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The Sirens of Suspense




Kathy Reichs, like her character Temperance Brennan, is a forensic anthropologist. Formerly for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, Reichs is now a professor in the department of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. A leader in her field, Reichs is one of only seventy-nine forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and the former Vice President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Reichs is the author of the bestselling Bones series and the creator of Bones, the hit FOX television show based on her novels.

Kathy Reichs writes the Virals young adult series with her son Brendan Reichs. The fourth book in the series, EXPOSURE, publishes on March 4, 2014.


Find Kathy on Twitter & Facebook.

Find Brendan on Twitter & Facebook.


It’s difficult to pin down the exact moment when I decided to write. I’d always suspected that my line of work would be an interesting vehicle for a thriller. Then, in the early 1990s, I was asked to consult on the case of a serial killer operating in Montreal. By studying the bones of a victim, I was able to help the authorities develop a profile of the murderer, who was later caught. I thought the case would make a great story, and that experience formed the basis of my first novel, Deja Dead. The rest, as they say, is history.

Over the years, the response from my colleagues has been overwhelmingly positive. There have been a few snide comments, here and there, but I’ve discovered that most scientists secretly have an aspiration to write fiction themselves. I often get suggestions for ideas, or references to forensic cases that might make a good story. I’ve even been outright pitched whole book ideas, complete with prepared materials. That can get a bit awkward, but overall the reaction of the scientific community has been wonderful.

First and foremost, when I write a novel, I aim to get the science correct. That’s my prime directive. Coming from a technical background, it’s very important to me that the methods my characters employ are accurate, and that the materials are authentic. But it’s equally important not to weight down the story with too much technical jargon, or needless detail that would distract the reader and slow the plot. In the end, my main job is too entertain, so I have to walk a fine line between educating and keeping the action moving.

Regarding the Virals series, that was actually Brendan’s idea. I’d thought about writing a YA book for years, but never seemed to have enough hours in the day. At the same time, Brendan was growing tired of being a lawyer and was looking for a new career. When a friend of his in New York mentioned that a publisher might be interested in something we could write together, he jumped at the chance. A few weeks later we had a concept, a book deal, and a partnership. Exposure is our fourth collaboration, and we’re hoping for many more!

If I was allowed only one piece of advice for aspiring writers, it would be this: Write. Write write write. Writing is a skill, not an art. It takes practice to make perfect (or get reasonable close). Get your reps in any time you can.





DO YOU HAVE A PRIME DIRECTIVE IN YOUR LIFE OR WRITING? Tell us by commenting on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a a copy of EXPOSURE! (U.S. entrants only, please.)


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