MARK O'CONNELL

Writer, Author, Bond Fan

Tag: Anthony Horowitz

FOREVER AND A DAY – Anthony Horowitz’s new Bond prequel novel steps out of the Riviera waters

 

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Catching TRIGGER MORTIS at its London launch

“It was that moment in the day when the world has had enough”

Trigger Mortis

The race date was Monday September 7th 2015.

The starting grid was London’s Waterstones Piccadilly.

The grandstand was flanked by Ian Fleming Publications, Orion Books, Fleming family and gathered guests proudly watching the newest Bond author take to the driving seat and rev up the engines for the official launch of the newest 007 continuation novel, Trigger Mortis.

“The man was a genius at what he did”

Anthony Horowitz on Ian Fleming

Photo © Mark O’Connell / 2015

Arriving to a packed crowd in a 1950s Bentley, the 60 year old author of The House of Silk, Moriarty and the Alex Ryder series soon arrived at the Film & TV section of Waterstones’ flagship London store with apologies for taking up so much room with his new tome. In true 007 style (well, true 007 launch style), part of the floor has been dedicated to Trigger Mortis : Unlocking Bond – Les Enfants Terrible’s immersive tribute to 007, Fleming, 1950s motor racing, codes, clues, vintage globe-trotting and Bakelite telephones. Heck, even Geoff Love’s flagship Big Bond Movie Themes album was resplendent on the vintage turnstile! And it was here that the BBC’s Mishal Husein (looking pretty sharp herself) talked through Trigger Mortis with Horowitz – examining its genesis, research and thinking.

Photo © Mark O’Connell / 2015

“He’s very good at jumping in and out of Bond’s head”

Anthony Horowitz on Fleming

 

Photo © Mark O’Connell / 2015

One of the key phrases Horowitz’s mentioned throughout was his constant need to remind himself to be “selfless” with Trigger Mortis. This is not his series or even his creation to showboat his own creative foibles, fancies and tics. It is a honest and endearing approach and one that has clearly fed into the strong reviews the book is garnering from critics and Bond literature fans alike. Horowitz is adamant he has not rebooted what Fleming has created. He highlights how you “need a good title, a good girl and good villain“. Quite right. He is also highly mindful of the era that surrounds Trigger Mortis. It is no author’s role to change his book’s societal backdrops or the world vision of its protagonist. Horowitz discusses the gay characters in the book but is forever mindful of keeping faithful to a late 1950s context alongside acknowledging too the shifting attitudes of 2015. Again, it is that “selfless” approach.

“With original material by Ian Fleming”

With Fleming himself looking on in the form of Anthony Smith’s bronze bust of the cigarette-clutching writer, the poetry and casting of Anthony Horowitz’s new role as Bond author became most clear. A TV screenwriting veteran himself (having written such TV fare as Robin Of Sherwood, Poirot and Foyle’s War), Horowitz is the perfect choice to write the 007 novel that incorporates Fleming’s own TV treatment work, Murder on Wheels into a new 007 novel. Murder on Wheels was one of nine TV treatments written by Fleming for a television drama that ultimately never manifested. Some went into the published Bond novels, but four remained tantalisingly unused and, hence, unread.

Photo © Mark O’Connell / 2015

The always animated Horowitz explains how he was invited by the Fleming family to use some of these unread works – to somehow weave them into his novel as a starting pistol of sorts. Horowitz has of course changed a few details and names from Fleming’s treatment notes. But Murder on Wheels is very much 007’s original creator waving his lap number flag at Trigger Mortis. He may have died 51 years ago but Horowitz is clearly proud to be able to be in this collaboration of sorts with Bond’s creator on this one.

Photo © Mark O’Connell / 2015

Horowitz discusses too how he was fortunate enough to visit Germany’s infamously dicey racetrack – the Nurburgring – with racing driver and expert, Mario Franchitti, how an unsuccessful attempt to get noticed for writing a Bond film screenplay ultimately fed into his first Alex Ryder novel (Stormbreaker) and a small matter of a very public apology at the start of the week. Horowitz had caused a mild storm in a teacup (the sort that only gets unnecessarily amplified by social media) by claiming potential Bond actor headline maker Idris Elba was too “street” to play 007 on screen. Having told Horowitz that he did not need to apologise (Elba is as street as Jack O’Connell and Tom Hardy – so the sentiment has no racist overtones to it), he astutely told this writer he felt it was better to nip it all in the bud. Which he did. He also continued to clarify how he had not slated Skyfall and the forthcoming Spectre, but actually said they were just not as brilliant (in his mind) as 2006’s Casino Royale.

Photo © Mark O’Connell / 2015

So there we have it. A full house of press, fans and Bond readers new and old were witness to the latest 007 novel firing off the starting grid. They certainly left feeling Trigger Happy as Horowitz did a lap of honour by signing copies of the hardback. 

It is worth noting that the Waterstones edition of Trigger Mortis features the unseen Ian Fleming text for Murder on Wheels and a discussion chapter from Horowitz himself on how he was inspired and spurred on by it.

With thanks to Anthony Horowitz, Mishal Husain, Riot Communications, Waterstones Piccadilly, Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, Fergus Fleming, the Fleming family, Ajay Chowdhury, Remmert Van Braam, Brian Smith, Matthew Field and Orion Books.

Photo © Mark O’Connell / 2015

 

Trigger Mortis is published now by Orion Books / Ian Fleming Publications Ltd.

For more on Anthony Horowitz’s own site click here. For further photographs from the evening check out Mark O’Connell’s Catching Bullets page.

With thanks to Anthony Horowitz, Mishal Husain, Riot Communications, Waterstones Piccadilly, Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, Fergus Fleming, the Fleming family, Ajay Chowdhury, Remmert Van Braam, Brian Smith, Matthew Field and Orion Books.

 

PROJECT ONE – Anthony Horowitz announced as the new James Bond author

Unofficial artwork

On your marks, get set, Double-O!!!

Ian Fleming Publications have announced that British writer Anthony Horowitz is to pen the next title in their ever-expanding list of James Bond continuation novels, tentatively titled Project One.

Following on from the earlier post Ian Fleming 007 novels from Kingsley Amis (1968’s Colonel Sun), John Gardner (1979 – 1995), Raymond Benson (1996 – 2002), the The Moneypenny Diaries (Samantha Weinberg) and Charlie Higson and now Steve Cole (Young Bond) plus the more recent Devil May Care (Sebastian Faulks, 2008), Carte Blanche (Jeffrey Deaver, 2011) and Solo (William Boyd, 2013) Anthony Horowitz’s Project One is to be published worldwide by Orion Books. Based on original, unused material by Ian Fleming for an initial treatment of an unmade James Bond TV series episode, Project One (which may not hold as the final title, allegedly) takes 007 into the world of motor racing and serves as a launch pad – or starting line – for Horowitz’s new 007 novel, to be published on 8th September 2015. Set at Germany’s Nurburgring, Fleming’s original Murder on Wheels pitched 007 against a Russian plot to cause racing legend Stirling Moss to crash whilst racing. Horowitz has been quick to point out on Twitter how the title will “not” be Murder On Wheels however.

anthony_horowitz_copyright_adam_scourfield_stairs__fullThe prolific author of more than fifty books, Horowitz is of course no stranger to spy writing – having so far penned eleven Alex Rider series of teen agent books, with Stormbreaker being released as a motion picture in 2006 (which he adapted himself for the screen).

“When I was growing up, the James Bond films were a very big part of my life. I loved them passionately. And they had a very big impact on me.”

Anthony Horowitz, SCOPE interview

Horowitz is also well equipped at taking on existing publishing canons and British literary icons – having written 2011’s Sherlock Holmes novel, A House In Silk for the Conan Doyle Estate (published by Orion Books). And his imminent Moriarty novel is published on the 23rd October 2014 by Orion Books. The second Bond continuation author John Gardner curiously did the same, having written three Moriarty novels of his own in the late 1970s and posthumously in 2008.

“I would love to write a proper James Bond novel for adults! I would have quite liked to have written a Hercule Poirot novel in the style of Agatha Christie. But it’s probably time to stick to characters of my own.”

Anthony Horowitz, Guardian interview, June 2014

And of course it is Horowitz who was responsible for long running crime series, Midsomer Murders, wrote for 1980s cult classic Robin of Sherwood, continues to write for ITV1’s Foyle’s War and contributed adaptations to Agatha Christie’s Poirot series. He is also currently attached to Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson’s Tintin sequel.

“When I was younger I loved the early James Bond films. I thought Sean Connery was great but Roger Moore… well, to me he looked too old to be cool and I thought – what if James Bond was young? Every school I went into I asked children to give me names for the coolest hero and the name that came out top was Alex. Then I thought back to James Bond and wondered … if JB had a son who would be the mother? To my mind, it would have to be Honey Rider, so my hero became Alex Rider! Creating Alex was like meeting my very best friend for the first time and each book I write I have such fun meeting up with him again. I still have lots of ideas and the more I get to know him the more I want to write about him.”

Anthony Horowitz, Scholastic Book Club interview

And for a great background into Horowitz’s Bond fan credentials, this Daily Telegraph article is a must read.
For more on Ian Fleming Publications.

For more on Anthony Horowitz.

Project One will be published on the 8th September 2015 by Orion Books and in the US by Harper Collins.

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