What's the new book about?
"Devil Bones begins as Tempe is called to the scene of an altar to find cauldrons, chickens, goat skulls and a human skull. It leads her into the world of fringe religions, like voodoo and wicca."
Was this story based on a real case?
"Not one particular case. Most of my books are, but this is based on the fact that every now and then I get something strange in my lab like a shrunken head, or a skull that's been painted or has wax or chicken feathers on it. Often they turn to be out from ceremonial settings from these fringe religions."
How involved with the writing are you on the TV series?
"I'm a producer. We have nine full-time writers who come up with the story ideas, then they ask me how to make it work from the point of view of science. Like 'what kind of fracture pattern would you see in a body that fell 800 feet out of an airplane?' My job is mainly to keep the science honest."
How have fans of your books reacted to the TV series?
"Initially I got a lot of questions asking why the character of Tempe is different. I think of them as 'Book Tempe' and 'TV Tempe'. Book Tempe is somewhere in her 40s, she works in the Carolinas and Canada, she's been married and unmarried, and has had this problem in the past with alcohol. TV Tempe is 30-something, she's in Washington DC, less sophisticated and definitely needs work on her people skills. I think of [the TV show] as a prequel, an earlier point in Tempe's life. Once I explain that, the fans say 'okay, that works'."
"You always feel a bit of trepidation. I'd been approached before about feature films and other ideas for the character, but I talked at length with our executive producers, Barry Josephson and Hart Hanson. I was just convinced that they could handle the character and story development satisfactorily, and that they genuinely wanted my input on the science end of it. It seemed [right]."
Are you happy with all of the changes they've made?
"I'm happy that when I sit down to write the next Temperance Brennan novel, I'm not impacted by TV Tempe, because I am writing about a different point in Tempe's life."
So the TV series hasn't impacted your writing in any way?
"No. I sit down and write my novels in exactly the way I would write them if the TV show didn't exist."
On average you've done one book a year for the last ten years. Do you expect to maintain that pace?
"I'm under contract for a total of 16 Temperance Brennan novels and they are due every year for the next four years, so yeah, I hope to keep producing one a year."
Have you ever thought about an end point and what that might be?
"I think every character has an end point, every TV show has an end point, and in a book there comes a time when you have to retire that character. So yeah, of course I've given some thought to that - but it's not going to be for the next four books, at least."
Finally, what did you make of the season three finale and the reveal of what Zack had been up to?
"Well I was very sad to lose Eric [Millegan], because he's really a nice person and I consider him a friend. But just like novels, a show has to grow and it was just a decision that was made that we needed to shake things up going into the fourth season. And it doesn't mean Zack won't be back!"
Kathy Reichs' Devil Bones is out now. The new series of Bones begins Thursday at 9pm on Sky1.