Rave Reviews Book Club’s Spotlight Author Jan Hawke

As the first Spotlight Author of the Rave Reviews Book Club, I always take great pleasure in hosting a Spotlight Author. Rave Reviews Book Club, founded by Nonnie Jules, is an online club for authors and readers that promotes the work of its author members. The club is highly supportive to both seasoned writers and beginning writers. Be sure to visit the RRBC website and check out its features. If you decide to join, say that Jan Hawke sent you because today is her day to stand in the spotlight and to shine! See the text below for links to Jan on social media. Now here is Jan in her own words.

jan hawke bio pic my download

My debut novel, Milele Safari, ends where my own African journey began, in Kenya, the first country I ever visited on that continent. We went in September, hoping to see the Great Migration only to find the wildebeests had moved on a few weeks before we got to the Maasai Mara, although we did glimpse the last remnants over the Mara River in Tanzania. I fell in love almost immediately, after we arrived at the Norfolk Hotel in Nairobi, and our first wildlife encounter was at the hotel pool, with eagles floating high above us and all the trappings of Kenya’s colonial past around us (the Hotel was used as a set in Out of Africa, where Karen Blixen asks the Governor, Sir Joseph Byrne, for help when her coffee farm goes bust). Things I didn’t put in the book… Elephants creeping silently out of the night to a water hole in Tsavo East as we were Milky Way watching over a duty free gin and tonic, from the balcony of our room. Wonderful Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe and my spectacular solo ‘spot’ of a leopard (in a place where our otherwise splendid game guide wasn’t expecting to see one) in Samburu. Baboons galore and a black rhino at Treetops water hole, and the luscious afternoon tea ceremony at the nearby Outspan Hotel where Lord Baden-Powell (who founded the Boy Scout movement) lived out his last years. An advanced dissection lesson on a wildebeest, courtesy of a couple of lionesses, followed by two young male cheetahs out for a walk in the shade on the Maasai Mara one hot afternoon. Still on the Mara, one abortive and one successful balloon inflation near the Siria escarpment at dawn on the day our safari ended, followed by an unforgettably turbulent flight back to Nairobi in an elderly Dakota, much to the chagrin of the other people in our tour group, who had travelled all day, long and dustily overland, only to find us contentedly sipping long cool drinks at the Norfolk at four in the afternoon… Things that did make it… Samburu was also the place where we saw the leopardess and two cubs who kick-started Milele Safari as a project in the Watching chapter. She had an interesting history in that she’d been raised by world famous conservationist, Joy Adamson, of Born Free fame, and then set free in Samburu. The cubs we saw her with were likely her last litter as she was over ten years old by then. Dennis, our European Kenyan tour leader, was also responsible for several of Harry Burton’s non-Kariba anecdotes, including the buffalo hunt and also the tale of the Dik-Dik and the Rhino that I took several liberties with in Onwards and Upwards… I’ve been to Kenya twice more since that first memorable time and it will always be dear to me, especially in these latter days when it is still struggling on with the fight against big time commercial poaching, which, alas, appears to be a losing one at times, especially as the Middle Eastern and Asian ivory markets inflate the demand. Organisations like CITES (https://www.cites.org/) ensure that the work of conservation enforcement continues, but with a constantly struggling economic climate, endemic poverty and neighbouring states at war, or battling with famine and drought, Kenya’s tourist industry and the crucial influx of international currency is increasingly under pressure to deliver on its reputation as the top safari destination on the planet, and to maintain the infrastructure of its national parks.

Vacation Picture


My husband Pete’s photo of me, his brother Malcolm, and wife Janine, on a night drive in Zimbabwe. The Hannibal Lecter look is down to my severe dust allergy!

jan hawke Milele Safari

Milele Safari – An Eternal Journey, available on Amazon

 Follow Jan Hawke on Social Media

Website: janhawke.me/

Twitter handle: @JanHawke

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Jan-Hawke-386239624841750/


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About jsherwin2013

Jennie has a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s degree in counseling. She is the author of Intentional Healing: One Woman’s Path to Higher Consciousness and Freedom from Environmental and Other Chronic Illnesses and is a contributing writer to Conscious Life News. She has been a teacher of English on the junior high school and senior high school levels, as well as a writer and editor in the field of public health. She has mentored writers and editors. She is certified in Reiki I and II and has studied energy therapies at A Healing Place in Richardson, Texas, working under the direction of Deborah Singleton and her healing team. Jennie also acknowledges the guidance of Christine Gregg, Australian spirit reader and healer, and Maya Page, intuitive healer, Reiki Master, and VortexHealing® practitioner, now retired. Jennie lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, Roger, a retired physician and epidemiologist. They provide editorial services to university researchers in the fields of medicine and public health. Her son, Colin, lives and works in New York City with his wife, Colleen.

33 responses to “Rave Reviews Book Club’s Spotlight Author Jan Hawke”

  1. reviewsbynonnie says :

    Jennie, thanks for reminding me that you WERE the first “SPOTLIGHT” AUTHOR for RRBC! Because of that, it holds a special place in your heart and that comes through in every word here! Funny, that’s the very same feeling that John F. has about the “SPOTLIGHT.” Because he was an SA, that seat, as well as who sits in it, is very dear to him and he always stresses how we should be extremely selective of who is awarded as an SA. I agree with him whole-heartedly. It is an awesome seat and we cherish it.

    Jan, its no wonder you’re an SA. You epitomize all there is about that spot and you deserve to sit there. I’m learning a lot about these “foreign, beautiful” places from you, so do keep sharing. I will travel those lands thru you. What a gift! Thank you, to both of you awesome ladies!

    TGIM! And I’m excited to be a part of it!

    • Jan Hawke says :

      TGIM indeed, Nonnie! LOL I love sharing my take on, and lasting impressions of Africa, and Kenya in particular, as the landscapes and wildlife there is spectacular in every possible sense. 😀
      Jennie – I say it below, but gladly repeat it here, thank you so much for your support today and for every day you tell the world about RRBC. We’re luicky to have you in ‘the family’! 🙂

    • jsherwin2013 says :

      Every time I host an RRBC author I think with gratitude of my dear friend Kathryn Treat, who introduced me to the club and encouraged me to join. All of us reap the benefits of our RRBC connections. The support has been wonderful, but even more incredible has been the constant encouragement to be out on social media. Nonnie, thanks for organizing and founding such a congenial home-away-from-home for authors. Jan, I’m so happy to host you today, and I wish you the best of luck on your journey as a writer and author. Thank you to all of you who stopped by today to support Jan. Sending you all lots of love!

  2. Shirley Harris-Slaughter says :

    Congratulations on becoming a Spotlight winner. I will be back to read your post but want to wish you well and Jennie for hosting you.

  3. Jan Hawke says :

    Reblogged this on Jan Hawke INKorporated and commented:
    Thank you Jennie for such a lovely introduction! 😀 I’m really enjoying the RRBC Spotlight – thank you as well to the powers that be for choosing me! 🙂

  4. Gwen Plano says :

    What an amazing journey! I love the photo and the smiles. Enjoy the Spotlight, and congratulations on being selected!

  5. Rebecca Reilly (@RebeccaReillyL) says :

    Jan, I’m looking forward to this week! You have inspired me with your wisdom and joy! I loved Milele Safari, and I hope your time in the “Spotlight” Author chair encourages many readers to delve into your work!
    Thank you for hosting, Jennie!

  6. John W. Howell says :

    So much to like about this post. I loved the background on the momma tiger and her cubs which is one of the fist things the reader gets to experience in Milele Safari. Thanks Jennie for hosting.

    • Jan Hawke says :

      Seeing that mom and her little chaps was the experience that sparked off the idea for Milele Safari, John. 😀 We were the first safari minibus to see her when we had to stop and clean the spark-plugs and so we came back later to where she’d cached her kill and had quality time taking photos for about 10 mins until our driver radioed out to other groups. 10 mins later the place looked like a parking lot with over a dozen vehicles clustered around the thorns as we just left at that point!
      It made me think about so much unwanted attention might affect the leopards, but really they weren’t that bothered I think. They’re the most successful of the big cats in Africa these days, even though they’re solitary hunters as their stalking skills are so good but even they’re beginning to feel the pinch with habitat erosion as people gradually need more space and land… 😦

      • John W. Howell says :

        I’m glad you told that story in the book. Sometimes I wish folks would just go away. We have sea turtles and when they are nesting people gather around and it makes them super nervous.

      • Jan Hawke says :

        That’s sad – it’s so hard to balance focus on endangered animals so they’ll be supported against over-exposing them to ‘day-trippers’ basically.
        With ‘our’ leopard – the hotel we were staying was nearby and they put nightbait in the fever trees opposite the bar, so guests could watch leopards feed there, but this female was weaning her cubs and staying away, so the game drivers got over-excited and mobbed her essentially, so they’d get more tips for showing their clients such a special sight… 😦

  7. Bette A. Stevens says :

    Lovely post, Jan. Enjoyed a peek into your African adventures. Keep shining! 🙂

  8. Shirley Harris-Slaughter says :

    Hi Jan I’m back. I was having a little problem understanding some of the big words you are using. lol Looks like this trip was the inspiration for Milele Safari if I’m reading your correctly. I love wildlife and always watch the animal channel every chance I get. Have a wonderful tour. Jennie its nice to visit your blog again. It looks like you changed it. Its easy on the eyes. We appreciate you for hosting Jan who is a very supportive member.

    • Jan Hawke says :

      Hi Shirley – thanks for coming back for more! 😀 I was always going to be hooked on safari vacations as I was brought up on BBC wildlife programmes from a very early age as my Dad was nuts about Africa as well. Kenya’s just wonderful – if you ever get a chance to go there you won’t regret it. 🙂

  9. gfb246 says :

    Great post and I agree with your comments about poaching. I wish there was a way to switch people off of ivory.

    • Jan Hawke says :

      Hi there Gordon, thanks for dropping in 🙂 Yes, unfortunately the ivory trade’s pretty much ingrained culturally in some parts of the world, hence the amnesty on ‘antique’ ivory. CITES have their work cut out regrettably.

  10. Michelle Abbott says :

    Wow, Jan. I can see why you were inspired to write a book based on your experience in Kenya. It sounds amazing, an experience of a .lifetime!

    • Jan Hawke says :

      Yay – good to see you Mims 🙂 Kenya’s a special place – I watch my Out of Africa DVD a fair bit and never fail to cry when Karen Blixen and Finch-Hatton (Streep and Redford) are flying over the Maasai Mara. 😀

  11. hinsmanj says :

    How wonderful to hear about your travels! The Hannibal Lecter reference cracked me up!

    • Jan Hawke says :

      Hi Jenny! 😀 I was really self-conscious about wearing dust mask out on drives but if I didn’t have them I would be coughing constantly and scaring the natives! Sometimes I used to paint zebra stripes or giraffe splotches on the masks – so I looked like a savannah fashionista! 😉

  12. spowersincia says :

    Jan, it sounds just wonderful! I’ve always wanted to travel to Africa, I’m looking forward to hearing more!

    • Jan Hawke says :

      A safari tour is a wonderful experience Sherilyn – if you ever get a chance to go on one you’ll love it! If you would like to read more about the places that influenced the writing of Milele Safari there’s lots more on the book blog milelesafari.blogspot.co.uk

  13. jinlobify says :

    Jan, your description of the beauty of the Kenyan Safari world, does a great credit to that wonderful, and awesome world of natural life. Let’s pray that the authorities over there, will continue to preserve and conserve it. The problem we have in Africa, as a whole, is that of maintenance. We build, and then expect what we have built to take care of itself. Hence, most of our colonial legacies, have either decayed, or have outrightly gone out of existence. I fear that our wild lives will eventually go the same way. :(. Thank you Jennie for hosting her.

    • Jan Hawke says :

      Thanks for the lovely comment Joy 😀 It so hard for any country in Africa, even the richer, more stable ones, to balance the conservation needs of their wildlife reserves with those of their people. In places like Botswana and South Africa they’re having some success with allowing limited hunting concessions to raise revenue locally and bringing the local people in as custodians to help maintain preserves and protect the animals from poachers. But then you’ll get things happening like the American dentist who shot a magnificent lion by luring him out of the reserve, because there’s so much money to be made that it’s bound to tempt people living in extreme poverty, etc…
      The Kenyan parks are a great role model for conservation, but it’s getting harder and harder for them to sustain their success… 😦

  14. rebeccacarteremona says :

    I think going on a safari has to be added to my bucket list. It sounds simply fantastic. 🙂

  15. beemweeks says :

    Lovely post, Jan. Congratulations on the Spotlight! Well deserved, this honor.

    Thank you for hosting and supporting, Jennie.

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