While in Los Angeles, Don worked for Four Star Television, and then CBS Theatrical Films, in a very minor role. The experience, however, was invaluable.
After the birth of their daughter, Erica, Don and Mary began to have concerns about raising a child in the Los Angeles area. In 1970, they returned to Iowa, where Don was employed as a police dispatcher, and Mary began her teaching career.
In 1973, Don became a Deputy Sheriff, and continued with that career until 1996, when he resigned from the Department to be able to begin a writing career.
During his years as a Deputy Sheriff, Don was a patrol officer, the Department Intelligence Officer, and eventually Chief Investigator. The many and varied experiences Don had during that time have provided him with a large base of information, which he draws upon for many of the characters and situations described in his novels.
Don’s first novel, Eleven Days, was nominated for an Anthony award as Best First Novel. In 2000, it was sold to Warner Brothers Theatrical Film Division. In 2008 the motion picture rights to the same novel were sold to Solar Productions, of Paris, France.
Don is currently published in nine languages in some twenty countries. His latest effort is a short story in an anthology edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L P Kelner.
The Harstads continue to reside in Elkader, Iowa, where Mary has retired from teaching, and Don continues writing and keeping in touch with local law enforcement events.