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Say Hello to Tessa Harris!

Let's all give a warm welcome to Tessa Harris, author of the Dr. Thomas Silkstone series!

About the Author:

"After studying History at Oxford University, I began my journalistic career on a newspaper in my home town of Louth, in Lincolnshire. I progressed onto a London newspaper, where I became women's editor. From there I moved to become a feature writer on Best magazine. After two years I was made editor of a regional arts and listings publication. This was followed by another two years as deputy editor on Heritage magazine. Motherhood meant a spell as a freelance, contributing to several national magazines, such as Country Homes & Interiors, Perfect Home and Woman's Journal, as well as newspapers such as The Times, The Telegraph and The Guardian. During this time I also worked as a literary publicist and for a documentary-making company. In 2005 I was made editor of Berkshire Life magazine.

In 2000 I won a European-wide screenplay writing competition run by the London Screenwriters' Workshop and the resulting screenplay was optioned by a film company. The script was set in 18th century London and my subsequent research led to the invention of Dr Thomas Silkstone, an American anatomist and the world's first forensic scientist."

I've read and loved the first book of the series, The Anatomist's Apprentice, in which we meet Dr. Thomas Silkstone and follow him through his beginning journey of love, learning and discovery; not to mention the scandalous mystery that ensues. I found this historical fiction very fascinating and educating as the author delves into the beginning discoveries of what is now known as forensic science. Imagine my pleasure when I learned the release of the next in the series, The Dead Shall Not Rest!

The brilliant anatomist Dr. Thomas Silkstone returns in Tessa Harris's vivid and compelling mystery series set in 1780s London. . .

It is not just the living who are prey to London's criminals and cutpurses. Corpses, too, are fair game--dug up from fresh graves and sold to unscrupulous men of science. Dr. Thomas Silkstone abhors such methods, but his leading rival, Dr. John Hunter, has learned of the imminent death of eight-foot-tall Charles Byrne, known as the "Irish Giant," and will go to any lengths to obtain the body for his research.

Thomas intends to see that Byrne is allowed to rest in peace. Yet his efforts are complicated by concern for his betrothed, Lady Lydia Farrell, who breaks off their engagement without explanation. When Dr. Hunter is implicated in the horrific murder of a young castrato, Thomas must determine how far the increasingly erratic surgeon will go in the name of knowledge. For as Thomas knows too well, the blackest hearts sometimes go undetected--and even an unblemished façade can hide terrifying secrets. . .
Wonderful! I talked to Tessa to find out more about her process and concept for this daring series!

Who or what are your inspirations for becoming a writer?

I'm one of those lucky people who was just born to write. I never needed to be inspired. It was just always there  - from the age of four in fact. My mother has kept my first picture book about a rabbit called Tippee!

What brought up your interest in historical forensics?

I've always loved history and studied it at Oxford, but I've also had a bit of a gruesome streak in me. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that when I was born I had to have an emergency operation, but was too little to be given an anaesthetic. Apparently they put me in a cruciform box and gave me a drop of brandy. I guess you could say I had surgery 18th century style, but I lived to tell the tale!

How did you come up with the title: The Dead Shall Not Rest?

Good question! The novel was originally called To Slay a Giant, but the sales team at Kensington asked me to change it. Giants don't sell novels apparently!

How would you summarize your new book in three sentences?

This is the second novel in the Dr Thomas Silkstone series. We find Thomas enlisted to come to the aid of an Irish giant who finds himself in danger. Based on a true story, it's a dark and thrilling tale of an obsessive anatomist who trails the giant in order to dissect him; can Thomas help him escape?   

Have any current events ever affected your books?

My third novel, The Devil's Breath, out later this year, was inspired by the ash cloud over Europe in 2010. I discovered a volcanic eruption also caused havoc in 1783, killing thousands in England, and used it as the backdrop for the book. Some people thought it was the end of the world and I was writing it at the same time there were all these ridiculous rumors to that effect on the internet. History was repeating itself.

What has ever gotten you out of a bad case of writer’s block?

I don't get writer's block as such. I call it writer's confusion. Sometimes my plots can get so complicated that I just have to take a step back. That's when I go for a walk with my dog Indy.

What have you learned from writing this book?

The Dead Shall Not Rest was originally a screenplay, which was optioned. When, however, it never got made, I couldn't bear to think that no one would read the poignant story, so I wrote the book. I learned that writing a novel, for me, is much harder than a screenplay, but I do enjoy writing both. And, who knows, maybe Dr Silkstone might still make it to the screen one day?

I love how eerily great her interest in historical forensics came from! I also find it fascinating how a current event can be reminiscent of past events, and how they can impact a story; inspiring revelation for readers, writers and everyone alike!

The Dead Shall Not Rest  (out now) 
Winner of the Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Best First MysteryAward 2012

Amazon | Book Depository | Kensington Books

Also available in Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

Also Available:

The Anatomist's Apprentice
Amazon | Book Depository | Kensington Books

Also available in Hardback, Audiobook and Ebook

Want to know more? Visit Tessa Harris and say hello!

Official Site | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

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