Danielle Thomas was born in Zambia of British and Welsh/Irish parents. She graduated from the University of Cape Town and then went on to teach for fifteen years, showing a special interest in the education of 'difficult' children.

For the past twenty-seven years she did research for her author husband, Wilbur Smith.

Her four novels, CHILDREN OF THE DARKNESS, VOICES IN THE WIND, CRY OF SILENCE, and DRUMBEAT were huge successes and are all available in good book shops.

Danielle on the inspiration of her first novel CHILDREN OF THE DARKNESS: I found, after reading Wilbur's work at lunchtime, I would meander off and do research, garden, do the housework, and check up on the farms - whatever - and in my mind I would start creating what his characters would do next. So I was making up a totally different story in my mind, to the story he was actually writing, with his characters. And, eventually, it just got to the stage where I had to write - so I did! I think if I hadn't married him, I'd probably have started earlier. I was a little bit intimidated at the thought of saying, 'You know, well, I'm going to try and write a book as well.' And that kept me back a long time.
Drumbeat dy Danielle Thomas

Danielle on writing: I think if you want to be a writer, you've got to be a voracious reader. I went to university, in Cape Town, and did a lot of writing, but most of it was for myself. Then I met Wilbur, got married, and also got intimidated. I started doing research for him, reading his work at lunchtime - acting as a sounding board for him. And sort of, I suppose, a pre-editor as well.

Danielle also loved pre-revolution Africa: I was this poor little skinny, knock-kneed kid, who was sent away at the age of 6 to a boarding school, but rather like Wilbur, when I came home it was marvelous. We used to go out over the weekends, and camp out in the bush, and I used to roam up and down the rivers, swimming in these crocodile infested waters. Or walking along with a piece of bamboo, with a piece of string and a little hook on it, trying to catch fish. It was lovely - everything was so safe. It was beautiful and safe. If you wandered away from camp, and you were found by tribesmen, then they would walk miles to bring you back to your own camp. There was no case of being murdered, or anything which modern society brings with it. We just didn't have seem to have the evils the we do today.

Wilbur on Danielle's CHILDREN OF THE DARKNESS: I was terrifically proud. And no, I didn't help her at all--I wasn't even allowed into her study. I wasn't allowed to see it until it was accepted for publication. She had suddenly said to me that she'd always wanted to write, and now was the time. When I saw some of the steamier passages in Children of Darkness, I saw a new side to the woman I'd been married to for 25 years, and I said, "You certainly didn't learn that from me, my girl!"

In the last six years of her life, Danielle fell ill with cancer and eventually fell into a coma for nearly a year. She died in 29 December 1999.
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