I love asking Charlotte's Kathy Reichs how she gets the ideas for her bestselling "Bones" series of thrillers.
Last year, I learned she drew inspiration for "Flash and Bones," her fourteenth thriller featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, from a big landfill behind the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
For her newest novel, "Bones Are Forever," out Aug. 28, Reichs told me she was inspired by a visit to Yellowknife, a town in Canada's Northwest Territories. There, she learned about diamond mines, gold mines and the arsenic that's a gold-mining byproduct.
"As soon as they started talking about arsenic," she told me, "I thought, 'What a perfect place for a body.'"
Reichs also drew from forensic anthropology cases she had recently investigated. They included Florida's Caylee Anthony case and the discovery of the body of an 11-month-old girl in an attic in eastern North Carolina.
"Bones Are Forever" opens to a grisly scene. Brennan is investigating the discovery of baby's decomposing body in the bathroom of a seedy apartment in Quebec.
Reichs, a New York Times bestselling author, was a UNC Charlotte anthropology professor when she published her first novel, "Deja Dead," in 1997. She remains on UNCC's faculty but no longer teaches. Her new book is her fifteenth in her "Bones" series. The books are also the inspiration for "Bones," the Fox television series.
Reichs is under contract for a total of 19 "Bones" thrillers, and she's now at work on the next one, to be set in Afghanistan. That setting was inspired by Reichs' visit last year during a USO tour.
Reichs will sign copies of her novel at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30 at Pineville's Barnes & Noble, 11055 Carolina Place Parkway.
Joining her will be her daughter and fellow novelist Kerry Reichs, author of "What You Wish For," a tale of five families pursuing different paths to happiness.