Ahead of the launch of the latest James Bond novel, Carte Blanche, US crime writer Jeffery Deaver took time out to tell Vision why he chose to put his Bond on a plane to Dubai
I was about eight when I read my first James Bond. You might think that was a bit young but my parents had a rule when I was growing up that there were movies I wasn’t allowed to see, but any book that I could get my hands on I could read.
I loved adventure stories and Bond was right up there on my bookshelf alongside Agatha Christie novels. So, you can imagine that when the Ian Fleming Estate called and asked if I’d be interested in doing the next continuation I debated all of – oooh – five seconds!
A Bond book has to be set in several exotic locations. Why Dubai? No Bond book has ever been set in the Middle East, so I thought it’d be a nice departure. Plus, the emirate’s [cultural] melting pot aspect is a fiction writer’s dream and I thought, there’s no doubt that I would not set this book there. As soon as the Fleming Estate contacted me, Dubai was the first lookout point.
Dubai is a very fruitful locale for writers for so many reasons. When researching the book, I spent a lot of time sitting in cafes in Dubai and observing. I got a sense of vibrancy and fiscal business energy, which was really crucial for the book.
My James Bond loves Dubai. In 2009, during the world economic downturn, I was a little irritated that Dubai got a bad rap over its financial problems. After all, I come from the country that started the whole thing – it wasn’t Dubai’s fault! So Bond spends time in the book reflecting on that.
What would my Bond do if he had a little downtime in Dubai? Well, in my book the poor guy doesn’t get any rest! And he’s not really one for sightseeing. But I’ll tell you one thing he would definitely do. While his mission keeps him in Dubai, he really wants to get out into the desert because it’s so different to what he grew up experiencing as a boy (in Kent, England). He just wants to get out onto the endless sand. If he had the chance he’d probably hook up with a local and head south, as far as he could go, in a 4x4.
Would Fleming have approved of my book? In both senses of the word, yes! In the sense that I felt him looking over my shoulder and approving as I wrote. And also his people read the book very carefully every step of the way. So, sometimes they would say, ‘We don’t think Bond would have done this or said that.’ It was very helpful, actually.
I was at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature and it was such a beautiful mix of international writing. But what excited me most was the young people’s programme. There were hundreds of kids there racing up and down the aisles of the temporary bookstore they have on the site, grabbing at the books with such enthusiasm.
I’m currently working on my next Kathryn Dance book. Poor Kathryn finds herself going up against a brilliant but particularly horrific stalker. The stalker will stop at nothing to get at the object of his affection. So, Kathryn’s trying to make sure that doesn’t happen. But, you know, it’s a Deaver book, so we have to make sure we have a little crime…
Carte Blanche, the new James Bond book by Jeffery Deaver is now available, published by Hodder & Stoughton