A #DisruptAging Story from Tess Gerritsen, Author of Rizzoli and Isles, 63 Years Old, Chinese American diaspora

“If you’re about to retire from your first career, the wonderful part about writing is that it doesn’t matter what age you are. I mean, you could hit the bestseller list at the age of 70 with your first book. Writing is something that, it doesn’t matter what your age is, it just matters what your imagination is and whether you’re any good at it.

“I feel like I have been shifting my focus my whole life. First of all, going from medicine to writing, and then shifting genres. I find that there are several periods in my career where it looked like I was really floundering. When I was doing romantic suspense, you just can’t make that much money writing romance novels. So I had to make that shift into medical thrillers. And then I wrote four medical thrillers, but then my sales were kind of stalling out, so then I did a crime novel. So that was another shift I made. I am always aware that there’s ups and downs in every career. And here I am now, I just finished the twelfth Rizzoli and Isles book, the TV show is ending. And I see I have, maybe, I think 20 to 25 good creative years left to do things. And so this is the time to take a risk.

“I just made a horror film with my son. It’s called Island Zero, and it should be ready for film festivals later this fall. So that was completely different. I’ve never been actually from the ground up in filmmaking. We had a great time. We cast everything, we hired our crew from Los Angeles, we shot here in Maine. And I think we’ll probably be making some other films.

“And I have a couple of books that I’m thinking about. There were some times I wanted to write books that were not sort of ‘Tess Gerritsen’-type books but completely weird ones. So I would need to write it under a pseudonym. It just sort of opens up a creative side of you without having your audience think ‘what the hell are you doing now?’ Ha! That would be fun. And then I have an idea for another historical novel, having to do with the history of medicine.

“This is the time you do the projects that you never got to do. Because when else are you going to do them, right?

“The important thing is to always be looking for something fresh and new and different in your life.”

Tess Gerritsen, 63
Author, Maine
Chinese Diaspora

NextDayBetter Storyteller: Sarahlynn Pablo