While she has drawn on some of her experiences as a physician in her previous books, it wasn’t until her 2011 book “The Silent Girl,” that she strongly incorporated another important part of herself — her Chinese-American heritage.

Gerritsen’s newest book “Last to Die” is her 10th in the famed Rizzoli and Isles crime series starring homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles. The “Rizzoli & Isles” TNT television series starring Angie Harmon as police detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles is now in its fourth season.

Gerritsen started writing while on maternity leave from her job as a doctor in Hawaii in the mid 1980s. The prolific author initially introduced the Boston detective as a supporting character in “The Surgeon” (2001), not intending to continue Rizzoli beyond one book. In fact, Gerritsen initially planned to kill off the character during that novel, but something changed while she was writing the tale of a top trauma surgeon forced to relive the worst moments of her past with a serial killer with medical knowledge on the loose.

Gerritsen followed up with The Apprentice (2002) which also introduced medical examiner Maura Isles, because Rizzoli “was such an interesting character” that the author wanted to see more of her.

While some people think of crime fiction as plot-focused, for Gerritsen it’s the characters, such as Rizzoli and Isles, which keep her interested.

“The only reason I write this series is to stay in touch with the characters. I want to know what happens next to them, in their professional and personal lives. This universe of characters — Jane, Maura, Frost, Korsak — are like real people to me, and each one of them is having issues and crises, and those crises often determine which plots are most interesting,” said Gerritsen.

Copies of Gerritsen’s books will be available for sale at the event through Apple Valley Books. For more information, call 207-377-8673 or visit baileylibrary.org.

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