Jeffery Deaver on bringing 007 into the 21st century

MI6MI6 Administrator
edited April 2011 in Literary 007 Posts: 665
In an extensive interview with the <a href = "http://hmssweblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/hmss-interviews-jeffrey-deaver/"; target = "_blank">Her Majesty's Secret Servant</a> blog (conducted by Mark Henderson), "Carte Blanche" author Jeffery Deaver discusses how he created 007 for the 21st century.

HMSS: Fleming’s James Bond character was very much a product of World War II — forged in the crucible of a truly existential conflict. That’s not only where his fierce loyalty to England (and to M, who for Bond personifies England) comes from, but also his carpe diem attitude towards life. Your James Bond will have been born in 1980. What will have made him into the man we understand to be, and will recognize as, 007?

JD:The question was posed to me once, how can you create a hero, and model him on an essential cold war hero, where the great bear of the Soviet Union was the great threat on the horizon? My response was, how many attacks were there by Russia on the soil of England or the United States during that period? And the answer is none…they did a lot of bad things, assassination and so forth, but nothing like 07/07, the bombing of London, nothing like the Madrid train bombing, nothing like our 9/11 attack and some of the crazy people in America who have tried to carry out other attacks. The threat wears a different guise, but it is nonetheless a genuine threat: good versus evil. My Bond will be a veteran of Afghanistan. He was a soldier over there. And so he is a patriot. He will do anything he needs to do for Queen and country. He believes in freedom and democracy. He believes that bad guys should not get away with bad things. So that was one of the easier transitions actually. He still has the same carpe diem attitude because he puts his life on the line every day. And in my book, without giving away details, there are situations where he is threatened, not only his life (I am not going to kill him off in the first third of the book), but could he sustain a tragic injury forever? I am not saying yes, I am not saying no, but certainly, he is willing to risk everything to make sure the Realm is defended. So, he is not going to miss a moment of life.

HMSS: Was it your choice to set the new Bond novel in the present day, and if so, why?

JD:It was a mutual decision. When the Fleming Estate contacted me, I said that I would only want to do it if it were set in the present day, and they said we agree, that is what we were hoping for too. And the reason for that is the original books were not period pieces, of course. They were a product of their time, and Fleming, being a former journalist and intelligence agent, gave them the Cold War ambience. He was a great writer of manners, as they used to call it. So he would look at people in his books, or rather James Bond would, and draw conclusions about them. And they were right on about classes of society, men and women, attitudes of course reflecting the spirit of the time… not quite what it is today…and that is my Bond will be doing. Exactly the same thing.

HMSS:Fleming was influenced by reading the novels of Sapper and Buchan during his formative years. Besides Fleming, what authors would you say have had the most influence on your writing?

JD: Going back into classic mysteries, Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. Agatha Christie, by the way, was one of the masters of the twist. You don’t hear about her so much any more. The BBC had a Miss Marple series that was quite well done, and of course the Margaret Rutherford series which I saw when I was quite young. I sort of relate those to the Basil Rathbone Sherlock Holmes series. Rather broad Hollywood films for a larger appeal. The Holmes series with Jeremy Brett had a more subtle appeal. He was the Holmes for me. Anyway, those were major influences on me. As well as John le Carré, in terms of style, his writing is breathtaking. The intrigue within the intelligence community is fascinating. As far as hard-boiled fiction, I don’t read a lot of it. Mickey Spillane and so forth. Now international intrigue, Frederick Forsythe wrote one of my favorite books of all time, The Day of the Jackal. The original movie was excellent. And I also enjoyed Alistair MacLean. The books were quite lean. The late Elliot Kastner, who was a friend of mine, came up with the idea for Where Eagles Dare and talked MacLean into writing the screenplay, from which he later wrote a novel.

<a href = "http://hmssweblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/hmss-interviews-jeffrey-deaver/"; target = "_blank">Read the complete interview at HMSS Weblog</a>

<i>Reproduced with permission from HMSS.</i>

Comments

  • edited April 2011 Posts: 2,531
    Interesting read. The anticipation is killing me! I just wish our man worked for Her Majesty's Secret Service, not a separate organisation.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    I have to say this is leaving me absolutely stone cold. Bond is now younger than me and went to Afghanistan?! So he is now part of the youtube generation in bland, PC multicultural Britain where sex, sadism and snobbery have been practically outlawed. And presumably he doesnt smoke now either? This Bond wouldnt even know what the Cold War is. Its ludicrous frankly.

    Why do they feel the need to do this? Fleming hadly ever delved into Bonds past so why cant we just set it in the modern day but not mention the past in too much detail?Just leave us to suspend our disbelief as we have for years that whilst the world changes around him Bond remains the same.

    Following hot on the heels of the sure to become infamous 'Deaver Bond' trailer I'm thinking that IF Publications havent got a clue what theyre doing.
  • MI6MI6 Administrator
    Posts: 665
    Quoting TheWizardOfIce: Following hot on the heels of the sure to become infamous 'Deaver Bond' trailer
    Credit where credit is due, that was the publisher's doing.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    edited April 2011 Posts: 9,117
    Quoting MI6: Credit where credit is due, that was the publisher's doing.
    Surely IF Publications are like EON and would not have green lit a marketing campaign they were not happy with?
  • Posts: 27
    I am sure the IFP was happy with their marketing, even if it leaves real Bond fans cold. We are not their target audience. The great unenlightened masses eat up book covers with no pictures and videos that tell them nothing.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    QFT
  • Posts: 2,486
    i predict this will be fail.i hope i am wrong
  • edited April 2011 Posts: 2,531
    Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about this book as I am when any new Bond book is released but there are certain things I don't like the sound of:

    * Bond not being from a Royal Navy background (no reason why he couldn't have been)
    * Bond working for a separate organisation to the British SIS
    * Bond being younger than me ;-) I'm 34 and don't get me wrong, I like being in my 30's but Bond has always been older than me. He has always been an older man who I have looked up to. Now he is a almost a kid again. It's strange. Once the Fleming Books reach the 60's era I always visualise Bond in his early 40's - 41/42, including in the Gardner and Benson books. Still, I'm glad he will be atleast 30 and not in his twenties! Phew!

    If I had have written this book I wouldn't have made any reference to his age. Everyone just presumes Bond is in his late 30's/early 40's.

    Happy Easter.

    Quoting dragonsky: "i predict this will be fail"

    Why?
  • edited April 2011 Posts: 2,531
    Quoting dragonsky: i predict this will be fail.
    Why?
  • Posts: 267
    Personally I wish the books would stay as a period piece unless they just ignored time and continuity like the Gardner/Bensons novels. I'm still excited about the book, but I'm not loving the entirely new backstory type thing.
  • DaltonCraig007DaltonCraig007 They say, "Evil prevails when good men fail to act." What they ought to say is, "Evil prevails."
    Posts: 15,534
    Quoting Bounine: Bond being younger than me ;) I'm 34 and don't get me wrong, I like being in my 30's but Bond has always been older than me.
    Well, when you'll be in your 50's, Bond will then always be younger than you, even in the movies. 8->
  • Posts: 1,856
    So.. Wait EON can hook on to this time line. But.......... so young bond is now set in the 90's Oh No......
  • Posts: 116
    I have a strong good feeling about this for some reason.
    There will Never be another Ian Fleming.
    But if there must be books, at least they have finally found a talented, 'name' author who knows/loves the originals. The first time since Amis, I believe.
    I'll give it a chance. And Deaver might have a plan to gradually bring his Bond in line with Fleming's, ala Nolan's "Batman" series.
    I hated DMC and the Benson novels were weak.
    This could be the best follow-up to the Gardner series yet.
    Fingers crossed...
  • edited April 2011 Posts: 2,531
    Well, when you'll be in your 50's, Bond will then always be younger than you, even in the movies."

    I was waiting for someone to say that. LOL. I think maybe I'll be more willing to accept the fact though once I am over 42. ;-)

    I have always been keen on a period piece like with DMC but I'm excited now that this book is a reboot and set in present day. My two MAJOR gripes are that Bond isn't from a naval background anymore and that he won't be working for the SIS.

    A series of good Bond books that take place between 1964 and 1970 would always be most welcome too. ;-)
    Quoting MrSpy: The first time since Amis, I believe
    John Pearson wrote a wonderful biography of James Bond. Many of the stories read like Fleming short stories. Not quite as good as Fleming's work but almost. Better than Amis and the rest of the other non Fleming Bond authors.
  • Posts: 116
    Quoting Bounine: John Pearson wrote a wonderful biography of James Bond. Many of the stories read like Fleming short stories. Not quite as good as Fleming's work but almost. Better than Amis and the rest of the other non Fleming Bond authors.
    That's not an official continuation novel, is it?
  • I've got 'Carte Blanche' on pre order but am not happy that it's set in the present day. Ian Fleming's James Bond is a product of the 50s and 60s. That character does not function in the 21st century. Once you change him for the current decade and century you have a character that is not James Bond.
  • edited April 2011 Posts: 2,531
    Quoting MrSpy: That's not an official continuation novel, is it?
    Well, it's not a novel, it's an official biography where Bond talks to Pearson about his life but in telling the stories they are written like proper short stories or extracts of novels if you will. I highly recommend this. It was reprinted in 2007 or 2008 so it is no longer hard to get hold of.
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