Author Jeffery Deaver has given fans an update on Project X and some background information on how it all came about...

Project X Update
19th July 2010

The new James Bond continuation author Jeffery Deaver revealed some more background information on his 007 assignment "Project X", and gave a status update to his local newspaper in his new hometown of Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

How did the 007 project come about?
What happened was, a book of mine, "Garden of Beasts," was a hit in Europe. It's a historical thriller about a hit man in America given the option to go to Berlin for 1936 Olympics and assassinate the guy that was helping Germany rearm after World War I.

It's actually my favourite book of any I've written, and it won an award in Europe that was sponsored by the Ian Fleming estate. When I accepted the award, I said how it meant a lot to me because I had read all the Bond books when I was young and they were a big influence on me.

I didn't think anything of it beyond that. Then out of the blue, my agent got a call, and - was I interested in writing the next James Bond novel?

Did you have any reservations about taking over such an iconic series?
Well, I almost had to turn it down due to legal issues with my other publishers. And I also didn't want to do a period piece.

The Russians never did attack America; the threat of nuclear war didn't happen. It's hard to generate tension with those things anymore. There are new threats other than Cold War threats.

But as it turns out my fears were unfounded because they want me to write a book in the modern day.


So it's a contemporary novel?
Yeah, but I have to tell you that there's some stuff I can't tell you. I'm writing the book myself, but I joke that I have a co-author, Mr. Fleming, because his estate is looking over my shoulder. The work that I've done has been preliminarily approved. But I do have to go back and forth with them to get the details straight, which we'll do over the next few months.

But there are certainly some things I can say. The book will be set in mid-2011, which is when the book will be coming out. Bond is a 29- or 30-year-old agent for British security, doing what he did in the original books. And he will be a veteran of the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan. You'll see the cast of characters readers are familiar with - Miss Moneypenny and M - but updated for the present day.

Above: Author Jeffery Deaver in London.

And you have the story all mapped out?
Yes, the outline is about 180 pages, and I've finished that. What I'm doing is taking two templates, or formulas. One is taking the very complicated and edgy character that Fleming created. If people know Bond only from the movies, that's just one interpretation. The character in the books is much more complicated. He's darker. He's a killer. The 00 classification, the license to kill, didn't mean he was allowed to kill someone defending himself. It meant he was sent out on assignment for the express purpose of assassinating someone.

It takes a very special kind of person to do that. Now in fact, he rarely did. In some books, he didn't kill anybody. He took a life if he needed to, regretfully. He didn't enjoy it. Which, I think, makes him all the more human. He's a flawed character. So that's template one. And that will all translate into the modern day very well. It's a post-modern character, really.

The other template is my kind of storytelling - very intricate plotting, very fast paced. The book will take place over only a few days. There will be exotic locations - and that's part of the Bond formula as well, of course. It will have a lot of twists and turns and misdirections, and several big surprise endings.

Project X by Jeffery Deaver will be published on May 28, 2011 by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK and by Simon & Schuster in the US.

About The Author
Jeffery Deaver is the author of a number of internationally bestselling crime series. He is best known for his Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme books, most notably The Bone Collector, which was adapted for film in 1999, starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. Deaver has also written two award-winning short story collections, as well as stand-alone novels including Garden of Beasts and The Bodies Left Behind, which was named Novel of the Year at the International Thriller Writers’ Awards in 2009. Deaver was born near Chicago in 1950. Before becoming a full-time author in 1990, he was a journalist, like Fleming, and attorney. He started writing suspense novels on the long commute to and from his office on Wall Street. His books are now translated into 25 languages. Deaver lives in North Carolina. Deaver’s latest Lincoln Rhyme thriller, The Burning Wire, will be published in the US on June 1st and in the UK on July 22nd. A standalone thriller titled Edge will follow in November 2010 in both the US and the UK.