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Jonathan Ball

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Alexander McCall Smith: Writing Successful Books is All About Rooibos Tea and Happy Endings

The Handsome Man’s Deluxe CaféSue Grant-Marshall recently interviewed Alexander McCall Smith for Business Day about The Handsome Man’s Deluxe Café, the newest novel in his The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series.

In the interview, McCall Smith speaks about why he thinks readers have received his books so warmly. He says he thinks people enjoy quirky stories that celebrate good things, like rooibos tea and happy endings.

Read the interview:

“I think people tend to get a bit tired of a constant diet of confrontation and conflict in their lives,” he says.

“There are some appalling problems in today’s world but I tend to concentrate on the affirmative and positive things in life. If we don’t, then we may as well pack up shop.”

He takes particular delight in overturning global perspectives of Africa as a basket case by homing in on Botswana for his No.1 series, “because I think the country been such a success story”. McCall Smith spent several years there in the 1980s, helping to establish a law department at the university, and co-writing a book on its criminal law.

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