Quotes by: Tess Gerritsen
I think of myself as a fairly logical, scientific and somewhat reserved person. Maura Isles, the Boston medical examiner who appears in five of my books, is me. Almost everything I use in describing her, from her taste in wine to her biographical data, is taken from my own family. Except I don't have a serial killer as a mother!
Even if I never sold another book, I'd keep writing, because the stories are here, in my head. Stories that just need to be told. I love watching a plot unfold, and feeling the surprise when the unexpected happens.
The best ideas are those that really affect me emotionally - those are the ones you never forget. You think to yourself, 'I want to write that book', for years; those are the ideas that I love to work with, and 'The Bone Garden' was one of them.
I'd been writing stories since I was a child. I wrote little books for my mom and bound them myself with needle and thread. Mostly, they were about my pets.
Because my dad's Chinese-American, and they're very concrete, he said, 'There's no money to be made in literature.' So he told me to go into the sciences. And I was a good girl. And I did what Daddy said. And that's how I ended up being a doctor. But you know, you just can't stamp out that desire to tell stories.
For years I've wanted to write a book about mummies, and had been following the science of mummy CT scans when the premise for 'The Keepsake' occurred to me: what if an 'ancient' mummy turns out to have a bullet in its leg? How does a modern murder victim get turned into a mummy?
I sold my first short story while I was home on maternity leave, then began working on novels. Since I was reading and enjoying romance novels at the time, the first two unpublished manuscripts I wrote were both romances. I sold my third novel, 'Call After Midnight,' to Harlequin Intrigue after submitting it unagented.
My dad was Chinese-American and very conservative when it came to his family's futures. He said if I wanted to have a secure job, I should go into science. So I did what Dad said and went to medical school, but the writing bug never left me.
My mother is an immigrant from China, and she filled my head with stories about ghosts and fighting monks in China, so the world of 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' was a very familiar one.
There is no better test of character than when you're tossed into crisis. That's when we see one's true colors shine through. So I try my best to make my characters personally involved in the plot, in a way that stresses them and tests them.
I spent my childhood watching every scary movie that Hollywood ever made. And I think that gave me the best education for storytelling. It also made me want to reproduce the scary moments that I felt, sitting in a theater at the age of 5.
It's what all writers dream of, that our work finds a measure of immortality that long outlives the words of any critic.
After twelve years of living in Hawaii, I'd gotten a serious case of 'rock fever.' I just couldn't live on an island any longer.
I'm Asian-American, and I was the only Chinese girl growing up in a white school in San Diego. So I understood what it was like to be different, to always want to fit in and never feel like you ever could.
'Lonesome Dove' by Larry McMurtry and 'The Poisonwood Bible' by Barbara Kingsolver have stuck with me throughout my life, and I think that says a lot about an author's writing.
My brother and I spent our childhood in movie theaters screaming. I decided early on that that was the epitome of entertainment. I'm always trying for that same level of adrenaline in my books.
The hardest part of writing is the first draft, and the closer you get to your deadline, the messier your workspace becomes - but that's the same with any creative outlet.
I was always meant to be a writer. I've felt that way since I was a child.
Writing is very much an emotional process; it requires you to be very in touch with your feelings. That is the opposite of what you're taught as a medical doctor. We're supposed to be detached and logical. Maybe because I started off as a writer and then became a doctor, I'm able to integrate those two.
My most successful books, the ones that I feel the strongest about, are the ones that started with a premise that for me was deeply emotional.
I always write on unlined typing paper and write the first draft in longhand, using cheap Bic pens. I try to write about four pages a day, which usually yields a first draft in six months. I don't plot ahead of time, so I'm flying by the seat of my pants for the first draft.
I think fiction, for me, is a way of trying to understand why people do the things they do - and trying to explain what is, at heart, illogical.
My father was second-generation Chinese-American, born in 1923 in California. My mother emigrated to the States from China when she was in her early twenties, in part to escape the political turmoil in China.
A project like 'Rizzoli & Isles' is something you can't pursue. It's something that comes to you... I like to call it 'fairy dust.' And it happened without my having to do anything.