Lord Jeffrey Archer, one of the world's best-selling authors, will be talking about his new book series in Sherborne on Monday. He speaks to Laura Hanton about his life and work.

TO mark the beginning of a brand new series of novels, the bestselling author Jeffrey Archer will be visiting Sherborne.

Lord Archer will host a talk and book signing on Monday, September 2, from 12.30pm at Cheap Street Church in the town.

Tickets are available for this Winstone's book shop event from its Sherborne store.

Lord Archer will be talking about the first in his new nine book series, Nothing Ventured, which follows the story of William Warwick, a character from his highly acclaimed seven book saga, The Clifton Chronicles.

In the new series William, a family man and detective, battles throughout his career against a powerful criminal nemesis.

"Readers are always asking what happened to William," Lord Archer says. "So throughout these seven or eight books, they'll follow him as he joins the police force and rises through the ranks. The narrative spans from the 1980s up until the present day."

It takes Lord Archer about a year to write a novel, and he follows a meticulous writing schedule.

"I get up at 5.30am and work two hours on, two hours off, until 9pm. I have a house in Majorca which overlooks the sea, and I go there to write. It's very peaceful and I can switch off from everything else."

Born in London, Lord Archer grew up in Weston-super-Mare, describing himself as 'a Somerset boy' and recalling the 'many, many' times he has visited Dorset over the years. He was educated at Wellington School before attending Brasenose College, Oxford University.

"I know the West Country very well," he adds. "I think it's the most beautiful place on earth."

Lord Archer turned to writing when he found himself on the brink of bankruptcy. He had invested heavily in a Canadian company called Aquablast, only for the business to go into liquidation and three directors to be jailed for fraud. His first novel, Not A Penny More, Not A Penny Less, was published in 1976, and topically follows the scheming of four individuals who all lost their fortune to one deceitful man.

Lord Archer released the best-selling Kane & Abel in 1979. The book tells the story of two men, one Polish, an illegitimate son of a gypsy, the other rich and privileged from a wealthy Boston banking family. More than 3.5 million copies of the paperback version have been sold in the UK alone.

"It's been 40 years since it came out, but people are still reading Kane & Abel avidly," Lord Archer remarks. "It's particularly special to me. It's the public's favourite."

Amongst Lord Archer's other successful novels are Paths of Glory, A Prisoner of Birth and False Impression. He is also the author of a number of short stories, including his most collection Tell Tale, which was published in 2017. Despite his vast number of works, Lord Archer is reluctant to call himself a writer.

"I always describe myself as a storyteller," he explains. "Anyone can be a writer, but storytelling is a God-given gift. My style hasn't changed over the years, and neither has my readership, but I think I've become a better craftsman."

Lord Archer receives more than 1,000 emails every week, from readers and fans asking for advice and tips.

"I always tell people to write about what they know," he says. "I write about things I've experienced in my life. Art, politics, my love of sport; that all comes through in my writing. But there is no substitute for hard work."

Before becoming an author, Lord Archer embarked on a political career, and was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Lincolnshire constituency of Louth in 1969, at the age of 29. He served as a Conservative MP until 1974 before re-entering politics in 1999, when he was selected as the official Conservative Party candidate for London’s Mayor. Jeffrey later withdrew his candidacy, having been charged with perjury and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

He was sentenced to four years' imprisonment and released two years later. In 2003, 2004 and 2005, Lord Archer published three prison diaries, entitled Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven respectively. The memoirs follow his journey from initial incarceration in a double-A category prison to a medium security unit, before his eventual release on parole.

Lord Archer now lives in London with his wife, Mary, whom he married in 1966. Together the couple have two sons.

*Lord Jeffrey Archer talk, Cheap Street Church, Sherborne, Monday, September 2, 12.30pm. Tickets cost £20, including a free signed copy of Nothing Ventured, and are available from Winstone's, 8 Cheap Street, Sherborne.

For more information about Jeffrey's life and literary works, visit www.jeffreyarcher.co.uk