I’m delighted to welcome Jane Haseldine back to Colloquium today! Worth Killing For, the third installment in her series of Julia Gooden adventures is available now. Once again, the Detroit crime reporter finds herself enmeshed in a mystery that could have devastating consequences. This time, Julia’s conman father has resurfaced in Detroit and thrown her life into turmoil.
The Genesis of a Strong Female Lead
I’m a big fan of girl power.
My mom, who named me “Jane Eyre,” was a writer. Truth be told, I didn’t realize I was named after a strong female literary character until I was eight. Before that, I thought my middle name was spelled “A-I-R.”
Marjorie Haseldine, my mother, was a newspaper reporter who wrote hard news when many of her female counterparts were relegated to the society page. Way to go, Mom.
She told me often, that if I worked hard, I could be anything I wanted. Talk about empowerment. And growing up, she introduced me to strong females every Saturday at the public library, where I dove into the stories of fearless Nancy Drew, the creative and strong-minded Jo March of Little Women, and Laura Ingalls, who overcame bears and blizzards (not to mention that bratty Nellie Oleson) during her early years on the prairie.
I’d later follow in my mother’s footsteps into a career in journalism. I covered the crime beat and often found myself navigating through a world in which most of my sources — and bosses — were men. Some were fantastic mentors, but I’ll never forget one boss in my early days who gave me what I’m sure he thought was sage advice over a beer one Friday evening after deadline: “You need to find a rich man to marry you, Jane. Don’t wait around.”
I’m serious. And so was he.
My former boss, who I deeply admired before that moment, had obviously never read Nancy Drew. I think it’s safe to say, our Nancy wasn’t waiting around for some rich guy to propose.
These days, I write books featuring a strong, yet flawed, female lead. Cue Julia Gooden, a tough crime reporter in the city of Detroit with a dark and painful past that fuels her as a reporter. When Julia was seven, her older brother was abducted in the room they shared. Thirty years later, Julia becomes a crime reporter to try and give others the closure she could never find for herself, since her brother’s kidnapping case has long gone cold.
Julia is relentless when it comes to finding out the truth. She’s also as passionate about her work as she is about being a single mother to two young boys. And she’s unapologetic for trying to juggle both.
With the recent release of the third book in the Julia Gooden mystery series, Worth Killing For, I’ve found her character is sometimes criticized in reviews for putting herself in dangerous situations since she has children. Moms aren’t supposed to do that, I’ve been told. But I often wonder, if Julia were a man with young children in the same situation, if she’d be judged the same way.
From Scout Finch, to Anne of Green Gables to grownup kickass literary heroines like Lisbeth Salander, I wanted Julia Gooden to be a strong female, refusing to take a secondary place in a man’s world.
My mother would’ve been proud.
Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor. Born in Canada, Jane spent much of her early childhood on the road with her three siblings and parents, as her British father was always trying to cook up his next big business deal. Jane survived the long car rides that took her from the rocky coast of Maine to the deep red clay of Georgia in her early days by reading anything she could get her hands on, including the Chronicles of Narnia series, A Wrinkle in Time, and everything written by Judy Blume. Jane spent a good stretch of her later childhood in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, and then Gloucester, Massachusetts, where she discovered John Steinbeck and after reading The Grapes of Wrath swore that she’d become a writer.
Jane graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in journalism and has spent her adulthood working at newspapers and magazines across the country, the wanderlust of the open road still staying with her as she’s called Louisiana, San Francisco, Boston, New York, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all home. Jane currently resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons.