Tess Gerritsen left a successful practice as an internist to raise her children and concentrate on her writing. She gained nationwide acclaim for her first novel of medical suspense, the New York Times bestseller Harvest. She is also the author of the bestsellers Life Support, Bloodstream, Gravity, and The Surgeon. Tess lives with her family in Maine. (PHOTO CREDIT: Paul D’Innocenzo) –as appeared her blog.
Write Your Passions
When young people ask me what’s the best course of study for an aspiring writer, I tell them two things.
First: “Live a life.” By this, I mean that stories come from our experiences, and to write those stories, we need to know what it means to be human. What it’s like to fall in love, fall out of love, have a child, hold down a job, lose a loved one.
Second: “Cultivate your interests.” Because you never know where those interests will lead you. My fascination with Egyptology led to my book The Keepsake. My interest in the space program led me to write Gravity. Every time you immerse yourself in another world or another hobby, you are feeding that well of future plot ideas.
But sometimes, a hobby is just something you do because you love it.
When I moved to Maine over two decades ago, I heard traditional Irish music for the first time. Maine has a strong tradition of Celtic fiddling, and every weekend, you’ll find a jam session going on somewhere, in some pub. As a child, I’d been taught a bit of classical violin, but I didn’t really enjoy it. Suddenly I heard this lively, addicting music and I pulled out my violin for the first time in twenty years. I was pretty rusty, but I just had to learn this music. I’ve been playing ever since.
Note from Kelly: Click the link if you want to read more of Tess’s article about playing the fiddle.