Friday, March 12, 2010

Author Interview: Tess Gerritsen

It all started a year ago. I was at school, around the bookstore (yes, there is a bookstore!) and saw Tess Gerritsen's Vanish (the 5th book of Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles series) cover. That's what first catched my atenttion, then the summary. In July, 2009, I was about to travel and asked daddy to go buy it with me, so I could read something on the plane. Unfortunately (or fortunately) there wasn't Vanish anymore at the mall's bookstore. So, the salesman introduced me to The Surgeon (the 1st book of the series) and I bought it and, now, her books have been on the top of my favorite ones ever.

I am more than happy to introduce
Tess Gerritsen for those who doesn't know who she is and to re-introduce her to the others who already know. I really appreciate her work, so I hope you get any of her books to read -- because they're so well-written.
A quick biography: Tess Gerritsen is an internationally bestselling author and a retired physician. Her first novels were romantic thrillers, then changed to medical thrillers, which gave her the notability she deserved (at least here, in Brazil). Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles are her most well-known characters, who protagonize her biggest series (Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles series), which is being turned into a TV series. It will be released in July, 2010 (US).
The Interview

What first inspired you to write medical thrillers novels? Where did the ideas come from?
I started my career writing romantic suspense novels for Harlequin Intrigue books, and wrote nine of those books. But one evening I had dinner with a retired police detective who'd been traveling in Russia, and he told me that children were vanishing from Moscow, and the local police believed those kids were being sent to foreign countries as organ donors. I was so disturbed by this that I wanted to write a book about it. So I wrote a medical thriller called HARVEST -- which became a big bestseller. It was so successful that I decided to continue writing thrillers, and have ever since.

What made you retire from the Medicine career?
My children! I had so much trouble finding child care while I was working as a doctor, that I finally decided to stay home and pursue a different career. Within a few years, I'd sold my first book (a romance). I never went back to medicine.

In your writing life, have you ever had author's block? How did you deal with it?
I get it all the time. Usually it's because I haven't thought the plot all the way through, and I get to a point in the book where I just don't know what happens next. My solution is to take some time off and think about it. I go for long walks or long drives. It may take a few days or a few weeks of mulling it over, but I'll always manage to figure out the rest of the story.

Have your books ever been rejected? What did or do you think about that?
When I first started writing, yes, I got plenty of rejections! My first two books were never published. It only made me more determined to keep trying. I think that's the key to my success: my persistence.

Who were you inspired by to create your characters?
Every character comes form a different inspiration, but some of my heroines come from my own personality. For instance Maura Isles is very much a reflection of my own personality, while Jane Rizzoli is like every female police officer I've ever met.

What it is like, for you as an author, to have your job known and appreciated by people from so many different countries?
It never ceases to amaze and thrill me that so many people have read my books! I feel very lucky to have such fans, and I feel I have a responsibility to entertain and satisfy them. I take that job seriously!

Do these people write or email you to tell you what they think of your books?
Yes, I get quite a few emails -- at least several a day. Most of the time, they write to tell me they like the books. Occasionally, someone will write to point out a mistake. And every so often, I'll get an email from someone who absolutely hates something I've written and they tell me so! Those last letters aren't so pleasant to read.

Are they most teenagers or adults?

Both. I get a surprising number of emails from both boys and girls in their teens, which really pleases me because I hope they'll read me for many years to come.

How did you write THE BONE GARDEN's 1830-part? Did you study by yourself or when you attended college -- to describe the Medicine from this period?
BONE GARDEN required a lot of research. I read quite a few history books and newspapers from that era. I read biographies of, and books by, Oliver Wendell Holmes (one of the characters). I visited museums, and walked around historic Boston (where many of the same streets and buildings are still in existence). Finally, I was able to find and purchase several very old medical textbooks from the early 1800's, with detailed surgical instructions for various procedures -- including how to cut off an arm (without anesthesia!) I used that old information to write the scene in BONE GARDEN where the surgeons must cut off the arm of a young man.

In THE SURGEON (2001), you focus more on the relationship between Moore and Catherine Cordell and only introduces Jane Rizzoli. You intended to do it and then, in THE APPRENTICE (2003), brings her as the main protagonist of the series, or you decided it when you were writing the second one? What can you tell us about your choice to turns her into the main protagonist along with Maura Isles?
When I wrote THE SURGEON, I never thought that Jane Rizzoli would become a major character. She was just a minor character, and I planned to kill her at the end. But as I wrote the book, I got more and more interested in Jane. She seemed so different, so real to me, and by the end of the book I was really attached to her. I couldn't let her die! So she lived. And then I wanted to find out what happened next in her life, so I made her the star of THE APPRENTICE. Ever since then, she's been the star or co-star of my series.

Have they already filmed the pilot of "Rizzoli & Isles" TV series? Have you seen it? Did you participate on the cast selection? What more can you tell us about this project?
Yes, they filmed the pilot of "Rizzoli & Isles" and it looks really good! The two stars (Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander) are perfect in their parts. The producers were the ones who chose the cast, and they did a wonderful job. The pilot will be airing on US TV in July, and there are nine more episodes after that. If the ratings are good, then the series will continue into next year. I'm very hopeful that it will be successful.

To finish: Could you tells us if you're already planning on/or writing another book for the 'Jane Rizzoli & Maura Isles' series after ICE COLD release?
Yes, I'm already about 40 pages into my next Jane and Maura novel. I don't have a title yet, but it starts off with a strange murder in Boston's Chinatown, and the story will bring in some ancient Chinese folktales that my mother used to tell me when I was growing up.

Thank you very, very much, Tess!
You have been such a nice person to me.

6 comments:

  1. Woah, I've actually never heard of this author, but I'll definitely have to check her out sometime! Great interview, Raila, and I agree that reading hate email is hard. :(

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  2. Thats amazing how she wound up writing this genre. Love the interview!

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  3. Awesome interview Raila! Tess is one of my favourite authors as well! :)

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  4. How did you get the chance to interview her? Lucky! She is one of my favorite medical-thriller authors. And you also asked some fantastic questions :)
    I have an award for you on my blog :)

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  5. A positively grand interview by the young Brazilian secondary school student, who was more astute than some of the professional book reviewers in the USA. Here's to you Raila Recife!!!

    I am most certainly awaiting the new book and the TV series with bated breath.

    T., you've hit two home runs, me thinks.

    The Rev. Msgr. Daniel Beegan MOB.

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  6. Great interview. I love Tess Gerritsen, and you did a fab job here. :o)

    -Susan

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