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Author Charlie Higson talks about SilverFin - the first Young James Bond novel

15-Dec-2004 • Young Bond

Charlie Higson, co-creator of "The Fast Show", has written the first novel in a new children's series of stories from the teenage life of secret agent James Bond. The series was commissioned by Ian Fleming Publications, holders of the literary copyright to the character - reports BookSeller.

In SilverFin, 13-year-old James is at Eton, where he has a rivalry with a vicious American fellow schoolboy, George Hellebore. Then, staying with his aunt Charmian in Scotland for the holidays, James becomes aware of the mysterious disappearance of a boy close to a nearby castle where Hellebore's father lives.

"I was approached by Ian Fleming Publications, which is largely run by Ian Fleming's nieces. They were thinking where else they could possibly take the character; it is quite hard doing adult continuation novels, and so they came up with the idea of going back in time. If you could write some good books for kids, they would then want to progress to the adult books.

"The first thing they said was that they didn't want a little Miss Moneypenny and a junior M--they wanted the books to be as serious as the adult novels and to be true to Ian Fleming.

"I went back and re-read all the books to try to get the character into my head. The original James Bond was very much a fantasy version of Fleming himself, so I also read the biographies, and I tried to put something of Fleming's own childhood into the books as well. Fleming went to Eton, but he didn't like it very much.

"Fleming wasn't terribly consistent with Bond's background. When he started, he thought he was only writing one book; it was very successful, so he wrote another and then another, and you can see him slightly changing his background in each one. He also made Bond younger, so exactly when he was born was a bit difficult to work out.

"I wanted to show how Bond becomes the man he does. He's quite resourceful and tough in SilverFin, but as the series goes on he becomes tougher. I've given him a bit of vulnerability rather than pitching him as some kind of superkid; and in Fleming's books he's a more vulnerable, angst-ridden character than he is in the films.

"I knew if we were going back to the 1930s it couldn't be a story with skateboards and Gameboys, so I wanted these books to be much more straightforward adventure stories. My boys love the Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz, but they're very much about high-tech gadgets and whizzing round the world. SilverFin is a much more old-fashioned story about kids going off on their own and doing things, which I thought might be quite intriguing for today's regimented kids."

Thanks to `JP` for the alert.

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