Chief news hound Philip ‘Scoop’ Chandler has a chat with best-selling author Jeffrey Archer
Former scandal-plagued British politician Lord Jeffrey Archer is having the time of his life as a best-selling author – and 70-year-old sex symbol.
Passing through Queenstown last Sunday, the flamboyant Englishman told Mountain Scene he’d just been mobbed in India. Check out YouTube, he says.
“I was treated like a 25-year-old pop star.
“Three thousand [people] tried to get into the room – they got 1500 in, the rest waited on the streets screaming.”
Archer’s flogging new novel Only Time Will Tell – but it’s hardly been necessary.
“In each country, which I’ve never achieved before, it was number one before I arrived.”
He claims the book is his best yet.
Mountain Scene: What makes you write?
Archer: “Would I rather be here looking at these hills, going over in a helicopter, speaking to a sold-out thing, or sitting at home for another Sunday lunch?”
MS: You’re reportedly computer-illiterate?
Archer: “Unashamedly so. I did 14 drafts of this [book], every one hand-written. My secretary types it up. I don’t know how to [type].”
MS: What’s the future for books?
Archer: “I had lunch with the chairman of [online book retailer] Amazon about a month ago and he told me I would be [selling] 50 per cent online in 10 years – which is terrifying. It doesn’t harm me because just as many people will read me but it’s sure going to harm publishers, booksellers.”
MS: You’ve met [Queenstown-based movie actor] Sam Neill?
Archer: “He’s a charming man and has a very beautiful wife. He was absolutely brilliant as Kane [in the TV adaptation of Archer’s Kane and Abel] but I loved him in The Dish.”
MS: Do you suggest English mountaineer George Mallory [the subject of Archer’s Paths of Glory] beat Sir Edmund Hillary to the top of Mt Everest?
Archer: “I’m in no doubt that he was capable of getting to the top but I’m pretty damn sure he didn’t. To have reached 400 feet from the top in 1924 in hobnailed boots and a three-piece suit is pretty bloomin’ impressive.”