Thrilling science: how to spin facts into entertaining fiction

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and the public are invited to a free lecture, "Thrilling Science: How to Spin Facts into Entertaining Fiction," by Tess Gerritsen, an international bestselling author. Gerritsen will speak from 12:20 to 1:10 p.m. on Sept. 27, in 111 Wartik Laboratory on Penn State's University Park campus as part of this year's Forensic Science Lecture Series. The lecture event is the fourth of a series of presentations on forensic science, criminal justice and crime fiction.

Later in the day, Gerritsen will autograph copies of books and greet readers and fans in the HUB-Robeson Center from 4 to 5 p.m.

Best-selling thriller writer Gerritsen, a retired physician and anthropologist, will explain how she uses her experience and training to turn science into medically astute suspense thrillers. She also will discuss how the lead character from her first crime novel, "The Surgeon," became the central focus of the current "Rizzoli & Isles" television series.

Gerritsen began to write fiction while on maternity leave from her work as a physician. In 1987, she published her first romantic suspense novel, "Call After Midnight." She also wrote a screenplay, "Adrift," which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson. Gerritsen's first medical thriller, "Harvest," was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times best-seller list. Since she began her writing career, she has published nine romance novels and 13 medical thrillers. Her books have been translated into 37 languages, and more than 20 million copies have been sold nationally and internationally. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award for best mystery and the Rita Award for best romance.

Gerritsen received a medical degree from the University of California at San Francisco in 1979. She earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology at Stanford University in 1975.

The Penn State Forensic Science Lecture Series is sponsored by the Penn State Eberly College of Science. For more information, contact the Forensic Science Program at 814-863-6758 or

Last Updated January 09, 2015