'The Pangolin Killers' is a current affairs action story for 9–13-year-olds about trafficking of endangered animals in Africa. It will be published in Denmark as 'Skældyrsjægerne' by Wadskjaer Publishing on 16 June 2023. It was Longlisted for the Pager Turner Award in 2022.
Liva’s life as she knows it is over when she stumbles upon a wildlife trafficking ring near her new home in South Africa. Along with her brother Carl and new friend Andile, they are soon at the forefront of trying to expose those responsible. This hurls them into the criminal underworld of illegal trade of endangered animals, and a mad rush to save the doomed animals.
The Pangolin Killers follows the trio’s adventures, including their run-ins with a corrupt local police officer and his Vietnamese crime boss, to having to fight for their lives in caves, rough seas… and at school.
‘The Pangolin Killers’ is the first in a planned 'Into Africa' series.
In her 20s, she moved from Denmark to England, Egypt, Uganda and eventually ended in South Africa. The magic of Africa has kept her in Cape Town ever since. She lives there with her Dutch husband and three children.
She loves kayaking and paddle boarding, and wishes she had learned to surf like her kids! She has a background in law and business, which take her on exciting trips into Africa. Before that, she worked as a lawyer with NGOs in Egypt and Uganda. The Pangolin Killers is inspired by Congolese colleagues, who introduced her to African herbs, so she could attract a husband. (It clearly worked!).
When she is not in South Africa, she spends time with family in Denmark. She wants to bring this diverse and colourful African continent onto kids’ bookshelves with entertainment and action stories based on real topics. The first book in the Into Africa series takes place in South Africa. The next book is planned to be set in Congo and Uganda.
Tanja's work trips into Africa are a constant source of writing inspiration. The Pangolin Killers is inspired by Congolese colleagues, who introduced her to African herbs, so she could attract a husband (it worked!). Much research has since gone into writing the story. Tanja wants to bring the diverse and colourful African continent onto kids’ bookshelves with entertainment and action stories based on real topics.
Tanja has taken several creative writing courses. 'The Pangolin Killers' is her first book. It was self-published on Amazon and she has since signed an author contract with Wadskjaer Publishing, Denmark who will publish the book in Danish in 2023. Tanja is hoping to market the book further in the English speaking world.
Note: The 2023 submission has a prologue and an epilogue, which was not included in the 2022 submission that was longlisted by Page Turner Awards. These additions were taken out by the South African editor, but the Danish editor wanted it back in. I have submitted the new version with these additions, as it illustrates the current affairs topic and might work well in a movie.