What: A talk and signing
Who: Tess Gerritsen
Where: Bourne Hall
When: July 2012
Why: To promote the 9th book in The Rizzoli and Isles series: The Silent Girl In the murky shadows of an alley in Boston’s Chinatown a hand has been discovered. On the rooftop above lies a woman’s severed head. Two strands of silver hair- not human- cling to the body that lies nearby. These are Detective Jane Rizzoli’s only clues, but they are enough for her and Dr Maura Isles to make a startling discovery: that this violent death had a chilling prequel
The evening commenced with a very informative talk by Tess detailing the personal experiences and real life inspiration behind many of her best loved novels. From the age of seven Tess expressed her desire to write, however steered by her “Tiger” parents in to a job more likely to result in her success; Tess wasn’t able to live her passion until maternity leave allowed her to take a break from medicine.
Tess started her career as a writer of romantic thrillers. The Surgeon was written in response to a fan’s request for a book with serial killers and twisted sex. Tess didn’t intend for The Surgeon to develop in to a series but that she felt that Warren still had more to say. In fact in the original plot for The Surgeon, Jane Rizzoli, envisioned by Tess as a minor character, did not survive the final encounter with Warren. However when it came to the crunch, Tess couldn’t go through with it!
Tess spoke widely of her experiences as an Asian American and described the feeling of not fitting in and being a member of a visible minority. These experiences inform the isolation experienced by Rizzoli as a woman in a male dominated environment and Tam’s cultural background. Tess described, with much pride, the addition of Asian American characters in to her series. Earlier in her career, when Tess had first broached the possibility with her publishers she was informed that she wouldn’t sell many books. Whether it is a testament to changing society or to the popularity of Tess herself, this is no longer an issue.
Tess revealed that she is an avid reader of newspapers, broad sheet and tabloid alike. She described reading an article about a woman who, mistaken for dead, wakes up in a mortuary. This news piece was the initial inspiration for Vanish.
The event was well attended by an eclectic mix of ages and ethnicities. Also both genders were well represented, despite Tess admitting that most of her readers and readers of fiction in general are female. The talk concluded with a question and answer session, following which fans were given the opportunity to acquire autographs and take photographs with Tess. Verdict: Tess was a fantastic, warm and personable speaker who held her audience’s attention. We had a thoroughly enjoyable evening and we both agreed that the event has reignited our desire to read Tess’ work. Post by Caroline and Karen