“The greatest gift is our own eyes, sense of smell, and abilities to deduce.” – Patricia Cornwell
The author of 23 books in the Scarpetta series, Patricia Cornwell often is credited with being the first real writer in the forensic crime genre’. And she’s been noted as a major influence on the development of shows like CSI and the subsequent CSI dramas as well as things like True Crime and Cold Case Files.
But it was her work as a reporter that got her started. After finishing college she went to work for the Charlotte Observer and began covering crime stories. It was during that time that she also wrote a biography about a family friend that whetted her appetite for writing creatively. But first she added much more of the life experiences that would shape her fiction, working first in the office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia, and the for the Richmond Police Department.
After writing 3 novels that essentially went nowhere, she had her breakthrough with Postmortem, the first of the phenomenally successful series featuring forensic investigator and medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta. To date they’ve sold over 100 million copies and won her numerous writing awards, including the coveted Sherlock Award for development of the best detective character.
She likes to write in first person “because it makes the reader feel as if he or she is the one solving the crime,” she said. She also enjoys the company of bright people from whom she draws inspiration for her writing. “Being with someone who is smart and gives good advice adds tremendously wonderful elements to your life,” she said.
Great advice (as is her opening quote) for anyone in the writing field.
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