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Young Bond author Charlie Higson talks 007

29-May-2008 • Young Bond

Author and comedian Charlie Higson's fourth "young" James Bond novel Hurricane Gold has been published in paperback on the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth - reports the BBC.

Also released on the same day was a new adult 007 adventure, Devil May Care, by Sebastian Faulks.

Fast Show star Higson was given the licence to write the Young Bond children's books by the family of Bond creator Ian Fleming.

The fifth and final book of the sequence, By Royal Command, is due out in September.

Have you and Sebastian been comparing notes as you've been writing your Bond novels?

I did have lunch with him. He's still hoping he can maintain a dignified distance from it all. I'm not sure he's going to be able to. Once you step into the world of Bond you tend to get consumed by it.

You've got several years of experience as a Bond writer - how have you found that?

I've really enjoyed it. I've got three young kids which is one of the main reasons for getting involved in the first place. Being allowed to play in the world of James Bond is brilliant.

What's the enduring appeal of James Bond from your point of view?

He's a fantasy creation of the man we would all like to be. He always knows what to do in any given situation. He knows how to order fine wines and food in restaurants, he knows how to chat up women, he's always got the best car and designer outfits.

Ever since he was created in the Fifties he's been changed by each generation to represent the male aspirations of that generation.

Sex and death are bound up with what Bond does - how difficult has it been writing the Young Bond novels where there are certain areas where you can't go?

It is slightly tricky. The key ingredients of James Bond are smoking heavily, drinking heavily, driving fast cars, shooting people, lots of women - not anything you can have a 13-year-old kid in a series of children's books doing.

So I try and get those elements into the books one way or another, whether it's him doing it or other people. But certainly [I want] to immerse himself in that world where those things happen.

There's a lot of death and brutal killings in Hurricane Gold.

That's the one side you can get away with. The kids love it. I try to put the violence into perspective and have a moral framework, but by setting Hurricane in a faraway location like the Caribbean I can get away with a little bit more.

How much have you immersed yourself in the Fleming novels?

I'd read them all and grown up with Bond, and always found him a very interesting cultural icon.

I was commissioned by the Fleming estate to write these books and they said the important thing is to go back to Fleming's books, so my first job was to re-read all of those, in order to get inside Fleming's head. He's a very vivid, descriptive writer.

Do you have a favourite Fleming novel?

I really like Casino Royale because it was the first one and he didn't know what was going to happen to Bond. It's fascinating as a starting point and of course there's a very memorable torture scene in it.

Hurricane Gold would work very well as a film. How likely are we to see Young Bond on the big screen?

The main thrust of these books was to get kids reading, and also to remind people of the literary origins of James Bond.

We didn't want to rush into making films, because the kids would just want to watch the films. There are discussions ongoing but it may be some time.

Amy Winehouse was working on a Bond song; what chance is there of your former band The Higsons getting back together do a Bond theme?

We used to play the Bond theme live in our set, which was always good fun. We were talking of getting The Higsons back this year, maybe do a couple of festivals but a couple of us just got too busy.

We might do a one-off gig later this year. I know [James Bond composer] David Arnold quite well and it would be amazing to do a James Bond theme but we are never going to! I think Amy Winehouse would be fantastic for it, though.

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