Stef Harris is a Kiwi cop who writes crime novels

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Desperate to beryllium  similar  Ernest Hemingway, Stef Harris went to Africa, contracted malaria, and picked up   a pen successful  recovery.


Desperate to beryllium similar Ernest Hemingway, Stef Harris went to Africa, contracted malaria, and picked up a pen successful recovery.

Stef Harris, 60, is simply a front-line constabulary serviceman who’s served 32 years connected the bushed successful Wellington, Christchurch and, since 2014, successful Motueka. He’s besides the writer of 3 published transgression novels, including Double Jeopardy, which is retired astatine the extremity of May.

Harris lives with his wife, retired constabulary serviceman Pegeen O'Rourke-Harris, and betwixt them they person 4 big children. He tells Sharon Stephenson astir moving with Mel Gibson and however contracting malaria successful Africa led him to writing.

Did you ever privation to beryllium a writer?

I was raised by a azygous parent successful and astir Rotorua/Hamilton and was ever an avid reader. I wanted to beryllium a writer but not conscionable immoderate writer, I wanted to beryllium Ernest Hemingway.

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Wasn’t it Hemingway who inspired you to spell to Africa?

Yes. I was 19 and had conscionable finished schoolhouse erstwhile I got a occupation driving Kiwi tourists done Europe and Africa successful a converted Belgium service truck. It was a year-long travel and I’d thrust during the time and hole the vehicles astatine nighttime due to the fact that the roads were beauteous rough. I wildly overstated my mechanical abilities but learnt connected the occupation and did it for 2 years.

But you got sick?

I contracted malaria successful Uganda and aft immoderate clip successful a Nairobi infirmary spent 3 months successful a tiny colony recovering. This was the days earlier laptops but luckily determination was a boys’ schoolhouse successful the village, which had a bully stationery store truthful I bought tons of pads and pens and started penning my archetypal book, which I completed by the clip I got backmost to work.

You didn’t person immoderate luck getting it published?

I sent it to much than 100 publishers and backmost successful those days it outgo $30 worthy of stamps each clip and six months aboriginal you’d get a rejection letter. I realised the publication wasn’t precise good.

Why did you articulation the police?

I cognize it sounds a spot cliché, but to assistance people. I retrieve connected the archetypal time astatine constabulary assemblage erstwhile each the caller recruits were asked wherefore we signed up and everyone said due to the fact that they wanted to assistance radical - 32 years later, it’s inactive the aforesaid for me.

My occupation has ever been arsenic a front-line responder and if idiosyncratic is having perchance the worst time of their lives, oregon needs a spot of help, I similar being the archetypal to crook up astatine their door. I’ve ne'er wanted to spell into management, I similar being close determination among the action.

Stef Harris’ caller   transgression  caller   Double Jeopardy is retired  precocious   May.


Stef Harris’ caller transgression caller Double Jeopardy is retired precocious May.

You ne'er stopped writing, did you?

All done my constabulary vocation I’ve written. I wrote a fewer books that didn’t get published until yet successful 1990 The Waikikamukau Conspiracy, about a tiny municipality Māori onshore claim, was picked up.

You aboriginal turned that into a diagnostic movie [The Waimate Conspiracy]?

My friends, actors David McPhail and Mark Hadlow, tried to get Film Commission backing for years and erstwhile that failed, I self-funded the film, which went connected to triumph 4 champion movie awards astir the world.

That wasn’t your lone toe-dip into film-making?

I besides wrote and directed the 2018 diagnostic movie Blue Moon, which won awards astatine festivals from Oslo and St Tropez to Los Angeles.

Do you ever usage what you’ve experienced arsenic a constabulary serviceman successful your novels?

I’ve ne'er lifted existent beingness events I’ve witnessed connected the occupation and fictionalised them. But aft 32 years of having a ringside spot to humanity, I’ve met a batch of antithetic radical and had a batch of experiences, which I dip into. Nothing successful my books is real, but everything is true.

Your different books were acceptable successful Aotearoa, wherefore is Boston the mounting for your latest transgression book?

In 2009 I won a assistance to survey with Kiwi manager Martin Campbell, who directed the James Bond films GoldenEye and Casino Royale arsenic good arsenic the Mask of Zorro, connected the Boston acceptable of his movie Edge of Darkness, starring Mel Gibson.

I spent each time with Martin and Mel, but besides got to cognize Boston rather well. It seemed the cleanable mounting for a communicative astir a hard-bitten erstwhile Boston detective whose daughter’s slayer is released from prison.

How bash you juggle your time occupation with writing?

I don’t person a TV truthful that saves a batch of time! A twelvemonth agone I gave up nighttime shifts truthful I presently constitute successful the evenings, connected my days disconnected and connected weekends, whenever I tin find the time.

What’s adjacent for you?

I’m presently penning a sequel to Double Jeopardy, arsenic good arsenic a literate novella and a abbreviated movie astir my childhood. I person backing from the Film Commission for that, truthful I anticipation to commencement filming it aboriginal this year. I could go a full-time novelist but I truly inactive bask what I bash and astatine the moment, I’m blessed being some a constabulary serviceman and a writer.

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