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While Ian Fleming created the James Bond character and introduced him to pop-culture, John Gardner has the distinction of being the author with the most Bond novels under his belt. Before becoming an author in the early 1960s, John Gardner was variously a stage magician, a Royal Marine officer, a journalist and, for a short time, a priest in the Church of England. In addition to his 16 Bond novels, Mr. Gardner has amassed quite a resume of literature; his latest book, Angels Dining at the Ritz, is the 50th of his career.

Universal Exports, Adam Farrington-Williams and Jay Harlow got in touch with Mr. Gardner for an exclusive interview about his experience with Bond, life since and and his new 'Suzie Mountford' series.


Did you ever expect to write the James Bond novels or aspire to write them?
No, I didnít think for a moment that I would ever write any Bond books. Nor did I want to. Initially I refused.

Fourteen official James Bond novels is a huge amount and a great accomplishment. Did you ever think you'd publish as many James Bond novels as you have?
No, I thought I might do maybe three or four. On reflection I really shouldnít have done as many. Should have stopped at six.

Do you think writing the James Bond novels helped you become a better author?
No. The Bond books are formula writing and that doesnít improve anyoneís technique

What is your favourite James Bond novel written by you?
The Man from Barbarossa. This didnít stick to the formula and I believe it is better because of that.

In your fourteen Bond novels you created numerous characters but which one was your favourite?
Sukie Tempesta

Which of your novels do you think has the best plot?
The Man from Barbarossa

Were you ever stuck for ideas or plotlines? If so how did you deal with it?
Often but just went on with it until I got it right which is how one should deal with life. So many people today donít seem to understand that.

Which of your Bond novels would make the best Bond film?
The Man from Barbarossa

Of your novels, which took the longest to prepare and write?
Non-Bond novel Maestro, ten years in preparation and one year in the writing. Then in the UK it was abominably badly published.

Out of your Bond novels, which one (if any) do you dislike? How could you have improved it, on reflection?
I seldom think in negative terms.

When researching for your James Bond novels, did you ever travel to any of the locations mentioned in them?
I had been to, or travelled to, every location. And I paid for those trips myself. No special money from Glidrose or publisher.


Angels Dining at the Ritz is the third novel in the 'Suzie Mountford' series - Bottled Spider and The Streets of Town being the first two. Is the Suzi Mountford character influenced in any way by James Bond?
Absolutely not. Once I finished doing the Bonds I forgot about them.

Can we expect a fourth installment in the 'Suzi Mountford' series?
Yes, there will be at least a fourth (Poor Puzzled Moon), fifth and maybe even a sixth book in the series. That is how the series was conceived one book for each year of World War II.

Who is your favourite character in your non-Bond novels?
Herbie Kruger [Featured in The Nostradamus Traitor, The Garden of Weapons, The Quiet Dogs, Maestro and Confessor]

What is the best thing about writing a non-Bond novel?
I am totally on my own. Thatís how I began to write and thatís how I continue to do it.

How do you come up with so many ideas and enough ideas to write fifty novels?
I have no idea where plots and characters come from. If you are a professional novelist a writer of the kind of books that I write thatís the job, inventing characters and plots.

If it wasn't for your health would you have kept writing the Bond novels?
No way. I had already had my fill of Bond, including a plot that was already up my sleeve for some distant part of the future.

A word from the reviewer: On behalf of Universal Exports, I wish to pass on my best regards to Mr. Gardner. I thank him ever so greatly for the interview and hope that his health remains in tip-top condition. I appreciate the time he gave to do this interview as he is extremely busy getting his Web site back up and rolling, as well as recovering from a small stint in hospital throughout January.


John Gardner's Bond Novels:
Licence Renewed
By John Gardner
1981

Related Links:
Review
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For Special Services
By John Gardner
1982

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Review
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Icebreaker
By John Gardner
1983

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Review
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Role of Honour
By John Gardner
1984

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Review
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Nobody Lives Forever
By John Gardner
1986

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Review
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No Deals, Mr. Bond
By John Gardner
1987

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Review
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Scorpius
By John Gardner
1988

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Review
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Win, Lose or Die
By John Gardner
1989

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Review
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Licence to Kill
By John Gardner
1989

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Review
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Scorpius
By John Gardner
1990

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Review
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The Man From Barbarossa
By John Gardner
1991

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Review
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Death is Forever
By John Gardner
1992

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Review
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Never Send Flowers
By John Gardner
1993

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Review
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Seafire
By John Gardner
1994

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Review
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GoldenEye
By John Gardner
1995

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Review
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Cold
By John Gardner
1995

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Review
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Bottled Spider
By John Gardner
2002

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The Streets of Town
By John Gardner
2003

Purchase From:
amazon.com
amazon.co.uk




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