MI6 caught up with Simon Gardner, son of the late
author John Gardner, to talk about the 30th Anniversary
of 'Licence Renewed' and the new reprints...
Gardner Reprints Interview
9th July 2011
MI6 caught up with Simon Gardner, son of the late author John
Gardner (who wrote an unsurpassed
14 James Bond novels and 2 movie novelizations) to talk
about the 30th Anniversary of 'Licence Renewed' and the new
How did you come about with the idea to re-issue the books?
was something the family had been hoping would happen eventually.
We realised that the 30th Anniversary of 'License
in 2011 so that was something to aim for. In early 2010, the
groundswell started via a lot of the Bond fansites. This really
helped to get a lot of interest in the whole 30th Anniversary
of the first John Gardner continuation novel. We had re-worked
the www.john-gardner.com website and set up a Facebook page and
Twitter account and through that we got even more positive
feedback. IFP picked up on this and our agent
went into discussions with IFP and the Fleming Estate. In some
respects it was a no brainer.
30 years had passed since License Renewed,
so there is a whole new generation of Bond fans out there
not read any of the Gardner continuation novels. Corinne
Turner at IFP fully understood that and was very keen to
get behind the re-issues. Of course it is great that in
the UK ORION put the best deal together and also wanted
the first 5 Gardner Bonds as hardbacks for their new imprint
Why have only the first 5 novels been issued as hardbacks?
would have to ask ORION that. But I think the idea of a
smallish hardback print run for collectors and libraries
appealed to them. You can't find the John Gardner Bond's
in libraries anymore so I am really pleased we have at
least the first 5 back in hardback and accessible to a
wide number of people. Also ORION were able to obtain the
rights to use the Jonathan Cape jackets, which including
the Chopping (License Renewed) cover, are wonderful artworks.
The first 5 in my opinion have the best 'Flemingesque'
jackets. I think that may have had a lot to do with it.
The whole series will be released in paperback over the
next 12 months or so.
Above: The late John Gardner
What made you stick to the original artwork
for the UK release?
Chopping did the Licence Renewed artwork, but
I heard that he wanted way too much money for the second jacket,
so the other jackets were done in the 'style of Chopping'. I
am a graphic designer myself and fully appreciate the 'Old School'
imagery for the first five books.
I think Ian Fleming would have approved of these jackets, John
Gardner certainly did. Using the original jackets will certainly
appeal to all the collectors out there.
Did you have a hand in selecting the US cover art? If so what
made you go down that route?
No, I certainly had nothing to do with
the choice of artwork for the Pegasus US jackets. In fact we
still have not seen the
final finished artwork. What has been released so far I am reliably
informed are 'Works in Progress.' So I am as interested as anybody
to see what will happen with the US cover art.
How were the introduction authors selected?
That was Claiborne
Hancock, the owner of Pegasus Books. These introductions are
just for the US editions.
I was very surprised that he asked me to do one, surprised and
delighted. Otto Penzler was a dear friend of my Father's and
they were involved on numerous projects together.
Raymond Benson is also an obvious choice as he has run the gauntlet
of being a Bond continuation author. Raymond is a wonderful guy
and became a true friend of my father before he died.
it is hard to believe that it has been 30 years since the first
of your late father's Bond books? Are you still
surprised to be involved with Bond all these years later?
extremely surprised to be having anything to do with Bond to
be honest with you. I suppose that when I was art directing
the new look website I realised more than ever that Bond was
going to be the central focal point of the site. Bond is bigger
than anything else my father did. This did annoy him at times
but at the end
of the day Bond is huge. In fact since his death I think
Bond is bigger than ever.
You are right in saying that it is hard to believe that 30 years
has gone by since the first John Gardner Bond book. Where the
hell did all that time go?
What has been the most memorable for you with regards to the
world of Bond?
As for the most memorable 'Bond' moment, there are
a few that spring to mind. Firstly after my father died, the
of Bond fans who sent messages of sympathy at his passing.
Then when we re-launched the website I really did become aware
of the size of 'Bond Family' and how many fans still held my
late father's work in high and also not so high esteem.
While he was writing the books, I think getting to see the SAAB
(The Silver Beast) all kitted out with the gadgets, and when
he was writing the movie tie-ins the constant daily screenplay
being delivered by courier services which just cracked me up.
He would wait until the weekend to write as the scripts were
in such a constant flux all the time there was no point in working
the tie-ins on a daily basis.
However, the most memorable moment
recently was going to the launch
of Carte Blanche in London and
meeting people who
I had only swapped emails and Facebook messages with. That day
was wonderful as I met Jeffery
Deaver who was so kind, describing my father as "an
iconic author of espionage fiction." Lots of love shown
that day for John Gardner by many, many people.
Many thanks to Simon Gardner.