Terry (Tess) Gerritsen knew she wanted to write when she was a little girl growing up in San Diego, California. With a Chinese immigrant and a Chinese-American seafood chef as parents, she dreamed of writing her own Nancy Drew stories. According to an interview in the July 15, 2021, New York Times, Tess thought Nancy Drew had everything a seven-year-old girl could want; she was clever, fearless, and she drove her own car.
But like many parents, hers had a different idea for their little girl. They were worried about how someone could make enough money writing. Sounds like common concern.
So Gerritsen put off her writing and went to college. First, she went to Stanford University to study anthropology. Then she went on to study medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, where she graduated in 1979 to become an internist. She started practicing medicine in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Beginning of a Dream
It was when she read “The Woman Warrior”, by Maxine Hong Kingston, that she realized Continue reading
Rex Stout’s debut of Nero Wolfe
The creator of the characters of Nero Wolfe and his assistant, Archie Goodwin, Rex Todhunter Stout was one of the most popular and prolific crime fiction writers of all times. Upon his death in 1975, he had 57 books in print, more than any living American writer at that time. His books appeared in 22 languages and sold a total of 45 million copies as of 1975.
Rex Stout was born in 1886 in Noblesville, Indiana, to Quaker parents. The couple had nine children; Rex was the sixth. (So, how did he create a character like Nero who was such a recluse?) Continue reading
Michael Connelly has become of the most successful current authors by selling over thirty novels and more than eighty million books. As a former newspaper reporter, he worked the crime beat at the L. A. Times and the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
Connelly shot out of the gates in 1992, when his first novel, The Black Echo, won the Mystery Writer’s of America Edgar Award for the Best First Novel.
One of his latest novels is The Law of Innocence, focuses on Mickey Waller, known as the Lincoln Lawyer because he does much of his law practice out of his chauffeur-driven Lincoln Town Car. Waller, a defense attorney, is pulled over by the cops after he leaves a bar where his team had been celebrating a big win.
Being pulled over to a defense attorney is just part of the game the play with law enforcement. Since he had stopped drinking, it shouldn’t be a big deal, right?
Except for the client’s body stuffed in his trunk.
You can find my deeper review on this riveting book over at Killer Nashville website. (Get the link here.)
How do you replace such a prolific author as Erle Stanley Gardner? That was the question Pocket Books had to answer when the author of 80 Perry Mason novels had to slow down because of age. They needed an author who could give them the same type of output.
So, they turned to Evan Hunter, who signed a multi-book deal that turned into the 87th Precinct series under his pseudonym, Ed McBain. The 87th Precinct became one of the longest running crime series ever published, running from 1956 to 2005, and featuring over fifty novels.
Salvatore Albert Lombino was born on October 15, 1926, in New York City. His family moved around while he was growing up. He spent part of his youth in East Harlem and then the Bronx. His family included several artists, so he took art classes as a child and planned to become an artist. He enlisted into the U. S. Navy, where he served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific. Part of his down time was spent drawing portraits of “everyone aboard the ship and all the smokestacks, torpedo tubes and depth charge racks. When there was nothing left to draw, I borrowed a typewriter . . .and wrote several stories and found I liked it.” Continue reading
Every writer has their own process. I love hearing how our favorite writers got started and how they developed their processes.
Recently, I found two interviews by two legendary writers that I wish to share with you. The first is with J. A. Jance, a New York Times best-selling author of not one, but three series of novels centering on retired Seattle Police Department Detective J. P. Beaumont, Arizona Sheriff Joanna Brady, and former LA news anchor turned mystery solver Ali Reynolds.
She spends part of her year in Seattle and part in Arizona.
The other writer is British author Ruth Rendell (1930-2015), the Baroness Rendell of Babergh. The author of over 60 novels, she is best known for creating the police procedural series about Chief Inspector Reginald Wexford. Her awards include the Silver, Gold, and Cartier Diamond Daggers from the Crime Writers Association and three Edgars from the Mystery Writers of America.
Ms Rendell also wrote under her pseudonym Barbara Vine.
You can find Ms Jance’s interview here.
You can find Ms Rendell’s interview here.
I hope that these interviews encourage you to find your own way in your writing journey.
Calling Josephine Bell a writer from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction does her a disservice. Although her books were first published in 1936, she continued to write until 1983. She wrote over 40 mystery novels, as well as radio plays, short stories and magazine articles. (Go here for a list of her books.)
Josephine was born Doris Bell Collier on December 8, 1897, in Manchester, England. She was a doctor and married Dr. Norman Dyar Ball in 1923. They had a son and three daughters. They practiced medicine in Greenwich and in London until Dr. Ball was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1935.
From 1954 to 1962, she was a member of the management committee at the St. Luke’s Hospital. Continue reading