The storyteller returns
A conversation with Jeffrey Archer can be quite unpredictable � one minute he's mock-scolding you and roaring with laughter in the next.
The acclaimed author was in the city recently to promote the third installment of his five-part book series and CS got a chance to meet him. Since most of his novels are best-sellers, we couldn’t help but ask if there is a formula to write fiction. “If there was a formula, then you would be doing it!” he said sternly and added with a smile, “It’s a God-given gift. I’m a storyteller, not a writer.” But he did add that it takes a lot of hard work. “I wish there was a shortcut, I’d take it if there was,” he said with a mischievous smile. In a tête-à-tête, the author spoke about his disciplined lifestyle, his love for big crowds and why he’d love to be the transport minister of India!
Deadlines have never been a problem so far. It has worked very well for me. I’m taking a break now. For seven weeks I was at home writing book four’s first draft. Now, I will take four or five weeks off, then go back home and write for another five weeks. Then I will take another break. It suits my body and my way of life. I’m a totally focused and disciplined person. I write four times a day, two hours each session. Often when I’m wrestling with a problem, it’s solved in the middle of the night.
I enjoy meeting people. I enjoy the events where thousands turn out to hear me speak; it’s quite flattering (smiles). But I don’t enjoy the travel, the aeroplanes, the airports, the driving around. There are aspects of it I love though. I love big crowds and being able to perform in front of them.
If you ask me why Indians love me, I don’t know the answer. I wish I did, because it’s amazing. There are 50 million Indians who’ve read Kane and Abel. That’s quite difficult to handle. My books are popular all around the world but India is exceptional. As for my love for India, well, I think Indians have all the qualities I don’t have — they are calm and quiet. I used to get very angry here earlier. The driving and traffic would drive me mad! I’ve settled down now. Nowadays I just tell myself, ‘It’s going to take an hour to get from here to there and you can’t do anything about it Jeffrey, so shut up!’ (Laughs) The driving here is unbelievable. Who taught you to drive the slow cars in the fast lane and fast cars in the slow lane? This happens only in India! I find bicyles and cows on the fast lane. I’d like to be the minister of transport here, I would change it all!