My absolute favorite pieces are 'Rhapsody in Blue' and 'Begin the Beguine.' I play these when I am working.

Wilbur Smith

Wilbur Smith

Profession: Novelist
Nationality: British

Some suggestions for 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 read all of Rider Haggard's books. For me he had the romance of Africa with a little bit of mysticism. I'm delighted to be looked on as his heir and be categorised as an adventure novelist because that's exactly what I am.

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.

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.

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

I write my books in my head, and not in a specific study with a view. The view is from my inner eyes.

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 believe that a healthy body breeds a healthy mind. I am 74 years old now and my wife, Niso, is 38 years younger than me. She absolutely insists that I take regular exercise with her.

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.

People don't really know themselves until they're 30. Like most people nowadays, I went to university, got a degree and wandered for a bit. I trained to be a chartered accountant, which I didn't much enjoy, and it was only slowly that the idea of becoming a creative writer gelled.

Politicians all over the world cater to domestic vote banks. They will spend only on what their constituents want. So unless there is a grass root green movement in a nation the politicians will not be willing to spend money on curbing emissions. More awareness is needed amongst the people to effect the real change in how governments spend.

Real men read my books.

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'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.