Archer reflects on his winning style





International best-selling author Jeffrey Archer is back in business with the fourth in his William Warwick series. For almost half a century he’s produced a continuous flow of novels, short stories and plays. JILL NICHOLAS quizzed him about his work and asked how much longer can we expect to see him on bookstore shelves. A New Zealand interviewer quotes you saying in a 2011 visit here that you hate writing’s physical process. If this is correct why bother? I’ve never heard such drivel. I love the writing process, and whichever interviewer suggested that, should be looking for another job! Despite your prodigious output of almost 50 years it’s claimed you eschew computers, writing by hand. Does this stimulate your word flow? It’s true I write by hand, always have, and you are correct in thinking the process helps me think ahead. I fear it’s my age that means I never actually got the hang of a laptop. Now an octogenarian do you plan to continue to produce works at your previous pace. If yes, is this to satisfy readers or yourself? I hope the answer is both. I enjoy the writing process so much, I can’t bear the idea of giving up, and in any case, I have several plots racing around in my mind at the present time. What comes first plots or characters? I’m not sure how to answer this question, because certainly plots and characters are of equal important. The reader must find themselves involved with the characters but that alone is not enough if you want them to turn the page. Covering the diverse fields you have, how invaluable are researchers? How difficult is it to translate complicated facts supplied into fiction? I’m fortunate in having a former superintendent, and a former detective sergeant from the Metropolitan Police on board, to make sure the facts in all the William Warwick books are correct. I’ve always considered research falls into two categories: reading a vast amount, and equally, if not more important, speaking to people who actually have real experience in the field you’re trying to write about. Lord Archer declined to answer a question pertaining to material he may or may not have gathered during his prison term imposed in 2001 for perjury and perverting the course of justice.