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Last Updated: Thursday July 05 2007 05:22 GMT

Hotseat: Young Bond writer Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson

We had the chance to chat to top kids' author Charlie Higson, who writes the Young Bond books.

But we weren't sure what to ask, so we got you to think up some tough questions for him.

Gavin asked him a selection of the best, and a few of his own too!


Kimberley, 13, Nottingham: How do you think up imaginative plots that keep readers interested?

You had to start with the hardest question, didn't you! It's impossible to say where you get your ideas from. I just try to write the sort of books that I would have liked as a kid, that I would have found exciting.

And obviously, because these books are James Bond stories, I go back to the original stories, and get ideas from them, and I try and re-work it for the time they're set. And the rest of it, it just comes from out of my mind.

Francesca, Tunbridge Wells: Has there ever been a case when you've had no idea what to write about?

Well I have started two or three books that haven't got past the first chapter. I realised I had a good start and then nowhere to go with it, but for the rest of the time, luckily I've never been completely stuck.

I've been really lucky in that I do more than one job. I work in TV, I write books, I do bits of acting. So there's always something to be doing. If I get stuck on one project, I can work on another. Sometimes by going away from something and coming back, you can refresh your brain and come up with more ideas.

Huw, Antrim: Are there any plans for a film?

There are a lot of ongoing discussions about this. Obviously because it's James Bond and kids' films are pretty popular, there has been a lot of interest, but we wanted to get the books out first. The whole idea of doing this was to remind people that James Bond originally appeared in books, written by a guy called Ian Fleming, 10 years before they started making the films.

We wanted to remind people about the books and the literary origins of Bond, we wanted kids reading books, and we thought if we just start making films, the kids will just go and watch the films and they won't read the books.

Daniel, 11, Ealing: How do your books differ from other spy books for kids?

Well, yes, Anthony Horowitz was writing Alex Rider books for a long time before I was writing Young Bond. So one of the things we had to think about was how will our books be different?

I think the main thing is that these books are set in the 1930s. It's also about the time in James Bond's life before he was a spy, so it's not about a teenage spy. He has James Bond style adventures, but he's not working for the secret service or any kind of secret organisation.

I think the other books tend to be quite contemporary, there's a lot of stuff about spying, and that kind of area, and ours are just old fashioned action-adventure stories.

Annie, America: Would you ever like to live one of your character's adventures, if only for a day?

No, I'd hate it, I'm a complete wimp and a total coward - that's why I'm a writer, and I'm not out there running around having fantastic adventures. I spend my life in my room at home, tapping away at my computer, and that's about the level of excitement I can handle.

Everyone dreams of being James Bond. When I was a kids watching James Bond films I knew I could never be James Bond, but I had a slight feeling maybe I could grow up to play James Bond in a film. That was because actors manage to have these great adventures without being in any danger. But sadly I've become too old to ever play James Bond - perhaps I could play his granddad.

Christoffer, Sweden: You've said you're going to make five Young Bond books. Are you going to make any more than five?

I'm working on the last book at the moment, the fifth book in the series. When I started it was always agreed it would be a series of five books. I worked out a story that would take place over five books and how the fifth book would end, and it does end with the closure of that part of James Bond's life.

If there were to be any more books it would be a different part of his life. I'm not saying Never Say Never Again. I'd love to write some more Bond stuff, and do some more Bond related stuff in the future, but I think it would have to be about a different point in his life. So the books would be slightly different than these, and maybe aimed at a different readership.

I say that now, but when all my other books on other topics flop, then I'll probably come rushing back and write another 20 Young Bond books.

Gavin: What's in store for the fifth one?

I'm halfway through at the moment. There are a lot of surprises in there, a lot of things will be revealed that we didn't know about Bond, and what's been going on in the other books, and it will end with him leaving Eton.

I've always known from the start that it would end like that, because one of the few things that Ian Fleming tells us is that James Bond had to leave Eton after quite a short time. And we find out in book five why that is.

Giles, 11 Hull. Are you going to make any spies that are from Yorkshire in any other books?

My problem is I'm not from Yorkshire, so I'm not sure I could get the accent right! I'm sure there's room in the world for a super spy from Yorkshire. I doubt we'll be seeing a James Bond in any of the films with a Yorkshire accent - I don't think the Americans would understand it.

If I do events, and if there are girls there, they always say "Can we have a girl who's a spy in the next adventure?" and I suppose if I do a talk in Norway, they'll ask for a Norwegian in the next adventure.

Giles, I think you've got to go out and write it yourself. You should write us your story about a super spy from Yorkshire.

Gavin: How does Bond get from the Young Bond to the Old Bond?

Well that's a part of what I've been trying to do in these books. At the start of Silverfin, the first book, James is just an ordinary kid, he's just starting at a new school, he's like any other kid, and he's not running around in a tuxedo, driving a sports car, and shooting people.

But through the course of the five books, we see him growing up. We see lots of quite nasty things happen to him, and he grows a tough shell around himself - he still keeps quite a sensitive core.

That was my plan, to show him changing, and certainly the events that happen in book five, we'll really see that's the first step towards being the adult Bond. So if you look in book five, that question will be answered.



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