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Home > Author > Don Westenhaver
Don Westenhaver

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Member Since: Aug, 2012

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  Don Westenhaver

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Writing good stories is extremely satisfying, but marketing them is death by a thousand cuts!

Background Information

As a boy I planned to become a Catholic priest, but I dropped out of the seminary  because I didn’t want someone else controlling my life.  Making the same mistake a second time, I enlisted in the Marine Corps.  The Marines trained me to be a Vietnamese interpreter, so I expected to be assigned to a glamorous intelligence unit.  When I landed in Vietnam in April 1967 the USMC assigned me to an infantry company near the DMZ.   They didn’t need an interpreter and gave me a rifle and a radio to haul through the jungle.  I was quickly promoted to sergeant because the more senior radiomen kept getting shot. 


Back in the USA I finished college and became a finance executive in the oil industry, traveling frequently to Asia, Europe, Latin America and Africa.  The travels expanded my view of the world and made me appreciate other cultural values.  Paradoxically I also learned to appreciate the United States more.  It is the best country on earth, but there are things we can learn from others.  After the oil business I moved to Nissan’s national headquarters, where I remained until retirement.  The Japanese were wonderful to work for.  The most critical lesson I learned was the value of creative tension.  People will always disagree, but how disputes are resolved determines success or failure.  At Nissan, we finally began to examine the differences among cultures, disciplines, and methodologies and choose solutions that maximized the value of the company, not bowing to the loudest person’s demand or failing to make a decision at all.  (If only our politicians could do the same!)


I have been married to my wife Ellie for almost 40 years.  We live in Southern California and have two grown daughters and two grandchildren.  We are retired and spend our time assisting four different charities.  We also love traveling, golfing, and of course playing with the grandkids. 


I have always loved reading novels, and over the years I‘ve written four international thrillers. The first two draw on my personal experiences in Vietnam, the oil industry, and international business.  The other two take place in the first century AD in Rome and Egypt.  Like most novelists, I write the kind of books I enjoy reading – in my case, stories that make history come alive.  I combine well-known historical people, fictional characters, an intense plot, and vivid sensory descriptions to insert readers into a different time and place and make them feel at home there.  People display the same faults and virtues no matter what part of the earth and which century they inhabit.  Their customs, lifestyles, clothing, and languages may be different from ours, but they act the same way we do, for better or worse.  My hope is that my readers are as entertained by these similarities and diversities as I am.


Birth Place
Long Beach, CA USA
Favorite Links

Don Westenhaver
"Historical Novels You Can't Put Down"

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