Posts Tagged With: inspiration

Rizzoli and Isles meets Sontag

Gerristen_Sontag.pngThis week I met an author whose series of novels inspired a successful TV drama that spanned 7 seasons with a total of 105 episodes. The author was Tess Gerristen, and her series of medical crime thrillers inspired the TV show, Rizzoli and Isles. Gerristen shared thoughts on what has inspired her writing and how she’s turned these sparks of inspiration into compelling stories.

During Gerristen’s talk, she spoke of getting inspiration from reading newspapers, exploring her interests, and exploring things outside of her area of interest. When something intrigues her in one of these settings, she asks herself “what if” questions. She then turns her creative answers to these “what if” questions into fictional books that have sold over 25 million copies in 40 countries. Here is a three-minute video snippet from her talk as she shares the inspiration for her newest book (and perhaps the last in her Rizzoli and Isles series), I Know a Secret.

Gerristen’s success with medical crime thrillers proves the validity of the admonitions to follow your dream and to write what you know. It also validates authors’ experiences of writing out of their pain. As a child, Gerristen dreamed of one day writing her own Nancy Drew novels. Her Chinese immigrant and Chinese-American parents, however, prompted her to choose a medical career. She graduated from Stanford with a BA in anthropology and then studied medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. Afterward, she established a successful practice as an internist. While on maternity leave, Gerristen entered a statewide short story contest and won first place and $500 for a story that focused on a young man reflecting on a difficult relationship with his mother. Gerritsen claims the story allowed her to deal with her own childhood turmoil, including the repeated suicide attempts of her mother.

Gerristen’s first published books were romantic thrillers published by Harlequin Intrigue. Her writing career really took off, however, after she wrote her first romantic medical suspense novel, Harvest, marking her debut on the New York Times bestseller list at number thirteen. Five years later, she wrote The Surgeon, introducing the detective Jane Rizolli. Her next ten novels paired Rizolli with the medical examiner Dr. Laura Isles. The final episode of the TV Rizolli and Isles series aired September 5, 2016, hinting that the medical examiner, Maura Isles (played by Sasha Alexander) will take a break from the medical field and try her hand at writing. Gerristen makes an appearance in this final episode as a writer who helps Maura Isles establish herself in the literary field.

Gerristen shared that a possible eight-episode TV series may surface in the near future featuring Maura Isles as a writer (once again played by Sasha Alexander) who becomes involved in a medical mystery while writing a mystery story when vacationing in Italy. Alexander’s husband, Edoardo Ponti, son of Sophia Loren, will direct the series. Gerristen shared that she’s written what’s called the “Bible” for all eight episodes, and one show includes an appearance by Sophia Loren.

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Cracked Vessels – Pursuing Kintsugi Art in my Life

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Can you find any imperfections in this Japanese plate?

 

How about now?

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The Japanese art known as Kintsugi, or Kintsukuroi (meaning “golden repair”), according to Wikipedia,  is “the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum…. As a philosophy, it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.”

 

Wow! My husband, Mark, recently shared this tidbit with me after reading a daily devotional. We talked about how, in our society, we want to ignore or disguise our imperfections. Lately, I’ve taken a closer look at my spiritual, emotional and physical states. I’ve also taken a closer look at my work as an author. I see areas where I’m chipped or cracked – pieces are broken off that I want repaired.

 

These images of Kintsugi art serve as a reminder that I’m far from perfect in any area. Rather than run from or cover up inadequacies, I want to embrace them and look for the gold in their repair. I recently had an editor review my work in progress. Her feedback showed that I needed to totally restructure the entire novel. Ouch.

 

In my spiritual life, I recently saw that I needed to ask forgiveness from a few families members. Another “ouch”. I want to pursue all of my life’s avenues with passion, embrace the cracks, and seek healing. I can’t do it on my own. For me, this is where my motivation and strength come from to pursue Kintsugi art in my life and in my writing:

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen (cracked!) vessels, that the excellency of the power (the gold) may be of God, and not of us” (2Corinthians 4:7, AKJV).

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Inspiration

Inspiration

Inspiration: the word “inspiration” comes from the Latin word inspīrāre, which means to breathe upon or into: in + to breathe  (in spīrāre) . It also means “to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.” The original idea was that something outside of a person affected them in such a way that it left them somehow changed. That’s what I want to do with my writing, especially for kids. I want to influence them in a positive way that somehow leaves them changed.

I can’t do that, however, unless something also breathes into me. For The Bronze Dagger, the animating idea for the book came when I saw a dagger that looked almost exactly like the one I’m holding in this picture. I wanted to help students get more interested in the time period of Ancient Babylonia. I saw the dagger in an antiquities store and began to wonder what things the dagger had seen back in 1800 BC. Even now, just holding this bronze dagger from the time period and geographic location of Ancient Mesopotamia still inspires me!

 

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"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

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Northern California Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers

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Spoken words are fleeting, but written words last beyond a lifetime.

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"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

marsha ottum owen

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"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

Cathleen Armstrong

"Nothing happens unless first a dream." Carl Sandburg

A Writer's Diary

Author, Educator, Consultant