Me And Jeffrey Archer

Jeffrey Archer(yes, I know that should really be ‘Jeffrey Archer and I’ but it doesn’t sound as good, imo).

You know how sometimes you spend hours and hours fine-tuning a piece of writing and by the end you’re quite pleased with it? So, you send it off to a competition, full of hope and it doesn’t even get shortlisted?

That happened to me recently with the Choc-Lit short story competition (er… amongst others too numerous to mention).

The winning story’s here if you want to read it.

And then, I dashed off a couple of sentences in about 30 seconds for another type of competition, hardly thinking about it because, after all, the winner was going to be ‘chosen at random’ (or so it said in the rules) and the Tesco Books blog was simply asking in which historical era you’d have liked to have lived and why…

So, it was a surprise when I got an email saying not only that I was the WINNER (of a limited edition Ingersoll watch, worth £175 and a signed copy of a Jeffrey Archer book) but that the man himself – ie: Jeffrey – CHOSE my entry!

This is what I wrote (don’t hold your breath):

“I would like to live in Elisabethan England – but only if I could be a man and a rich one at that! I rather like the sound of all that racing around on horseback, big log fires and servants at my beck and call. I’d also like to have met William Shakespeare and bought him a drink!”

And this is what Mr Archer had to say:

“… It was so difficult to choose a winner from the amazingly rich and varied entries to the competition. Answers to the competition question ranged across thousands of years and all continents, from the Stone Age, via Caesar’s Rome and the glamour of the Jazz Age right up to the present day but I was especially taken with the grandeur and excitement imagined in Helen Yendall’s Elizabethan England. Congratulation’s Helen, you are the victor, winning a highly covetable limited edition Ingersoll “Harry Clifton”* watch. I hope you enjoy it for many years to come.”

*‘Harry Clifton’ is a character in some of Archer’s novels.

I am chuffed! And it just goes to show, that when it comes to writing, you can always be surprised!

Now, whatever you may think of Jeffrey Archer as a novelist (and former politician), there’s no denying that he’s been pretty successful (at the writing, at least).

According to his website, he’s ‘topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 250 million copies in 97 countries and more than 37 languages of his 15 novels, six collections of short stories, three plays, three children’s books, three volumes of prison diaries and a Gospel.’ (Intrigued by the ‘gospel’, aren’t you?)

And if you’re a fan, you may be interested in the chance to win ‘an appearance’ in one of his novels – see here for more details.

The eBook collection of the 20 best submissions to the Jeffrey Archer Short Story Challenge -which I told you about here – is now on Kobo for free!

And my fellow blogger Patsy Collins is one of the 20 semi finalists! Well done, Patsy.

This entry was posted in Books, Competitions, Short Stories, Successes and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Me And Jeffrey Archer

  1. KH says:

    You’re such a star, Helen. Well done on your win. Seems you’ve had a bundle of prizes and publications lately all well deserved. Good wishes KH

  2. chloefb says:


  3. Goodness me Helen, blimey seems like your Cotswold air is turning you into a star. What a great prize……. They’ll be queuing up to come to your writing class now, especially when Jeff pops in for tea and cakes.

    • If only, Susan…! So far I have got 8 signed up/interested for my class, which is due to start on 18th April. Considering I have been promoted it like a crazy woman (it’s in 40 different places: notice boards, forums, newspapers, websites..), that’s not a huge number but I’m hoping for a sudden ‘surge’ of interest in the last week!


  4. Julia says:

    Well done, Helen. I do wonder if having a distant deadline can make us too fussy. I sometimes have to write short bursts of copy for a magazine I work on and it’s amazing how creative I can be when the printer has his finger over the ‘Go’ button.

  5. Downith says:

    Well done Helen. Are we going to see a picture of you wearing the watch? (preferably as you sit having tea with Jeffrey as Susan Jane suggests)

  6. Tracy Fells says:

    Hob-nobbing with Jeffery now Helen? Terrific news and a good prize for a small word count! I too often find success with stories which seemed to be penned in a whirl (usually to meet the deadline) rather than ones I laboured over for days… not what they lecture you to do in writing courses though…

  7. Heather says:

    Well done Helen. I also know what you mean when you compare with the hours/days spent on a piece of work and then a dashed-off entry. That’s happened to me too. Weird, the world of writing!

  8. valhari says:

    Well done Helen.

  9. Linda says:

    Well done! Yes, I think a lot of writers fall into the trap of trying too hard. I’m naturally a compulsive editor and used to spend (waste) a lot of time rewriting everything umpteen times before I realized that usually the first draft is the best version and only needs a few tweaks. It’s a difficult habit to break but a deadline does help!

  10. Debbie W says:

    Well done, Helen.

    Patsy is now one of the final three as at 15th April. It’s soooooooooooo exciting!

  11. Patsy says:

    Jeffrey Archer obviously has excellent taste, Helen – why else would he pick you as the winner of one competition and me as a finalist in another?

    It’s weird isn’t it to see someone on TV or in a magazine and know they’ve read something of yours.

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