by Deborah Harter Williams
Watch a video interview with Tess Gerritsen from RizzlesCon at the end of this article.
Fans of Rizzoli & Isles came from all over the world to celebrate the first ever RizzlesCon held in Anaheim July 20th-22. From Australia, the Netherlands, Italy, Iceland, North Carolina and Sunnyvale, mostly women but more than a few men, found themselves in the midst of murder not far from the happiest place on earth.
Tattooed twenty-year olds stood alongside scholarly looking middle-agers as they lined up to have their pictures taken with Tess Gerritsen, author of the books on which the series is based. When she spoke about her characters to the group she fielded questions on writing, literary tropes and the background of Jane and Maura. The author confessed that Maura shares a lot of her biographical material and tastes – medical doctor, Stanford graduate, scientist – the Mr. Spock to Jane Rizzoli’s Capt. Kirk.
Gerritsen revealed the there is a real Dr. Maura Isles out there somewhere. “She is named after the relative of someone who bid $1000 in an auction for the chance to name a character in one of my books.” She intoned, with a certain amount of mystery, “I don’t know where she is and she has never contacted me, but she is out there.”
She also talked about visiting the set and how noisy and crowded it was compared to the quiet solitude of her writer’s work place. “It was like a small military operation – with catering.” She mentioned her surprise at seeing one of the dead bodies sitting up and eating a bagel, and the crew cutting the heads off roses at an LA home to simulate Boston in the fall.
Other sessions featured LA law enforcement – homicide detective Barry Telis and Ed Winter, Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Coroner. Assistant Special Agent in Charge Debra Parker represented WIFLE (Women in Federal Law Enforcement), the only non-profit organization in the United States that seeks to improve the numbers of women in federal law enforcement.
Amy Sue Machalik of Bulletproof Consulting discussed how being a female special agent differs from the norm. She is a former ATF agent now working as a screenwriter and police consultant for TV and film. Another panel addressed LGBT and the media.
On the lighter side there was a Dirty Robber Trivia event and music by Sophie B. Hawkins. Last minute cancelled appearances by members of the cast didn’t put a damper on things as the organizers quickly created a participatory mystery story/scavenger hunt with clues posted throughout the Clarion Hotel.
Great swag was to be had – Mysterious Galaxy bookstore was there with all the Rizzoli & Isles books. There were many fan products including mugs, hats, t-shirts and a black Dr. Maura scrub top. Proceeds of sales from TessGerritsen.com go to RIF (Reading is Fundamental). You could even get five brown paper evidence bags for a dollar. All attendees got a free copy of The Apprentice, the only book which loaned its plot to a series episode.
Gerritsen credits the show’s success to the work of Janet Tamaro headwriter, who has injected her own brand of humor. No doubt the chemistry between the stars puts it right up there with Cagney and Lacey as a female buddy show. Rizzoli & Isles, aired on TNT, is the #1 scripted cable show and has been renewed for a 4th season. Gerritsen just released a Rizzoli & Isles short story “John Doe” in e-book format and has the 10th book in the series Last to Die coming out August 28th. For more about RizzlesCon visit www.RizzlesCon.net.