Five places that made me: Jeffrey Archer


About 10 years ago, Mary [Archer's wife] and I built a home in Mallorca where I do most of my writing. I spend some three months of the year on this lovely island, and have a wonderful study with floor-to-ceiling windows built on the cliff edge, overlooking the Bay of Palma and with the Tramuntana Mountains in the distance. Each evening I get to enjoy the most glorious sunsets. This is a writer's heaven – despite the house being called Writer's Block. No family or friends are allowed there while I'm writing.


On my book tours around Australia, there's hardly a city I don't enjoy, but Brisbane remains my favourite. Not least because one of my oldest and dearest friends, Philip Bacon, lives there, where he runs his remarkable art gallery. If you visit Brisbane and have not yet dropped into the Philip Bacon Gallery in Fortitude Valley, you have a treat in store.


I've visited St Petersburg five times in the  past 20 years, and never tire of it, not least because in my opinion, it is home to the greatest art collection on Earth – much of it stolen. If you've not yet visited the magnificent Hermitage (you could easily spend a week exploring its rooms), the Summer Palace or the Amber Room in the Catherine Palace, it's a journey you must make before you die.


Mary and I live at the Old Vicarage, Grantchester (the former home of the great war poet, Rupert Brooke), just on the outskirts of Cambridge. Mary has converted the folly at the end of the garden into an office on the ground floor for her, and a writing room for me on the top floor. The final drafts of my books are completed there, in the idyllic surroundings of a beautiful English garden that sweeps down to the River Cam,  the peaceful waters of which are always an inspiration.


I was born in London during the darkest days of World War II , and at an early age I was shipped down to the West Country to avoid the bombings and a possible German invasion. I spent the happiest days of my life there, learning about cricket, reading and girls. Well, I'm still trying to figure out girls, because it's taken me  more than 70 years to realise they are superior to us men.

Jeffrey Archer, whose novels and short stories include the Clifton Chronicles, Kane and Abel and Cat O' Nine Tales, has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 275 million copies. He is the only author ever to have been a No. 1 bestseller in fiction, short stories and non-fiction (The Prison Diaries). His new novel is, Heads You Win (Macmillan, $39.99). See