My Secret Life: Jeffrey Archer, author, 71


My parents were... my father was a printer, my mother was a journalist and local councillor. I think that possibly influenced my writing career.

The household I grew up in... was a small flat in Weston-super-Mare, just after the war.

When I was a child I wanted to... captain the England cricket team – as you now know, I failed hopelessly.

If I could change one thing about myself... The lines on my forehead.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good at... auctioneering. I have raised £39 million in the past 30 years, and I've done over a thousand auctions.

You may not know it but I'm no good at... cooking. I'm a disaster. I can boil an egg – but even that I get wrong.

At night I dream of... Last night I had a nightmare. I thought I was still a member of parliament and that I hadn't been to my constituency in 25 years, and I woke up in a cold sweat.

What I see when I look in the mirror... Someone desperately trying to look less than 71-and-a-quarter-years old.

I wish I'd never worn... a white suit to someone's wedding. My wife destroyed it the next day. She didn't tell me how; it disappeared, that is all I know.

My favourite item of clothing... is my tracksuit. I wear it a lot because I go to the gym three times a week. I'm writing at the moment, and I'm in a tracksuit for all writing sessions.

I drive... a Mini Cooper. I used to have an old one: it lasted 17 years and then broke down, so now I have one of the new ones. My house is... an old vicarage in Cambridge; it was built in 1624.

My favourite work of art... That's a very difficult one. Probably a Rembrandt: The Man with the Golden Helmet. One look at it and you would understand – it is just wonderful, wonderful.

My favourite building... I'm not sure I have a favourite, but I do very much like Sydney Opera House.

My secret crush is... Annette Bening. She's terrific – she is such a bright woman.

Movie heaven... A Man for All Seasons, with Paul Scofield. It is British acting at its very best.

A book that changed me... Reunion by Fred Uhlman. I read it 20 years ago. It changed my view on Judaism.

My greatest regret... is that I have no daughters. I would have liked six!

My real-life villains... Those people who still perpetuate snobbery. I think we are getting better, but there are still a few people who think that because of the school they went to or the university they went to, that they are better than other people.

The person who really makes me laugh... Tony Hancock and Dame Edna Everage.

The last time I cried... I cry in films, I cry in the theatre. I think probably the last time was while watching War Horse in the National Theatre.

My five-year plan... I'm currently writing a series of books, The Clifton Chronicles. I will write five volumes in five years. They tell the story of Harry Clifton, a boy born in the back streets of Bristol – it will be his life over a hundred years.

What's the point? If you have to ask that question, there isn't one.

My life in six words... I have no intention of mellowing.

A life in brief

Jeffrey Archer was born in 1940. In 1969, he became a Tory MP and he published his first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less in 1976. He was made deputy chairman of the Conservative Party in 1985. In 1992, he received a peerage, but was later expelled from the party and convicted of perjury in 2001, serving two years in prison. Archer has sold over 250 million books around the world; his latest novel, Only Time Will Tell, is out now. He lives with his wife, Mary, in Cambridge

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy