It turned out to be quite an enchanting day! I met Lord Jeffery Archer, one of my favorite authors and it was fascinating. I have been a fan of his since a long time; I got introduced to his books when I read the book called, “The Sons of Fortune”, which was such an amazing book that I haven’t yet forgotten the story. Kane and Abel was another that got me hooked to his style of writing. His short stories are fantastic too, especially, “To Cut a Long Story Short”.
A week ago, Facebook alerted me to a meet & greet event with Lord Jeffery Archer at a mall near my workplace. This is why I love Facebook sometimes, it alerts me to all these cute events keeping in mind my wide variety of interests. I was overjoyed to see that I could make it, despite it being a weekday. These days my schedule is pretty heavy, but I was determined to attend this event. Who would miss a chance to meet up their favorite authors? I reached my office pretty early, requested my superior to let me leave at an earlier time than usual and finished all my work.
I reached the venue one hour in advance, but so many people had already gathered. The host kept us all entertained for an hour by asking questions about Lord Jeffery Archer and rewarding the people who answered correctly. I was standing right at the front since all the chairs had been occupied. I sought out the counter where they were selling his books. I bought his latest book, “This Was A Man”, the final book from the Clifton Chronicles series. I wanted to get it signed by him. I was carrying my favorite book, Sons of Fortune, but it looked too old, so I decided to get the new one signed.
After waiting patiently for more than an hour, Lord Jeffery Archer finally graced the stage in the midst of loud cheers and applause. It was a surreal moment, one of my favorite author was standing just a few feet away from me. He is an enchanting person and extremely witty. At the age of 76, he is globetrotting to promote his books. It is an amazing feat for someone who is in their 70s.
He regaled us with some funny anecdotes about his life. Like how when Kane & Abel had come out, he wasn’t popular in the United States and he had a few misses when trying to get his book on the best-seller list. Ultimately it was a radio talk show host who told him that it was the best book he had read in his life and that’s how it finally entered the best-seller list. He then spoke about his love for cricket and India and he said Indians gave him the best responses. Though he did talk about the crazy Bangalore traffic and he had some really witty comments about life in India.
The question and answer session was quite an interesting one; he revealed that he would love to be the Captain of the English cricket team, but he could neither bowl, nor bat nor field so he stuck to writing. On being asked how he dealt with the dreaded writer’s block, he responded by saying that he has been incredibly lucky to have never suffered from this disease. On being asked about how can people become authors, he said that you need two things to be a writer; talent and energy. You can write with talent and energy or even just energy without talent, but never without energy. And writing and storytelling are two very different things. I really loved what he said about writing. As an aspiring writer myself, where I question my own abilities so many times, I loved how practical his advice was.While talking about bouncing ideas for his novels, he gave a very funny spin to Jane Austen novels; he quipped that Jane writing in a small room in a small house in a small village wrote about 5 daughters trying to find husbands for themselves. Then she wrote about 4 sisters trying to find husbands for themselves and so on and so forth. Emma being the last one. This made us Austen fans laugh crazily.
Once this session was over, the queue to get the book signed became a huge chain. The entire floor area of the mall was filled with people waiting to get their books signed. There was a girl behind me, who kept saying how so much waiting was bad for her and she didn’t even like the author. She was there just to get her boyfriend’s book signed. It’s really weird why her boyfriend couldn’t get it signed if he was such a big fan and why she would waste someone’s else chance of getting the sign quickly when she wasn’t interested at all. I guess some people show up to these events just to show off how intellectual they are on social media.
Finally when my turn came to get the book signed, I told him he is a brilliant author and I admire him a lot. I thanked him for the autograph and left happy that I got to meet him.He just signed his initials but it was just so unbelievable to have actually met him that it didn’t matter as much.
I wasn’t able to get a picture clicked with him because of the sheer amount of people still waiting and the lack of time; but I am happy I got to live the moment and I could see him so close to me, listen to him and convey my admiration to him.