Twin Sisters Become Children's Book Authors
Raised on a farm in Morgan County, TN northwest of Oak Ridge, twin sisters Jean Valentine and Leigh Hartigan learned their love for the arts early, coming from a creative family of authors, story tellers, musicians and artists. As adults, Jean remained in Morgan County while pursuing a variety of vocations, including running her own business and becoming a substitute school teacher. Leigh would eventually move to Seymour, TN in Sevier County, raising her family while pursuing a career as an information technology systems engineer with the Tennessee Valley Authority.
After 33 years of marriage, Jean's husband passed away and Leigh retired from TVA. With these life transition, Jean and Leigh decided to open a new chapter in their lives by writing children's books together. They chose to use the pen name Jean Leigh Claudette for this new venture.
In January 2010 the twins began writing their stories. After much hard work, the search for a family-friendly publisher, they successfully landed their first contract with Tate Publishing, a Christian-based publisher in Mustang, Oklahoma. Their first book, The Classified Files of Sweet William Farm, JD's Adventures Begin was released in November 2011. A chapter book featuring JD, a secret agent raccoon, it is set on a farm in East Tennessee where he uses his skill, courage, and imagination to solve mysteries and bring bad guys to justice, often in hilarious ways. The book also contains lessons teaching how to live in positive and moral ways.
Jean Leigh Claudette released their second book, Mercedes James, On Birdies, Mice, Cookies and Clock in the spring of 2012. It is for young readers and features Mercedes James, a rambunctious 6-year old girl who uses her energy and imagination to create hilarious and entertaining adventures.
The Classified Files of Sweet William Farm, JD's Adventures Continue and Mercedes James, Shrugs, Hugs and Other Valuable Things were released 2013. The last book in the Classified Files series, The Classified Files, JD and the Missing Treasure was released 2014 as was the first book in a new chapter book series, Gracie Phizz, Private Detective. Gracie Phiz is an eleven-year old girl who runs her own private detective agency. Catty Poo-Maru: The Highland Storm was released summer 2015. Catty Poo-Maru is a Highland Tiger cat who lives in the rough wooded highlands surrounding Castle Poo-Maru in Scotland. Known as the Highland Storm for his fearlessness in pursuing justice, Catty is a member of FIGS (Felines in Government Service) and races around on his motorcycle, using his detective skills to catch thieves and criminals.
Their latest book, The Legend of the Flying Snallygaster, is an adventure about a dragon-like creature sighted in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Maryland. It is scheduled for release in June 2016.
All their books teach low-keyed life lessons built on adventure, mystery, problem solving, and fun.
In 2012, they were awarded first and second place in the Juvenile Fiction category at the Tennessee Mountain Writers annual conference in Oak Ridge.
They attend many events, including festivals, book stores, and also present programs at schools where they share their passion for reading with children.