Kathy Reichs of Bones (Temperance Brennan IRL) visits HMNS and talks scientific vs. script-writing, creating the “crimedy” & more

What better place for the creator of Bones to give a presentation than at the Houston Museum of Natural Science?

Dr. Kathy Reichs — forensic anthropologist, best-selling author and real-life inspiration for the popular television series (and original “crimedy“) Bones — spoke to students of HCC’s Northwest Audio Recording & Filmmaking Department on Sept. 7 — and we snuck in to share some tales from the real-life Temperance Brennan.

Dr. Kathy Reich

For those of you who don’t know, Dr. Kathy Reichs has spun her real-life experiences into more than a dozen best-selling fiction novels since 1997. Then in 2005, FOX adapted her novels into a comedic crime series (called the “crimedy”), based around Reichs’ semi-autobiographical heroine, Temperance Brennan. And in a quirky TV twist, TV’s Temperance Brennan also writes crime novels in her spare time — about a fictional forensic anthropologist named Kathy Reichs.

With her latest book, Bones are Forever, out now, with Bones entering its eighth season and with a new series of young adult novels written with her son Brendan, Reichs took the time out to talk process, crack some (OK, a lot of) jokes and chat about how she sold her first novel on the first try — and won an award for it.

Dr. Kathy Reich

Here are the highlights:

Reichs found success via the old adage “write what you know.” Although the crimes featured in her novels draw from real-life experience, she changes names, places and dates. “I take a case and then ask myself, ‘What if?’ and spin off from there,” she says.

To say that Reichs has had an adventurous career would be an understatement. She has been hired by the Catholic church to exhume the body of a 1700s woman being considered for sainthood. She did disaster recovery work after Hurricane Katrina and the Sept. 11 attacks. She has also worked on human rights cases in Guatemala and Rwanda.

Reichs is extremely involved in the writing room on the set of Bones, keeping the science honest and even penning an episode — “The Witch in the Wardrobe” — herself! She says the lab featured in the show is realistic — nothing exists in the lab that doesn’t exist in the real world — but she’s never been in a lab that nice.

The Tempe on TV is not the Tempe of Reichs’ books, but she’s OK with that. “I think of the TV show as a prequel,” Reichs says. “It’s early Tempe; she hasn’t come into herself yet.”

Reichs says being a good anthropologist aided her writing. “If you’re a good observer, you can’t help but be a good writer.”

Dr. Reichs donated her honorarium to raise awareness for Houston Community College Northwest’s Audio Recording and Filmmaking Department. To learn more about Reichs’ work, her latest novel and her young adult series, “Virals,” click here.