MI6 caught up author Samantha Weinberg to look
at the second title "Secert Servant" in
her new James Bond cross-over trilogy "The
Samantha Weinberg Interview (2)
28th February 2007
Weinberg Interview - Part 1
Again with Guardian Angel, Secret Servant
feels very well grounded in the real world. How did you research
both the James
Bond and real world
aspects and how long did it take?
The James Bond aspect was through reading, re-reading and
re-re-reading of all of Fleming’s books. What I wanted
to do was add a little more realism into the secret service
and I met a few secret service agents who had been there and
talked to them a little bit about it. I read quite a lot of
books about that time and era a lot. Just looking at my bookshelves
I’ve read a lot of spy books and history books about that
period. So that was the Bond secret service aspect of it.
Then it was mainly tied into Kim Philby, stories
and I read about Philby. The actual locations that Moneypenny
Moscow, Finland and Berlin, I decided that really it would be
a very good idea to go there myself. So I managed this time
year in minus 28 degree’s and caught a train form Moscow
to St Petersburg.
Above: First edition UK cover art
Actually managed to write a travel article
about it and combined the two things and that was amazing.
That gave me such a strong sense of the actual locations,
when I was in Moscow I had tea with Kim Philby’s
widow - not the one in the book but the last one. It
was just amazing
going into his apartment and seeing his pictures and his
furniture, I was so lucky to be able to do that.
Really just writing these books is a fantastic experience
I mean there’s a scary aspect of it. But I’ve
learnt so much about a world that I didn’t know very
much about. I’m so lucky to have had that experience.
James Bond and his world do touch quite a lot…
It really does and also just writing these books opens
a lot of doors, Fleming and Bond are such powerful works.
I’m incredibly lucky to be able to talk to people.
I had lunch with Oleg Gordievski, a Russian defector, all
sorts of things and it’s been really a wonderful,
What did you think of Double or Die, have you had
chance to read it yet?
I haven’t, but I’ve got it beside my bed.
The first two [Young Bond novels by Charlie Higson]I thought
were brilliant; I think he’s
done such a fantastic job. Every boy of between about 6 and 16
have read them, a lot of the girls too, and a lot of adults too.
I certainly read them very happily. I just think it's very cleaver,
they work on so many different levels and if you’ve read
and know your Fleming pretty well - there are clues to the James
Bond characters which are very well done.
How close are we to seeing book three in your Miss Moneypenny
It’s coming in, bearing in mind that I haven’t written
a word of it yet, it’s coming out in April 2008 to co-inside
with all of the Ian Fleming centenary events.
Will there be a updated cover art for book
you’ll see a different the paperback editions it’s
going to be re-designed a bit (editors note: see the above
UK paperback cover art). A different image, less lipstick,
it’s just a bit girly. I don’t think that it’s
a particularly girly book.
Can you tell us a
little bit about book three, where you will be taking
it tie up all the loose ends?
Books two ends of this cliff-hanger. Basically at the end
of book two, Kate Westbrook - everyone is trying to
from publishing the diaries, and everyone is warning
her against doing it. She’s goes and sees Tanner
again and he basically says, look you’ve really got
to be careful you’re answering too many questions
and he sort of implies that Miss Moneypenny was murdered
she was searching too hard for the mole. So that is basically
what informs quite a lot of the characters in book two.
Book three will involve a lot more Kate Westbrook because
I’m going to be tying up the loose ends with Moneypenny
and giving her a story arc of her own, but also, Kate Westbrook
really digging into what happened to her aunt and how she
came to die so early.
It’ll be much more equally weighted
between Westbrook and Moneypenny. It’ll have all
the Moneypenny characters in but I think quite a lot of
the drama will be taken over
by Kate Westbrook and will be in the present day. Hopefully
I will be able to weave them both together, but I think
that it will almost be the most thriller-ish of the three.
Above: Samantha Weinberg
I intend to tie up every end that I can lay my hand on. I have
to admit that some of the loose ends I left at the end Guardian
Angel, not really with an idea of how I was going to deal with
them in number two and vice versa and they are almost like kind
of a challenge for myself, ‘how are you going to deal with
this’. But that was quite fun because I really haven’t
done a massive really detailed plan for all three of them.
How did the writing process from book one to book two differ?
much really. I wrote and spent quite a lot of time on research
and then sat down wrote Moneypenny. Put it aside and then wrote
Kate Westbrook reacting to Moneypenny. So apart from the fact
that it went quicker, book two the actual writing it was very
similar. I think that’s probably what I’ll do with
book three too.
Above: First edition UK cover art
Once you have finished book three
will there be any plans to revisit the world of James
Bond or Moneypenny?
I don’t know, I think we will just have to see. See how they all pan out
and the reception they get and if people want anymore. I’ve written the
really quickly and sort of bang bang, bang and I’ll possibly take a little
If they suddenly take-off, if the IFP want
more and the publishers are interested then maybe. It’s
such a seductive world I remember finishing the last Fleming
book the first time and thinking, no I don’t want
it to end. We’ll see. I’d like to think that
I wouldn’t leave it completely, because I’m
a little obsessed with it, and have been a total Bond fan
for a long time.
Did you get to see the new Casino Royale what did you
Twice. I love it I thought it was really good.
I thought that he was great. I liked the quite strong echoes
Casino Royale book. Basically I’m mainly a book fan
and I thought it was exciting and classy. It’s sort of different; there weren’t the small
wise cracks. I thought he’d grown out of that a little
bit. It’s just given Bond such a fresh exciting sort
of new cast and I think that everyone should be going to
it and enjoying it.
Were there any different working titles for book 2, and
have you got any already for book 3?
Secret Servant was
the first one I came up with and it seemed to fit. There weren’t
really any working titles. There were lots of ideas turning
around inside my head, but that was the only
one that sort of like went through. There are a couple of working
titles for book three. I’m
not sure I’m going to tell you what they are....
Hardcover 320 pages
Released: November 2nd 2006
Publisher: John Murray
Many thanks to Samantha Weinberg
Weinberg Interview - Part 1
Moneypenny Diaries 2" Preview
Fleming Literary Coverage