Internationally renowned author Jeffrey Archer talks to Scribido Magazine editors Bharat Nadkarni and Shaunak Chafekar in a candid interview where he tells us his views about speed dating,love,life in prison and his new book. Jeffrey Archer is a best-selling English author and former politician whose political career ended with his conviction and subsequent imprisonment. Jeffrey rose to fame and established himself as a consummate storyteller after the publication of his first novel in 1975 named ‘Not a penny more,not a penny less’. He has more than 25 books to his name including novels,short stories and plays. His books have been published in 97 countries in more than 37 languages.Jeffrey’s new book ‘The Sins of the Father‘ releases in India tomorrow ahead of its international launch on March 15th. Here is an excerpt from the interview:
1. With your last book ‘Only time will tell’, you started an ambitious 5 novel saga named Clifton Chronicles. It intends to be a long series, something completely new. Tell us something about the Clifton Chronicles.
The Clifton Chronicles will be five volumes from 1920 to 2020 that sweeps through the 20th century and into the 21stcentury, which more than covers my own lifetime. It follows the protagonist, Harry Clifton, and his life from his birth in the back streets of Bristol, through his time at Oxford University and to the outbreak of war. It is a journey of his strenuous experiences right though college and the woman he couldn’t marry until his death a century after. Each volume will be spanning 20 years.
2. What was your inspiration behind Clifton Chronicles?
The Clifton Chronicles covers the time period from 1920 to 2020. I wanted to take this challenge to write about a whole century. I am nearing 71,I wanted a new challenge which would make me work harder.
3. Your new book in the saga ‘The sins of the father’ comes out tomorrow in India. Give us a tiny glimpse into your new book.
The first book, ‘Only Time Will Tell’ is the story of Harry Clifton, and his journey through college life, love, and most primarily, the search for truth about his father. ‘The Sins of the Father’ continues the story of Harry Clifton and his relationship with the woman he was not able to marry, and his closest friend – possibly brother – Giles Barrington. Hugo returns to the scene in an attempt to disrupt everyone’s lives….and very nearly succeeds.
4. If there was one character that you would best relate to in the series, who would that be and why?
There’s a little bit of Harry in me, and a bit of Giles in me – but probably more Giles.
Harry Clifton- Harry Clifton comes from a backward port working
family. A family-loving kid, he has a flame in his eyes to follow his
father’s steps into war. His family and well wishers, however, want
to see him educated. His undying will power is something of an
inspiration. Perfectly human, he deters along his path, only to be
constantly supported by his loved ones.
Giles Barrington- Someone who initially comes across as an aristocratic brat.
However as the story unfolds, the true nature of Giles comes to light.
His undying friendship towards Harry during the most trying of times is
5. You have always stressed on the difference between storytelling and writing. What would your advice be to the young and budding writers of today?
It is only in India that I see so many young men aspiring to be writers. In England, 3 out of 300 people want to write a novel. In India, 150 of them want to write a novel. I would stress to young writers today that there is no substitute for hard work. ’The Sins of the Father’ took fourteen drafts and over 1000 hours. There is no shortcut to writing a novel.
6. Most of the characters in your books have had one-woman love lives. What are your views on today’s ‘speed dating’ youth?
I have no particular comments on today’s speed-dating youth, as it’s very much a new generation thing, but I do sympathize that the young find it more and more difficult to find someone they want to spend the rest of their lives with.
7. If there is one thing that you could have done differently in your youth, what would it be?
The one thing I would have changed in my youth is that I would have trained much harder as an athlete, mind you, not many of us did in those days.
8. What is the one best thing you feel that the prison experience has taught you?
To be extremely grateful for the privileged and wonderful life I have had. I remember when I only had two weeks to go before being released and a young kid of 24, good-looking kid, came into my room and said “I’d change places with you, I’ll be 63, you be 24, and I’ll have the 20 years you’re now going to have and you can have the 20 years I’m now going to have.” And I think that really hit home. We were both leaving at the same time and this kid would rather have the 20 years living the style of life I lead than obviously be 24. And that shook me. And I sense in the young in prison that they didn’t know where they were going or what they were doing. At times I would say to someone “Where will you be in six months time young man,” they would say “I haven’t got a clue Jeff. Haven’t got a clue.”