Saturday, April 3, 2010

Interview with Kathy Reichs

From Politics Daily --

'Bones' Inspiration Kathy Reichs Inspires Girls in Science --

by Mary C. Curtis --
Posted: 03/9/10 --

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – We occasionally like to highlight accomplished women on WomanUp, even when their busy and organized schedules leave us feeling dizzy and a bit envious. I caught up with Kathy Reichs – forensic anthropologist, academic, best-selling author and inspiration for a hit television show – before her talk at a Book and Author dinner at Queens University of Charlotte.

Reichs and her family live here, where she is on the faculty at University of North Carolina at Charlotte. But she spends a lot of time traveling – to Montreal, where she is a consultant for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec – and on the day after Monday night's event, to California, where the TV show "Bones" is filming the first script she's written.

The show's title character is based on both Reichs and Temperance Brennan, star of her books. On the show, Temperance is a forensic anthropologist who solves crimes during the day and writes novels in her free time – books whose heroine is named Kathy Reichs. Got it?

As a producer, the real Reichs reads every script – for the science, mostly, she told me before her talk. She gets a kick out of all the e-mails and notes she from girls and young women interested in following her in a field that had few female role models when she started. An unscientific survey confirmed many girls count "Bones" among their favorite TV shows because Reichs stand-in Emily Deschanel is brainy, not just because co-star David Boreanaz is cute. Reichs said she deconstructs the sexy plot lines with young fans to point out the science. "Did you know that part was chemistry?" she says to them. "And that was physics?"

Reichs said her TV self is "younger." Reichs is funnier, her banter breezy and sharp -- or as breezy and sharp as you can be while describing sifting through skeletal remains. She explained how the bones of victims told her a serial killer in Canada was either a butcher or an orthopedic surgeon, or "perhaps it was both," she said she joked at a gathering of orthopedic surgeons.

The fictional cases can't compare to what she's handled in real life, though. Reichs testified at the United Nations tribunal on genocide in Rwanda and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. Her hardest assignment, "physically and psychologically," she said, was identifying remains found at Ground Zero after 9/11, "13-hour shifts, digging through rubble. Everybody was fragile and wanted to help."

As though to prove her point that she doesn't believe in writer's block, Reichs is working on a young adult series with her 31-year-old son, a "recovering attorney." Her latest book is "206 Bones," named for the number in the human body; "Spider Bones" is due in August.

And, she said, no one calls her "Bones" -- "more like doc."

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