Interview With The Author Deon Meyer
John Dwaine McKenna
We’re proud—and honored—to be able to present our interview with internationally known and best-selling South African author Deon Meyer, whose newest novel The Last Hunt has just been released to wide acclaim. Thank you for taking time to share your expertise with us. And without further ado, let’s get right to it. Our first questions is:
Why do you write?
Because it is the only thing I’m any good at. Because it got three kids through university. Because the main objective is to entertain people, bring them pleasure and escape. That gives me immense satisfaction. Because it is such a stress-free way to make a living — I work for myself, determine my own hours, travel to work in just in 27 seconds every day. Because I can’t blame anybody else if the end product is bad. Because it gives me rare, brief moments of intense gratification when the writing just flows, when the words and sentences and paragraphs conspire to make magic.
Where do you write?
I write at home, in a room with heavy shutters, and just one soft light — enough to illuminate the dictionary. No music. No distractions.
Are any of your characters autobiographical?
No. But they all come from inside my head, so they all might have little bits of me and my history, my experience, my philosophy, my frame of reference.
When do you write?
I write from about six in the morning. During the first half of a novel, I am exhausted by lunchtime, and stop writing. During last third, I will often write for fourteen to sixteen hours, because I can’t stop.
Who’s your favorite author?
The late, great Ed McBain.
Do you plot-outline or wing it?
If you mean plot-outline as in writing down a summary of the plot before I start the book, or using index cards or spread sheets, then no, I don’t plot-outline. But I do plan the story in my head. Not in great detail, but enough to know where I want to start, where I’m heading (although the final destination may change in the writing process), and definitely what I want to do with the next couple of chapters.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers?
Read. Read constantly. Read a lot. Read the best. Read in the genre you want to write. Reading is learning to write by osmosis. Reading is learning what the book trade (publishers, bookshops, readers) want, and learning how to tell a story.
Thank you once again, for sharing your time and insights so graciously. It’s been a pleasure . . . and please let us know when your next one’s ready, we’re all looking forward to Griessel, Cupido and Darrett’s next encounter . . .