For the ones, who’ve kept turning the pages of Kane and Abel, The Clifton Chronicles or Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, getting arrested to the magnificent storytelling, could anticipate very well, as we heed from ‘probably the best storyteller of our age.’
It was an absolute retreat as the Best Selling author, novelist, and storyteller Jeffrey Archer entertained the audience, while he was present for an interactive session with Jeremy Trevathan of Pan Macmillan on Monday, 28 January 2019 at The Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi as a part of his India Tour and celebration for his latest release Heads You Win.
The author began with the topic he is most passionate about – Cricket, as he gives his reason to his success as a writer in India.
‘‘The possible reason why Indians buy more of my books than any other English-speaking writer, not Indian writer, might be because of my passion and love for cricket.”
He further recalls his liaisons with Nawab Pataudi, Tendulkar, Dravid & Laxman, with special praise for the Indian Cricket Teams’ performance, especially that of Captain Virat Kohli.
Archer says,”I doubt if there is a better batsman on earth than Kohli.”
On his choice for favorite Indian author, Archer picked RK Narayan to be his clear favorite, and his Malgudi Days to be one of the best books ever written. Narayan seemed like a gifted writer & storyteller to him.
When asked about the marked plot twists in his novels and how they occur, Archer simply says that these are spontaneous and happen in a day, at that moment.
Adding to which he also says “I still hand write every word. I can’t use modern machinery. I can’t type.”
To substantiate for his vivid geographical descriptions Archer says “My books are a mixture of imagination and experience and a place needs to be known well to write about it.”
“Like only a great Indian could have written the Great Indian Novel” (making a reference to the book by Dr. Shashi Tharoor)
There were a bunch of young aspiring writers in the audience to whom Archer shared some pieces of advice while sharing an anecdote regarding his struggle in succeeding as a writer. Archer says that his first book was turned down by 16 publishers. So if ones first, second, third publisher turns him/her down, they are often wrong. It is the public who makes the decision. He says that his seventeenth publisher published 3,000 copies, and just got rid of them in a year. After the initial 3,000 copies, then came the paperback and all 25,000 copies were sold in a month. So, there’s no need to lose hope or get depressed at all.
As the only author ever to have been a number one bestseller in fiction (fifteen times), short stories (four times) and non-fiction (once) as well, Archer has a great count of works to his name, but among all, he said he is sentimental about Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less the most, and calls Kane & Abel to always remain special for it changed his life.
During the interaction, Archer even shared about his two lives- the writing life and the non-writing life, and his love for charity auctioneering as a part of his latter one.
As he takes questions from the audience then and answers them with great ardor before taking a humorous turn on United States President Donald Trump. The session is marked closed as it is opened for Archer’s fans to get signed copies of his books.
-Md. Faizan Salik
B.A English Honours, Jamia Millia Islamia