JEAN’S TOP WRITING TIP: Just keep writing what you want to write. Accept rejection and criticism as part of the learning curve, but never give up!
Born and educated in the UK, Jean Harrod worked as a British diplomat for several years. She spent much of her life working overseas in Embassies and High Commissions in Australia, Brussels, the Caribbean, China, East Berlin, Indonesia, Mauritius, and Switzerland. She has travelled extensively around the world and writes about all the countries she had lived in, or visited.
Set in Australia, Deadly Diplomacy is her debut diplomatic crime novel, and the first of a trilogy featuring diplomat Jess Turner and Australian DI Tom Sangster.
Jean now lives in North Yorkshire. She is a member of Script Yorkshire and an active contributor to regional theatre. She has written and staged several plays. Find out more about Jean on her website here.
Why do you write? I’ve been writing since I was a young girl. It’s a compulsion, something I love to do.
What would you be doing if you weren’t a writer? I worked as a diplomat for many years, writing letters, briefing, and reports all the time. But I came back to creative writing because it seemed the natural thing to do.
What was your toughest obstacle to becoming published? The publishing industry is a tough nut to crack. You need persistence, a thick skin, and heaps of luck to find someone in that industry who loves your novel enough to publish it.
What’s the best aspect of your writing life? I can organise my own life and work schedule. Also, it’s a joy to see the characters and plots that have been rattling around in my head for so long come to life in a real book.
—the worst? Writing to deadlines.
What would you do differently if you were starting out now as a writer? I would do some creative writing courses to help put me on the right track in the crime/thriller genre I’m writing in.
What do you wish you’d been told before you set out to become an author? How hard it is to actually write a novel and get it published. I wrote my first one over and over until I got there in the end. I refused to give up on it.
What’s the best advice you were ever given? Write what you know about, and be sincere.
Available here from Amazon and also from bookshops.
Diplomat Jess Turner is the British Consul in Canberra. When a British businesswoman is brutally murdered in a Queensland resort, Jess travels to Brisbane to liaise with the police, and help the victim’s next of kin, her journalist sister, Susan.
Queensland DI Tom Sangster is assigned the case; but the Federal Government is very interested in it too. The murder victim was negotiating a multi-billion dollar deal to supply LNG to China, and soon rumours of corruption swirl around the intelligence community. Was she taking Chinese bribes?
Jess is taken aback by Susan’s deep suspicion of the police. When Susan snatches her sister’s diary and disappears – and two more high profile murders follow in quick succession – the race is on to find Susan and the diary before the killer does.
Jess and Sangster, each with their own pieces of the puzzle, must work together to solve this case.