Tuesday, July 5, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Tess Gerritsen

Tess Gerritsen

EXCERPT from "Readers Resent Change" by Tess Gerritsen in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction

Back when I was writing medical thrillers, the genre was still hot. Robin Cook was the brand name in the genre, and he was always near the top of the bestseller lists. My first bestseller, Harvest, was released in 1996, near the height of the genre’s popularity, and I first tasted literary success as a medical thriller author.

But a few years later, I sensed that the genre was fading. A number of medical thrillers by other authors had failed in the marketplace. My own sales weren’t growing. And I myself was getting bored with the same old “good-doctor-caught -in-evil-circumstances” plots. So I wrote a hybrid novel, combining medical themes with a crime thriller: The Surgeon. It introduced detective Jane Rizzoli, and launched my crime thriller series.


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 suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008) and Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place.) Her books have been translated into 37 languages, and more than 20 million copies have been sold around the world.

Her books have been top-5 bestsellers in the United States and abroad. She has received the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon) and was a finalist for the Edgar award (for Vanish.)

Her series of novels featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the hit TNT television series "Rizzoli & Isles," starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander.

Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

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