Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Shaken, Stirred, and Bonded: new 007 book on the way

Ian Fleming, who famously abandoned hackdom at Reuters and London's Sunday Times to pen successful spy novels in Jamaica, would have celebrated his 100th birthday next year. An extraordinary centenerary gift is planned by his publishers, who commissioned a brand new James Bond novel, to be scripted in his style by another English ex-journalist willing to take on the genre. John Le Carre and Frederick Forsyth were tipped as the most likely writers capable of penning a spy adventure, post-Octopussy. But the off-beat choice was Sebastian Faulks, a literary journo and war novelist. He took just six weeks to pound out a Cold War thriller called "Devil May Care." So will readers care?

Well, Fleming himself used to complete a spy manuscript in a month and a half. As Faulks joked to the Daily Telegraph:

"In his house in Jamaica, Fleming used to write a thousand words in the morning, then go snorkelling, have a cocktail, lunch on the terrace, more diving, another thousand words in late afternoon, then more Martinis and glamorous women," said Faulks.

"In my house in London I followed this routine exactly, apart from the cocktails, the lunch and the snorkelling."

Self-deprecating Faulks, now 54, used to work a beat for the Daily Telegraph before he edited the book pages of London's Independent, and was lauded for his trilogy of sensitive war novels set in France. But as a teenager, he'd pored over all the cool, cruel and sexy Fleming thrillers.
Faulks, who normally spends years in careful research before tackling a draft manuscript, divulged his new method to the Independent:
adding new characters with as much speed and as many twists as I thought the reader could bear...and Fleming's distinctive sentence construction.
Penguin plans to publish "Devil May Care" next May.

Author Sebastian Faulks, left, and the late Ian Fleming, right.

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