Wilbur Smith: ‘Poor Cecil the lion was going downhill fast – that dentist probably did his pride a favour’ | Life and style



I wait for stories to come. Its like hunting at a waterhole. You sit there and wait and wait for the game to appear.

I have homes in different places: London, Cape Town. I follow the sun. I am a bird of passage.

My world started to change at 14. I was in awe of girls. I remain in awe to this day.

I have had four wives. One of them hates me, one of them loves me. Two of them have died. My third wife had an illness for six years you learn that death is something you have to face, that it could happen any time.Every day you are at risk.

The only thing I did well at school was write. I was editor of the school newspaper. Words have always been my joy and pleasure. They are the only constant in this life.

My mother read all my books. My father never read one, but he used to carry a couple in the back of his car to show to his mates.

I always think I am from the 17th century. I have no interest in technology, or to rush, rush, rush through life. I like to take time to smell the roses and the buffalo dung.

You cant have a formula for anything so complex as a novel. I just write things that excite me. I know exactly who my readers are: people all over the world between the ages of 15 and 80. I think I have a common touch.

Never make notes. If something is worth remembering youll remember it.

I have the power of life and death over my characters. I take pleasure in getting rid of the bad guys in the most brutal way I can, while my heroes have the right attitude and get things done.

I am British. My father was a colonialist and I followed what he said until I was in my 20s and learned to think for myself. I didnt want to perpetuate injustices so I left Rhodesia in the time of Ian Smith.

Death stays with you. When I was in the Rhodesian police force the national service I would get called out and have to get bodies of children from pit lavatories after they had been killed with pangas [machetes].

The Biggles books were the first that moved me. I was nine or 10 and Id go down to the bookstore during the war and wait for the new one.

It takes me an hour https://dentalbracesetobicoke.wordpress.com/2015/04/28/look-after-your-teeth-proven-tips/ or two in the morning to get up to speed. When I am brushing my teeth I might make faces in the mirror like one of my heroes, Sean Courtney.

I dont hunt any more, mostly because I discovered buffalo run faster than Ido. I hunted because it was the right thing to do. Game was a very valuable asset to local people, and for that reason there is still game in those regions.

Poor Cecil the lion was 18 years old, losing his teeth and going downhill fast. The American dentist probably did his offspring and his pride a favour.

I hope death is another adventure. It might be the end of the road or the beginning of a new bright and shiny road where the novels will write themselves. Until then Ill keep doing them myself.

Golden Lion by Wilbur Smith is out now (Harper Collins, 20)