In part four of an MI6 exclusive interview,
author Charlie Higson talks about
how the Young Bond series is shaping up so far...
Hurricane Gold: In Conversation With Charlie
29th December 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
how the Young Bond series is shaping up so far in this serialized
Do you feel Young
Bond has matured to
the point now where it stands alone, and is not seen as
hanging off the coat tails of the James Bond canons?
Well certainly in England, kids think
about them as books in their own right, very different
to the adult James Bond,
but they still make connections. Yes, I think it's established
enough in its own right [in England]. Obviously in other
countries where we're still getting established, the whole
James Bond thing is what it's hung
on as it's such a fantastic foot in the door. When I do
publicity shots they're always asking me to put on a tuxedo...
And a roulette wheel and an Aston Martin?
Yes! And they'll do competitions for the
books that involve gadgets and 'hey, do you want to be
a spy like Young Bond?'
even though he clearly isn't a spy in my books. It happens
because PR and marketing people don't read the books and
they're thinking what can they give as prizes to entice
kids and stuff.
You know, this was a worry with us from
the start. Were kids going to look at this and read the
book and say 'well this isn't James Bond... this is set too long
how can this be this person?' But we never got that from kids,
they just accepted it right from the start which was really nice.
So, I feel kids do think of it as something separate but related.
Above: Cover art for Hurricane Gold
How do you feel about the hiatus in the USA after Blood
Fever was published over there? Are there any plans to reinvigorate
that market? Will it almost be a re-launch?
Yeah, that's sort of idea - to start again from scratch. We
did get off to a slow start in the States. It's tricky because
it's such a vast market. The original publishers were going
through a bit of an upheaval at the time the first book SilverFin came
out, and it wasn't a great time for them. I think they really
didn't do as much with the book as they could have done
and had promised. So we've slightly repositioned ourselves
there, and it's taken a bit of time. It's frustrating, but
at the same time, it wasn't like we had a huge number of kids
in the States queuing up for the next one as they are in the
UK and other countries.
I think in the long-run, the hiatus
in the USA was the right thing to do. Fleming changed his
publishers in the US several times before he got it right.
It's just so
different bringing a book out in America than it is in the
UK. We're all back on track now though, and everyone is very
positive about stuff and we're hoping we can really start
hitting the American market.
Editors note: The US hardback release for Double
Or Die has since been confirmed for 22nd April 2008 by Hyperion.
Was Hurricane Gold brought forward so that book
5 could be released as part of the Fleming
No, it wasn't actually. It was brought forward
because I delivered it early! I had various other stuff on in
2007 - non-Bond related
- so I wanted to get the book in early and out of the way to
clear space for me to do other work. But as soon as Puffin saw
Hurricane Gold they
thought 'ooh look, we've got a book, bring it out early'... So
they completely screwed me on that [laughs]!
Now I've got to bring out two books
in the space I would have done one, so it hasn't freed
me up at all it's just given me twice the amount of work.
But that being said, obviously it will be great to have
last book out in the centenary year -- it would have
been book four otherwise.
Did you feel the compressed timescale
for this book has impacted anything, positively or negatively?
Well it's great for the kids as they read a book and instantly
want to read the next one. But it might impact negatively
on my mental health [laughs], but I don't think it will
affect the quality of the books at all.
How do you feel about having a cut-down PR schedule for
I think they're going easy on me because
I did a lot earlier in the year, but we did hit a few key
things to do with
Left: Author Charlie
Higson at the launch event at Waterstones in Piccadilly,
I scaled down a lot of the PR for this year
all round, and I'm only doing a couple of the literary festivals,
whereas in the
previous couple of years I've done everything. 2008 is going
to be pretty busy though! I think that Puffin thought that sending
me on a fairly heavy publicity schedule twice in one year was
not going to be good for me
Did you enjoy writing the 'adult Bond'
postscript in Double
Or Die? Did it leave you hungry for
Yes I did! Yes to both. In a way I was really finding
out what it would be like to write a bit of adult Bond.
It was nice to actually be able to call him Bond rather
than James. I did find myself thinking that it would
be fun to write an adult Bond book, and that may be something
that happens at some point in the future. Who knows?
We have to see.
Next year is going to be really interesting
with all the centenary
stuff. I'm really looking forward
to reading Sebastian Faulks' [Devil May Care]. I'm
interested in seeing how that sells and is received.
By the end
of 2008 I think there is going to be a lot of taking
stock from all the various camps involved.
At the same
time, I do need a bit of a break from James Bond,
as there is a danger my entire life may be taken over!
There are worse things to have you life taken over
I think I'd like to do something different for a
bit. To come back and write some Bond stuff in the
future would be fantastic though.
Have you spoken to Sebastian
his work -- and what to expect once the Bond community get
hold of him?
I think he's in denial at the moment! He was
quite taken aback about how much interest there was just around
It hit all the papers and I'm sure it did take him a bit by surprise.
But at the same time, it's a lot of fun and he'll get
a big kick out of it. I'm sure we'll be together in 2008 at some
of the centenary events and it'd be nice to do something together
and talk it all through. I haven't got my sneak-peak copy of
Devil May Care yet, but I'm eagerly awaiting it.
Gold was released on Thursday 6th September 2007 in the
UK. Stay tuned to MI6 for more of this exclusive interview.
Many thanks to Charlie Higson.