You know that feeling when you finish a final exam and you think, ‘I never want to do that again’? Well I have the same feeling when I finish a novel. Each time I say, ‘I think I may retire now’ and then after six months the ideas start to churn again. I could never stop.
Herbert, my father, was born in Britain but went out to Africa in his teens to join his father and built up an 18,000-acre ranch in what was then Northern Rhodesia, providing work for the locals. He was my hero when I was a boy.
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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.
Usually halfway through a book I have a serious depression, so I go on safari on my ranch in South Africa, or fishing off my island in the Seychelles. When I come back and re-read it, I think: ‘What was all that about, Smith? It’s fine, just get on with it.’
|Birth:||9th January, 1933|
Smith was born in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia, now Kabwe, Zambia. His father was a metal worker who opened a sheet metal factory and then bought a cattle ranch. "My father was a tough man," said Smith. "He was used to working with his hands and had massively developed arms from cutting metal. He was a boxer, a hunter, very much a man's man. I don't think he ever read a book in his life, including mine.
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