Wilbur Smith recently visited India to promote his latest thriller, Those in Peril. In two interviews, one with Aabhas Sharma in the Business Standard and another with Shruti Savanal at The Tossed Salad, Smith reveals how he manages to be so prolific.
He tells Sharma that he hated his job as a chartered accountant before he started writing. As Sharma explains, “He does a lot of research after he has the basic plot in mind. Once the plot is worked out, he devotes seven hours a day for at least eight months to writing. After he finishes writing, he sends off the manuscript and takes off for a month or so.”
Smith tells Savanal that when he first starts writing “my whole mind is in a hurly-burly”. He explains, “I spend a great deal of time thinking about what I want to write, and how I want my characters to unfold. There is a clamour of characters which slowly seem to make sense the more I think of them. I am in no rush. It’s like a long marathon where I make sure I keep within my strengths. But when I start writing, I never stop or never rewrite anything. I go with the flow, and then finally see where it needs to be reworked after I’m done writing.”
The prolific best-selling author is impervious to critics and remains an unreformed big game hunter.
It is not often that you meet someone for lunch and he has already placed the order before you have arrived. And this is when you’re not late – in fact, a few minutes early – for the meeting. But the man I am meeting is Wilbur Smith, who loves to eat and calls himself a “carnivorous beast” when it comes to food, writes Aabhas Sharma.
The Tossed Salad: How would you best describe Those in Peril to your readers?
Wilbur Smith: Well, this book is similar to any of my other books. I’ve tried to keep a balance between fact and fiction. The story revolves around a man called Hazel Bannock, whose 19-year-old daughter gets kidnapped by African Muslim pirates while at sail in the Indian Ocean. There are a few new different techniques I’ve tried to introduce here. Let’s hope my readers appreciate it.
Photo courtesy The Tossed Salad