(With Sally’s Answers)

Yes. When I lose my pen.
From the Spar – they have an Idea Special every second Tuesday.

I also get fresh ideas delivered daily to my doorstep in the Karoo.

And I travel yearly to camp for some months in the wilderness. It is on expeditions here (in dark caves, along dry river beds, and into my own mind) that I usually find the wildest and deepest ideas.

Like a mosaic. The ideas are things I make or find, then crack into pieces. Although I enjoy turning over each piece in my hand, what matters is how well the bits fit together, what shape and patterns they create.

At some point I enter into the mosaic, and journey in that other place.

The leopard you see in my pictures does not live with us in the Klein Karoo. (There are indeed leopards in the Karoo, but they’re much too shy for photo-shoots). This leopard is called ‘Amazi’ (Rwandan word, meaning ‘water’). He was orphaned as a cub and raised with love by wild humans on a huge private game farm in Africa.

I was lucky enough to meet him. I fell deeply and permanently in love. He reciprocated with the careless passion of a wild cat.

The owner of the farm kindly gave me permission to post my pictures, but does not want any publicity or visitors. Please respect this.

I have not yet found the words to adequately describe my experiences with this leopard, but I can share some photographs. (See albums under ‘Adventures’ on the ‘Pictures’ page of this website.)

Please note that leopard cuddling is a dangerous activity. Also, many of the commercial ‘petting zoos’ are dodgy and involve cruelty to animals. Look into them carefully before giving them your patronage.

No. As much as I would love to do these things (I would, really), my current writing commitments occupy all of my breathing space. I will let you know if this changes. All I can offer you now are my books; I hope you enjoy them.

Some teachings I found useful include: Artists and Writer’s Yearbook (book and website); On Writing by Stephen King; Solutions for Writers by Sol Stein; and Gotham Writers’ Workshop’s online course on mystery writing.

I also advise patience, dedication, and finding a way to develop a thick skin, while keeping a tender heart.

The first time I saw the musician Dave Ferguson play, my mouth fell open, and I fell off my chair onto the floor, moved by the power and beauty of his song.

I would like my words to have an effect like that on someone, sometime.

A more prosaic aim (but one as unlikely) is to become – through my writing – the best version of myself, and to allow others to do the same.

Bench sitting. Walking. Wild writing. Waterfalls. Ancient trees.