I go on a hunting safari at least once a year to Botswana, which is fantastic because we have a huge area of wilderness entirely to ourselves. My island covers roughly 55 acres, which again I have to myself, with nearly half a kilometre of private beach with my own jetties and boats.

Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: British

Some suggestions for you :

To me, my characters are more real than most people I meet.

I work on my novels wherever I have a PC, and I have four or five places around the world where I do have a PC. These days you can just slip a little flash drive into your top pocket, fly for 12 hours, come to another place, plug it into a computer and you are away again.

Literature throws us many great heroes. Real life invariably outdoes them.

I'm not perfect and I know it. I've done all sorts of things that are frowned upon these days - big-game hunting, fishing. I still enjoy fishing but I don't kill warm-blooded animals any more - I make an exception with birds sometimes.

Cape Town's beaches are superb and while the water on the Atlantic side is damn cold, it's very pleasant on the other side. Bring your golf clubs if you play - Cape Town has some fabulous golf courses.

When I vacate this sack of old bones I won't care what you do with it. Bury or burn it but don't make much fuss.

As regards to personal safety, you do have to be careful not to put yourself at risk when travelling in South Africa. You don't want to go out exploring at night, for example.

I'm a feminist. The women in my books in recent years have been powerful characters and I love to see a woman with a cute bottom walking past.

The mistake the apartheid government made was they gave the black people nothing, so they had nothing to lose. But now a lot of the former freedom-fighters are big-time capitalists. They've been given directorships in every major company. They're billionaires!

What I like about writing is the sense of godlike power it gives you.

I'm not a good father and they're not children any more; the eldest is in his fifties. My relationship with their mothers broke down and, because of what the law was, they went with their mothers and were imbued with their mothers' morality in life and they were not my people any more.

I used to own an island in the Seychelles and had a big boat there and one day I came across some Somali pirates who were passing by on their way to re-provision their boat. They didn't even acknowledge me - which is unheard of among sailors - and it was like looking into the eyes of a black mamba.

My mother-in-law speaks not a word of English. I speak not a word of Tajiki. So I smile at her ingratiatingly and she fixes me with a beady eye.

There's nothing so aphrodisiacal for a woman as money and success.