Skip to Content

Writing four books a year

27 October 2013

'When I'm working at full tilt, I average about 1,000 words an hour. I sit at the keyboard and it all comes out. It's an extraordinary thing, but I think it's because fiction is created by the unconscious mind, which is always exploring situations and possibilities. I suppose that's the thing I love about writing, what got me into it in the first place...

I first began writing in the 1980s, and initially it was children's books. It was only after the success of my first adult novel, The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, in the 1990s, that I quit law and started writing full-time. I've since written several sequels to that book; many others as well. On average I write about four books a year, and I'm told they have sold around 20-25m worldwide - it's hard to believe.'

Alexander McCall Smith, author of The Minor Adjustment Beauty Salon in The Times