Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.
While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, “Adrift”, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.
Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list.
Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the TNT television series “Rizzoli & Isles” starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.
Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.
Tess was kind enough to answer a few questions about her writing:
When did you know you wanted to become a writer?
When I was seven years old. I was an avid reader as a kid, and by age seven was already writing my own stories.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to writing?
Figuring out how to tie together all the scenes I’ve already written into a coherent climax and resolution. I often don’t know who the villain is until I’m about 2/3 through the first draft.
What piece of your writing portfolio are you most proud of?
How has writing changed your perspective on other things?
I pay attention to stories all around me. I think it’s made me more curious about a whole range of topics. When I travel, I open my eyes and ears to the odd and peculiar or unexplainable, all the little details that make me think: “What if…?”
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m working on book #12 in the “Rizzoli & Isles” crime series.
For readers who are unfamiliar with your books, what title would you recommend they read first?
If they’re interested in crime novels, then I recommend they start with THE SURGEON, as it’s #1 in the Rizzoli & Isles series. If they’re interested in history, then I recommend BONE GARDEN.
RF Hemphill is a former CEO of a multi-billion dollar global electric power and distribution company and is the author of Dust Tea, Dingoes & Dragons: Adventures in Culture, Cuisine & Commerce from a Globe-Trekking Executive.