Weich, David. Red Bush Tea with Alexander McCall Smith. Contemporary Literary Criticism, vol. 268, Gale, 2009, pp. 132-136. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.com.db04.linccweb.org/apps/doc/H1100089933.
The series debut, The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, was voted one of the International Books of the Year and the Millenium by the Times Literary Supplement (Weich 133).
In an interview with David Weich, Alexander McCall Smith said that I was discouraged in the past that I didnt meet with a great deal of success…My writing didnt fit the notions of what Scottish literature was in the eighties and nineties…very aggressive, in-your-face. People said to me, Your writing is too gentle, too whimsical. What gave me confidence was this confirmation from readers. People seemed to want that. We have over four million in print in English now, and just yesterday we sold Bulgarian rights. Which means were up to twenty-nine foreign languages. That makes you feel like, Okay, Ill say what Ive always wanted to say…I like exploring the slightly wry and the slightly odd (Weich 133-4).
Alexander McCall Smith was twenty-eight years old when his first book, a childrens book, was published. He started his career as an author writing first childrens books, then short stories, then the Mma Ramotswe novels, the success of which allowed him to resign from his position as a Professor of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh (Weich 133).
According to Alexander McCall Smith, the ideas for the novels come from the subconscious, the same region of the mind that produces dreams. He says that just as we all produce but do not direct our dreams, so too do the ideas for his books come to him almost as if hes in a trance during the writing process (Weich 135).
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