MI6 talked to author Charlie Higson on the launch of his second Young James Bond book "Blood Fever" about the new adventure...

Blood Fever: In Conversation With Charlie Higson (4)
13th June 2006

Exclusive: MI6 caught up with Young James Bond author Charlie Higson about his second novel Blood Fever. Speaking for the first time to a 007 website about the new book, Charlie Higson discussed his work on Blood Fever and the Young Bond series in this serialized MI6 interview.

SilverFin had some minor differences between the US and the UK version, is Blood Fever going to have minor differences or will it be the same for the both?

The American version of Blood Fever will be the same. There may be possibly just a few word changes for clarity for things that are just incomprehensible to the Americans. But in terms of content, violence and whatever, it is going to be the same. I think they realized on the first one that perhaps they had been a little over cautious and that it was a James Bond book and people expect certain amounts of that. So certainly the Miramax version will be the same. So you can assure your American subscribers that they are getting the same book.

 

Have you experienced any “writer’s block” whilst writing on the Young Bond series to date?

I don’t have time for that, I’m so busy writing these books and working on other stuff at the same time.

Luckily, before I started the books I had a kind of rough idea for all five books and how they’d work as a sequence and as an echo of how Fleming had structured the sequence of his books. I’ve always known what the plots of the books are. So, I just get on and do it, and like I say I don’t have any time.

I think people get writers block if people say “I’m a novelist, that’s all I’m going to do now… I’m going to sit in a little tower and write novels”. They use up their whole life experience in their first two novels and when they hit their third novel they think “what on Earth am I going to write about now?”.

But because Ian Fleming has given me this fantastic character, this fantastic structure and way of writing the books, so I’m not stuck for ideas and what to do with it. I can always just get on and write.



Above: Mountain Hideaway

Now that Kev Walker is providing excellent depictions of the characters, is that how you see them now or do you still have your own mental images of them?

Well now, its tricky that certainly does start to kind of have an influence. I’ve worked very closely with Kev in terms of developing the character and the locations and what they should be like. But in the end you kind of have to give him his head and let him have his creative input because he is so good. Certainly, in terms of Bond and what he looks like because when I was writing I didn’t really have an image in my mind. In a way I suppose the image was of me at 13. Visually it’s a tricky one, and I certainly think his drawings of James Bond the boy have probably influenced me quite a lot, and I suppose if I think about Bond now I do think about those images.


Above: Cave fight

Have you formulated any plans or ideas for the maid incident later on in the series?

Totally, yeah. Well of course, I’ve had to because that’s such an important port of the Bond mythology. It was one of the trickiest things when I was given the brief by the Fleming’s. They said they wanted five books set at Eton and I said “well how can I fit five books into two terms?”.

I have a very good way around all that, it does involve the maid and it does involve him leaving Eton. But what actually happens is a lot more errr… Its not what one expects, and what really went on is a lot bigger and more, but its not just a squalid little incident with a maid. It involves a lot of stuff and basically it’s to do with national secrets and the fact tat after bond left Eton the dates and the facts were altered for reasons of national security. Because lets face it, the obituary is written by the acting head of the secret service about an active spy, so the chances of that obituary being the full truth are very slim.

But what I write will work with Fleming’s backstory, and my hope is that the Bond enthusiasts will find it amusing, intriguing and interesting rather than a complete sacrilege. Of course there will be a hard core who will think that it’s a sacrilege, who think the whole sequence of the books is a sacrilege, and fine. They are probably right, Fleming wouldn’t have written his books in this way, and they’re right when they say they don’t want to know what Bond was like when he was thirteen years old. That’s fine because I don’t have a problem with that. I hope that there’s people who read the books enjoy them and realize that I’m coming from a position of huge respect for Fleming and trying to fit in and have some fun with the kind of facts as he gives them to us.

Can you tell us anything about the third Young Bond book?

Yes, in the third one the action largely takes place in London. I wanted to make it into a kind of urban adventure, and get into some of the darker corners of London. It also involves a lot of stuff about codes and cracking codes. The background to it is the birth of computers really.

 
Above: Author Charlie Higson


Above: UK Puffin 1st edition paperback artwork
UK
Publisher: Puffin
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
Released: 5th January 2006
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  USA
Publisher: Miramax Books
Format: Hardback
Pages: 368
Released: June 2006
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Once you’ve finished your five books in the series is there any word of what you might do with Bond?

I don’t know. I’ve loved writing these books, it’s been a fantastic thing to do and as time has gone on I’ve been drawn more and more into the world of James Bond. It’s a great world to be drawn into.

I would love at some point to have a crack at doing an adult book but I think I might have to put Bond aside for a while even if they are interested in doing them, I don’t know.

I think I’d need to do something else and come back to it probably; I don’t want the whole of the rest of my life to be taken up with James Bond. I think Ian Fleming certainly began to resent it, that he couldn’t go off and do other things, much as he loved writing the books. I mean, I have found that I’ve really enjoyed writing kids books and that I’d defiantly like to write some more children’s books but obviously the chance of writing an adult Bond would be a fantastic thing to do.

I know that the Fleming’s have got a lot of plans and possible things that they do with the character and the great thing is that after this there are two whole phases of Bond’s life that are untouched. There will be the period between Eton and the Second World War, when he went to Fettes. And then the whole interesting area of the Second World War when he started to become a spy and I do think there’s probably room for a really interesting WWII combination war / spy story.

Many thanks to Charlie Higson.

Young Bond Novels
SilverFin
Blood Fever
Double Or Die
Hurricane Gold
By Royal Command

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Interviews
SilverFin : 01 - 02 - 03 - 04 - 05 - 06
Blood Fever : 01 - 02 - 03 - 04
Double Or Die : 01 - 02 - 03
Hurricane Gold : 01 - 02 - 03 - 04 - 05
By Royal Command : 01 - 02 - 03