Archer’s tale

Deccan Chronicle.  | Swati Sharma

Lifestyle, Books and Art

Jeffery Archer talks about his latest book, and how it is never easy sending a book to the publisher, no matter how seasoned you are

Jeffrey Archer

Even after four-decade writing career, the bestselling author Jeffrey Archer is nervous when it comes to writing. He says, “It never gets any easier letting go of a manuscript. Handing over the 14th draft of my latest book, Cometh The Hour, to my agent and publisher left me with the familiar anxious knot in my stomach. Having written 19 novels and 6 sets of short stories hasn’t made any difference, you still wonder how the public and the critics will react.”

So who reads his rough drafts? “Only my personal assistant Alison, who types up my manuscripts from my handwritten pages, reads the early drafts. Only after about the fifth or sixth draft do I show it to my editor for her comments.” Talking about his latest book Cometh The Hour, he elaborates, “The book opens with the reading of a suicide note which has devastating consequences for Harry and Emma Clifton, Giles Barrington and the wicked Lady Virginia; Giles must decide if he should withdraw from politics and try to rescue the woman he loves from behind the Iron Curtain.”

Cometh the hour by Jeffrey Archer St. Martin’s Press pp.416, Rs 1,647 (hardcover)

He adds, “Sebastian’s life is thrown into disarray when he falls in love with a beautiful Indian girl who is destined for an arranged marriage to a man she’s never met. And to Harry Clifton, who remains determined to get his fellow writer, Anatoly Babakov, released from a gulag in Siberia following the success of his acclaimed book, Uncle Joe. Meanwhile, Emma convinces her new friend Margaret Thatcher to raise the subject of Babakov’s imprisonment with the Russian President. But then something unexpected happens that none of them could have anticipated.”

The author of bestsellers like Kane and Abel adds, “I’m now working on the final volume of The Clifton Chronicles, called This Was A Man, which will be published in November. After that there will be a new set of short stories.” Currently one of the most successful international authors in India, Archer says it was not the same when he was 29 years old. “When I decided to try writing a book, it was more a case of necessity than believing I could do it. Mind you, it wasn’t as nerve-wracking as making my maiden speech in the House of Commons at the age of 29.”