Sunday, December 11, 2011

Through Scarpetta's Eyes: my interview with Patricia Cornwell

Recently, I had the privilege of interviewing Patricia Cornwell, who in a way sparked the whole forensic fiction sub-genre (which has since influenced many writers in books, film, and television) with her 1990 debut, POSTMORTEM, which introduced Kay Scarpetta and won a host of awards.

From the CSI franchise to Body of Proof, Bones, and dozens more TV shows that fill the nightly line-ups, it's easy to see that once Cornwell let the forensic/pathology/scientific side of crime fiction out of the box, it's something that has really taken hold for creators, readers, and viewers worldwide.

I had a very enjoyable half an hour chatting with Cornwell about a variety of topics, by phone, while she was touring the United Kingdom in support of her latest Kay Scarpetta novel, RED MIST.

Today, a feature article I wrote based on the interview was published in the Sunday Star-Times, New Zealand's most widely-read Sunday newspaper. If you are in New Zealand, you can read the article on page F8 of the Culture magazine in the newspaper. Go and grab a copy - there's plenty of other interesting stories in today's issue as well.


  1. Craig - Sounds like it was a good interview. Thanks for sharing about it.

  2. Hopefully I will be able to publish it in full online next week, if the SST doesn't place it on the popular website itself.

  3. Enjoyed the article, Craig. You get to chat to all sorts of interesting people nowadays!

  4. I always thought that Thomas Harris sparked that particular subgenre ;-)

  5. From memory, although the Harris novels have 'crazy/intelligent serial killers' (eg Lecter), they're not really forensic, in terms of autopsy/pathology etc - and Corwnell is clearly the one who kickstarted that in a big way, and has been followed by many authors (Reichs etc) and TV shows. She took crime novels into the labs/autopsy rooms etc in a big way, and now even general crime shows/books often include that, either as a focus or as a bigger part of the overal team/story etc...