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
  • Get to the point
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: HR Manager

£36000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power