Tuesday, June 7, 2011

9mm interview: Kathy Reichs

After a little break, Crime Watch's popular 9mm author interview series now returns with another big-name bestseller facing down the barrel of the nine questions that have so far been answered by 50 fantastic crime fiction authors, New Zealand and international, over the past fifteen months.

The list of authors who've participated reads like a veritable 'who's who' of the global crime landscape - from legendary international stars like PD James, Val McDermid, Michael Connelly, James Lee Burke, Lee Child, and many more, to up-and-coming talent, and some terrific local crime writers from New Zealand and Australia that deserve wider attention, here and abroad.

It's been a real privilege to interview all these authors, and a lot of fun too. I hope you've been enjoying the series as much as I and the authors have been. You can check out some of the previous author interviews by clicking on an author's name on the sidebar to the right, on '9mm' on the header bar above, or you can see a clickable list of the first 44 instaments here.

I fully intend to continue the series, and march towards the 100 interview mark over the coming year. There are plenty more crime writers out there who would be great to include in the 9mm 'family' - but at the same time we've got a pretty amazing line-up already. Feel free to go back over some of the old interviews, and perhaps add comments etc, if you like. Suggestions are also always welcome for future interviewees too. So speak up, and let me know what you want to see.

But for now it is time to once again polish off the gun and point it towards a creator of tales mysterious and thrilling. For those new to this rodeo, 9mm consists of the same 9 Murder Mystery questions put to a variety of New Zealand and international crime, thriller, and mystery authors.

Today I am very pleased to share with you all my recent 9mm interview with Kathy Reichs, the creator of the acclaimed 'Temperance Brennan' series of forensic crime novels (that have in turn inspired the popular Bones TV series, on which Reichs is an Executive Producer and consultant). You can read more about Reichs and her writing, including her recently released young adult novel VIRALS, at her website here.
Who is your favourite recurring crime fiction hero/detective?
That’s how hard to pick. How about Thursday Next? I bet no-one’s every picked Thursday Next. She’s in a series by Jasper Fforde. She investigates literary crimes. For example in the first book, I think it’s called THE EYRE AFFAIR, someone stole the original manuscript for Jane Eyre, and changed it, so every manuscript from then on down would be changed.

And of course Rebus; there are so many good ones, how do you pick one?

What was the very first book you remember reading and really loving, and why?
I do remember as a very young child reading the Nancy Drew books, girl detective kind of thing.

Before your debut crime novel, what else had you written (if anything) unpublished manuscripts, short stories, articles?

I did textbooks and journal articles. I did a partial manuscript of the first Temperance Brennan book, got about two thirds through it and threw it away, it was terrible. Then I changed it from third person to first-person voice, and then it worked. And then that’s the one that ended up being DEJA DEAD. But other than that I was too busy with the science...

Outside of writing, and touring and promotional commitments, what do you really like to do, leisure and activity-wise?
I’m trying to learn to play golf, but I’m just so terrible at it. One day it will be fun. Now it’s more frustrating than relaxing, but I am trying to learn to play golf. I go to the beach with the family. I do what everybody does; we go out to dinner, go to symphony, go to basketball games, football games... Carolina Panthers and the [Charlotte] Bobcats, neither one which was particularly good this year.

What is one thing that visitors to your hometown should do, that isn't in the tourist brochures, or perhaps they wouldn’t initially consider?
Well okay, here’s a blatant plug for my next book; Charlotte just opened the doors to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. So we are like the Mecca for NASCAR, and then of course there’s the huge Charlotte Speedway. So even if you’re not a motor car racing fan, the NASCAR Hall of Fame is kind of distinct.

If your life was a movie, which actor could you see playing you?
Jodie Foster. She’s smart. You know they do a flip-around on Bones, the show, where the main character, Temperance Brennan, writes books, and the fictional character is Kathy Reichs.

Of your books, which is your favourite, and why?
Well I think BONES TO ASHES, because it takes us back to her childhood, it’s set in Acadia, I was able to get some recognition for the Acadian people, who are just wonderful French-speaking people in New Brunswick, which is primarily an English-speaking province. And they were just such wonderful hosts and helpful in researching, so that was my favourite.

What was your initial reaction, and how did you celebrate, when you were first accepted for publication?
Well my reaction was I was stunned. I was astounded ... but my agent, who is still my agent to this day, still teases me that when she told me [how much it had been sold for] that I told her I was going to buy a new vacuum cleaner, so that was how I celebrated. That’s pathetic [laughing].

What is the strangest or most unusual experience you have had at a book signing, author event, or literary festival?
Gosh, I had a lady insist I sign her baby. Not the baby itself, just the baby’s onesies, but still [it was strange].

 Thank you Kathy Reichs. We really appreciate you taking the time to talk with Crime Watch.


Have you read BONES TO ASHES, VIRALS, or any of Kathy Reichs' other novels? Do you watch the Bones TV series? Do you enjoy forensically-focused crime tales? What is your favourite Kathy Reichs book? Comments welcome.


  1. Fun... thanks Craig. I still haven't read Deja Dead (which is on the shelf, staring at me, even as I type). I must get to it.

  2. I enjoyed Kathy's interview, especially the part about the vacuum cleaner! I have only read Cross Bones, which I really enjoyed. I have more of her books in my TBR mountain, which might actually diminish one day, instead of continually creeping upwards.

  3. Reading "Cut and Run " Can't put it down

  4. Being a compounding pharmacist and loving the science Kathy brings out is great. I have read almost all of her books, Deja Dead, and Bones to Ashes are favorites so far. Keep them coming Kathy! Great interview!