Meet Deryn van der Tang—an artist and writer
Updated: Feb 18
She grew up in Africa, wrote and published her first story at the age of eleven, is a former cartographer, and now lives in the US where she aims to express God's design in nature, and his love for creation and people through her art and writing. Meet Deryn van der Tang:
Tell us about yourself and your journey to where you are today.
I've always enjoyed reading, writing poetry and stories. My first published story was when I was about eleven; I wrote a letter to the Sunday Mail Children's page about a leopard that was in my uncle's backyard. Throughout the years, I've been the editor of Newsletters for Singles Ministry and Missions at the various churches I've attended. I've also worked in the production to publication for technical journals when I was in the oil industry. I later took a Writer's Bureau Comprehensive Writing Course. I had a fair amount of articles published mostly for the in-house magazine where I was working. I progressed through to reviewing other people's books and Trip Advisor. After I retired, I pursued writing and have written for two Anthologies, before Shirley Corder invited me to write for In All Things Anthology. This really was a fun project. I later published my segment, "Sunrise to Sunset", as a stand-alone book with a few additions. Last year, I published my second book, "Who am I? What has God got to do with it? And does it matter?" The next book I want to get out is a self-help book on "Your Hero's Journey Through Transitions." I'm also busy writing a Historical Fiction Novel based on my great-grandfather's experiences at a challenging time in South Africa, and how he built resilience. I'm planning a biographical, historical memoir on my own journeys through African history and beyond. I have plenty to keep me busy for a long time!
How would you describe yourself?
I am an artist and a writer. I'm also a mother to three adult children and grandmother to three grandsons. My family is spread all over the world, which has given me the opportunity to travel and explore.
I love exploring different places, ideas, concepts, and words. I always look for new perspectives, metaphors, and new ways in which to express God's design in nature and His love for Creation and the people He created.
There's so much brokenness in the world, and I try to show more of His beauty and Truth to help heal it, through words, poetry, and art.
What does your writing process involve?
I usually start with a prompt or idea from somewhere and then work on it. I have many notes, pictures, and related ideas which I'm inclined to hoard and lose in the computer filing system. But I do like the ideas to maturate and strengthen before I finally put them down. When I get a prompt as in writing for In All Things, I had several devotionals I had already written that I could adapt to fit the title and African-themed prompt. Which of your books gave you the most pleasure to write, and why?
"Who am I?" gave me the most pleasure. My Small Group Bible Study members inspired me. I had done drawings for some of the verses of Psalm 139 to illustrate them for our study. The group suggested I draw a picture for each verse.
I was locked down in Australia for five months in 2020 visiting my daughter. So I spent my time doing the drawings and writing most of the chapters, one for each verse.
This book will always remind me of the blessings of my lock-down and that it was a good book for the season we are in. There's a link in the book for the drawings as well.
If you have owned pets, do you have a funny story to share?
We have a little dachshund, called Coco. She's quite a character. Unfortunately, she has a degenerative disease in her hindquarters and can only drag herself around. She needs to wear a diaper (a nappy, in SA) which requires changing regularly, so we can't leave her alone for too long. She loves to go for walks, so my son has a backpack in which he carries her. No one knows there's a dog in there, so when she suddenly barks, people get a big surprise and look for where the barking is coming from. We've had two very funny incidents when she suddenly barked as we were passing someone in their garden. The man looked up and said to my son, "That was an impressive impersonation of a dog!" On another occasion, the Fedex man was crossing the street and stepped up just in front of us, so Coco gave one of here ear-shattering barks and the poor man nearly jumped off the pavement back into the road again—he got such a fright. We are always having to apologize and explain, but she certainly keeps us entertained.
What does your next writing project involve? I'm planning on interviewing people on my blog, those who have gone through life-shattering events and how they coped, worked through the transition, and how they came to peace. Books are a wonderful way in which to help people, and I'm hoping my new book "Your Hero's Journey Through Transitions" (provisional title) when it comes out later this year, will be a resource to help people navigate their way through these transitions. People can sign up for my newsletter to keep informed of when the book will be published, and to be inspired by other people's life stories at www.crossingmybridges.com
Deryn's book, "Who am I? What has God got to do with it? Does it Matter? is available on Amazon as both an e-book and paperback https://books2read.com/whoami/
For more information on Deryn, you can find her here: