I do think about what would’ve happened had I remained in politics: Archer – books author interview
If you’ve ever had a doubt, Jeffrey Archer has never experienced writer’s block. The author of nearly two dozen novels and the man behind the hit series Kane and Abel and The Clifton Chronicles says that in his four-and-a-half-decade career, “he’s never encountered writer’s block,” so naturally , “It was never a question of getting over it.”
They didn’t tell me to write Kane and Abel, I wanted to write it. If you’re sitting there just to make money, you won’t.
Archer adds that his intention has only been to write a compelling story. “That’s what I always tell young writers. Don’t be swayed by people telling you what to do. Kane and Abel have been read by 100 million people. They didn’t tell me to write Kane and Abel, I wanted to write it. If you’re sitting there just to make money, you won’t, ”says the 80-year-old, who was a part of this year’s TATA Literature Live, the 11th edition of the event.
In an otherwise lighthearted conversation, Archer’s authoritative retorts make his presence felt three times over. Once when asked about the aforementioned writer’s block, he found himself during his passionate defense of RK Narayan’s unrecognized literary prowess in the West, and the third time is reserved for India, a country he claims to have visited nearly 15 -20 times.
The author, who was raised on a constant literary diet of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, by his mother, labels those years “a traditional upbringing.” But it wasn’t until he discovered RK Narayan that he found the prose to which “one can return.” Archer names Narayan and Stefan Zweig as his favorite authors. The latter’s Beware of Pity, he says, is a masterpiece. Archer adds that he greatly admires RK Narayan as the Guide and Swami and Friends writer was an “extraordinarily gifted man.” He says: “RK Narayan was a genius and a wonderful combination of a great writer and storyteller. I should have won the Nobel Prize. “
RK Narayan was a genius and a wonderful combination of a great writer and storyteller. I should have won the Nobel Prize.
The author is no stranger to India, a country that makes him “feel like a pop star.” “I was at a literature festival once and 7,500 people came to see me speak,” he jokes. One of the reasons he loves to come back to the country is because he feels that the Indians appreciate good literature, and over the years they have produced the best English prose writers. He adds: “India remains one of the most book-reading countries in the world. The Indians are a very cunning and intelligent race that realized that the way to rule the world was to speak English. The Indian community is a triumph in the United States and England ”.
Archer, who started out as a politician, entered the House of Commons at the age of 29 and had a whirlwind political career. In 2001, he was jailed, what many saw as his fall from grace turned out to be far from it. He was 61 when that happened. Have you ever thought about what would have happened if you had continued to be a politician? “Yes, I think about that because when I entered the House of Commons, I was only 29 years old. If he had remained in politics, he could have had a very different life. Fortunately, he had the gift of a storyteller. It is a gift from God. In that sense, I’ve been very lucky, ”he says.