I love the sea as much as I love the veldt of Africa.

Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: British

Some suggestions for you :

Every time one of my books sells a million copies in paperback, Pan Macmillan gives me a gold statuette of Pan. I have about 20 of them.

I have done everything I have ever wanted to do. I have swum with tiger sharks, been charged by lions and elephants. I have been shot three times, chased by crocodiles and, God be praised, I've made enough money that I can continue to do all the things I want to for as long as I am able.

I am a closet birdwatcher. I can identify Southern African species, but it irks me I can barely tell a jay from a blackbird in the U.K.

Write for yourself, not for a perceived audience. If you do, you'll mostly fall flat on your face, because it's impossible to judge what people want. And you have to read. That's how you learn what is good writing and what is bad. Then the main thing is application. It's hard work.

Authors can only soft sell the environment. Create a wonderful story around the environment involving the characters that leaves a lasting impression on the reader's mind.

Quite frankly, I think political correctness is the worst form of censorship. You're not allowed to speak your mind unless you're black, or unless you're a terrorist, or unless you're an Arab or a minority people. Then you can say what you like. But if you are like a lot of us you are not supposed to say certain things.

All my characters have got a big slice of me in them. A big piece of me, because it's my dialogue and this is the way I think and talk.

My family wasn't terribly affluent and looked upon money very carefully as something that had to be saved, not spent. My father built the ducting that took air into the copper mines and made about 6 d a yard in the Thirties, which was good money back then.

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.

I don't know how many lions and leopards I've shot. I've shot two elephants, which was enough - never again. It's a melancholy and moving thing to hunt an elephant. It's like shooting an old man.

For the past few years my fans have made it very clear that they would like to read my novels and revisit my family of characters faster than I can write them. For them, I am willing to make a change to my working methods so the stories in my head can reach the page more frequently.

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.

The really disturbing thing about Somalia is that in a country where there are few economic opportunities, pirates are perceived as glamorous and are held in awe by young boys who aspire to their lifestyle.

It's probably true that everyone has a book in them, although it may not be a very good one.