Skip to content

13 Things You May Not Know About Author Alexander McCall Smith

April 3, 2012

Kate: Alexander McCall Smith is known around the world for his Number One Ladies Detective Agency books, a most delightful series of stories about Precious Ramotswe, an African woman who does indeed start her own detective agency and is in her own special way quite successful. As well as being bestselling novels the books have been adapted for a totally charming TV series—something I looked forward to every week when it was new!

What, you ask could make Precious Ramotswe even more wonderful? Well the answer to that question would be—if we could meet her as a child, of course. Yes, Alexander McCall Smith has written THE GREAT CAKE MYSTERY, in which we have the pleasure of meeting Precious and her father (who had passed away by the time the Number One Ladies Detective Agency books take place). In this charming chapter book Precious solves her first mystery, and along the way teaches us all a valuable lesson about trust and friendship.

We’re thrilled to welcome Alexander McCall Smith to our blog today to share fun details on his event experiences, his inspiration, whether he’ll write more books for kids and much more! THE GREAT CAKE MYSTERY goes on-sale today, so be sure to check it out!


What book made the strongest impression on you as a child?

Rudyard Kipling’s extraordinary story, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

What was your favorite genre to read as a teenager?

As a teenager I read fairly widely. I enjoyed reading poetry.

What is one thing about you that would surprise your readers?

I play the saxophone.

As an author, how do you feel about the role social media plays in your writing life?

I feel that the social media sites are a very useful way of keeping in touch with my readers. I have used Facebook , for example, as a means of consulting readers about plot developments and book titles.

Are you working on another children’s book?

Yes, I am writing a children’s book to follow The Great Cake Mystery. This one will deal with another case solved by the young Precious Ramotswe. I shall remain primarily an adult author, although I shall occasionally do children’s books.

What inspired you to write about Precious as a child?

I often refer in the main books to events in Precious Ramotswe’s childhood and they made me think that it would be a good idea to write further about that. I then received a specific suggestion that I should do this from Robin Straus, my US agent.

What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

As far as The Great Cake Mystery is concerned, I very much enjoyed writing about Precious Ramotswe’s father telling her stories at night.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?

I think that Precious Ramotswe is the character who speaks the loudest to me. Even as a child her character comes out very clearly, I think. I have never regarded myself as having invented her – in my view, she exists in her own right.

What has your favorite event experience been so far?

It is difficult to identify one particular event. I have done so many book events and I have enjoyed them all. I did a particularly enjoyable event in Muncie, Indiana, where I met the warmest, nicest people one can imagine.

What is one piece of advice you would like to give to aspiring authors?

My advice to aspiring authors would be aspire and perspire – in other words, carry on writing in the face of all difficulties and set-backs. Persist.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

I am most fortunate in never having experienced writer’s block.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

What I would most like to say to my readers and fans is thank you so much for your support. It makes a world of difference to me to know that there are people who enjoy the books.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2012 8:50 am

    I had no idea he has written a children’s book. I bet it’s wonderful!

  2. Ann Beistline...U.S.A. permalink
    July 22, 2012 12:03 am

    I was so surprised to see you mention Muncie, Indiana in “Tea Time for the Traditionally Built”. Of all the places in the world, you mention the town I grew up in. In this web site you said such kind words about Muncie. When were you there?
    Thank you so much for The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series. It is sooo enjoyable. Besides enjoying the reading I have learned so much from it too.
    A. Beistline

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: