About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Questions and Answers with Deon Meyer (Trackers)

After reading Trackers by Deon Meyers and posting my review I had an interesting comment from Maxine of the excellent Petrona blog. She asked:

"I love your list of 'trackers'! I wonder if the author had something like this before he started writing, and determined to include one of each in his novel?"
Her comment prompted me to email Deon. He graciously answered that question and a few more. My questions and Deon’s answers in bold are in the following email I received from him:

Hi Bill:

Thanks for the privilege. Here goes:

1.)    In my review I set out 26 different types of tracking that take place in Trackers. Did you plan to feature so many different ways of tracking in the book? If you did I would appreciate knowing how many methods of tracking you inserted as I am curious as to how close I came to finding all of them. (Maxine from the book blog Petrona inspired this question through a comment on my review of the book.)

I wish I was clever enough to do that much detailed planning. My intention was much more modest: to simply draw an analogy between animal tracking and habits, and the human equivalents. My source (Louis Liebenberg’s ‘The Art of Tracking’) was so rich in material that it did the rest on its own.

2.) I thought Trackers was a perfect title. Who chose the title and how was it selected?

The original Afrikaans title was ‘Spoor’, which, in its narrowest sense, means ‘track’. But the influence of African environment on my mother tongue (and the close interaction with that environment by the first speakers of the language) gives the word a deeper, wider meaning for which there is not English equivalent. Because I have three English publishers (Canada, UK and USA), the translated title is a collaborative decision between all of us. ‘Trackers’ was the closest we could come to the original.

3.) Were you / are you a tracker in rural and/or urban South Africa?

I grew up on the edge of a small town on the high veldt of the North West Province, and spent a lot of time in my youth in the bush, hunting and fishing, so I know the basics of animal tracking. And aren’t we all trackers in the urban jungle, even if it is only to hunt down a bargain … ?

4.)    In P.D. James’ book Talking About Detective Fiction she said her books start with a location. In my review I summarized her approach:

She said a setting will be in the inspiration. She gave the example of standing on the North Sea coast and looking to the south and seeing a nuclear power plant. The book grew from that location.

Could you tell me how you start a book?

I start book development with a story idea, or a curiosity about something, and each book’s origin is very different. With Trackers, it was my fascination with the dictatorship of the genre’s traditional structure, and the interesting links between organised crime and terrorism. Setting is almost incidental at first.

5.)    Do you have a length of book set in your mind when you start to write? If not, when in the process do you determine length?

I don’t determine the length at all (or think or worry about it much)  – each story has its own length, to be revealed in the writing process.

6.)    There are quite a few South Africans of Afrikaner descent living in Saskatchewan. My family doctor grew up in Namibia and took his medical training in South Africa. Might Lemmer and Emma ever travel as far as Saskatchewan on an adventure involving former South African residents?

You never know, although I doubt it. South Africa is such a dynamic, dramatic and dynamic backdrop, and it has become part of what my brand as an author represents …

Best wishes

Deon Meyer

I appreciate Deon’s thoughtful answers and look forward to reading more thrillers from this superb author.


  1. Bill - Thank you so much much for sharing this terrific interview! And thanks to Mr. Meyer as well for answering your questions. I didn't realise that he had a background in tracking (although I cannot say I'm surprised). And I really find his approach for starting a story interesting. What a terrific interview, for which thanks :-).

  2. Margot: Thanks for the kind words. Deon is an excellent author.

  3. What a fascinating set of questions and answers! It is great that you took the time to think up such distinctive questions (compared with the usual, predictable Qs one sees so often) and that the author took the time to provide thoughtful answers. Thanks a lot, I enjoyed reading this. I love Meyer's books and am already looking forward to the next.

  4. Maxine: Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate your thoughts. I learned quite abit about Deon through his answers.