening now in Lucy’s life. The title also reminds us that at the end of the day, it’s not about technology or science but flesh and blood. The dead body is evidence to Scarpetta and she is respectful of it, but really so much for what she does is about the living. Beyond all else, she deals with those left behind. It's about life.
4. As you were writing the novel, did you feel more of a connection to one of the characters this go-around than in previous titles?
I always feel the strongest connection with Scarpetta. The strength of the series is who she is and why she does what she does that keep readers coming back for more. I want to burrow deeper into this character. People are really interested in her, so I try to reveal more of her with each book. I want the reader to feel as if the character just walked into the room.
5. Trivia Quiz: Please share with us a fun fact about Dr. Kay Scarpetta that many readers may not know or remember from a previous novel.
Scarpetta has a wicked sense of humor. It’s difficult for me to show this in the book because of the intensity of the story. Scarpetta sees the ironies in life. It’s sort of a dirty little secret because I know how funny she is. She has a real dry humor.
6. Are you currently at work on your next book? If so, would you mind sharing with us a sneak peek?
The twenty-third book in the Scarpetta series, Depraved Heart, is due out in October. I just finished the edits. I am also in the early planning stages of book twenty-four. Currently, I am in L.A. pitching a couple of television ideas which is a frontier I adore. There are many more things I would like to do creatively in the future.
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