Interview with Peter Robinson

Please visit Peter Robinson’s website to read the interview in which Peter and I talk about the inspiration behind our books, our series characters, and what it’s like to see our creations make it to screen.

My medical thrillers now available as e-books

HARVEST, LIFE SUPPORT, BLOODSTREAM, and GRAVITY can now be downloaded onto your Kindle, Nook, or Sony e-reader.

Hollywood as bookseller

View my post about this topic over on

Sometimes, pundits are just plain … stupid

I used to think that it was painful getting bad reviews as a novelist. I had no idea that it’s even crueler when you’re in the TV business. Although I’m not involved with “Rizzoli & Isles,” the new TV show based on my series, I can’t help wincing when I see some of the breathtakingly ill-informed attacks critics have hurled against the show.

And the most common attack seems to be about the name of the show. Rizzoli. And. Isles. “What numbskull comes up with a stupid title like that?” they ask. “Why couldn’t they come up with better names?” says this article, proposing some better alternatives. And this blog.

“Worst Name Ever,” seems to be the theme on TV message boards. Critics have said it sounds like “A restaurant,” or “A wine cooler,” or “A law firm.” They just don’t get why anyone would call a show by that name.

Their prediction? This show is sure to fail because it has a stupid title.

Now that “Rizzoli & Isles” has debuted to the best-ever ratings of any scripted cable show, and has held its ratings in its second week, it’s time to look at just how wrong those critics were. And why.

I’m astonished by the ignorance of the pundits. They certainly can’t call themselves journalists if they didn’t know that the show is based on novels whose characters are named … yep! Rizzoli. And. Isles. And don’t they know that to change the names of those characters (as New York Magazine suggested) would, um, make the show NOT based on the novels which attracted the producer in the first place?

Did they not realize that those names may actually have been one of the reasons many viewers did tune in? That many of those viewers are readers of the books, which have been read by millions of readers? That’s a pretty hefty ready-made audience.

(Those same pundits would probably have thought that a movie with “Harry Potter” in the title was stupidly named, too.)

What it tells me is that too many TV pundits don’t read books. They’re ignorant of the book audience. They’re ignorant that, yes, fictional literary characters do have millions of fans. They’re so wrapped up in their TV world, that they don’t realize there’s an audience out there beyond their tiny little sphere of knowledge.

Someone’s shoplifting my books

In a way, this is actually good news.

I did a drop-in signing at a bookstore yesterday, and went back to the shelves to autograph my backlist titles. All I found there was one lonely paperback copy of “Bloodstream.” Where were all the paperback editions of my Rizzoli & Isles series? Ever since the premiere of “Rizzoli & Isles”, my backlist titles have been selling fast everywhere, but it was still surprising to see almost none of my paperbacks in a major bookstore.

When I asked the bookseller if perhaps my backlist was shelved elsewhere, she checked her computer and said, no, I was searching in the right place. And according to the computer, the store had all my backlist titles in stock. She walked back to the section with me and frowned when she saw there really weren’t any of my books there. She checked other areas of the store, and couldn’t find them. Then she sighed and said, “Someone must be a real fan. Because it looks like they’ve stolen all your paperbacks.” She mentioned that a customer had been in the store earlier that day asking for my paperbacks, and had walked out disappointed because she hadn’t been able to find any. But only when I specifically asked the bookseller to check her computer did she realize the books were missing from their shelves. Now she’s reordering my books. But it makes me wonder how many other stores mistakenly think they have plenty of my books on hand when those books have been swiped from the shelves.

On the one hand, it’s too bad that stores don’t have any of my books to sell customers. On the other hand, it’s sort of … flattering that my books are considered worthy of stealing.

Authors, have you run across this problem with your books? And booksellers, how often do you encounter this issue?

One amusing little factoid: the #1 most-stolen title is the Bible.

Evacuated from yet another hotel.

This is getting weird. Last night I was a guest in the Sheraton Hotel in Framingham, MA. At 3 AM, an eerily familiar thing happened — the hotel fire alarm went off. I got dressed, sleepily made my way down the emergency stairwell, and headed outside where all the other equally sleepy hotel guests stood gathered. They seemed to think it was a sort of fun and novel thing to write home about.

I, quite frankly, am getting tired of the whole thing. Because it’s my fourth hotel evacuation. I’ve been evacuated from hotels in New Zealand, Boston, New Hampshire, and now Framingham. Three out of the four times, it’s been in the middle of the night.

I swear, I’m not the one pulling the emergency lever.

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