This weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a book launch by of one of my favorite authors – Wilbur Smith, who was in India to launch his latest book Those In Peril.
The author related a number of interesting experiences from his visit to India, including the fact that he loves the traffic! Baffling, isn’t it? Until he delivered his next line: It is just like a video game; except here, if you lose, you die.”
Having visited the country numerous times, he says he thinks India as “almost a neighbor, with just a little sea between us!” When asked if he would set one of his books in the country, he referred to The Quest, one of his ancient Egyptian novels, in which his character Taita visits India to gain knowledge and wisdom. However, to weave a love affair with the country in print, the way he does with Africa, he says he’d have to “spend a lot of time here, at least 50 years, but I fear I’m running out of time”. That just explains how much research he undertakes for all of his novels.
Remember those bushmen that feature so prominently in some of his novels? He wrote them in after meeting them briefly during an excursion in the African jungle.
In answer to a question about how he manages to write so many novels (33 and counting) and if he’s ever faced writer’s block, he said that a writer’s life requires a lot of discipline as it’s easy to get distracted and do inconsequential things around the house. As for writer’s block, he said: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. If someone says they’re suffering from writer’s block, it’s most likely cowardice.”
Very true, isn’t it? And it applies to most situations in life where we feel blocked – more often that not, we’re just scared of the unknown.
All-in-all, it was a lovely evening, spent listening to the anecdotes of an author whose fans span generations!