One Minute With: Jeffrey Archer, novelist
Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books, 2013, and is currently a judge of the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and the Independent Scholastic New Children's Prize 2014.
Friday 09 March 2012
Where are you now and what can you see?
I'm in my home in Lambeth, which is in a high-rise overlooking the Thames, so I can see the Palace of Westminster and the London wheel.
What are you currently reading?
William Boyd's 'Waiting for Sunrise'. I'm a great admirer of his writing - he goes from first person to third person to what could be a film script. As a writer, I wouldn't have the courage to do it, and it shows such confidence in his ability.
Choose a favourite author, and say why you admire her/him
RK Narayan. I love his collection of short stories, 'Malguldi Days'. In my view, it's a masterpiece. He will write about a tax collector in a small village and you have to turn to the next page. He has a gift for taking the ordinary and making it very special indeed. A gifted storyteller.
Describe the room where you usually write
I have a home in Majorca that has been built into a cliff. The study is separate from the house, and I love its calmness. It has 20 foot-long windows and overlooks the sea. There is just a desk with pens, pencils, a rubber, an hourglass, paper, pictures of my family, and me.
What distracts you from writing?
Nothing distracts me in the room, but I take breaks after every two hour session, and when I come out and the cricket's on, it's a lovely break.
Which fictional character most resembles you?
Tigger and Sydney Carton [from 'A Tale of Two Cities']. It was Ann Leslie who first called me Tigger and I'm proud to be him.
What are your readers like when you meet them?
They're wonderful, a real combination. In India, 3,000 to 4,000 people will turn up. It's truly overwhelming.
Who is your hero/heroine from outside literature?
George Mallory, who in 1924 did, or did not, conquer Mount Everest in hobnail boots and a three-piece suit.
Jeffrey Archer's 'The Sins of the Father' is published by Macmillan
To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthdaybooks
Arts & Ents blogs
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- 2 Vivienne Westwood says 'Yes' to Scottish Independence by declaring: 'I hate England'
- 3 Welcome to Cameroon, where drinking Baileys can lead to imprisonment
- 4 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 5 Vogue under fire for 'Big Booty' article
Fifty Shades of Grey movie: New picture of Anastasia Steele unveiled
X Factor 2014 review: Simon Cowell and Cheryl Cole clash over Rouge Kiss
Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
Exhibit B: 'Racist' human zoo installation criticised by protesters outside the Barbican
Doctor Who, Listen, review: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Salmond accused of laughing off national debt with ‘what are they going to do: invade?’ joke