Diane Van Der Westhuizen

I jumped off the office job hamster wheel and started doing what I should've done yeeeeaaars ago - writing! It sure as heck doesn't pay the bills (turns out the world wasn't gagging for my work), but at least I'm finally using what little talent I was given. It's taken years but I'm now producing work that embarrass me.

After a long, harsh education about the publishing world, I taught myself the drill and have now published three books: Wild Avengers - Defenders of the Animal Kingdom, Chilli Bites - Revenge, a Dish Best Served Cold, and The Seagull and The Sheikh.


1. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
The call to write books that had whispered to me when I was young became a deafening roar that couldn’t be ignored any longer. Terrified, but excited, I closed my eyes and leaped into the great unknown, trusting that providence would follow intention. I walked out of my dreary office job and into a world of my own creation; a world filled with the childhood wonder of mysteries unsolved and magic undiscovered. After over 40 years I was finally doing what made me feel fulfilled and alive – writing books.

2. Describe your book WILD AVENGERS: Defenders of the Animal Kingdom in 30 words or less. 
Morbidius Ultimatum wants to add rhino and elephant to his collection of extinct animals.  Can Chilli and Ty overcome their fear and destroy Morbidius before time runs out?

3. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Ironically, writing has been the easiest part of this journey. Whereas learning about the publishing world has proven to be the tough learning curve. As a result, I have published short adults stories as well as articles in magazines in an effort to increase my profile and exercise my publishing ‘arm’. However, these tribulations have been my most valuable teachers and, as a result, I believe I am a better writer for it. But I believe the toughest part about writing is wrestling with the idea that I am not good enough and then persevering, regardless of those doubts.

4. What books have had the greatest influence on you?
My earliest reading years were peppered with fairy tales and science fiction which created a richly imaginative mind that does not hesitate to tap into the idea that magic may well be possible. My unquenchable curiosity has led to me reading books questioning the purpose of life and the interconnectedness of all life. This has made me even more compassionate towards animals and less judgemental about people. However, when reading for the sake of pure joy, I read the works of Laurie Lee. Rarely have I read someone who is so adept at cramming so much imagery and emotion into so few words. Mr Lee never fails to take my breath away (and have me reading sentences again and again in awe). Being an animal lover, I have read every book by James Herriot and keep them close at hand for inspiration and relief from the turmoil in the world.

5. Briefly share with us what you do to market your book?
I mostly market by books via facebook and have used a book promoter in the United States, I Promote Books, to increase the profile of Wild Avengers. However, I will be holding a launch party for Wild Avengers on 7 March 2015 in Cape Town, complete with petting zoo and creatures from the wonderful people at Butterfly World. I have also been lucky enough to be interviewed on an American radio Station, Conversations Live with Cyrus Webb, which proved to be a very successful marketing tool.

6. How do you spend your time when you are not writing?
When I am not writing I am either reading the works of great authors, marketing or doing research (one of my favourite things to do as a writer).

7. What are you working on next?
I am currently working on Book 2, together with another book about the true story of a black-backed gull my friend rescued in Dubai, The Friendly Desert. I am pleased to say that a London agent is so impressed with my quality and style of writing that she published an excerpt from that book in her Anthology of New London Writers.

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