Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Master Storyteller - Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer made an appearance in Chicago last month to promote his new book, "Prisoner of Birth". He was at the Borders on Michigan Avenue and I was so excited to see him. I wanted to get him to sign a copy of his new book for my mom. She is the one who introduced me to his writing. I'm pretty sure she did not tell me about him directly, but his best known book, "Kane and Abel", was released in 1979 which was right about the time I would have started trying to read adult books. (See Mom, I remember our reading room with the fold out couch and the floor to ceiling bookshelves that held the paperbacks).

Ok, back to Jeffrey Archer in Chicago. I was not sure if it was going to be me or 500 people at Borders. I arrived a little before 7 and was shocked at the small crowd. I even commented about it to the people sitting next to me and they said they arrived at 5. It was embarrassing! However, those of us in attendance got quite a treat because we had a private audience with one of the best selling authors ever.

Jeffrey Archer was so gracious and spoke for over an hour about his writing technique, great storytellers, books he likes, the promotional tour for "Kane and Abel" and Mancow. Yes, Mancow, the Chicago shockjock. Who, right after Jeffrey Archer mentioned him, showed up at the reading. Quite an evening! He took questions from the crowd and was just absolutely British and charming. He did mention the small crowd but thankfully did not call Chicago out on his blog. I hope he knows, and think he did, that the people in the audience were hanging on his every word.

I had only planned to buy one copy of the new book but when he said it was his best work since "Kane and Abel" I went back to get a copy for myself. He said it's in the vein of the 3 Musketeers and he knew he wanted a character who was accused of a crime he did not commit. This book is a page turner with all the plot twists, great characters and humor you would expect from Jeffrey Archer. I'm thrilled I got to hear him in person and suggest budding authors take a cue from his appearance - no reading of the book which I'm going to buy anyways, but instead an engaging presentation about his craft.

Some of my top Archer picks (but they are all good):
  • "Kane and Abel" - a classic!
  • "First Among Equals"
  • "The Eleventh Commandment"
  • "Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less"
  • "A Matter of Honor"

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