Tess Tom who’s born on June 12. 1953 in San Diego of California lives already her whole life in America. Her mother was an Chinese immigrant, while her father was from Chinese/American origin. Tess followed an study at the Stanford University where she graduated in 1975 in anthropology. The same year she meet Jacob Gerritsen.
In 1977 Tess married Jacob and since then she goes through life as Tess Gerritsen. After this she was going to study medicine at the university of California and she achieved in 1979 her doctoral. After that she moved with her husband to Hawaii where she could get a job as an internist. In Honolulu she join an writers competition with her own story On Choosing the Right Crack Seed which she won the first price. When Tess in 1982 was in expectation of her first child she stop with her work as an physician. In her free time she started serious with writing. That year Tess and Jacob became parents of there son Adam. Two years later the family was extensive with son Joshua. In 1987 appeared her first exciting, romantic story of Tess with the title Call After Midnight. She came in 1990 with her second book, Under the Knife. Also decided Tess to chance her career from physician in that from an author and moved with her family to Maine. In 1992 she came with her third book Never Say Die and her fourth book Whistleblower. In 1993 Tess wrote the script for the tv-movie ‘Adrift’ which got nominated as CBS Movie of the Week. The same year she came with her fifth book, Presumed Guilty. In 1994 wrote Tess her sixth book, In Their Footsteps. This was the first part form the Tavistock series. Book number seven is called Girl Missing. Tess came in 1995 with her eight book, Thief of Hearts. This was the second part from the Tavistock series. The year after that she came with her ninth book, Keeper of the Bride. In 1996 debuted Tess with her first medical thriller, Harvest. With this book she reached for the first time the bestseller list of the New York Time and brackish she by near an big and worldwide public. Between 1997 and 1999 Tess wrote three more medical thrillers, namely Life Support, Bloodstream and Gravity. In 2001 she started with an Book Series with the name Rizzoli & Isles. The book called The Surgeon. Tess came in 2002 and 2003 in this series with the books The Apprentice and The Sinner. Due to latter title she final got her place in the thriller world found and become an bestseller author. In 2004 and 2005 Tess wrote for the series the books Body Double and Vanish. For Vanish she received the coveted Nero Award for best thriller, as well as nominations for the Macavity Award and the Edgar Award. It made of Tess the queen of the medical thrillers. In 2006 she wrote with The Mephisto Club her sixth book in the Rizzoli & Isles series. Tess came in 2007 yet with her fifth medical thriller, The Bone Garden. In 2008 she came with the book The Keepsake, the seventh part from her Rizzoli & Isles series. Tess wrote in 2010 with Ice Cold book number eight in the Rizzoli & Isles series. Because of the success of the Rizzoli & Isles-books started also the movie industry to gave interest and the same year the tv-serie “Rizzoli & Isles” came out. In 2011 Tess wrote her ninth Rizzoli & Isles-book, The Silent Girl. This one awarded an year later with the Crimezone Thriller Award for the best translated thriller. Tess came in 2012 with her tenth Rizzoli & Isles-book, Last To Die. In 2014 she published her most recent and eleventhRizzoli & Isles-book, Die Again. Perry of Moov.nl was given the opportunity to interview the very busy, but very friendly Tess Gerritsen for the website.
001.What’s your favorite CD and why?
For me is that the CD ‘Irish Fiddle Festival’ from Kevin Burke. He’s a very know Irish fiddler.
002.What’s your favorite number?
That’s the song “Pigeon On The Gate”, also from Kevin Burke. I think it would be great to play that number as well as
Kevin could it.
003.Do you ever have music on while writing?
No, I prefer silence. That way I could hear the voices in my head.
004.How important is music in your life?
Music is very important for me. When I grew up I played the piano as the violin. I also have composed tunes for fiddle.
Sometimes I’ve fellow musicians come to my house for jam sessions. If I’m on vacation and I can’t hear music, I
sometimes make up tunes in my head.
005.Who’s your favorite singer (man or woman) and/or group?
I very much like the music of the male singer Don McLean. I still think that his number “Starry Starry Night” is one of
the most beautiful songs ever written.
006.With who do you like to sing a duet someday?
I don’t want to bother anybody to sing with me. So no duets, haha.
007.What’s your favorite sport to watch? And which sport do you do yourself?
I have no interest in sport, although I do like to watch ice skates.
008.You began your career as a doctor. Can you explain why you eventually chose a career as a writer?
Actually, I always wanted to write, since I was seven. But because my parents were Chinese who found it important that
Chinese children are studying in America, so they could become a doctor for example. You could actually say that I
choose the profession that my parents wanted for me. I saw it myself not quite as my dream job. Meanwhile both my
parents has past away and my father has unfortunately not got the change to see that I became a writer. My mother does.
She saw that I had success as a writer and was of course very proud of me. It may sound strange, but I get my inspiration
for my books in things that scare me. When I received in 2012 the Crimezone Thriller Award for Best Translated Thriller
for my book The Silent Girl I was very happy with that. It’s about a Chinese girl who’s growing up in America. That
book is very close to myself.
009.You were pregnant from your first child when you stopped as a doctor. Have you ever picked up that profession?
When I was pregnant from my son Adam in 1982 I quit as a doctor. Then I had the usual maternity leave and then I
picked up my work as a doctor again. It was also the moment that I start writing. As a doctor, I stopped in 1990 and since
then I’ve became a full-time writer. My husband Joshua was also a doctor. He is now retired. We both specialized in
Internal Medicine (blood transfusion, cancer). Only when a new book of my is finished, there are three people I trust
enough and whose opinion I care about. Those are that of my husband, my publisher and my manager. Our sons Adam
and Joshua are not such readers. As a writer, I think of course quite unfortunate. If they already read something, it’s often
010.Your first book was Call After Midnight from 1987. So you're already a writer for 28 years. Did you ever had in
that time an writer’s block?
With each new book I always have a couple weeks an writer's block. I never make a structure of beginning, middle and
end. I just start writing and sometimes I do not know how to proceed, so that they call a writer's block. The best thing is
then to put my mind on something else by snuggle or to drive a car. Very strange perhaps because driving is quite
chaotic. But it helps me to come out of my writer's block.
011.In 1993 you wrote the screenplay for the TV movie ‘Adrift’. How was this and would you ever want this in the
future do again?
I've learned the necessary. For example to do it never again, haha. When I wrote the script for ‘Adrift’ the Hollywood
bosses make their adjustments when I was finished. It's getting so different then. That is something I don’t want. I like to
keep control over my work. That’s something I could do by my books. But by a television movie like 'Adrift' the control
is by the Hollywood bosses.
012.Your book Harvest from 1996 was your first medical thriller and was a great success. After that you choose to
write medical thrillers only. How important is the book Harvest has been in your career then?
Harvest was very important for me. That book was also so much different from the books that I wrote before. This
doesn’t automatically mean that it’s also is the book's where I'm most proud on. I always find it’s very difficult to choose
one from it. But if I should mention a title, then I go for Gravity from 1999.
013.The TV series "Rizzoli & Isles" is based on your books. Do you ever watch yourself to the show?
I'm settled into the series and I think it’s very nice. Yet it differs much from my books, but that’s normal I think. For
example, the series has more glamor and it's funnier than how I write the books. I personally don’t write at all at the
series. They have their own writing team and that's fine. It seems to me very nice to play once a guestappearances in the
series. The makers find it also fun because they got me there once for approached. The problem is that I am busy as a
writer and living in Maine, while they filming for "Rizzoli & Isles” a few months each year which take place in
California. Because of the distance and my busy schedule it’s still not happened. The makers also said that if I'm ever in
California and they are filming, then there must be something possible. So who knows, maybe I’ve could been seen in
the future in the series.
014.What could we expect in the future of you?
I'm already busy writing a new book. Unfortunately I can’t tell more about that. Further I hope that I can stay writing
until my dead.
Watch for more information about Tess Gerritsen on www.tessgerritsen.com.
Interview: Perry Krootjes