I am so incredibly honored that author Tess Gerritsen is today's guest blogger for Book Club Exchange. Yesterday, I reviewed her latest novel ICE COLD. It was my first Tess Gerritsen book and I can assure you it won't be my last!
I hope you enjoy Ms. Gerritsen's gust post because I certainly did -- I loved getting some bonus insight into ICE COLD! If you'd like to learn more about Ms. Gerritsen, make sure you check out her fantastic blog.
One of the pleasures of belonging to a book club is the chance to ponder, with other readers, the hidden meanings in a book. What were the author's intentions? What inspired the story? And -- if you're like me -- what is the factual background of this story? I'm the sort of person who's obsessed by facts and information. I know that a number of my readers are probably wondering how much truth there is behind my new novel, ICE COLD. As a writer, I draw much of my inspiration from real events and real science. So for those book groups who happen to be reading it, I thought I'd open the curtain just a bit to let you peek behind the scenes at the background behind the story. And offer some questions you might discuss when you're talking about ICE COLD with other readers.
Did a true story inspire ICE COLD?
Yes. It was inspired by an event in 1968 known as "The Dugway Incident." One cold morning in Skull Valley, Utah, farmers awakened to find a horrifying sight: thousands of sheep lay dead, and the ground was littered with the corpses of birds that had mysteriously dropped from the sky. No one could explain it -- or would admit to any wrongdoing. 30 years later, the U.S. government finally declassified the file on the Dugway Incident -- which is when I first learned about it. I won't give away the answers, but after you read ICE COLD, you may want to Google "Dugway" and "dead sheep." The answers may shock you.
The crisis in ICE COLD begins with a misadventure involving a GPS. How often does this happen in real life?
Way too often! In the UK alone, it's estimated that GPS blunders have caused up to 300,000 accidents. There have been news reports of drivers blindly following their GPS instructions onto railroad tracks, into bodies of water, and onto snow-choked seasonal roads. Occasionally, drivers have died because of their utter faith in technology. I myself have followed a GPS straight into a cornfield. Moral of the story: use your common sense and always carry a map -- a real map!
In ICE COLD, one of your characters is referred to as a "lost boy." Is this a term you coined yourself?
Unfortunately, no. If you Google "lost boys" and "polygamous sects," you'll discover that these boys are all too real. In polygamous communities, the older, more powerful men are allowed multiple wives, and they'll often marry girls much younger. This leads to a shortage of marriageable girls for all the other men. Many teenage boys in these communities are banished, ejected from their homes and families, so they can't compete for eligible females. The boys are abandoned in the nearest large cities where they're left to fend for themselves. Imagine tossing out your own son, never to see him again. As the mother of sons, it breaks my heart to think of the anguish these boys must feel when they're rejected by their own families. The character of Rat is based on one of these lost boys.
I hope this gives you a little more insight into the factual origins of ICE COLD. Sometimes, truth really is every bit as strange as fiction!
Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D.
While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, “Adrift”, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson.
Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Her suspense novels since then have been: Life Support (1997), Bloodstream (1998), Gravity (1999), The Surgeon (2001), The Apprentice (2002), The Sinner (2003), Body Double (2004), Vanish (2005), The Mephisto Club (2006), The Bone Garden (2007), The Keepsake (2008; UK title: Keeping the Dead), and Ice Cold (2010; UK title: The Killing Place.) Her books have been translated into 37 languages, and more than 20 million copies have been sold around the world.
Her books have been top-5 bestsellers in the United States and abroad. She has won both the Nero Wolfe Award (for Vanish) and the Rita Award (for The Surgeon). Critics around the world have praised her novels as “Pulse-pounding fun” (Philadelphia Inquirer), “Scary and brilliant” (Toronto Globe and Mail), and “Polished, riveting prose” (Chicago Tribune). Publisher Weekly has dubbed her the “medical suspense queen”.
Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.
I am so grateful to Ms. Gerritsen for sharing this fabulous guest post with us. If you are interested in participating in a future Book Club Exchange, please contact me at bookingmama(at)gmail(dot)com.
Giveaway alert: I have two copies of ICE COLD to share with two lucky Booking Mama Readers. To enter, please leave a comment with a valid email address telling me if you're a fan of Tess Gerritsen books. The contest will be open unit August 11th at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will notify the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you in the United States and Canada only -- no p.o. boxes please. Good luck!