Author Tess Gerritsen’s characters use the latest high-tech forensic science to solve mysteries. But when writing her popular Rizzoli & Isles series, Gerritsen is decidedly old school, choosing a pen and paper over a keyboard and monitor.
"It's kind of depressing, but I'm an old-fashioned girl," Gerritsen said with a laugh. "I can compose nonfiction on a computer fine, but when it comes to writing fiction, something about it makes me want to sit down with a pen and paper."
A retired physician, Gerritsen admits the technique has some drawbacks.
"After you've been through medical school, you learn a lot of abbreviations. I use a lot of those when I write, and sometimes when I go back, I can't decipher them. That's where a second draft comes in," she said. "The first draft is always a mess. I learn to never go back and fix things while writing the first draft. Forward momentum is important."
She does, however, switch to a computer for her revisions.
The best-selling novelist, who has written 24 books, will talk and sign copies of her work Monday at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls.
Gerritsen's most popular titles focus on Detective Jane Rizzoli and Dr. Maura Isles, characters that have become beloved by thousands of fans both through the novels and a hit TNT television series based on the books.
"I don't have much free time anymore," said Gerritsen, who is contracted to write one novel a year for the book series. "If I had my choice, I would take a year and a half to two years to write, but the deadline pushes me. I think it is good. I wouldn't be nearly as productive without the contract, but it adds to the stress of writing a story."
Although the literary duo has become dear to her heart, Gerritsen, who lives in Maine, wasn’t afraid to see the characters get the Hollywood treatment. She compares herself to a musical composer.
"I know it bothers a lotof writers, but I enjoy seeing how the melody I created becomes a different variation," she said. "I knew that no matter how the show turned out, it would help sell the books. As an author, what I really care about is people finding the books."
She has been impressed by the TV series, which the network renewed for a fifth season after its recent summer run.
"I do watch it a lot. The actors do a really great job. Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander have been electric from the very first time they read together," she said.
Fans of the show might be a bit surprised if they go back to its source material, especially when it comes to the Maura Isles character.
"In the books, she is gloomy and dark - more gothic. She is sunny in the TV show. They injected a lot of humor and glamour," Gerritsen said.
The characters also have become role models for many women.
"The TV show has made two professional women working together and becoming friends an elemental part of the story. I hadn't realized how revolutionary that was on TV. It's surprising to think that female friendship among professionals doesn’t get explored more on TV," Gerritsen said.
The author considers writing the novels a job, but she finds the process is just as challenging after years of contracts. Each new book is its own mystery.
"I only know two things when I start the book: I know that the mystery will be solved, and Jane and Maura will survive," she said.
But sometimes, especially when in the throws of writing a Rizzoli & Isles novel, she does imagine a darker ending for her star characters.
"I now understand why Arthur Conan Doyle killed Sherlock Holmes. You girls are just frustrating me," she joked.
If you go Author Tess Gerritsen will speak and sign copies of her books, which also will be for sale, at 7 p.m. Monday at Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls. For more information, go to www.crandalllibrary.org.
As you may have already heard, as of the end of Season 4, I will be leaving as R&I’s show runner in order to do new projects, though I’ll be continuing on the show as a consulting producer. Creating and running a show like this is what we writer/producers dream of getting to do, and I got to do it for four phenomenal seasons. But it takes all of my focus. I have to step away to create and write other shows and films. The heartache for me will be leaving the day to day working relationship I’ve had with an incredible cast (!!), crew and production team. You know that, though, because you watch the show. Both TNT & Warner Horizon have been beyond great to work for - and I look forward to working with them in the future.
And the fandom...holy crap...The fans have been especially wonderful - passionate and responsive. I have a special place in my heart for all of them. My goal was to bring to life, through story, a real female friendship. I’ve been especially touched by the people who’ve told us they became friends because of Jane and Maura.This show will be around for a long, long time. Stay tuned to this page. I’ll be checking in and helping out.
It’s never good news when the creator/showrunner of a successful series exits. That has happened on TNT’s flagship drama Rizzoli & Isles, with Janet Tamaro, who developed the series based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen and served as executive producer/showrunner on the first four seasons. The departure of Tamao, who will remain as a consultant while developing new projects, comes less than a month after production on Rizzoli & Isles was shut down and the show’s writers had to regroup following the suicide of co-star Lee Thompson Young. “This is what we all dream of getting to do,” Tamaro said in a statement. “And I got to do it for four phenomenal seasons. I’m at the top of my game, thanks in large part, to this unbelievable experience and show. It’s time to challenge myself and develop new projects. TNT and Warner Horizon have been a dream to work with, and I look forward to doing it again. The heartache for me will be leaving the day-to-day working relationship with an incredible cast and crew.” Under Tamaro’s helm, Rizzoli & Isles became TNT’s #1 show of all time, eclipsing The Closer. It ranks as the #2 scripted series in the history of ad-supported cable television, behind only The Walking Dead.
Janet Tamaro will step down as showrunner of “Rizzoli & Isles” at the end of season four, Variety has learned.
Tamaro, who decided not to renew her contract for season five, will remain on board the TNT crime procedural as a consulting producer for its fifth run. The final episodes of the show’s fourth season are set to roll out on TNT early next year.
Tamaro, who developed “Rizzoli & Isles” from a series of novels by Tess Gerritsen, has spearheaded the series since its debut on TNT in 2010, serving as scribe, exec producer and showrunner. Her segue out of the day-to-day showrunning duties arrives after rumors in recent months of discord on the “Rizzoli & Isles” set.
A new showrunner has yet to be tapped for the series.
Tamaro is currently in talks with Warner Horizon TV, the studio behind “Rizzoli & Isles,” for the potential development of TV projects. Tamaro has two new TV projects on her plate, and the scribe hopes to move beyond procedurals and into the serialized TV drama market with her new creative pursuits. Warner Horizon and Tamaro mutually hope to continue their relationship, and produce new content for TNT.
As she releases the reigns as showrunner, Tamaro is confident the Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander-starrer is on solid grounding for season five.
“I did four seasons that I’m incredibly proud of, and the show is in great shape,” Tamaro told Variety, noting the increase of roughly 1 million viewers for “Rizzoli” in its fourth run compared to its third. “It’s been phenomenal, but I’m at the top of my game creatively and really want to use the juice I have to produce other projects...I do so love writing female characters, and I want to do more!”
Tamaro also cited the recent suicide death of “Rizzoli” cast member Lee Thompson Young as a factor in her new professional journey, saying that while Young’s passing “was not the reason” for her stepping down as showrunner, “it was a catalyst for me to examine what I want to be doing next.”
In addition to potential development with Warner Horizon, Tamaro has a deal in place with New Regency for a female-driven suspense thriller.
“It’s very, very hard to leave. change is hard,” Tamaro remarked. “I will miss the daily interaction with the cast and crew...it’s time to let go of the safety bar and do something challenging.”
Janet Tamaro will stay on as a consultant for season five as she eyes new projects.
Rizzoli & Isles is losing its showrunner.
Janet Tamaro, who has overseen the procedural since its 2010 debut, will step down after the end of the current fourth season of TNT's top drama, The Hollywood Reporter confirms. The remaining four episodes are scheduled to air in early 2014.
She is expected to stay on as a consultant for season five, slated for a 2014 premiere. A new showrunner has not yet been named.
With Tamaro transitioning from day-to-day responsibilities on Rizzoli & Isles, she will focus her attention on developing new projects.
Tamaro developed Rizzoli & Isles from characters created by best-selling author Tess Gerritsen. Rizzoli & Isles stars Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander as Jane Rizzoli, a tough Boston police detective, and Maura Isles, a medical examiner with a privileged background. Brian Goodman, Jordan Bridges, Lorraine Bracco and Bruce McGill co-star.
Rizzoli & Isles has averaged 8.4 million viewers in Live+7 ratings this season, up 6 percent from last year, with 2.9 million among adults 25-54 and 2.3 million among adults 18-49.
The news comes weeks after the death of Rizzoli & Isles regular Lee Thompson Young, who was set to return as a regular in season five.
Question from Barbara Cave Sanders:
Is Jane ever going to find true love?
Who knows? I haven't made that part up yet.
Question from Diavolo's Redo:
How difficult is it to fit the scripts to an hour-long episode
I've gotten very good at cramming story into the hour-long box I have, but I'm about to start a feature (soon as I wave good-bye to Season 4), so MAYBE I'm secretly yearning to have more real estate to tell a longer story ...
Casting Director - Gary Zuckerbrod
Hi, I'm Gary Zuckerbrod, the Casting Director. During "pre-production," my Associate Kamala Thomas and I receive and read the script - and then discuss each guest star and co-star role with Janet Tamaro, the writing staff and the director of the new episode. We discuss the age, gender, physical and social aspects of each role. After that, my office sends a description of each role that needs to be cast to all of the talent agents in Los Angeles. Then the fun begins! For each episode, we sort through between 800 - 2,500 headshots and resumes which are submitted to us on-line through agents and managers in order to determine which actors will be presented to Janet and the director. On average, we bring in seven to eight actors for each role. Basically that means if 450 actors are submitted for a single role, only 7 or 8 will actually come in to read and be considered. We have about three to four casting sessions each episode and usually present three or four roles at a time. Each actor reads with either me or with Kamala and every actor's audition is filmed. Janet and the director are present in the final casting sessions as they watch the actors before deciding, along with the Studio and Network, who is going to be hired for each role.
Assistant To Janet Tamaro - Sam Lembeck
I assist the boss, J.T. I am the gatekeeper. A major part of my job is to "sit" guard at my desk in front of her office - and triage. I talk to everyone looking for a "minute" of her time, watch the phones and plow through all the e-mail. This is all about helping her to funnel the gazillions of questions, production needs, and impending and burning fires, which all require Janet's urgent attention. But there are only so many "minutes" in a day, so it's all about determining the most urgent needs so that she can address them when she has a second.
I am in charge of keeping her calendar up to date for Prep, Production and Post. Doesn't sound too hard, but it changes minute to minute - and it really is a three-ring circus every day. I set meetings for her and make sure she is where she needs to be, when she needs to be there. Writing the show takes up a huge amount of her time so a challenging part of my job is to try and keep the interruptions to a minimum and not schedule too many meetings when there are deadlines approaching. It's a delicate balance because Janet wants to address everyone's questions and requests, but is constantly under deadline pressure - and needs more time than she has to write alone and to work in the Writers' Room with the other writers. I studied writing and directing in the grad school at USC and this job has given me incredible insight into how a TV show is made from start to finish. True highlights of my time here so far were when Janet let me pitch her ideas that she turned into a couple of episodes.
TNT's blockbuster hit Rizzoli & Isles ranked as basic cable's #1 scripted program for the week. The episode has drawn 8.2 million viewers in Live + 3 delivery, a +3% increase over the prior week. In the demos, it has delivered 2.8 million adults 25-54 in Live + 3 (+4% vs. the prior week) and 2.3 million adults 18-49 (+2% vs. the prior week).
In Live + 7 viewing, the Aug. 20 episode of Rizzoli & Isles scored 8.3 million viewers and 2.9 million adults 25-54 in Live + 7.
TNT's blockbuster hit Rizzoli & Isles ranked as basic cable's #1 scripted program for the week. The episode has drawn 8 million viewers in Live + 3 delivery, a +3% increase over the prior week. In the demos, it has delivered 2.7 million adults 25-54 in Live + 3 (+4% vs. the prior week) and 2.3 million adults 18-49 (+8% vs. the prior week).
In time-shifted viewing,the Aug. 13 episode of Rizzoli & Isles topped out with 8.0 million viewers and 2.8 million adults 25-54 in Live + 7.
Hi, My name is Peter Olexiewicz. I'm the Construction Coordinator. I’m responsible for both budgeting and building sets for each and every episode. My work takes me from the studio stages to locations since there is almost always construction on each and every episode as the executive producer and writers take us into different worlds. I work closely with the Production Designer to determine the size and scope of the sets. I also work closely with other departments including: Grip, Electric , Set Dressing and Transportation. I have an amazing crew of skilled carpenters, painters, craftsmen, plasterers etc., who all help me deliver a "real," high-quality set on time and on budget. :-)
Tom Mertz - Special Effects Coordinator
Hi! My name is Tom Mertz and I am the Special Effects Coordinator for R&I and the SFX Department Head for Paramount Pictures. I have a machine/fabricating shop, and a team of talented, licensed and safety trained craftsman who are experienced in motion picture/television manufacturing, construction and production support services. I will review and break-down each R&I script and budget each gag, effect and/or piece of equipment used in that show accordingly. I highlight scenes that require standby operating labor, prop or vehicle manufacturing, rigging and installation, equipment rentals, and necessary pyrotechnic permits.
Then, I hire and supervise my department crew for each show or gag and work with the Executive Producers, Director, construction, transportation, wardrobe, art dept. and production to coordinate each situation as dictated by the executive producer and creator, J.T., Production and the production designer. So, for example, when JANE AND MAURA are walking down a street, I have an operator (behind the scenes), who has "wet-down" the street, and is using an e-fan(high-powered fan) to blow the two actresses' hair. If you watch the show, you'll see that that "gleam" of water makes it feel more real, as does the wind that "lifts" their hair. We are also on set to operate elevator doors, and handle anything that involves a real fire (fireplaces, candles, etc.).
When it comes to big show effects and cars exploding, we have safely and properly rigged specific effects to occur on cue. With any Special Effects on set, the entire crew has been trained to adhere to strict safety guidelines and protection. One of my favorite rigs was manufacturing Jane and Maura's mud bath units in Season 2's episode, "Living Proof. " That was custom-made, encapsulated unit. They are NOT actually soaking in a tub of m...Sssshh... ;-)