Jeffrey Archer was born in London in 1940. A member of parliament between 1969 and 1974, he later became deputy chairman of the Conservative party and was made a life peer. In the early 2000s he served two years in prison for perjury and perverting the course of justice. His first novel, Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less, was published in 1975; since then he has written numerous others, including Kane and Abel (1979), First Among Equals (1984) and, more recently, the multi-volume Clifton Chronicles. He lives with his wife Mary in London and Cambridge.

What is the last thing you read that made you laugh out loud?

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.

Where do you write best?

At my home in Majorca, where my writing room overlooks the Bay of Palma.

Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?

I’d like Thomas Jefferson on one side and Frank Sinatra on the other.

Who would you like to be stuck in a lift with?

A mechanic.

Who would you choose to play you in a film about your life?

Sam Neill, although I hear George Clooney is fighting for the part.

What are you scared of?

My wife, when she says, “I think we need to discuss this in greater detail.”

What music helps you write?

I love music but, when I’m writing, I prefer complete silence.

What keeps you awake at night?

Not being able to resolve the plotline.

How do you relax?

Watching a cricket match at Lord’s — preferably England vs Australia

What would you change about yourself?

I wish I wasn’t so impatient.

What book do you wish you had written?

Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig. It’s magnificent.

What are you most proud of writing?

Kane and Abel.

How would you earn your living if you had to give up writing?

I would be an auctioneer.

What novel would you give a child to introduce them to literature? Having recently become a grandfather, I’d like to introduce my two grandsons to the works of Lewis Carroll — the novels not the mathematical works.

‘Mightier than the Sword’, the fifth instalment in the ‘Clifton Chronicles’, has just been published by Macmillan

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