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Charlie Higson on the future of Young Bond, nothing ruled out

24-Apr-2010 • Young Bond

After spanning the globe in the best-selling Young Bond series, Charlie Higson explores territory closer to home in his latest young adult novel, The Enemy. Mostly set around the north London suburbs where the writer lives, The Enemy is set in a devastated near-future London where all the adults have either died or been transformed into terrifying flesh-eating zombies -- reports the New Zealand Herald.

"Why not? It certainly saves spending hours researching somewhere else," laughs Higson, sitting in a cafe just down the road from the Holloway supermarket in which the novel's main protagonists hold siege against the undead hordes.

"But I like to be specific about the places I write about, which is why I like writing about London."

At first glance, The Enemy's gritty urban horror couldn't be more different to the Young James Bond's high adventures. However, Higson insists they have much in common.

"They've both got a strong action element," he says. "I knew I had to do something that didn't just seem like more of the same under a different title, like more spy stories or something set in the 1930s. But I still wanted to write genre fiction, so after doing thrillers, I thought I'd do horror.

Those kinds of decisions make themselves, really. At the core of it, I have a kind of default mode, as I basically enjoy writing about kids going out and engaging with the world, physically doing things and fighting and killing."

Before the publication of the first Young Bond volume, Silverfin, in 2005, Higson, now 51, was better known for starring alongside Paul Whitehouse in the popular BBC comedy The Fast Show.

"To be allowed to play in the world of James Bond and for kids to actually like the books was really fantastic," says Higson who, despite penning several adult crime novels in the early 1990s, was happy to continue writing for a more youthful audience.

"I've now got an established name in the world of kids' books and while the adult books did okay, it's not something I'm known for. My publishers, Puffin, were very keen to commission me to do a new series and you stick with what's doing well."

Despite Young Bond coming to a natural conclusion with 2008's By Royal Command, Higson doesn't rule out an eventual return to the popular franchise.

"I always had a storyline that would run over five books and work as a complete series," he says. "But as the books became more successful, both the Fleming Estate and Puffin were very keen for me to extend it beyond that. I wanted to take a break at that point, not least of all because it would require thinking up a whole new storyline with James growing up and moving to a new school. It's always difficult to move on from something that's done really well. I haven't said I'm never going to do another one but I wanted to establish my own, entirely new series first."

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