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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Nickie's Ten Questions to Tess Gerritsen

I read a lot, next to write my own novels (you can find more about them at www.nickiefleming.com) and one of the authors I like is Tess Gerritsen. Tess is now quite famous for her Rizzoli and Isles books, which have been adapted to TV. I made this online interview with her a couple of years ago, and I must say Tess was quite friendly and even greeted me in my own language (Dutch or Flemish as we call it).

Here are the questions I asked her:

1) How did you realize you wanted to be a writer, being a physician already?
-- I knew I wanted to be a writer first, at the age of seven. I got sidetracked into medicine because I was interested in science, but also because I was made very aware (by my immigrant parents) that science was the way to support myself. They had no idea -- nor did I -- that one could actually make a living at writing.

2) You started out writing romantic suspense. What brought you to this?
-- I wrote the genre that I happened to enjoy reading at the time. I still love a good romantic thriller!

3) Did it take you very long to get that first novel, CALL AFTER MIDNIGHT, published?
-- It was my third novel. I had two unpublished novels before that. So all in all, it took me about three years to sell my first book. CALL AFTER MIDNIGHT sold pretty quickly, and was published in 1987.

4) I understand that by now you are having some problems with those 8 romantic novels, which are published whenever you have a new medical thriller. You can tell us something about this?
-- I have no control over the re-release of those books, and they have been re-packaged to look like my thriller novels. It leads to confusion for readers, who think they're picking up a thriller and end up with a strong dose of romance. Not that there's anything wrong with that! But many mystery readers, I've discovered, are truly allergic to romance, and it gets them upset.

5) What made you leave Harlequin and turn to medical thrillers?
-- It was all a creative decision. I chose to write a very different sort of book, one that just didn't fit into the romance genre. Plus, I'll be blunt about it, the money in thriller writing is a great deal better!

6) It probably helps that you have a medical background to get your facts straight. But how and where do you find the inspiration for those novels?
-- My inspiration isn't really from medicine, but from all the extracurricular reading I do! I'm curious about a lot of different things, and I often find my best ideas come from the news. I'll try to work in a medical twist to the plot, simply because that's the world I feel comfortable writing about.

7) How do you deal with criticism?
-- Not very well. I'm very thin-skinned. But published writers have no choice; we just have to suck it up and deal with it.

8) You have a blog at your website. What made you decide to start it up?
-- I felt the need to ventilate. It's not to sell books, it's not to get publicity, it's merely to get stuff off my chest. It's turned into a nice way to connect with other writers who are going through the same things.

9) You now work full time as a writer. Is that fulfilling?
-- It's overwhelming! Because of my book-a-year schedule, I do feel I've had to let other parts of my life slide. I don't garden as much as I'd like to, or play music, or travel. Writing is definitely fulfilling, but one has to be careful not to let it take over your life.

10) Would you mind sharing with us which books you read yourself?
-- I'm an omnivorous reader. I'll jump into any subject except sports. Lately I've been reading a great deal of history and archaeology, plus the occasional thriller novel.

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