Community members had a rare chance to meet with a New York Times best-selling author Saturday during two events. Tess Gerritsen, author of “The Bone Garden” as well as the book series that inspired the hit television show “Rizzoli and Isles” stopped in town to discuss her book that was selected as the reading for One Book One Community. Gerritsen, who is currently on a 14-day book tour through Indiana, met with guests at a dinner in her honor Saturday before speaking at a free event in the Washington High School auditorium.
“We feel very lucky that such a well known author was excited about participating in our One Book One Community event,” said Rick Chambon adult program and outreach manager for the library.
Gerritsen said she was approached by the Bartholomew County Public Library some time ago about speaking at one of their functions. At the time, she asked their librarian if she thought there may be other small libraries in the state that would be interested in a speaking event as well. Within a handful of days, over 20 requests for Gerritsen had been made.
The charming and witty author whose books have been published in over 40 countries, spoke briefly at the dinner before discussing her book, writing processes and what inspires her writing for over 100 audience members at the high school.
“I’m sure you are all wondering why I wanted to come to small town libraries,” said Gerritsen, before the start of the dinner at the library. “My publicist usually sends me to large libraries but I’ve tried to point out that we usually have more passionate readers and a better turn out in small towns. I love small towns and I’ve always loved the library.”
Gerritsen and her husband, Jacob who accompanied her on the tour through Indiana, live in a tiny town in Maine that boasts about 500 residents.
“Her talk at the high school was both informative and offered great insight into how she gets her inspiration for her novels,” said Chambon.
A now retired physician, Gerritsen first knew she wanted to be a writer at the tender age of 7 but her father had other plans for her. “He told me to go into the sciences so I did and I became a doctor,” she said. “I’ve always loved science and mysteries.”
So after five years in medicine, Gerritsen picked up a pen and started writing while on maternity leave with her son. “I would write a page or two while he was sleeping.”
Best known for her medical and forensic thrillers, Gerritsen’s first published book was a Harlequin romance of sorts. “The publisher called me and asked if I knew how many victims I had in “Call After Midnight”. There were 13 and the told me that was record for Harlequin books. They’d never had that many victims before,” Gerritsen said with a chuckle.
After that, she switched gears and began writing thrillers.
“I’d always loved “Nancy Drew” and horror books and movies. I can blame my mom for that,” Gerritsen said grinning ear to ear. Gerritsen’s mother, a Chinese immigrant, understood little English. “But I think I probably saw every horror movie ever made. Mom could always understand those.”
Gerritsen said when her mother would read her books and her response in most cases was,”It could be scarier”.
“We were very pleased with how gracious Tess was at the dinner and that she is such a warm and welcoming person,” said Chambon.
She continues her tour through Indiana today with stops in Mooresville and Greenwood.