At 80, he still wakes up every day excited to put words on paper and bring readers new stories to enthral them. Jeffrey Archer’s recent book Hidden in Plain Sight (Penguin Random House) is the second in the William Warwick series and has been lapped up by people around the world. Archer is loved by Indian readers who crowd the events he honours and the author reciprocates the love for them. However, the socialite is not just a best-selling actor but also a philanthropist and politician who has seen numerous controversies in his life. Excerpts from the conversation:
Q. Why do you think the readers love William Warwick?
A. I suspect the fact that William defied his father to become a policeman makes him an interesting character, and then of course he goes on to have an exciting and demanding career.
Q. Hidden in Plain Sight is the second of seven books. Warwick is fighting against drug dealers in this one. Are all the books inspired from real-life Met Police stories?
A. I had the privilege of being advised by Robin Bhairam, recently retired as head of the drugs squad, as well as my two researchers, Detective Sergeant Michelle Roycroft (Ret.) and Chief Superintendent John Sutherland (Ret.). So I was able to glean some amazing and true inside stories.
Q. As an author, is it extremely important to keep your characters and plot lines relevant to today’s readers?
A. I don’t think keeping the story relevant to modern days matters that much, otherwise we wouldn’t still enjoy the great authors of the past, such as Dickens, Austen, and Wilde. I’ve always felt you should write what you want to write, and hope your readers will enjoy it.
Q. At 80, what keeps inspiring you and motivating you to write everyday?
A. As long as I still enjoy writing and plots continually come into my mind, I will continue to put them down on paper every day. At the moment, I’m very excited about book three of the William Warwick tales, when he’ll be promoted to Inspector, and will be investigating a corrupt police officer who thinks he can’t be caught. He underestimates William.
Q. Having been a politician, what do you think about the political landscape in the world today, especially the US and India?
A. Like everyone, I hope that when the coronavirus pandemic is finally conquered we will all come out of it with the immense energy and enthusiasm which will be required to get things back to normal. For both the US and India this will be a huge challenge, but I am confident that it will all turn out for the best.
Q. You have a lot of fans in India and a regular visitor to the country too. Do you receive a similar kind of reception in any other part of the world?
A. The books are currently published around the world in more than 30 languages, so they have a wide circulation. However, I’d be the first to admit that India is one of my biggest markets, and the Indian people have been extremely kind and generous over the years.
Q. What was the most striking experience you had in India?
A. I’m always amazed by the next generation of Indians, who are clearly ready to take over the world. The young know no boundaries and young women will play a far more important role than they have in the past – and about time too.