Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Steve Cole reveals SHOOT TO KILL clues

Kate Neilan and Rob Chilver, who run the excellent Adventures With Words website and podcast, recently visited with author Steve Cole at Random House and came away with a few intriguing nuggets of information about his first Young Bond novel, Shoot To Kill.

One major revelation is that the Fleming estate gave Steve the option ("quite a few options, actually") of updating Young Bond into the 1980s -- "a young Daniel Craig Bond." But Steve rejected this idea, calling the 80s, "The decade that fashion forgot", and decided to stick with the 1930s Fleming-Higson timeline for his 4-book series. (SEE UPDATE BELOW.)

While Steve couldn't say anything about the plot -- both Kate and Rob comment on how ultra careful he had to be -- he did mention a few elements of his research which "may or may not be in the book." Steve said he researched Zeppelins, Hollywood in the 1930s, the Hollywood Sign (which was then the Hollywoodland sign), gangsters and crime in Hollywood, Grauman's Chinese Theater, and the attitude of the police commissioner toward Communists at the time. They also pointed out that Steve is aware the gun on the cover is from 1938, and that an early version of cover (which was shown to them!) featured a woman.


Shoot To Kill will be released in the UK on November 6, 2014. It can be pre-ordered now at Amazon.co.uk.

UPDATE: Hold the phone! I've learned from the powers-that-be that updating Young Bond into the 1980s was NOT an option offered to Steve. It was always the plan to leave Young Bond in the Fleming-Higson universe. What happened was during this blogger's brunch at Random House there was a casual discussion about what one could do with Young Bond -- theoretically -- including the idea of a young Daniel Craig-like Bond in the 1980s, and how that really wouldn't work. Sorry for the confusion. I've left the story as originally written, but changed my headline.

13 comments:

  1. Hi! I'd actually considered sending this in to you but you beat me to it! Happy to answer any more questions about the event. Rob.

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    1. My pleasure, Rob. Enjoyed the podcast. Exciting that they showed you an alternate cover. Hope they make that public. I love that kind of stuff.

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  2. Just shows how indecisive IFP are if they offered Cole all the options they apparently did. One of the few lit successes in the recent past has been Higson's Young Bond concept....

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  3. "a young Daniel Craig".
    IFP is too quick to cash in on a VERY bad idea. I am sure that Ian Fleming would shudder at the thought his character being based on that.
    Off the top, Cole immediately gets my support for rejecting that path to go down.

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  4. Steve Cole wrote many Doctor Who novels. His reputation among Whovians is as a mediocre hack with no imagination. His claim to fame is he wrote a series of books for pre-schoolers about talking cows which, like this Bond book, had weak puns for titles. Please don't get your hopes up.

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  5. So you haven't actually read any of them yourself, Anonymous, and you're just badmouthing him because of other people's opinions you've heard? I haven't read him, either, so I wouldn't presume to form an opinion, but it does seem to me that it might make more sense to assess his appropriateness as a Young Bond author based on reactions to his teen spy series, Tripwire, as opposed to the pre-school books. Even mediocre hacks with no imagination are bound to understand the difference in audiences between those books and Young Bond. It could well be that Shoot to Kill turns out to be bad (or it could be good!), but why judge it in advance rather than waiting until it comes out and then judging it on its own merits--or lack thereof?

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    1. I've read ten of his Doctor Who novels. They are action-adventures, and the new series ones are aimed squarely at the same YA audience the Young Bond ones are. Their profile are almost certainly the main reason he was picked for this work.

      If you've read his books, please feel free to say what you loved about them. Perhaps you were thrilled by the Flemingesque touches in The Moo-Lympic Games? Perhaps you catch a glimpse of the novel Bond in Teggs Stegosaur?

      I will, god help me, buy this book. I will then judge it on its merits. And I am going in with very low expectations, so any glimmer of inspiration will be a very pleasant surprise.

      If you know this author, you know he's mediocre. Please don't think they've found someone with the wit and energy of Charlie Higson. Steve Cole's a former Random House editor hired to keep the brand ticking over with minimal maintenance, that's all.

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    2. It would appear to be generally accepted in the Dr Who world that Cole's efforts are pretty poor and there does seem to be an element of cheap, in-house Bensonism with his engagement by IFP, but I am prepared to give the guy the benefit of the doubt until I've read his Young Bond effort.

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  6. I see your point, David, but I don't actually agree that giving the author the choice of when to set his books shows an indecisiveness on the part of IFP. Rather, I think it shows a promising flexibility! And it's a pretty interesting insight into their current outlook on continuation novels. It seems like they're giving all their continuation authors--for Young Bond and "old" Bond alike--that choice. Didn't Deaver mention that he had the option but was only interested in writing a contemporary 007? While it's true I haven't loved any of the modern, standalone continuation novels (though the only one I hated was DMC), I feel like giving the authors so much creative control improves the chances of getting another great one eventually. And until that happens, I'd rather read a flawed book true to the author's vision (which is how I see Solo, which I generally found the most successful of the three) than a flawed book thanks to compromises he (or she) was forced to make. (Gardner certainly faced some restrictions he was very unhappy with on some books.)

    All that said, I agree that Cole made the right choice! I'm glad Young Bond will remain in the pre-war era.

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  7. Tanner, I feel that if IFP aren't aware that their strongest product since Benson was Charlie's books and timeline, then they really aren't aware of their product. Deaver modern version being the worst incarnation of all the relaunches under the "new management". I would have had more confidence in IFP if they had told Cole exactly what they wanted, sequels to Charlie's series. Offering the artist flexibility is one thing, trying to cash in on Young Daniel Craig another entirely!

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  8. Hold on! I have some new info. Updating YB into the '80s was NOT an option offered to Steve. Going to need to do a little correcting. Stand-by.

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  9. Okay, story updated. Sorry for that.

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  10. I don't suppose anyone knows whether there will be a special edition, slipcased or signed and numbered etc when released? I know that Charlie Higson's Young Bond books had plenty of those and I've been kind of hoping this will be the same. Thank you.

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