Besides the emillions of fans in the country, there is more that connects 72-year old author Jeffrey Archer with India. In the City recently to promote his new book Best Kept Secret, the third in the Clifton Chronicles series, Jeffrey, an avid cricket fans, shares his favourites from the Indian line up.
“(Virender) Sehwag is the most exciting batsman other than Vivian Richards that I have seen in my life. It is a treat to watch him play,” says the British novelist. Jeffrey, who even during his writing sessions takes out time to catch cricket scores, also admires Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble and late Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi.
“He (Pataudi) was a friend as we were at Oxford together. I am a great admirer of his. Rahul Dravid is such a stylist batsman and Anil Kumble was a great captain. And of course, the great Sachin is the great Sachin,” says the author, who is considered one of the most successful foreign novelists worldwide.
Best Kept Secret chronicles 20 years of Harry Clifton’s life from 1940s to 1960s. The protagonist is now a bestselling novelist and is happy with wife Emma Barrington and their son Sebastian but threat looms from the Barrington family and a shady figure from Harry’s past. The Clifton Chronicles series is autobiographical in nature.
“Everyone knows my love of India, and I am delighted to be back again with the third volume of the Clifton Chronicles. The whole series is autobiographical. It is about the West County of England where I had spent all my life. I am Harry and my wife is Emma. It is my life,” says the former UK parliamentarian, who did time for three years for having been found guilty of perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Archer, who was in the Conservative party, says that politics wasn’t his cup of tea. “I was a failure. I never got anywhere. I never achieved. ”
The author, who has sold 250 million copies worldwide and is published in 97 countries in 37 languages, does not intends to shift from his genre – thriller and drama. “I don’t do erotica.... I am not going to change my style. I tell stories. If you give people a simple story, they can become involved with it,” says Jeffrey, who is known for his works like Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, Kane and Abel, Only Time Will Tell, The Sins of the Father and The Prodigal Daughter.
About the storytelling tradition of our country, the writer says, “Indians love stories. You have a great tradition of storytelling with writers like RK Narayan. But the young ones have a very short attention span.”