In part three of an MI6 exclusive interview,
author Charlie Higson talks about
coming up with titles for the
Young Bond novels...
Hurricane Gold: In Conversation With Charlie
29th November 2007
Exclusive: MI6 caught up with
Young James Bond author
Charlie Higson to talk about his new "Hurricane
Speaking for the fourth time to MI6 about the series, Charlie
Higson talks about
coming up with titles for the new adventures in this serialized
What were your working
titles for the book?
Well my working title for the book was Lagrimas Negras
(MI6 Note: this roughly translates to "Black Tears"),
but it was instantly thrown out by Puffin as being too
foreign and too tricky for kids. As before, we went through
tonnes of different title ideas. In the end, from the bits
and pieces we had, Puffin got very excited about the idea
of gold for the book.
I was steered very much in the direction of 'please use
Above: Author Charlie Higson
In fact, at the point we were talking about
titles I hadn't done the final re-write yet and the sequence
which is now in the abandoned oil field was originally in an
abandoned gold mine. I felt I had done that with the silver mine
in Blood Fever, so I wanted to change that.
Was the element of gold in the title driven by marketing?
Gold fitted for the whole Mexican and Mayan theme so I was quite
happy to go in that direction for the title. When they came
up with this idea of using a gold title then it seemed like
a very good idea, especially for Puffin. I'm not very good
at thinking up titles and we go through huge numbers of titles.
Usually, it comes down to some outside reason for going with
it, like the last one we had a vote.
In the end I'm very pleased with it and I think Hurricane Gold
is a good title and the book looks amazing. So, it didn't entirely
come from me, but then none of the other titles have come from
me either, but I've always been pleased with them.
When it comes to titles for Bond, do you think everyone is
in a dead end for them now? For instance, SilverFin is reminiscent
of Goldfinger, Double
Or Die sounds like a Pierce Brosnan movie...
Yes, it's very tricky. Fleming had such great
titles, and they've all been used, even the short story titles,
to do with his life seems to have been used. Actually though,
I think the title of Sebastian
Faulk's new book [Devil May
Care] is pretty good. So, hats off
to them, they came up with a good one!
I've been struggling with the titles and I'm
trying not to go down that route you mentioned... but we did
Or Die, but it was the kid's votes and it was obvious they
were going to pick that one because, as you say, it sounded
like a Brosnan movie. That's their idea of what Bond titles should
I'm hoping that my books will work as a set of five in their
own right and 'those are the Young Bond titles'. But it is
very difficult. Raymond
Benson and John
Gardner came up with a
lot of titles.
Yes, we spoke to John Gardner shortly before
he passed away and he regaled us with lists of titles his publishers
US would suggest like "No Breakfast, Mr Bond!"...
[Laughs] Oh, I know! Interestingly, Fleming left
note books with title ideas and abandoned titles and some of
rotten. And he toyed with different versions of the good ones
too, like From
Russia, with Love. You forget sometimes, once
you've lived with a title for a while, and just kind of accept
it. Like, The Beatles is a terrible name for a band but you
don't think about that now.
Was there any reason the crocodile disappeared
from the Hurricane Gold proof slip cover?
I felt it was giving away too much about the ending. While there
are crocodiles mentioned along the way, I didn't want to give
it away. I wasn't sure actually, it might have looked a bit more
exciting with a crocodile on the cover. But I think the gold
book speaks for itself.
(MI6 Note: The paperback
cover of Hurricane Gold has since been
revealed, featuring a crocodile)
Above: First edition UK hardback
Was The Infernal Machine (an
abandoned title for Fleming's Moonraker)
every kicked around for book three [Double Or Die]?
It was, yes. For kids it was felt it was a little bit
too sci-fi and there was also another kids book just published
before which was called "Infernal Devices" by
Philip Reeve... but it was certainly one of the suggested
Is it fair to say that Sakata is a nod
to the actor who played Oddjob? Are there any other Easter
eggs you've planted in there?
Totally, yes! When I was first writing it, he was called
something else, but I thought 'let's have a homage!'
Then there is also the name of Horowitz, which was one
of the names of a criminal in The
Spy Who Loved Me... but
it's also the name of Anthony Horowitz who writes the Alex
Rider books. I always thought it was quite amusing that
they shared the name so I put that in as a kind of homage
to the two of them.
Gold was released on Thursday 6th September 2007
in the UK. Stay tuned to MI6 for more of this exclusive
Many thanks to Charlie Higson.