Best Selling Author: Jeffrey Archer
FHM: The Clifton Chronicles are very different from a typical Jeffery Archer novel as this is going to be a 5-part saga spanning from 1920-2020. What made you take up this topic?
Jeffrey: I simply wanted a new challenge and this has certainly proved to be one. Plus, I’ve never written a five-book saga before. It was also interesting to set it in the West Country of England where I spent my childhood, so although the story begins twenty years before I was born, I was able to draw on many memories of growing up in that area.
FHM: The main character Harry Clinton is an author who goes through frustrations like promoting his novels and giving interviews. How much of Jeffrey Archer is Harry?
Jeffrey: There’s quite a bit of Harry Clifton in me, especially in terms of him being a writer. I was able to draw on all my experience of the early days of touring in America, of visiting seventeen cities in twenty-one days, of going for breakfast shows in TV studios to local radio stations to publicise my book, and having to remember to mention the title as many times as possible during every interview.
FHM: Your style is to keep the readers guessing after each page with twists and turns. How have you managed to still do that after writing for over 35 years?
Jeffrey: I’m a storyteller. I like to keep the reader guessing and not knowing what’s going to happen next. Even after forty years of writing, I still enjoy the challenge and hope my books continue to entertain my readers.
FHM: Which fictional character, which you have created, resembles you the most?
Jeffrey: I think Harry Clifton is the one character from all of my books who is most like me. Not only in terms of background, being brought up in the West Country, but in his drive and ambition to make something of himself, and of course, he ends up as a writer. But there’s one big difference – I can’t sing!
FHM: Has your time in prison changed your writing style and storytelling ways?
Jeffrey: No, that period of my life was an eye-opener in many ways, and I did keep writing, but my style didn’t change. I learnt a lot about myself and indeed met some fascinating characters, and I’ve been able to draw on those experiences in my books.
FHM: Everyone is aware of your love for India, but what is that you really like about our country?
Jeffrey: For me, the greatest gift India has to offer is its people. They are welcoming, calm, friendly, enthusiastic and go-getters. Every country has its challenges of course, but I feel India has a great future, and I look forward to returning again and again.
FHM: What or who has been your greatest inspiration for becoming a writer?
Jeffrey: Alan Quilter, who was my English professor at school.
FHM: Even at age 72, what keeps you going?
Jeffrey: My fear of slowing down! I still enjoy writing, still love the challenges of beginning a new book and wondering where the characters will take me, still love the interaction with my readers, and I appreciate the opportunity I have to do all this. I also believe that keeping physically fit helps keep the mind active as does mixing with and listening to young people.
FHM: You have always stressed the difference between storytelling and writing. What would your advice be to the young and budding writers of today?
Jeffrey: As with any profession, you can train harder, practice and perfect your craft, but storytelling is a gift. I would advise young writers to begin by writing about what they know, and not feel they have to do what’s deemed “fashionable” at the time, such as vampires or erotica.
FHM: Your thrillers can be perfectly adapted in Hollywood, so how come you never had a film banner under your name?
Jeffrey: I remain hopeful of seeing one of my books adapted for the big screen. Columbia has optioned Paths of Glory and has a script, a director and lead actor in place, but I’ll believe it when I see it.