Patricia Cornwell is one of the first crime detective series writers.  She has sold over one hundred million books. Her most recent book, The Bone Bed, is the latest addition.  She spoke before a full audience at the Carter Presidential Library in the Day Chapel on October 19th.

The Bone Bed is about the disappearance of a paleontologist on a dinosaur dig.  Cornwell came up with the story idea after she was asked to join her friend Dan Aykroyd and his wife in northern Alaska for a dinosaur dig. She also got to spend time with a rare breed of turtle, the Leather Back, which is considered a modern dinosaur. None are in captivity, but some are found injured and that is the one she got to observe.

In her dinosaur dig she saw bones from a virgin site and experienced firsthand the large scale of bones.

As for her writing routine, she gets an idea, thinks about it and then plunges into the tale after some intense research. Unlike other writers who put together an intense outline, Cornwell’s process is to let the characters tell her the story–a very organic method.

That night, she did not read from her book, she only spoke for about ten minutes and then opened it up for questions and answers. The questions were all over the place, but the constant theme was that for those aspiring writers, simply write. With Google and the Internet, anyone can become a instant expert. Even though she did not go to law or medical school, Cornwell can take on her protagonist and make for a real life detective.

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