They say I'm worth either €200 million, €100 million, €50 million or €10 million, but that's something between God, the HMRC and myself.

Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: British

Some suggestions for you :

I read a lot of biographies and books with an African background.

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.

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 wanted to be a great white hunter, a prospector for gold, or a slave trader. But then, when I was eight, my parents sent me to a boarding school in South Africa. It was the equivalent of a British public school with cold showers, beatings and rotten food. But what it also had was a library full of books.

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

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

My first novel was rejected by some of the most eminent publishers in the world. Starting again was a real wrench.

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.

I have been blessed in many ways, and one of those is to have been born in Africa, for me a great treasure house of stories. I have been researching it since my infancy; reading about it, talking to men and women who have spent their lives in this land, living it as I have and loving it as I do. I write almost entirely from my own experience.

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 not a prophet I can only use historical reality to come to a view of the future, and my view is that Africa will return to being African and not European. The advent of colonialism was foreign to the country itself, but it will return to what it was before the Europeans arrived.

This first print run of the first edition of my first novel, 'When The Lion Feeds.' back in 1964, is so rare it can fetch several thousand pounds at auction. I always wanted to be an author, and I decided to write about what I knew.

You don't turn out as many books as I did then by sitting around, being cozy with the family.

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.