Ask Tess Gerritsen - September 23, 2012 discussion

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message 1: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Huot (CoffeeTalkMinistry) Hi Tess,
I love your books! I have a question for you. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If not, how old were you when you realized your writing was actually GOOD?


message 2: by Asmaa (new)

Asmaa (Asmaa_A) Hello Tess!

I have been reading your books for 5 years now, and I was hooked since day one!
My question for you is, how do you generally go about writing the plot of a story? Do you usually have an ending in mind, or do you allow the story to create itself as you write it?


message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike Thomas | 1 comments Hi Tess,
I am a big fan of your books, have read all the Rizzoli and Isles series, I am also a fan of the TV show. How much creative input do you have on the TV show, or do you leave it to the shows creative staff? Many thanks, I am looking forward to your next book, take care, Mike Thomas. XXX


message 4: by Karno (new)

Karno (karnong) | 1 comments Hi I'm a huge fan of your books. I owned most of them in fact. I just wondered where do all inspiration come from for all the series so far? What's the toughest part about writing a novel? And I'd like to thank you for imparting your knowledge as I find your books very informative especially on medicines and chemical related.


message 5: by Caitlyn (new)

Caitlyn (CaitlynPutt_) | 1 comments Hi Tess!
I'm a huge fan of your books and Rizzoli and Isles on TNT. I too, would like to hear about how you feel towards the adaptation of Rizzoli and Isles to television :)
Also, what advice would you give to those that love to write? The writing industry is so tough these days, and any advice from such a brilliant author like yourself would be much appreciated.
Many thanks and best wishes, Caitlyn


message 6: by Kat (new)

Kat | 1 comments Hi Tess! I love your books and I look forward to the next book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. I was wondering if you're planning to have a romance blossom between Anthony Sansone and Maura? Any hints? Thanks and keep writing! Kat


message 7: by Birgül (last edited Sep 23, 2012 04:38AM) (new)

Birgül (mukrime) | 2 comments Hi Tess!
First of all, I must say that you are one of my favorite crime books writers. Although I couldn't finish reading all the Rizzoli&Isles series, I can say that I find your books very intriguing and real page-turners. By the way, I also love the show Rizzoli&Isles.
I have a few questions for you. I have always wanted to write a book - a novel. This has been a goal to me for several years. Now, my career has nothing to do with writing, I'm all into sciences, but as I see many people who are lawyers, lecturers and also doctors (just like you) become author, this tells me that I can be a writer one day too! The thing is, how does it start? I mean should I start writing short stories or maybe essays at first to improve my writing? Or should I just find the story of my novel and start writing it?
And the second question is: Last year you came to Istanbul Book Fair, and I got my book (Under the Knife) autographed, which was a wonderful experience! This year are you coming too?
I wish the best for you, thanks!
Birgül.


message 8: by Christine (new)

Christine Hatfield  (Christinesbookshelves) | 11 comments How's the weather where you live?


message 9: by Sebastian (new)

Sebastian Chum | 1 comments Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! I'd like to know if you ever consider writing on the edge of science fiction (something like Gravity) ever again? Given your professional background and the advances of medical science, there seems to be a lot of material to cover. It would be a pleasure to see an author like yourself tackle the ethical and dramatic opportunities our age offers. And thank you for your work, I have enjoyed it very much.


message 10: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Mandy wrote: "Hi Tess,
I love your books! I have a question for you. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If not, how old were you when you realized your writing was actually GOOD?"


Mandy, I knew I wanted to be a writer when I was seven years old, which is when I wrote my first book -- about my cat! i bound it myself with needle and thread. When did I know my writing was GOOD? When a middle school teacher told me I should be a writer. And I heard it again from other teachers. Teachers have such important influences on us -- they gave me the confidence to keep writing!


message 11: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Asmaa wrote: "Hello Tess!

I have been reading your books for 5 years now, and I was hooked since day one!
My question for you is, how do you generally go about writing the plot of a story? Do you usually have..."


I'm what you call a "seat of the pants" writer. I know the initial premise (e.g. in LAST TO DIE, three kids twice survive their families' slayings) but I don't know how it will end, or who the villain is. In the process of writing, characters reveal themselves and the solution the mystery becomes clear. But it's a frustrating method and it leads to frequent bouts of writer's block.


message 12: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Mike wrote: "Hi Tess,
I am a big fan of your books, have read all the Rizzoli and Isles series, I am also a fan of the TV show. How much creative input do you have on the TV show, or do you leave it to..."


I have no creative input into the show. "Rizzoli & Isles" has its own team of writers, led by showrunner Janet Tamaro. Like the rest of America, I get to sit back, watch, and enjoy the TV versions of Jane and Maura.


message 13: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Karno wrote: "Hi I'm a huge fan of your books. I owned most of them in fact. I just wondered where do all inspiration come from for all the series so far? What's the toughest part about writing a novel? And I'd ..."

I find ideas for books everywhere, from conversations to newspapers to magazines. The ideas that work for me usually come with what I call a "whomp on the chest," where I'm startled or insanely curious about something I learn. VANISH, for instance, was inspired by a news clipping about a woman who woke up in a body bag. Not only did that freak me out, it also made me want to open a book with just such a scene. The real trick is coming up with what happens next, and how to explain it all.

The toughest part of the novel is in fact coming up with all the answers to that initial question posed by your premise: How did she end up in the body bag? Why does she do the things she later does? What nefarious powers are at work, and how will Jane track them down? I write myself into so many blind corners that the first draft is very frustrating.


message 14: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Caity wrote: "Hi Tess!
I'm a huge fan of your books and Rizzoli and Isles on TNT. I too, would like to hear about how you feel towards the adaptation of Rizzoli and Isles to television :)
Also, what advice wou..."


When I sold the TV rights to the characters, I knew that changes would be made, which were needed to adapt the stories to television. I confess, I was startled by how gorgeous Jane Rizzoli now is, and by the sharper contrast between Jane and Maura both in appearance and personality. But on TV this clearly works. My philosophy is this: I wrote the original melody, and TV is playing the jazz version of that melody. I continue to write the books as I always have - and let the TV Jane and Maura move in a parallel universe.

My advice for aspiring authors? Choose the idea that gives you that strong emotional punch. Listen hard for the voice of your characters. Sometimes I delay starting a novel until I can "hear" that voice. In LAST TO DIE, I needed to hear the teenaged Claire Ward start talking to me before I could write. It's the voice of your character that will tell the story, and once she starts talking to you, most of the hard work is done.


message 15: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Kat wrote: "Hi Tess! I love your books and I look forward to the next book in the Rizzoli and Isles series. I was wondering if you're planning to have a romance blossom between Anthony Sansone and Maura? An..."

I get asked this question a lot! And the answer is: I don't know. There's clearly an attraction there, and it seems it would be a natural thing to happen. But Sansone's got secrets and I'm not sure he's ready to fully trust Maura. And I'm not sure she's ready to trust him. They're both somewhat damaged people and it will take time for them to find each other.


message 16: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Birgül wrote: "Hi Tess!
First of all, I must say that you are one of my favorite crime books writers. Although I couldn't finish reading all the Rizzoli&Isles series, I can say that I find your books very intrigu..."


There aren't ENOUGH people with scientific backgrounds writing novels! We have loads of interesting information and experiences that can be turned into stories, but we have to learn to "translate" that information in ways that have emotional impact. That's why I always look for ideas that play to my emotions. A novel about pandemic viruses must focus on one family or one person. A novel about heart transplants should focus on one character's struggles. Always make sure you keep the focus on the people, and not the scientific principles.

I would advise starting off right away with novels or novellas. There's not much of a market for short stories, and you'll find it hard to sell them. They're good for practice, though, if you want to develop your skills.

I'd love to return to Turkey -- it's one of my favorite countries to visit! But my schedule was full for this year -- so perhaps in the next year or later!


message 17: by Lesley (new)

Lesley | 1 comments I just wanted to say the TV series inspired me to check out the books. Though I knew there would be differences (TV always does that-they have to be single on TV for more love interest!) but though i have only read two books, so far I really enjoy them better than TV. So in the end someone from TV land was smart to want to make these characters into a show!


message 18: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Christine wrote: "How's the weather where you live?"

I live in Maine, and today the weather is glorious! High 60s (F) and sunny. I love where I live, and I especially love the peace and quiet of the being in a state famous for its forests and seacoast.


message 19: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Sebastian wrote: "Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! I'd like to know if you ever consider writing on the edge of science fiction (something like Gravity) ever again? Given your professional background and..."

GRAVITY was my favorite book, and I wanted very much to write another book like it. But to be blunt, that book did not sell well. I consider it my best work, but the subject matter (the space program) simply didn't appeal to readers, or the concepts were too complicated for the general audience. Once you start writing for a smaller audience, bookstores order fewer and fewer of your books, and it starts a downward sales spiral, which is something an author never wants to see. Unless GRAVITY suddenly finds a big new enthusiastic audience, I probably will keep writing books that actually sell well.


message 20: by Birgül (new)

Birgül (mukrime) | 2 comments Tess wrote: "Birgül wrote: "Hi Tess!
First of all, I must say that you are one of my favorite crime books writers. Although I couldn't finish reading all the Rizzoli&Isles series, I can say that I find your boo..."


Oh thank you for everything you said. It just turns out our thoughts were quite similar and I'm so happy to know that now.
It's sad that you can't make it this year but you are welcome here whenever you'd like to! Your Turkish readers will be so glad if you come next year.


message 21: by Linda (new)

Linda C. (goodreadscomlindac_mccabe) | 1 comments Can you give us a little tease about the book you are working on now? Nothing spoilerish, just a little broad overview hint. For example, a few years ago at the San Francisco Writers Conference that you were working on a novel with mummies. And, is Maura going to be invited to Anthony Sansone's Tuscan villa anytime soon? I think that would call for a nice research trip to Italy.


message 22: by Hidayat (new)

Hidayat Lokman | 1 comments Hi Tess! I got hooked onto your books ever since I started with The Apperentice. Being a bio major student, I like how you described the bodies and the crime scene. I would like to ask a question though now that I'm taking a forensic module, where do you get the ideas for the crimes? Are some of them inspired by real-life events?


message 23: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Linda wrote: "Can you give us a little tease about the book you are working on now? Nothing spoilerish, just a little broad overview hint. For example, a few years ago at the San Francisco Writers Conference tha..."

I'm working on a book inspired by my experiences on safari in South Africa last year. Surrounded by dangerous animals, relying on my ranger/guide to keep me safe, I thought: "what if this guy isn't who he says he is?" and got that delicious chill that tells me there's a book in this.

I think Maura is going to visit Anthony in his villa one of these days. I just don't know when!


message 24: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Hydek wrote: "Hi Tess! I got hooked onto your books ever since I started with The Apperentice. Being a bio major student, I like how you described the bodies and the crime scene. I would like to ask a question t..."

Yes, many of the crimes or the events are based on real events, or on case studies I come across in true-crime files. Some of the weirdest things I write about are true. Real life really is stranger than fiction.


message 25: by Annemieke (new)

Annemieke (annemiekevanelst) Hi Tess,
Do you know when your new book will be available in Dutch? Or which way i can get an english copy? Most online bookshops don't ship to the netherlands, or the shipping costs are quite high.


message 26: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Vikithamalar wrote: "I only read one of your book "Call after midnight" and I love it. What is your favorite book from your own books and also from a different author? I am not that good at writing, What would you reco..."

My favorite books would include GRAVITY, THE BONE GARDEN, and VANISH. Two of those three (the first two) didn't sell well, so I'm not sure my audience agrees with me! My readers tell me THE SURGEON and BODY DOUBLE are their favorites.

I was inspired to become an author by the Nancy Drew novels when I was younger. In fact, those books probably inspired a whole generation of female mystery authors.


message 27: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Annemieke wrote: "Hi Tess,
Do you know when your new book will be available in Dutch? Or which way i can get an english copy? Most online bookshops don't ship to the netherlands, or the shipping costs are quite high."


I'm never entirely sure when the books will come out in Holland. But I do think the English editions become available there in English bookshops in the Netherlands.


message 28: by Kasia (last edited Sep 23, 2012 05:00PM) (new)

Kasia | 1 comments Hi Tess!
I live in Poland (I invite you to my country so much!) and I can't wait to read Last To Die in polish language. Yours books are amazing and I thank you for your work. I love dymanic Rizzoli/Isles, really!

So, I have a one question about Maura. I love so much relationship Jane/Gabriel, so... Are you going to give Maura her romantic happy ending? I would like to see her happines!

I'm sorry for my english, but I still lern this language :)

THANK YOU!!! For everything. You're the best!


message 29: by Nalice (new)

Nalice Hi Tess!

I really enjoy reading your books. I would love to see you in real life and talking about your books. Like in bookfair or something. Have you ever been or considered coming to Finland?


message 30: by Sujin (new)

Sujin Stone (remilwife) | 1 comments Hi Tess,
I just finished "the silent girls"". I enjoyed very much. I'm looking forward to seeing you next month at Omaha, Nebraska( I live Papillion, NE).


message 31: by onarock (new)

onarock "I'm working on a book inspired by my experiences on safari in South Africa last year. Surrounded by dangerous animals, relying on my ranger/guide to keep me safe, I thought: "what if this guy isn't who he says he is?" and got that delicious chill that tells me there's a book in this."

can't wait for this

k


Dustin Crazy little brown owl (Dustpancrazy) | 3 comments Tess wrote: "My favorite books would include GRAVITY, THE BONE GARDEN, and VANISH. Two of those three (the first two) didn't sell well, so I'm not sure my audience agrees with me! My readers tell me THE SURGEON and BODY DOUBLE are their favorites."

That is surprising to me. My favorites are The Bone Garden and The Keepsake :-)


message 33: by Shomeret (last edited Sep 23, 2012 08:19PM) (new)

Shomeret | 4 comments My favorites are The Sinnerwhich is the first book I read in the Rizzoli and Isles series and The Silent Girlwhich I really liked for the wonderful Asian characters.


message 34: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Huot (CoffeeTalkMinistry) Tess wrote: "Mandy wrote: "Hi Tess,
I love your books! I have a question for you. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If not, how old were you when you realized your writing was actually GOOD?"

M..."

Thanks Tess! It was awesome to get a response from you. I too am a writer, with two books published through lulu and one on the way. Keep writing, I enjoy your books!


message 35: by Christine (new)

Christine Hatfield  (Christinesbookshelves) | 11 comments What's it like living in maine?


message 36: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments NinaX wrote: "Hi Tess!
I live in Poland (I invite you to my country so much!) and I can't wait to read Last To Die in polish language. Yours books are amazing and I thank you for your work. I love dymanic Rizzol..."


I would love to come to Poland!

As for Maura's romantic life, I don't know which way it's going. I do know she's attracted to Sansone. But he's a complicated man, and I think there's more to be learned about his background ... so stay tuned!


message 37: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Nalice wrote: "Hi Tess!

I really enjoy reading your books. I would love to see you in real life and talking about your books. Like in bookfair or something. Have you ever been or considered coming to Finland?"


Yes, I have been to Finland and loved it! I would very much like to return!


message 38: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Sujin wrote: "Hi Tess,
I just finished "the silent girls"". I enjoyed very much. I'm looking forward to seeing you next month at Omaha, Nebraska( I live Papillion, NE)."


I look forward to my Omaha visit! My husband went to medical school in Creighton, so he's also looking forward to the visit.


message 39: by Tess (new)

Tess Gerritsen | 72 comments Christine wrote: "What's it like living in maine?"

Peaceful. Green. Cold in winter, perfect in summer. The entire state has only a million people, and we almost never see any traffic jams!


message 40: by Christine (new)

Christine Hatfield  (Christinesbookshelves) | 11 comments I would love to visit maine someday


message 41: by Victorya (new)

Victorya | 2 comments It seems I posted my question in the wrong place :(
Ill post it here anyway just in case...

It is sad to say, but I JUST started reading these books. WHAT is wrong with me! They are great. I can tell how late I am by the mention of Britney Spears in one of the books I just read.

My question, is what are your thoughts on the brilliance vs. the public's perceived stupidity of a criminal mind? They are very suggestive in all of your books, but I would really like your in depth interpretation if you would not mind.


message 42: by Marita (new)

Marita (Marita55) | 2 comments Tess wrote: "Mike wrote: "Hi Tess,
I am a big fan of your books, have read all the Rizzoli and Isles series, I am also a fan of the TV show. How much creative input do you have on the TV show, or do yo..."


Mandy wrote: "Hi Tess,
I love your books! I have a question for you. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? If not, how old were you when you realized your writing was actually GOOD?"



message 43: by Marita (last edited Sep 25, 2012 01:04AM) (new)

Marita (Marita55) | 2 comments Although I also love to watch the TV series, I have read all the books and wonder how you cope with your wonderfully complex characters, especially Maura, sometimes being trivialized in the series to provide light relief. I constantly tell my husband, "this is nothing like the books. I really do love your writing, you are amazingly talented. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.


message 44: by Katalili (new)

Katalili | 1 comments Hi Tess!
I must admit I'm not really a crime fiction fan, but since I work at a public library I could not ignore the popularity of your novels. So I grabbed "The killing place" - the last novel translated to Croatian - and I really loved it.
If you have time and you are willing, would you be able to post a sentence or two for your fans in the Pula public library? I'd print it and put it near your bookshelf :) Thank you and keep writing great novels!


message 45: by Christine (new)

Christine Hatfield  (Christinesbookshelves) | 11 comments What kind of books do you like to read?


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