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Since leaving Oxford University with a History degree, Tessa Harris has been a journalist and editor, contributing to many national publications in the United Kingdom such as The Times and The Telegraph. She has also acted as a literary publicist for several well-known authors. Winning a European-wide screenplay writing competition led to the optioning of a screenplay, set in 18th-century England. Using her research into the period, she wrote The Anatomist’s Apprentice. For more information please visit

Interview with Tessa Harris

Why do you think that the subject of cutting open dead people attracts readers?

You’re asking an author who faints at the sight of blood! OK, so there are one or two gory scenes, but essentially The Anatomist’s Apprentice is a suspenseful murder-mystery that aims to intrigue. Publishers Weekly said that ‘even veteran armchair puzzle solvers are likely to be surprised.’ As far as the medical details go, I like the idea of writing about science in a prosaic way. Nowadays, there’s always a clear line between the arts and the sciences, but in the 18th century there wasn’t such a gulf. Scientists could be artists and vice versa. I like that notion of the ‘all-rounder,’ like Benjamin Franklin. Above all, however, I hope readers will find a good story with a dash of history, a pinch of philosophy and a handful of romance thrown in.

Would you be able to survive in the 18th century?

I would be dead aged just six weeks. I was born with a condition known as pyloric stenosis, which meant that my stomach wouldn’t open to receive food! When I was born (1959) the risk of anesthesia to babies was too high so I was given brandy to sedate me during the operation! So you could say I’ve experienced 18th century medical techniques first hand!   

What is the best book-to-film adaptation?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It has to be one of my favorite films of all time. The pathos is so extraordinary. We really feel so deeply for all those victims in the mental asylum and Nurse Ratched has to be one of the most menacing villains ever. My second novel, ‘To Slay A Giant,’ echoes this sort of tension and taut relationship.

Name a book that you'd blush to be seen reading on the bus.

Anything by Jeffrey Archer. I can’t say I admire his writing, but he can certainly tell a good yarn. I’ve been a journalist for nearly 30 years and before I interviewed him for a magazine article I had to read his latest novel – I think it was A Matter of Honor (1986). I really enjoyed the way he wove a fictional story into fact. This is what I do in my novels. 

What is a book you’d most like to reread, if you could just find it again?

If I love a book, I keep it. I’m not sure where it is, but I know I’ve kept my copy of H.E.Bates collected short stories called The Wild Cherry Tree which, at the age of 17, confirmed to me that I really had to be a writer.

What is a favorite novel of yours that nobody else seems to have heard of?

The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale. It’s an historical novel about a young woman on the run from the law, who finds refuge with a man who makes fireworks. Set in the mid 18th century, it’s full of acute observations and written in the most beautiful prose.

Did you ever read a book and then wish you had all that time back?

As a journalist I’ve had to read quite a few books by celebrities who aren’t really writers at all. I shan’t name names, but a lot of them were just a waste of paper and wouldn’t have sold at all if their authors hadn’t been famous. 

What is the best writing advice you've ever been given?

It came from my namesake, but no relation, Robert Harris, the international best-selling author whom I interviewed at his home. He said you should always end a chapter on a cliff hanger and that’s what I always try to do.

Which deceased author would you most like to take out to dinner?

Charles Dickens. Not very original I know, but I’ve just read his biography by Clare Tomalin, which revealed him to be the most complex character. His morals left a lot to be desired, so I can’t say I’d like him as a person, but he would be fascinating over the port and Stilton cheese.

Do you ever write while intoxicated?

I must admit chilled Chardonnay does inspire me sometimes on a Saturday evening, but I never get drunk!

eBooks found: 8
The Sixth Victim ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
The Sixth Victim
Tessa Harris
Kensington, May 2017
ISBN: 9781496706560
Format: ePub
List Price: $9.99 Our price: $2.99
Secrets in the Stones ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
Secrets in the Stones
Tessa Harris
Kensington, February 2016
ISBN: 9780758293411
Format: ePub
Our price: $9.99
Shadow of the Raven ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
Shadow of the Raven
Tessa Harris
Kensington, January 2015
ISBN: 9780758293398
Format: ePub
Our price: $9.99
The Devil's Breath ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
The Devil's Breath
Tessa Harris
Kensington, December 2013
ISBN: 9780758267009
Format: ePub
Our price: $6.99
The Dead Shall Not Rest ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
The Dead Shall Not Rest
Tessa Harris
Kensington, December 2012
ISBN: 9780758266996
Format: ePub
Our price: $9.99
The Anatomist's Apprentice ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
The Anatomist's Apprentice
Tessa Harris
Kensington, December 2011
ISBN: 9780758266989
Format: ePub
Our price: $9.99
Killer Poker ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
The Lazarus Curse
Tessa Harris & J. A. Johnstone
Pinnacle, April 2011
ISBN: 9780758293374
Format: ePub
Our price: $4.99
Meurtre à Oxford: Une enquête du Dr Silkstone ePub (Adobe DRM) download by Tessa Harris
Meurtre à Oxford: Une enquête du Dr Silkstone
Tessa Harris
Archipel, April 2016
ISBN: 9782809818529
Format: ePub
List Price: $9.99 Our price: $8.99
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