One Minute With: Jeffrey Archer, novelist


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The Independent Culture

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