May 18, 2010

AWRF10 - Saturday May 15: Charlie Higson


Thanks to Claire Scott for contributing this post about Charlie Higson's appearance at the AWRF 2010.  I'm sure he is very popular at the beautiful Grey Lynn Community Library she manages so well (that's her customers talking, not me, although I think it too!)
Having worked as a comedy writer and performer in British television, Higson's name wasn't really linked in any notable way to penning books until the immensely popular Young Bond series for children and teens hit the streets in 2005. For Higson, the request from the Fleming Estate to write the series of five books on James Bond as a boy and young man was too good an offer to resist. Not only was he starting with a ready made character in the form of Bond, he got to write about every male's ultimate lifestyle. You never see him at home in any of the Bond movies or books, you never meet his family, and you never see him performing mundane domestic tasks such as washing the dishes or unblocking the loo.

However, in giving Bond a past, Higson didn’t have much to go on. In fact, the only clues were found in Ian Fleming's book You Only Live Twice in which James is believed to have died, and M writes a fairly full obituary. From that we learn that his parents died in a mountaineering accident, that he had no brothers or sisters, and that he was educated at Eton. So setting the scene for James the boy required continuity in this regard. The rest was over to Higson. "After all," he says. "It's every parent's fantasy to have no kids, and it's every kid's fantasy to have no parents."

Higson admits he had no experience at writing in this genre, so he tried chapters out on his own three boys as he completed them. "More death and murders!" was their clear opinion, so he upped the violent ends to evil characters a notch. Of course, diehard Bond fans found the new series hard to take. They didn't want a "Harry Potter" boy Bond.
Higson has now moved on to a new series, the first of which, The Enemy, was published last year, and the second of which, The Dead, is due out in September. He has changed genre completely for this teenage zombie series, some of which has had to be watered down and children's ages advanced to meet the more protective and sensitive United States market requirements.

He is still writing adult comedy and has recently completed a new series about post-apocalyptic Britain called Bellamy's People for the BBC. When asked about the possibility of movies being made of theYoung Bond series, Higson felt that this was unlikely. As all rights are controlled by the Fleming Estate, it would be very confusing to produce both adult and children's versions of the same character simultaneously. Explaining away the time differences between adult and children's movies would be just too confusing, as the Young Bondseries is set as Fleming intended it, in the 1920s and 30s.

And finally says Higson, "It would just be too hard to find a 13 year old boy with the charisma of Sean Connery and Daniel Craig."

Ditulis Oleh : tosca // 02:30
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