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The author of six original Bond novels, three short stories and the informational book The James Bond Bedside Companion, Raymond Benson is widely respected in 007 literacy circles for his great contribution to the James Bond fictional series. In his time he has brought some excellent novels to the table as well as acquainting us with his own style of storytelling.

After six years of writing official Bond novels, Raymond Benson called it quits in 2003. Since then, he has been working on several non-Bond projects including the recently released Face Blind. Universal Exports, Adam Farrington-Williams and Jay Harlow got in touch with Mr. Benson to ask him some questions about his experience with Bond, and his plans for the future.


1. What first got you interested in James Bond?
I saw Goldfinger at the age of nine.

2. Would you sell the rights of your Bond novels to EON productions, if they asked?
EON automatically has the rights, but they would have to pay a certain amount to Ian Fleming Publications if they decided to film one of my books, or John Gardner's, or the Kingsley Amis book.

Zero Minus Ten 3. How much research did you do to ensure your stories were spot on?
I attempted to travel to every location. With only a couple of exceptions, I did. In other cases I interviewed experts associated with certain technological aspects of plots, gadgets, or what have you. I basically did what Ian Fleming did, which was to find the right people that could help.

4. Was it different to write a novelization, as apposed to an original story? How so?
It was different in that it was easier! The plot and dialogue was given to you. However, I had only six weeks to write a novelization, as opposed to a full year for one of the originals.

5. Which of your original James Bond novels do you like the most? Why?
That's like choosing between children!

6. Which novel was the hardest and most time consuming to write? Why?
I would say Zero Minus Ten was the most difficult, simply because it was the first.

7. Who is your favorite original character, created by yourself? Why?
I'm quite fond of Le Gerant, but other favorites would include Roland Marquis, Chandra, Tylyn Mignonne, and Reiko.

High Time to Kill 8. Was SPECTRE the inspiration for The Union?
I wouldn't say it was an inspiration, but rather I wanted to create a SPECTRE-like organization that I could use in several books. It was more of a "blue-collar" edition of SPECTRE.

9. Did you ever turn to the films for help and inspiration?
Subconsciously, perhaps. It was a directive that I blend the cinematic Bond with the literary Bond, so naturally a certain amount of the films crept into my books.

10. What actor did you write your James Bond to suit or was he an original?
None

11. What is your favorite James Bond film?
From Russia With Love

12. What is your favorite Fleming novel?
From Russia With Love

13. Was the plot-producing side of the job harder than you expected?
That IS the hardest part. So much has already been done. Since I didn't have to come up with a protagonist every time, the challenge was to come up with a villain and a plot that was hopefully unique. After over 30 books and 20 films, that isn't so easy.

14. How long did it take to produce an original plot (roughly)?
It was usually around three months to produce the outline, in which everything was conceptualized. A couple more months were spent with research, and three to four months was spent writing.

15. Did you try and keep your Bond "Flemingsque", whilst the cinematic 007 kept evolving?
Basically Bond remained the same while everything around him was updated.

Hihg Time to Kill 16. In interview you did a while ago, said that Doubleshot was your version of From Russia With Love. Do you think any of your other novels can be compared to that of some of Fleming's other works?
Not really.

17. Would you be prepared to return, too write the novelization of Bond 21, if you were asked to?
I suppose, if I were asked.

18. Did you enjoy writing the novelizations? If so why?
Sure. It made me feel as if I were putting in my two cents worth to the films.

19. Who is your favourite Bond?
Sean Connery

20. And finally, has your time with Bond influenced your new novel Face Blind? If so, how?
Only in that the experience I had writing Bond made me a better writer.

A word from the reviewer: On behalf of Universal Exports, I thank Mr. Benson for his time and willingness to complete this interview. I would also like to wish him the best of luck for his future endeavors and his new novel Face Blind.


Raymond Benson's Bond Novels:
Zero Minus Ten
By Raymond Benson
1997

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Tomorrow Never Dies
By Raymond Benson
1997

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The Facts of Death
By Raymond Benson
1998

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Review
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High Time to Kill
By Raymond Benson
1999

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Review
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The World is Not Enough
By Raymond Benson
1999

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Review
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Doubleshot
By Raymond Benson
2000

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Review
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Never Dream of Dying
By Raymond Benson
2001

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Review
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The Man With the Red Tattoo
By Raymond Benson
2002

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Review
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Die Another Day
By Raymond Benson
2002

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Review
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