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 the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.
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.
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