ROUND UP OF AFRICA BOOK SAFARI

This entry is part 1 of the series Africa Book Safari
Round up of a fantastic Africa Book Safari. Read all about how a virtual safari across Africa became an incredible success. Please RT Click To Tweet

The Initial Idea

It all started several months ago, when Marion Ueckermann and I had a long phone chat discussing ways we could showcase some of the Christian authors of Africa, i.e. authors who either live in Africa, or were born and brought up here before emigrating to lands afar. We also felt they needed to have at least one book published that was based in Africa to qualify for what we had in mind— a book safari. read more

A Real Live African Safari!

This entry is part 15 of the series Africa Book Safari

The year of Africa in the Corder Home!

As many of you are aware, we have just come to the end of an amazing virtual Africa Book Safari on Facebook.

For many years, my husband, Rob, and I have longed to go on an African Safari with a game drive which takes you off-road to see some of the animals close up in their natural habitat. But they are all SO expensive, and now that we’ve reached retirement we couldn’t see it ever happening.

However, it is 50 years this month since we entered full-time ministry when my husband was ordained as a Presbyterian minister. We wanted to celebrate it in some special way. What better way than to take a game drive into a game reserve? Especially after the recent publication of my book, God in Africa, and the conclusion of the very successful Africa Book Safari. (More about that tomorrow.)

A lot of happenings

After much research and establishing there was NO WAY we could ever afford to do this. Then I “happened” to mention it to a friend in my card-making group. She “happened” to know her neighbor had recently been on a safari—and it hadn’t ended them up financially destroyed! So we investigated. And yesterday, we “happened” to take ourselves off to the Kwantu Private Game Reserve, 95 kms from our home in Port Elizabeth for a celebratory game drive. (Don’t you just love these “God-happenings” in life?)

God-happenings are given to us as a sign of how much He loves us. Isn't He great? Click To Tweet

Words cannot adequately describe the amazing day. So I thought I would share with you some of the things we saw and participated in.

Five-star Luxury – with a game drive

The morning started in a magnificent five-star hotel, where we were treated to a fabulous “bonus” breakfast we hadn’t anticipated.

 

Five-star luxury

 

The beautiful dining room

After some time to wander around the beautiful grounds, we set out on the game drive. Once we had clambered onto the high landrover, our guide introduced himself and explained that the animals were not afraid of the vehicle as they saw it as a single unit. However, if any arms waved out the vehicle, or passengers leaned out with their cameras, the animals would either take fright or draw close in a way we did not want to happen! Trust me. We all listened carefully!

Bumpy ride ahead

Our guide and driver, Densely Chireru, turned out to be a Zimbabwean, born and brought up in a small rural town called Mazoe, in the same land where I grew up. He was a lovely guy, and so very well informed about life in the wild. He would stop the landrover and hop out to pick up a chunk of dung in his hand and show us how he knew what animal it was from and how near the animal could be.

It was amazing how bumpy the “roads” were and of course, it was far worse when we went offroad. I wear a “Be-fit watch” and I was fascinated to see by the time we got home, that I had done nearly 10,000 steps. Yet the furthest I walked the whole day was to and from the dining-room!

We saw buck (antelope) in many places, but they tended to be skittish and so difficult to get close. Thanks to Densely, I learned the names of all the breeds we spotted.

Impala hiding in the shade of a large tree

Springbok, our national animal, that lends its name to our national rugby team.

Blesbok, who hang their heads down to prevent maggots from entering their large nostrils!

I’m a G-nu!

It was thrilling to see some Wildebeest up close (known in other countries as the Gnu.)

The Wildebeest, or Gnu, who wouldn’t post nicely for a photograph.

And we were amazed at the way termite mounds dotted all the open surfaces. Densely stopped periodically to explain what sort of termites had built these, which he could tell by the color of the mounds, showing what type of soil they had used. He also said that the mounds are known as Africa’s icebergs, as only 1/3 of each show above the ground!

Termite mounds– These were some of the little ones.

 

And then we saw a number of these beauties, who were not at all camera-shy!

An 18 foot male giraffe taller and darker than his dainty (but still huge!) counterparts whom we’d already seen.

This Zebra stallion had a brood of females whom he was determined to protect at all cost!

Siesta Time!

Then we came across this family enjoying a siesta under the trees. Delsely told us that these lazy creatures sleep for 20 hours a day! The females do most of the hard work, catching food, etc, while this King of the Jungle protects his family . . . and sleeps!

Difficult to photograph as they were so well camouflaged. The King of the Beasts.

 

and one of his two wives. We had to remain in our “comfort zone” or it might have ceased to be comfortable for us!

When this male rhino saw us coming, he got to his feet in a well-mannered way, while his wife stood by shyly in the shade. What magnificent beasts, and how sad that they are frequent victims of poachers in this area as well as all over South Africa. Men are their biggest predators, often not bothering to even kill them, but just hacking off their horns and leaving them to bleed to death. If only these poachers would take a game drive and see these magnificent creatures in the wild, maybe they’d lose their lust for wealth and power.

The male rhino who got to his feet when we arrived to pose for us.

and his wife.

They are grazers, and so have thick bottom lips. As a result, the Dutch settlers to Africa called them the Wyde-mond rhino – literally, Wide-mouthed rhino. The English settlers misunderstood and thought they were calling them the White Rhino – and the name stuck to this day.

Any more Big Five?

So far, we had only seen two of the Big Five, when suddenly, around the corner, heading straight for us on the narrow dirt track we were confronted with —

Daddy Elephant out for a stroll followed by his wife and youngster. Who has right of way?

Fortunately, he decided to be a gentleman and stepped into the bush, and disappeared silently. Absolutely amazing!

Our guide calmly switched off the engine and just sat watching him, confident that the elephant would give way to us. He did too! Followed by his wife and a youngster, they just disappeared without a sound. Quite incredible.

We saw other animals, but they weren’t so photogenic. Like the two hippos bobbing with just their eyes, nostrils and ears visible, and every now and then disappearing beneath the water.

Conservation and Rehabilitation

As we returned to the hotel, Densely turned the vehicle to take us to the Conservation and Rehabilitation center. I thought this would be like a museum with a lecture – but it was amazing.

Kwantu takes part in rescuing baby animals where the parents have been poached, and animals destined for overseas zoos. Where possible they are reintroduced to the wild when they are well enough or returned to the wild in their own country. But often this is not possible, due to genetic or other reasons. In this case, they continue to care for them and where possible use them to breed.

The two most magnificent beasts we saw were:

This magnificent white lion who was destined for an overseas zoo before Kwanu stepped in and rescued him.

 

This stunning tiger cannot be introduced to the park as they are man-eaters, and the reserve would no longer be able to use open vehicles for game drives.

Research opportunities!

Several times, during the drive, I found myself wishing I had done this game drive before tackling my book, God in Africa. And yet, I was delighted when he kept mentioning facts not normally known to the public, which I had included in my book! So much so that I gave him a copy of God in Africa when we parted at the end of a glorious drive.

We ended the morning with an incredible slap-up meal in their beautiful dining-room once again. I even ate food which I had never tried before. (Only my family will know how unusual that is!) I ate and LOVED curried prawns on a bed of rice. Yummy!

So I feel as if my own personal African Safari, first through all the research for my book, then through our Africa Book Safari, was brought to a wonderful end yesterday. Except I’m already under pressure to write a follow up to God in Africa. If I do, I will be asking you all to pray that we can return to Kwantu, this time to stay overnight so we can go on a night drive as well as another morning drive.

Over to you –

Have you ever been on a game drive? If so, what was the most thrilling part for you?

If not, would you like to go, and what would you most want to see?

Please leave an answer in the comment section below. I will respond – and if you leave me a URL to our website I will visit you there.

Don’t forget to come back tomorrow to read the round-up of our virtual Africa Safari!

Celebrating fifty years of fruitful ministry, as well as many more years living in this wonderful country God has placed us in. Click To Tweet

Let’s Visit Val Waldeck and her book With My Own Eyes

This entry is part 10 of the series Africa Book Safari
Visit Africa with author Val Waldeck on the Africa Book Safari. Read her interview and learn about her new book, 'With My Own Eyes'. Please RT. Thank you. Click To Tweet

The Africa Book Safari

During the month of October, a group of authors, who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent, teamed up for an exciting adventure.

We went on an Africa Book Safari! Together, we discovered some of the rich, diverse colors and nuances of Africa through stories, devotions, and memoirs, all set in Africa. What’s more, because we are writers, we invited you all to come along with us!

For free!

We are currently traveling together in a blog hop through nine blog posts featuring fiction and non-fiction books, all centered in Africa. Our Safari Guide has been interviewing each of us, and we do invite you to listen in as we chat about ourselves and our books.  You will find the interviews on the author’s own sites, as well as posted on one another’s blogs or websites.

So come along and join in the fun! And here comes our guide who will be taking us on our safari.

Introducing Val Waldeck

Safari Guide: Hi! I believe you are Val Waldeck, is that correct?

Val: I am indeed. And you, I presume, are going to be our Tour Leader for this great time. What should we call you?

Safari Guide: You can call me Mr. Africa!

Are you all comfortable? Please buckle up your seat-belts. Starting today, I plan to show you all different angles to this continent.

Val, it’s your turn to sit up front with me. Everyone, let’s go discover Africa!

As our large safari landrover moves away from the buildings and
heads into the wilds of Africa, Mr. Africa swings in his seat to face me.

Safari Guide / Mr. Africa: So, Val, tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Africa?

About Val

Val: Yes, I was born in Bedford in the Eastern Cape. My Dad was a Station Master and the Railways moved him around the country quite a lot. I think we moved approximately every two years, so I saw a lot of South Africa. He was promoted to a desk job in Durban at the end of my Matric year and I have lived here ever since.

Mr. Africa: And what family do you have?

Val: I have four siblings, one older brother and sister, and one younger brother and sister. I am happily single and the delight of my life is a little Toy Pom named Penny.

Mr. Africa: Valdid you always want to be a writer? Or what prompted you to start writing?

Val: I love books and read a lot. I was always commended at school for my writing ability, but I never really considered being a writer. When I became the Pastoral Assistant at Living Waters Church in Durban, I pioneered the Church magazine and wrote a lot of articles. I love teaching the Bible and people kept asking for my Bible Study notes. Eventually, I put a series of Cults & Isms called What Do They Believe? into book form. That was the beginning of my interest in publishing.

Val’s writing

Mr. Africa: What genre do you write in, and why?

Val: My main genre is Christian books. I also write books about publishing and online marketing. I have 8 paperbacks on sale at Amazon and 63 Ebooks. All except 10 are on Christian topics.

Mr. Africa: What book are you going to be sharing with us during this safari? Tell us a little about it. What inspired this particular story or topic?

Val: There is so much negative news about South Africa, I wanted to write about the positive things God is doing in our continent. The book is called “With My Own Eyes” and shares ten positive true stories of South African Christians who have made a difference in their world. I’ve walked with them and experienced the events With My Own EyesYou will read about the miraculous behind-the-scene incidents that saved South Africa from bloodshed during the 1994 elections to the amazing conversion of unreached Pygmie tribes in the Congo during October this year.

Mr. Africa: Val, it sounds exciting, and I’m looking forward to reading it myself. You obviously have a deep love for this land. What in particular makes Africa so special for you?

Val: I’ve traveled a lot, but this colorful land with its magnificent scenery, wildlife, and warm-hearted people takes a lot of beating. I love that strangers chat happily to one another in lifts, supermarket queues, and wherever they find themselves. In spite of the crime, this is an interesting place to live.

Lions and Crocs ahead

Mr. Africa: Okay, everyone. Ahead of us, you’ll see a large water hole where the lions and other animals are refreshing themselves while keeping a wary eye on the hungry crocodiles. As we park and watch them, I’ll hand out some refreshments, and perhaps one of the other authors can join me in the front.

Val, which do you prefer? Coffee or tea? Sweet or savory?

Val: A nice cup of hot tea will be great, thank you. Aha, I see some delicious Muffins. Are we going to have our Braai (Barbeque) here?

Mr. Africa: Not yet, we don’t want the lions to catch the smell of all this lovely meat. That could be a disaster. Everyone must stay in the vehicle, please.

CLICK HERE to visit Val’s blog, read her original interview, and learn about her book, “With My Own Eyes”.

Previously published in this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller
Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration
Meet Greg MacKinnon and his Christian Suspense Novel, Closure
Speaking to Dianne J. Wilson at the Africa Book Safari
Authors and their Books on the Africa Book Safari
About Ashley Winter on the Africa Book Safari
Travel with Anna Jensen on the Africa Book Safari

Travel with Anna Jensen on the Africa Book Safari

This entry is part 16 of the series Africa Book Safari

Join Anna Jensen as she is interviewed on the Africa Book Safari and shares about her travel/devotional book, Outskirts of Glory. #Shirley Corder #Africa Book Safari. Pls RT Click To Tweet

Anna Jensen on the Africa Book Safari

During the month of October, a group of nine authors, who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent, teamed up for an exciting adventure.

We went on an Africa Book Safari! Together, we discovered some of the rich, diverse colors and nuances of Africa through stories, devotions, and memoirs, all set in Africa. What’s more, because we are writers, we would like to invite you all to come along with us!

For free!

We are currently traveling together in a blog hop through nine blog posts featuring fiction and non-fiction books, all centered in Africa. Our Safari Guide has interviewed each of us, and we invite you to listen in as we chat about ourselves and our books. You will find the interviews on the author’s own sites, as well as posted on one another’s blogs or websites.

So come along and join in the fun! And here comes our guide who took us on our safari.

Here comes our Safari Guide

Safari Guide: Hi! I believe you are Anna Jensen, is that correct?

Anna: Yep, I’m Anna. And you, I presume, are going to be our Tour Leader for this great time. What should we call you?

Safari Guide: You can call me Mr. Africa!

Are you all comfortable? Please buckle up your seat-belts. Starting today, I plan to show you all different angles to this continent.

Anna, it’s your turn to sit up front with me. Everyone, let’s go discover Africa!

As our large safari landrover moves away from the buildings and
heads into the wilds of Africa, Mr. Africa swings in his seat to face me.

Safari Guide / Mr. Africa: So, Anna, tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Africa?

About Anna

Anna: No, I’m a British ex-pat who moved to South Africa in 1997 after marrying a Durban boy, Craig, who was studying in the UK. Initially, we lived in Zululand where Craig was working in the sugar industry; that was a bit of a shock to the system in many ways! After a year we moved closer to Durban, where we still live, in a small coastal town overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean.

Mr. Africa: And what family do you have?

Anna: We have two children – Caragh who is 16 and Leal, 13. They are both at school here in Durban, so life is full of tennis, cricket, rugby, exams and lots of driving!

Mr. Africa: Anna, did you always want to be a writer? Or what prompted you to start writing?

Anna: I think it was always a somewhat idle dream of mine, something I quite fancied but really didn’t think I’d ever actually do. That all changed a couple of years ago when Craig and I handed over the local church we were leading at the time to another couple. Suddenly I found myself with a little more time and a lot more scope to dream.

On one such day of dreaming, I distinctly felt God tell me to ‘write what I see in a book’. And so began an adventure which led to my first book. ‘The Outskirts of His Glory’ being published in May of this year by Onwards and Upwards Christian Publishers in the UK. Since then, I have become a regular contributor to a couple of Christian blogs and keep myself sharp by involvement in an online poetry-writing community. I have written the first couple of pages of a second book, but that feels a long way from being properly underway!

Anna’s writing

Mr. Africa: What genre do you write in, and why?

Anna: I write Christian devotional material based on what I see around me, and what that highlights or illustrates about God. Job declares (Job 26:14) that the wonders of creation are but the outskirts of God’s ways, mere whispers that we hear. If we can learn to settle ourselves and listen to these whispers on a regular basis, who knows, we may be allowed a glimpse of the ‘thunder of his power’!

Mr. Africa: What book are you going to be sharing with us during this safari? Tell us a little about it. What inspired this particular story or topic?

Anna: The book is entitled ‘The Outskirts of His Glory’. It came about after a family trip to Zimbabwe in 2014. Although we were based mainly in Harare, we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit Victoria Falls while we were in the country, so we took a long drive and spent a couple of days there before returning to Durban.

The Falls were incredible; a deafening, drenching surge of water falling inexorably from the river at the top to the gorge far below.

Rushing Waters

When we returned home, I was sitting outside reading the Bible and was drawn to Revelation 1:15 where John describes the voice of the resurrected Jesus as being like that of rushing waters. I realized that I had been given a glimpse of what that would be like when we made our visit to the rushing waters of Victoria Falls. It was then, after thinking this through for a while, that I returned to reading the passage of scripture and felt the Lord say, ‘Write what you see in a book’.

And so started an adventure I wasn’t expecting! I contacted a friend, who suggested that I should include poetry in some way. We also discovered the title of the book together as we chatted around the Job 26 verse I’ve already mentioned.

The Outskirts of His Glory

The book is made up of 19 short sections, each with a focus Bible verse followed by a description of what I felt God allowed me to ‘see’ as I visited different places around Southern Africa and beyond. It takes the form of part travelogue and part Bible study, before a central concept or impression is highlighted by a poem. A suggested prayer concludes each topic.

Mr. Africa: Anna, it sounds exciting, and I’m looking forward to reading it myself. You obviously have a deep love for this land. What in particular makes Africa so special for you?

Anna: I love that I now live under a wide-open sky, and all the possibilities to dream and fly high that come with it. It’s not always been easy, and I’ve had moments of feeling as though I’m sitting on a hard kitchen chair, rather than the comfy sofa of the UK, but I wouldn’t change it. Plus, I get to go on safari without having to take a plane trip to get there!

Springbok ahead! – And no, not rugby players!

Mr. Africa turns off the landrover’s engine and whispers.

Mr. Africa: Everyone, see the springbok right near us here. Did you know that they can survive life in the desert, going without water for weeks or even months at a time, and yet they thrive? If God is good at caring for them in a dry and seemingly barren land, how much more will he care for us?

I guess that’s what you mean by the whispers of his ways, Anna?

Anna: Yes, exactly that. He speaks in surprising ways through his creation all around us. I love it!

Mr. Africa: While we’re quenching our thirst, perhaps one of the other authors can join me up front.

Anna, which do you prefer? Coffee or tea? Sweet or savory?

Anna: Black coffee would be great, so long as it’s real and not instant! Otherwise just a cup of strong tea with a little milk and no sugar. To eat? Some chocolate if you have any…

Here are the others participating in the safari. Please, everyone, stay in the vehicle and visitors, feel free to visit us all!

CLICK HERE to visit Anna Jensen’s website and read her original interview.

Previously published in this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller
Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration
Meet Greg MacKinnon and his Christian Suspense Novel, Closure
Speaking to Dianne J. Wilson at the Africa Book Safari
Authors and their Books on the Africa Book Safari
About Ashley Winter on the Africa Book Safari

Authors & their Books on the Africa Book Safari

This entry is part 12 of the series Africa Book Safari

So the Africa Book Safari Weekend has come and gone.

Prizes have been won and are mostly on their way to the winners. Specials were appreciated, some are now over, others coming to an end. Most importantly, I hope you had a chance to interact with some of the authors of Africa and perhaps meet some you didn’t know about. I certainly have, and I’m part of the team! I’ve got a couple of new authors that I intend to pursue and read their books.

The thrilling thing is the one bond that ties us all together: A love and common knowledge of our wonderful continent. It’s amazing how you can learn about a country through devotional material, travel insights, memoirs, non-fiction, and novels of different sorts. From romance to suspense to legal stories.

Here are the safari authors interviewed so far via this site:

Shirley Corder writing

Friday 25 – Shirley Corder
 90-day Devotional Book

    Saturday 26 – Marion Ueckermann
Christian Romance

Monday 28 – Lynnette Bonner
Historical Romance

Tuesday 29 – Lisa Harris
Christian thriller

Thursday 31 Greg MacKinnon
Christian Legal Suspense

Friday 1 Nov – Dianne J. Wilson
Christian Suspense Novel

There are still three to go, so don’t stop visiting and commenting! It is so important for all the authors to be encouraged in this way. The fact that these are the last three has nothing to do with their importance. All of us were given a schedule to follow, so each safari author was covered by each of the others. So we were all second somewhere – and last somewhere!

Here are the three remaining safari authors to be featured on my site:

Ashley Winter
Feel-good Christian Novel

Anna Jensen
Travel Devotions

Val Waldeck
Non-fiction Memoir

And then there will be one final round-off post looking back on a unique experience for us all.

So hang in here and please visit again tomorrow.

What have you enjoyed most about this entire Safari adventure?

 

What Books and Authors do You Enjoy Reading?

This entry is part 13 of the series Africa Book Safari

Each weekday (including Saturday) we have someone sitting up front with Mr. Africa and he conducts an interview with them. Some days, we'll talk about the Safari instead, like today. Click To Tweet

What do you enjoy reading?

So what do you enjoy reading?

Do you enjoy fiction?

Do you enjoy suspense? Then Lisa Harris has something for you.

Do you enjoy a legal story? Greg MacKinnon has the book for you.

How about romance? Do you enjoy a good love story? Marion Ueckermann and Ashley Winter have great stories for you. And don’t forget about Lynnette Bonner’s historical suspense and Dianne J. Wilson’s mystery set in my own home town of Port Elizabeth.

Or do you prefer non-fiction?

Perhaps you prefer non-fiction. Val Waldeck has a book of true stories, Anna Jenson has a devotional book based on her travels around Africa, and I have a 90-day devotion based on all sorts of different aspects of Africa.

But you don’t have to stick to your usual genre. Open your mind to new ideas. You may find something you really enjoy. Read all the posts. Leave comments on them all. The more comments, the more chance you may win a free book, or you may spot a special offer. Grab the opportunity to read something out of your usual choice and you may be surprised!

This blog hop is also an opportunity to get to know a bit about the authors and what they write. So don’t miss a post on the blog hop! And certainly attend the Africa Book Safari Weekend as often as you can!

Previously published in this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller
Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration
Meet Greg MacKinnon and his Christian Suspense Novel, Closure
Speaking to Dianne Wilson at the Africa Book Safari

More still to come! See you tomorrow?

Have you read all these interviews? Which one did you enjoy most?

 

Speaking to Dianne J. Wilson at the Africa Book Safari

This entry is part 11 of the series Africa Book Safari

Dianne Wilson sits up front at the Africa Book Safari today. Read more here. Click To Tweet

Dianne at the Africa Book Safari

During the month of October, Dianne J. Wilson was one of a group of nine Christian authors who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent and teamed up for an exciting adventure. Read her interview here. Please RT Click To Tweet

Dianne: We’re going on an Africa Book Safari! Together, we will discover some of the rich, diverse colors and nuances of Africa through stories, devotions, and memoirs, all set in Africa. What’s more, because we are writers, we would like to invite you all to come along with us!

For free!

Our Safari Guide will be interviewing each of us, and we invite you to listen in as we chat about ourselves and our books.  We had an amazing time, and here’s my turn up front with the Safari Guide! And here he comes!

Meeting the Safari Guide

Safari Guide: Hi! I believe you are Dianne J. Wilson, is that correct?

Dianne: Yebo! You can call me Di. And you, I presume, are going to be our Tour Leader for this great time. What should we call you?

Safari Guide: You can call me Mr. Africa!

Are you all comfortable? Please buckle up your seat-belts. Starting today, I plan to show you all different angles to this continent. Everyone, let’s go discover Africa!

As our large safari landrover moves away from the buildings and heads into the wilds of Africa, Mr. Africa swings in his seat to face me.

Interview commences

Safari Guide / Mr. Africa: So, Di, tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Africa?

Di: Africa born and raised! Born in Kempton Park, I grew up in the sprawling metropolis of Boksburg. Just kidding, it’s actually more of a ‘dorp’. We moved to East London (the South African version) when I was 19 years old and we’ve been here ever since. I’ve never been one to move around much.

Mr. Africa: And what family do you have?

Di: Hubby and I have three daughters. The eldest is currently doing her 3rd year at Stellenbosch University. My middle child is finishing her 1st year of beauty therapy (yes, I do get free treatments…) and our youngest is 12 and still in Primary school.

Mr. Africa: Di, did you always want to be a writer? Or what prompted you to start writing?

Di and Writing

Di: My English teachers at school loved me. I used to get full marks for creative writing all the time. I started a writing course via correspondence when I was working, but I never finished it. It did gain enough skill to write for South African magazines as a freelancer.

I soon realized that I was hankering after doing what God had created me to do. I saw an interview on TBN with Ted Dekker and he spoke of Jesus as the ultimate fiction author as He taught using stories. That blew my mind and within two days, I’d be given the plot and characters for my first novel – Shackles. That one took a long time to write and never landed a publishing contract. It did open doors for me with an acquisitions editor at Pelican Book Group who said she loved my writing, but the structure of the book was wrong for them. She gave me a detailed list of everything that needed fixing, so I wrote my second novel, Finding Mia, with her advice in my head. Pelican accepted that for publication and I went on to publish another 3 books with them.

Mr. Africa: What genre do you write in, and why?

Di: I’ve written romantic suspense, teen / YA urban fantasy and my current work-in-progress is contemporary woman’s fiction with a dollop of humour. I think I may have found my niche with this one.

Mr. Africa: What book are you going to be sharing with us during this safari? Tell us a little about it. What inspired this particular story or topic?

About Shackles

Di: I’m sharing Shackles. It takes place across a few locations in South Africa – most of them places that are familiar to me. Firstly, East London in the Eastern Cape – this is currently our home. It is a coastal city half-way between Gauteng and Cape Town. Portions of the story happen in Stutterheim – a gorgeous jewel of forests and waterfalls with the Gubu dam at the heart of it, a perfect place to go hiking. Parts of the story happen up in Gauteng where I grew up, as well as the vast farmlands one travels through between the three other places.

My inspiration for this story came from scripture – ‘Then you shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free.’ John 8:32

This is the blurb … Jason is not the kind of guy you would want to take home to mom. He’s foul-tempered, a bit of a womanizer and has a conscience that has been collecting dust for years. All that is shaken up though, when he unearths a package of carefully preserved love letters and a portrait while diving off the coast of Africa.

So many unanswered questions, the letters snag something inside of him. Intrigued despite himself, he begins to unravel the mystery caught up in pages. He finds himself tangled up in the life of a girl he’s never met… a girl who is in desperate trouble.

Shackles on Amazon

Mr. Africa: Di, it sounds exciting, and I’m looking forward to reading it myself. You obviously have a deep love for this land. What in particular makes Africa so special for you?

Di: Life in Africa isn’t easy, but our people rise to challenges with bravery, grit, and joy that inspire me. There’s something about living free in the face of hardships that strips away anything fake and leaves the genuine behind. Even with all its brokenness and challenges, our country is beautiful! With everything from stunning beaches, forests, mountains, deserts … you name it, we have it. I love our country. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Mr. Africa turns off the landrover’s engine and points.

Dung Beetle on the road!

Mr. Africa: Everyone, if you look carefully you’ll see there’s a dung beetle crossing the road. In Africa, these goggas are always given right of way. They are considered keystone species because they help decomposition, seed dispersal, and they help control the number of vertebrate parasites in grazed habitats.

The dung beetle slowly crosses the road backwards, balanced on its front legs and using its back legs to expertly maneuver the perfectly round ball of dung.

Mr. Africa checks if anyone wants to eat after watching fresh dung being rolled across the road. Nobody seems too bothered, so he takes out refreshments.

Mr. Africa: This seems like a good time to swap out who rides shotgun. Perhaps one of the other authors can join me up front.

Di, which do you prefer? Coffee or tea? Sweet or savory?

Di: Tea please, regular tea – not Rooibos. No sugar, just some milk. Enkosi. A piece of droëwors will do as a snack for me. I love the spicy flavor of dried beef sausage.

Changing places

I’m loving being with you all. Please, everyone, stay in the vehicle and visitors, feel free to pop in at all the watering holes, um I mean, blogs! I’ll be posting one a day over the next few days.

CLICK HERE  to read the original interview with Dianne on her own website.

Previously published in this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller
Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration
Meet Greg MacKinnon and his Christian Suspense Novel, Closure

Don’t forget! Random prizes being offered for comments through the interview posts.

So for today: Dianne’s book is set in locations familiar to me. Can you think of any books written in locations known to you? Does it make a difference? What do you think?

Meet Greg MacKinnon and His Christian Suspense Novel, Closure

This entry is part 8 of the series Africa Book Safari
Greg MacKinnon sits up front with the driver and safari guide today. Read about it and don't forget to comment. Click To Tweet

Africa Book Safari

During the month of October, a group of Christian authors who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent teamed up for an exciting adventure.

Today our Safari Guide is interviewing Greg MacKinnon. Read on . . .

read more

Africa Book Safari Visits the Great Wildebeest Migration

This entry is part 9 of the series Africa Book Safari
Today we're going to take a few minutes to view one the most outstanding miracles that takes place every year in the continent of Africa. Take a look at the Magic of the Wildebeest Migration. Click To Tweet

The Magic of the Migration on Safari 

You’ve seen a little glimpse of what happens during this incredible migration of the wildebeest as they cross a river in the – not thousands – but millions! Here are a few quotes from other people:

“To see ten thousand animals untamed and not branded with the symbols of human commerce is like scaling an unconquered mountain for the first time, or like finding a forest without roads or footpaths, or the blemish of an axe. You know then what you had always been told – that the world once lived and grew without adding machines and newsprint and brick-walled streets and the tyranny of clocks.” – Beryl Markham

“No-one can return from the Serengeti unchanged, for tawny lions will forever prowl our memory and great herds throng our imagination.” – George Schaller

“One cannot resist the lure of Africa.” – Rudyard Kipling

Posted so far on this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari
Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller

Which of these books most appeal to you so far? There will be a random draw for God in Africa from the comments of the first week of blog posts, so make sure you enter and add your email address in case you win!

COME BACK TOMORROW FOR THE NEXT AUTHOR INTERVIEW ON 

OUR AFRICA BOOK SAFARI

Lisa Harris – and her Christy-Nominated Thriller

This entry is part 7 of the series Africa Book Safari

Today Lisa Harris sits up front in the landrover and responds to questions about her Christy-nominated thriller. Read more here. Click To Tweet

Africa Book Safari

During the month of October, a group of Christian authors who either live in Africa or are rooted in this amazing continent, are teaming up for an exciting adventure.

We’re going on an Africa Book Safari! Together, we will discover some of the rich, diverse colors and nuances of Africa through stories, devotions, and memoirs, all set in Africa. What’s more, because we are writers, we would like to invite you all to come along with us!

For free!

Lisa: We will be traveling together in a blog hop through a number of blog posts featuring fiction and non-fiction books, all centered in Africa. Our Safari Guide will be interviewing each of us, and we invite you to listen in as we chat about ourselves and our books.  You will find the interviews on the author’s own sites, as well as posted on one another’s blogs or websites.

Meet our Safari Guide

So come along and join in the fun! And here comes our guide who will be taking us on our safari.

Safari Guide: Hi! I believe you are Lisa Harris, is that correct?

Lisa: It sure is. And you, I presume, are going to be our Tour Leader for this great time. What should we call you?

Safari Guide: You can call me Mr. Africa!

Are you all comfortable? Please buckle up your seat-belts. Starting today, I plan to show you all different angles to this continent.

Lisa, it’s your turn to sit up front with me. Everyone, let’s go discover Africa!

As our large safari landrover moves away from the buildings and
heads into the wilds of Africa, Mr. Africa swings in his seat to face me.

Safari Guide / Mr. Africa: So, Lisa, tell me a bit about yourself. Have you always lived in Africa?

CLICK HERE to follow the story of Lisa Harris and her award-winning book set in Africa, Blood Ransom.

Previously published in this series:

Chatting with Shirley Corder
Introducing Marion Ueckermann and her Book on the Cape Winelands
Authors on the Africa Book Safari
Lynnette Bonner sits up front on the Africa Book Safari

N.B. Don’t forget, there will be a few giveaways scattered throughout the interview pages so make sure you visit this site each day and leave a comment!

Have you read a Christian thriller? Does this excite or intrigue you? Do the two seem contradictory? What do you think?