More About the Author
Deon Meyer was born in the South African town of Paarl in the winelands of the Western Cape in 1958, and grew up in Klerksdorp, in the gold mining region of Northwest Province.
After military duty and studying at the Potchefstroom University, he joined Die Volksblad, a daily newspaper in Bloemfontein as a reporter. Since then, he has worked as press liaison, advertising copywriter, creative director, web manager, Internet strategist, and brand consultant.
Deon wrote his first book when he was 14 years old, and bribed and blackmailed his two brothers into reading it. They were not impressed (hey, everybody is a critic ...)
Heeding their wisdom, he did not write fiction again until he was in his early thirties, when he started publishing short stories in South African magazines.
"I still believe that is the best way to learn the craft of writing. Short stories teach you a lot about story structure - and you have limited space to develop character and plot," says Deon.
In 1994 he published his first Afrikaans novel, which has not been translated, "simply because it was not good enough to compete on the international market. However, it was a wonderful learning experience".
All later novels have been translated into 25 languages, including English, French, German, Dutch, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Romanian, Slovakian and Bulgarian.
Deon lives in Melkbosstrand on the South African West Coast with his wife, Anita, and they have four children to keep them busy: Lida, Liam, Johan and Konstanz.
Other than his family, his big passions are motorcycling, music (he is a Mozart fanatic, but loves rock 'n roll too), reading, cooking and rugby (he unconditionally supports the national Springbok team and the Free State Cheetahs provincial team).
The Hodder interview
How did you come to write your first novel?
I sort of worked my way up to a novel by writing short stories for magazines first, to learn the basics of writing fiction. It took about 15 short stories before I attempted the longer form - and it was a steep learning curve.
How do you do your research?
I do as much hands-on research as possible, like spending a week or so with the police detectives in Cape Town, or riding the motorcycle routes (for Heart of the Hunter). Interviews with clever people, like police forensics experts, forensic psychologists and even a sex workers (for Devil's Peak) is next on the list, after which I read as much as possible about the subjects I'm writing about.
Do you still consult on brand strategy?
No, I started writing full time in January 2008, and had to resign from the wonderful privilege of working for BMW Motorcycles as a brand strategist and special projects manager.
Are you married/single?
I am happily married to Anita, without whom not much would have been possible.
What are your thoughts about the state of S.A. today?
I'm not sure that a short answer will do justice to such an intriguing and complicated country, but let me try: I am extremely positive about South Africa. Despite huge challenges, such as poverty, aids, and crime, we've come a long way since 1994.
The economy is growing at a rapid rate, Black Economic Empowerment is paying big dividends through the creation of an emerging black middle class, the new government, although sometimes struggling at local level, is learning and improving every day, and crime rates are going down.
Having said that, we still have a long way to go.