Q&A with Tess Gerritsen, Author of Choose Me

by Heather Caliendo
Tess Gerritsen interview - book club chat
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Tess Gerritsen is the co-author of Choose Me, which will publish on July 1.

Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career: it wasn’t until she was on maternity leave from her job as a physician that she began to write. Since then, she’s written twenty-eight suspense novels, with more than thirty million copies sold. Her books have been translated into forty languages, and her series featuring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles inspired the hit TNT television series Rizzoli & Isles, starring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Gerritsen now writes full-time and lives in Maine.

Tess co-wrote Choose Me with Gary Braver—pen name of college professor Gary Goshgarian. He is the bestselling author of eight critically acclaimed mysteries and thrillers.

Here’s the synopsis for Choose Me:

Taryn Moore is young, beautiful, and brilliant…so why would she kill herself? When Detective Frankie Loomis arrives on the scene to investigate the girl’s fatal plunge from her apartment balcony, she knows in her gut there’s more to the story. Her instincts are confirmed when surprise information is revealed that could have been reason enough for Taryn’s suicide—or a motive for her murder.

To English professor Jack Dorian, Taryn was the ultimate fantasy: intelligent, adoring, and completely off limits. But there was also a dark side to Taryn, a dangerous streak that threatened those she turned her affections to—including Jack. And now that she’s dead, his problems are just beginning.

After Frankie uncovers a trove of sordid secrets, it becomes clear that Jack may know the truth. He is guilty of deception, but is he capable of cold-blooded murder?

Let’s get to know Tess as she talks favorite books, co-writing the novel, her TBR and much more!

What are some of your favorite novels?

I love novels that enrich me with special knowledge or arcane bits of history. So among my favorites are historical novels such as WOLF HALL or the novels of Philippa Gregory.

When did you know you wanted to become an author?

When I was seven years old. That’s when I wrote my first book. Admittedly, it was about the life of my recently deceased dead cat, but it was still a book!

Where do you get your ideas for your books?

Any number of places — from stories I read in the newspaper, from conversations, from odd tidbits I pick up in magazines. Whatever the idea, it has to give me some sort of emotional punch — a feeling of “oh my gosh, what happens next?”

What do you like best about writing thrillers?

I love coming up with the twists. The unexpected bits of information that send the story in a completely different direction.

Tell me more about teaming with Gary Braver to co-write Choose Me. What was the process like for crafting the novel? Do you alternate chapters, split the book in half, etc.?

I wanted to write the story of an illicit affair, but from both the male and the female points of view. Every tale has two sides to it, and this was the starting point of the project. I’d known Gary for years — we both belong to a New England mystery writers group — and when I saw him at a cocktail party down in Boston, I broached the idea. He was enthusiastic and we went from there. He wrote the male POV, I wrote the two females’ points of view. We had a general idea of where the story would go, but you just can’t predict how the characters will change on you — or how the mystery will eventually unwind.

Without giving away spoilers, what was your favorite part or chapter to write?

I loved writing the parts where Taryn (the young woman in the illicit affair) starts to twist the knife in her ex-lover. How she metes out her punishment for his ruining her life. Those super-dramatic scenes between Taryn and her lover’s unknowing wife — those were really fun to write.

What are you currently reading and what’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

I’m now reading THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES by Peter Wohlleben as well as several galleys of upcoming mysteries. My TBR is enormous, mostly consisting of political books!

Click here to order Choose Me on Amazon.

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