Friday, 30 October 2015

Being Patricia Cornwell's Editor - Depraved Heart BLOG TOUR

I am delighted to be today's stop on the BLOG TOUR for Patricia Cornwell's Depraved Heart, which was published on 22nd October 2015 by HarperCollins.

I would like to welcome Julia Wisdom, publisher at HarperCollins to tell us what it's like to be Patricia Cornwell's editor.

Being Patricia Cornwell’s Editor
By Julia Wisdom, Publisher, HarperCollins

Back in the 20th century – 1990, to be precise – when I was a young, impressionable and inexperienced editor, I read a debut thriller by an author called Patricia Cornwell.  The title was POST MORTEM and it was quite unlike anything I’d read before.  The central character, Medical Examiner Dr Kay Scarpetta, was completely original and I found her fascinating; the forensic detail felt precise and totally believable (in fact, as I’ve subsequently learnt, the forensics in all Cornwell’s books are 100% accurate); the story held me in a vicelike grip … And most of all it terrified me. No other thriller I’d read before had had such a powerful effect.  It channelled my scariest nightmare and it made me change two of the ways I behaved (to this day I still follow those practices). 

Patricia went on to become a household name and a global phenomenon.  I couldn’t even begin to guess how many millions of copies she’s sold worldwide, but I’ve never met anyone who hasn’t heard of her. Or her remarkable creation, Dr Kay Scarpetta. 

It seemed unlikely I’d ever become her editor but two years ago that’s exactly what happened.  Well, OK, that was quite a scary prospect. How to edit and successfully publish Patricia Cornwell?  Fortunately I’m surrounded by a highly professional, imaginative team of people from all the publishing disciplines – marketing and publicity through to design through to sales – and we had great fun brainstorming ‘the essence of Patricia Cornwell’. We decided she was the First and the Best in the field of Forensic-based thrillers; that she was the ‘Expert in Death’. I learnt all sorts of things about Patricia, perhaps most interestingly that she practises what she writes: she road-tests the forensics technologies in her books; she can fly helicopters, scuba dive, shoot; she is a forensic consultant and much more.

So far it’s been a blast.  The challenge has been to grow her already considerable readership, to reach those places not previously reached before, to be creative around the sorts of marketing employed – in both our hardback campaigns so far we’ve tried to use truly innovative digital advertising  – and our cover approaches.   

And most importantly the books remain powerful and disturbing, clever and suspenseful, surprising and twisty.  I’m not so inexperienced now, and I’ve read a great many thrillers since first opening POST MORTEM but the ending of DEPRAVED HEART still had the power to frighten me out of my wits. 

Your chance to meet Patricia Cornwell

This November, there are two events to meet Patricia Cornwell…. One in Manchester and one in London. Follow these links to buy tickets:


Depraved Heart
By Patricia Cornwell
Published by Harper Collins (22 October 2015)
ISBN: 978-0007552467

Publisher's description
Dr. Kay Scarpetta is working a suspicious death scene in Cambridge, Massachusetts when an emergency alert sounds on her phone with a surveillance film of her genius niece Lucy taken almost twenty years ago. The film clip and then others sent soon after raise dangerous legal implications that increasingly isolate Scarpetta and leave her not knowing where to turn – not to her FBI husband Benton Wesley or her investigative partner Pete Marino. Not even Lucy.
Scarpetta is now launched into intensely psychological odyssey that includes the mysterious death of a Hollywood mogul’s daughter, aircraft wreckage on the bottom of the sea in the Bermuda Triangle, a grisly gift left in the back of a crime scene truck, and videos from the past that threaten to destroy Scarpetta’s entire world and everyone she loves.

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