Jeffrey Archer is in India on a eleven day six-city trip to promote his latest (14th) novel A Prisoner Of Birth, which he says is modern day version of The Count of Monte Cristo. (Click on the picture for the Video)
Undoubtedly Indian crowd has charmed him just the way he has charmed the Indian crowd. Many of us have grown up reading his novels. His fans in India affectionately call him Sachin Tendulkar of Books. Sachin Tendulkar he is indeed, after giving so many best selling and popular hits.
What does Archer wish from India? Well, he wants to be sold at traffic signals across India. “That’s where, I am told, the top selling authors are sold,” he says jokingly.
Archer has been one of the best loved authors worldwide. Even after 30 years of its publication, Kane and Abel is still in demand. 27 million copies of Kane and Abel have been sold and still counting. He sells almost a 1000 copies a day!
Says Archer, “a trip to India was more important than one to the U.S. There are more readers in India than the U.S. With some 200 millions readers here, that is almost the size of the U.S. population. There are at least 50 million serious readers in this country. For me Japan was a big market, but India is emerging as huge now. I got some 5,40,000 hits on my website last month and almost a quarter were from India. I am read in 131 languages across 137 countries. Indian rights are very important to me. I would love to have a Tamil, a Hindi or a Malayalam version of my latest book.”
Archer writes for two hours daily. Though to complete the first draft of A Prisoner of Birth he wrote eight hours every day for 50 days non-stop. The book has 17 drafts.
Jeffrey Archer has never been short of controversies. At times, his stories are based on his real life experiences. A Prisoner of Birth is one such story. Set in Belmarsh prison, where Archer himself was imprisoned after being convicted of perjury and intending to pervert the course of justice in 2001. Some of the characters in this novel have been based on people he met during his prison stint, a period he also sees as one that has had advantages. “I realised how privileged I had been, and how we are all prisoners of our births.”
Archer has been accused of using his wife’s writings, to which he responds, “Ridiculous. Just rubbish. She is a scientist. She knows nothing about the kind of books I write. I wrote three books in prison, she could not have written them for me.”
What’s next? Archer is working “a script” for a film that he intends to turn into a novel shortly. To be directed by Bruce Beresford, Archers intends to wrap it up shortly. It is based on a real person, a first for Archer.