Interview with Author Van Heerling

Today I am honored to  have Author Van Heerling !   Welcome and Thanks so much for being here!  Let us begin…

SS:  What can you tell us about your book Malaika? 

VH:  To my surprise Malaika has been downloaded more than 45,000 times. The story came to me in a violent dream I had a few years back. It stuck with me for days, and long story short a year later it was on Amazon. I should mention Malaika is not for the weak at heart. I once had a reader tell me she nearly short-circuited her Kindle she was crying so much!


SS: What can you tell us about your book, Dreams of Eli?

VH: It is a heartbreaking story, tragic in fact: Southern soldier Eli West wakes in a cave and discovers he is held captive by a soldier of the Union. Shot, drugged, and tortured, he descends into the darkness and the beauty of his unconscious, uncovering a time when he was still in love, a time before war, a time before everything fell away.


SS:  Do you consider them in the same genre?

VH: No, they are completely separate. Malaika is Literary Fiction and Dreams of Eli is Historical Fiction.

SS:   How would you describe your characters?

 VH: Emotionally damaged. Human.

SS: What would most people be surprised to know about you?

VH: Well, I think it would be my take on humanity. I believe that we are too self-centered (myself included). We are in a vast and complicated universe with as far as we know 100 billion to one trillion galaxies. Each galaxy has an average of two hundred billion stars (some have ten trillion stars). Our sun is just one of two hundred billion stars in our tiny little Milky Way Galaxy. Suffice it to say there are an enormous number of stars in our known universe, ten sextillion to one septillion in fact. You should gasp when you read septillion. In numerical form that is: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. If you remember your early math you may recall this scale: million, billion, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion etc.


VH: Now don’t freak out. I’m no alien chaser. I just wish to point out that there is an awful lot of space, (pun intended) for us to be sole proprietors. I would like to see the Human race rise-up above its petty squabbles. We must stop lobbing bombs this way and that. We should be investing our minds into the exploration of the known universe. This is the real frontier to be had. If we don’t we will simply destroy ourselves. I think we are busy doing the latter.


SS:  What type of advice would you give other writers if any?

VH: I would tell any aspiring writer not to wait. Jump in. Make a bunch of mistakes, then make some more. And as a specific point, once you have your wonderful first draft finished and you think you are ready to go, know that you aren’t ready. Hire an editor. Oh boy, I can hear them now, “I’m a fantastic editor. I’ll just edit my own story.” No you don’t. Don’t do it, aspiring writer! You don’t know it yet but you’re too close to your own work. Hire somebody.

SS:   Are you currently working on a new book?

VH: Yes, in fact I have two that I am working on. With a little luck I will have them out by the end of 2013.

SS: What can you share about it?

VH: This is going to come out wrong, but nothing. I can’t share anything about them. I only discuss my future works after the first draft is completed. It helps me stay true to the story so that I won’t get distracted. How serious am I about this? Well, not even my wife knows!


SS:    Do you have a favorite quote?

VH:  I have one of my own that I read often. It keeps me on my purpose of being a writer. “I would rather live seeking my own dream and fail everyday, than to live one day pursuing someone else’s dream, for which I carry no faith.”

SS:  Who inspires you? 

VH: People who love their fellow man despite all the reasons not to. I’m working on this.


Author Bio

Van lives in Burbank, California with the lingering spirit of Redford—his adopted morbidly obese cat, which was more of a paperweight than a feisty feline, his wife and boy and their very alive kitty—Abigail.

Van always enjoys hearing from his readers. If you wish to send your comments you may do so at

Author website :


Twitter link:

Twitter handle: @vanheerling

Amazon links

Dreams of Eli:


Southern soldier Eli West wakes in a cave and discovers he is held captive by a soldier of the Union. Shot, drugged, and tortured, he descends into the darkness and the beauty of his unconscious, uncovering a time when he was still in love, a time before war, a time before everything fell away. 



 A middle-aged man with the crushing weight of his American past seeks peace and a simpler life in rural Kenya. Armed with only his smokes and coffee he discovers a friendship with the most unlikely of friends–a lioness he rightfully names Malaika (“Angel” in Swahili). But she is no ordinary lioness nor is he an ordinary man. Between them they share a gift. But not all embrace their bond and some seek to sever it. Discover this new world rich in human truth and sensibility.

Again, Thanks so much for being here Van Heerling!


19 thoughts on “Interview with Author Van Heerling

  1. Wonderful interview! Thanks for letting us know a bit more about you. I wonder, is a septillion, bigger than a gazillion? Ha, just kidding, I can fathom that number. Best of luck!

    Paul R. Hewlett

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