Tess Gerritsen is the woman who gave us Jane Rizzoli and Maura Isles. She was invited to the RizzlesCon along with the cast and even though Sasha Alexander, Lorraine Bracco and Janet Tamaro were unable to attend, Tess was only too happy to come and spend time with the supportive fans. Her latest Rizzoli & Isles book, “The Last to Die”, is coming out on August 28 and Tess talked to me about Rizzoli & Isles inception, the challenges of writing, and her latest book.
L-word: How did you come up with the idea to write about two strong female characters in a world dominated by men?
TG: It happened by accident. I started off with the character of Jane Rizzoli. She was a minor character in the book “The Surgeon”, a homicide cop who was having problems dealing with her male colleagues because it’s a real macho field and they are not too happy about women being in their field. So in that particular book Jane was supposed to die because she wasn’t that likable and I didn’t think she was anything but a minor character.
L-word: When I read that book I did see her as being very angry all the time and unhappy because of the male cops but I understood why and I really liked her.
TG: Good and she really grew on me while I was writing that book and I thought that Jane was an interesting woman. So I wrote the next book about her. She was the main character and I introduced a secondary character in that story, called Maura Isles, and she was again a minor character. By the third book I thought that these two women are both interesting and I want them both in the series. And as the ten-book series progressed these two women became better and better friends. They began to trust each other. They are both excellent at what they do and they understood that about each other. So it came about just because they are professionals, they are strong and they are capable. That’s the kind of female professional I’m aware of. They were the ones I worked with when I was a doctor. They really mirror my own experience in the workforce.