Author Patricia Cornwell has revealed that the intensive research she undertakes for her books has left her with post-traumatic stress.
Speaking to BBC HARDtalk, the crime writer said that researching her books is "exhausting", takes "all [her] focus" and "hangs over [her] head the whole time" that she's writing them.
“It’s the research that has taken the most out of me because when I first went to the morgue and started doing all this, you really don’t know what it’s going to do to you until it’s already happened and then it’s too late, and there’s no getting out of it and there’s no going back", she said. "I've changed my life in a way that I may as well have given myself a disease. I won’t get over this.”
She added: “I have post-traumatic stress type stuff... I have images of things that are like malware, I can’t get them out of my head. I’ve seen things that I don’t show my readers, I’ve heard things that I don’t ever tell my readers. And if I write about it then that’s at least something I can do with this really morbid rather horrible database that I have in my head. To be honest with you, it’s been hard."
Cornwell also discussed how the abuse she suffered as a chlid drives her to write.
"I’ve so immersed myself in the traumas and the tragedies of other people that I think that I so desperately need to try and heal other people [through writing]... It’s about healing myself and one of the ways we heal ourselves is to heal others. In fact, I don’t know of any other way to heal yourself than to do that for others."
Conwell has sold 9,051,357 print books in the UK for for £59.8m, according to figures from Nielsen BookScan. Her latest novel Chaos was published by HarperCollins last month.