Today's books video is a quick excerpt of an interview between WGN Radio host Steve Bertrand and Patricia Cornwell, the author of 18 Kay Scarpetta novels, including the latest, Port Mortuary (Nov. 2010).

Cornwell tells Bertrand her characters do speak to her, but she has to do a lot of research so she can speak in their language -- that of forensic science, for example.

Once she's done that, then the dialogue is like I'm listening to them talk, and I write it down. And I don't script it, she says. The story becomes very organic. I let the characters lead the way.