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Author Charlie Higson talks more about SilverFin and Young Bond

03-Jun-2005 • Young Bond

Charlie Higson, author of the Young James Bond series of novels, has talked more about his debut outing "SilverFin" to icWales this week.

"They wanted it to be very much in keeping with Ian Fleming's books rather than keep up with the James Bond movies," said Higson, co-creator of The Fast Show.

"I didn't want to write about a teenage spy as that's been done to death but I wanted to write about an ordinary boy who you could see would grow up to become this extraordinary man."

But he said he wanted readers to see how Bond developed into the man he became.

"James Bond is known for heavy smoking, heavy drinking, sleeping with a lot of women and killing people - those are four things you can't have a kid doing in children's books."

Instead, Higson's 007 develops a love of sports cars when his uncle takes him on a test drive, learns about life as a secret spy when he discovers his uncle worked as one during the First World War, and he even has a young girlfriend.

"Boys don't like reading about kissing and cuddling so there's no sex in the book but they do wrestle - and she wins!"

Higson also believes that the young Bond's school uniform is something which may have helped shape his future.

"His uniform was like a stage magician's - a long cloak with a high neck and a bow tie. The classic image of James Bond is him wearing a tuxedo so, in a way, his uniform was the birth of the classic James Bond look."

There is also a villain in Higson's book - although he is not disfigured like a typical baddie.

"I wanted to make my villain so good looking and perfect. He's a tough, strong, good-looking guy with lots of hair and gleaming teeth so I thought he had to be American!"

One thing that Higson was determined to get into his first 007 novel was the classic line - the name's Bond, James Bond - so that is how he introduces himself to his headmaster.

"The idea came into my head that the James Bond line would work well in a school setting."

Before he started writing, Higson carried out his research by re-reading Fleming's books.

He also discovered a James Bond obit which Fleming had written so was able to discover facts about the young Bond, such as he went to school at Eton and he had family links in Scotland.

And he said it wasn't too difficult to put himself into the shoes of a 13-year-old boy as he wrote.

"I would read each chapter to my own kids to get their res-ponse," said Higson.

"If they fell asleep I knew it was a chapter which needed reworking. But I don't think boys are particularly different now to when I was a boy. And as it's set in the '30s it's a help as I don't have to come up with modern slang.

"The basic thing of fighting, arguing, fighting and arguing seems to work."

Higson, who would write science fiction books as a young boy to entertain himself, said the Fleming family were happy with the results of Silverfin.

"They talked to a few writers but seemed happy with what I wanted to do and let me go away to write the first book. No publishers were involved and if they hadn't liked it then it wouldn't have got published, which was a little bit scary.

"They made a few suggestions and I rewrote it a bit. So far it's all gone well."

Thanks to `JP` for the alert.

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