Features,  She Writes

She Writes:

Today I am very happy to be bringing one of my favourite American crime fiction writers to you on the She Writes Series: Tess Gerritsen. She is the author of the Rizzoli & Isles series, which many of you may know from the TV adaptation that sadly came to an end last year. I have developed quite some research about Gerritsen’s works, and she has been pivotal in my PhD, always being kind, nice and having time to answer my questions.


Before becoming world-wide famous thanks to the Rizzoli & Isles series, Gerritsen was a doctor with a passion for reading romances. She started writing short fiction – for which she earned quite some prizes – until she moved to longer fiction. In the mid-1990’s she wrote several romances which eventually became medical thrillers. During all these years she always wrote female-led stories, and she has been a fighter for a better representation of women in fiction for decades now. In 2001 she wrote The Surgeon, a thriller starring a stubborn and very inspiring detective called Jane Rizzoli as a second character. However, Gerritsen has openly discussed how Jane – but also doctor Maura Isles, who is a minor character in this first novel – stayed with her during the writing and even afterwards. This is how the Rizzoli & Isles were born, and since I have something special planned on them for next year, I’ll leave you with Tess Gerritsen’s answers!

Currently on your nightstand?

“Big Pig, Little Pig” by Jacqueline Yallop.  It’s a memoir by an Englishwoman who lives on a farm in France.

Favourite book by a woman writer?

“The Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver.

Where do you find inspiration to write?

I find stories everywhere — in the news, in conversations, in my hobbies and interests. Finding new ideas is never a problem.

What is your routine for writing?

When I’m working on a first draft, I try to write about four pages a day. I write my first draft with pen and paper. For later drafts and edits, I use the computer.

Name three things you can’t live without when writing:

Coffee. Silence. A full stomach.

What are you reading next?

I’m writing a thriller that may or may not involve a ghost.

What does being ‘a woman writer’ mean to you?

The same as what being a male writer means. I sit down at my desk, make up a story, and struggle to get it down on paper. The struggle is universal for all writers.

Words of wisdom about writing for your younger self:

Don’t get hung up on writing a perfect first draft. Allow yourself to write imperfect sentences.  You can always fix things later.


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