New Delhi: India holds great fascination for British novelist Lord Jeffery Archer who finds the country’s mammoth electoral process fascinating and has even set a story of his forthcoming book in Mumbai.
“I wouldn’t normally follow in great depth Indian politics but for the past one week I have been reading a lot in the newspapers and it is fascinating,” the British novelist, who is currently on a five-city tour in the country to promote his latest book “Paths of Glory”, said.
The ex-British politician says, “It is very exciting to see the very bustling, thriving middle class vote their leaders. I am glad that the people have decided on a stable and secular government.”
The 69-year-old author who began writing at the age of 34 had served five years in the House of Commons and 14 years in the House of Lords.
Archer’s next book “And Thereby hangs a tale,” a collection of short stories includes a tale of romance between two chief protagonists who flit between Mumbai and Delhi.
“I am taking courage by the hand here. ...I have included a story given to me by two people (in India.) I think I got a pretty magic story,” Archer disclosed adding that he would probably title it “Caste Aside” or “Caste Off.”
The novelist cum playwright who has adapted “Paths of Glory” for the silver screen says he is now scouting for a producer.
“For Mallory: Walking on the ramp.” I am ready to go. We have finished the screenplay and Bruce Beresford, whose film Driving Miss Daisy’ won an Oscar will direct it, he says.
With his tongue-in-cheek humour the author had previously told fans that he aimed to become transport minister in India.
“Here you can find both cars and people on the road. I wanted to become PM (in UK) and failed. Now I want to be transport minister and I will make all bicycles and rickshaws to travel in one lane and lorries in lane two, all cars in lane three and won’t let people cross road as they do now.”
Archer, who still writes with hand using a felt tipped pen and a roller ball expresses his love for R.K. Narayanan.
“I am a complete devoted fan of R.K. Narayanan. He has taught me to look at the real India. When I turn a page of his book he leads me into the dirty shanty, into the narrow alleys, into a tax collector’s home...”, says the “Englishman who loves coming back again and again to India.”
The novelist whose “Kane & Abel,” published 30 years ago is still found on bestseller lists plans to release a shorter version of the novel on 3 October.
“In India over 50 million people have read the book, which I consider to be the breakthrough in my life. In the new version the plot will be the same but will be around 7, 200 words shorter,” he says.
The book’s adaptation “False Impression” has also been picked up for a film. “I have received an offer and am in the process of negotiations. We haven’t signed as yet,” says Archer.