“What is the order in which I should read your books?”

Here’s a very, very Freqeuently Asked Question: “What is the order in which I should read your books?”

Actually, there are only four books which need to be read in order, and they’re in the Jane Rizzoli/ Maura Isles series. They were first published in the following order:

THE SURGEON (2001) THE APPRENTICE (2002 THE SINNER (2003) BODY DOUBLE (2004) (and coming August 2005: VANISH)

My medical suspense novels are all stand-alones, however, and can be read in any order:

HARVEST (1996) LIFE SUPPORT (1997) BLOODSTREAM (1998) GRAVITY (1999)

And finally, just in case you happen to enjoy romance novels, I thought I’d also let you in on the fact that — yes, I used to write romances! Something that surprises readers when they suddenly come across one of my early paperbacks, and wonder when I switched to romance. Here are those titles:

CALL AFTER MIDNIGHT (1987) UNDER THE KNIFE (1990) NEVER SAY DIE (1992) WHISTLEBLOWER (1992) PRESUMED GUILTY (1993) PEGGY SUE GOT MURDERED (1993) IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS (1994) THIEF OF HEARTS (1995) KEEPER OF THE BRIDE (1996)

Okay, it’s back to work!

“The Ultra Gory Writer”

Sometimes I run across a reference to me as “that ultra gory writer” and I can’t help but think: “Who, moi?!” Because, to tell the truth, I don’t think of myself that way. A confession here: I hate gory movies. I hate watching violence on film, or reading it on the page. I don’t think of my own books as particularly upsetting, though, because when I write about autopsies or operating rooms, I’m just writing about … well, work. The things I’ve seen as a doctor, which — taken in the context of the autopsy room or the OR — are all about doing your job. Once you put on that hat of doctor or medical examiner, you are not focused on the horror of what you’re seeing. You’re there to do a job, and you just want to do the best you can. You shut out the horror.So please don’t think of me as that “ultra gory writer.” Think of me as that author who’s just telling you what she’s seen as a doctor.

And on another subject:

Things that readers/reviewers say that make me scratch my head.

I got this in an email: “I work in a medical laboratory, and I have NEVER done the things that Warren Hoyt does! I never uncap blood tubes and sniff them! You have done my profession a terrible disservice with this book!”

Um, okay. I’m really glad you don’t do the things that Warren Hoyt does.

Pedal-to-the-metal

Okay, what’s happening is this: I am pedal-to-the-metal trying to finish VANISH! That’s the reason for this long silence. That plus we had a huge snowstorm up here in Maine a few days ago, which knocked out my power and internet for about four days. It was fun to finally get back online and find all the nice notes some of you have left in the guestbook. Now back to banging my head on the keyboard as I try to figure out how to pull Jane Rizzoli out of the fire yet again…

What Happens on a Book Tour?

I’ve been playing hooky for far too long, and now it’s time to tell you what happened on book tour: lots and lots of serious eating! Toad in the hole, bubble and squeak, Cornish pasties, roasted Swedes (translation: rutabagas) — I sampled it all.Well, I never could get myself to order “spotted Dick” but maybe next time.

High points? The spicy fried mackerel at Mela Indian restaurant on Shaftesbury Ave, London. The incredibly fresh grilled plaice at the Lamb Inn in Marlborough. Sipping wine in the cozy Haunch of Venison in Salisbury. Sharing one of my lamb chops with a bookseller at Christopher’s restaurant. (He’s since dubbed me “two-chop Gerritsen”.)

But wait — I was there on business, wasn’t I? So I guess I really should talk about the book tour.

Why do we authors bother to go on the road, anyway? Why do we drag ourselves from city to city, bookstore to bookstore, when only 30 people at a time show up for a signing? (And that’s if we’re lucky; most times the audiences are far smaller. )

The reason we do it is media attention. With one or two good radio shows, you can reach an audience of millions, and in the UK, it’s all made simple because many of the stations are part of the BBC network. You can sit in one building and talk to radio hosts from around the country, without having to leave your chair. And I’ll say this for UK radio — the interviewers have almost all done their homework. They’ve read the book, they ask thoughtful questions, and don’t resort to just parroting the press release, as so many hosts in the US do.

But they can also play a little rough. How’s this for a nightmare scenario? You’re trapped in a studio with three young hotshot reviewers who each proceed to critique your work ON THE AIR. And then they all sit back while you try not to disintegrate into a blubbering mess ON LIVE RADIO. (Now I understand why “The Weakest Link” originated in the UK. Those Brits do seem to love the spectacle of public humiliation.) I spent the show sweating in my chair, obsessing about that scene in “Galaxy Quest” where these cuddly little aliens suddenly sprout fangs and attack. My three reviewers, thank heavens, never showed even a glint of fang.

Then there was a photo shoot for EVE, a UK women’s magazine. The theme was “Secrets of best-selling authors” and there I was, professionally coiffed and made up, posing with three gorgeous women novelists, Joanne Harris and Freya North and Lauren Child, who shared their their own author photo stories. How a photographer once asked Joanne to pose nude in a tub of melted chocolate. How another photographer asked Freya North to pose nude on horseback. (Are you starting to sense a common theme here?) So now I’m wondering why no photographer has ever asked me to pose nude for my author pics. Should I feel miffed about this?