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From the Archive
Issue #43 (July 1994)



What about Q'ute?
Well, that was unfortunate. What happened was we asked Mr. Broccoli if he would mind if we used Q. Because Q, of course, is not a Fleming character* and we are not allowed to use him, he was a movie character. Mr. Broccoli said he would rather we didn't use Q, and I wasn't trying to be clever, but I had already written Q in. So I thought it would be nice to make the character a lady, and that's how Q'ute appeared.


"Because Q, of course, is not a Fleming character and we are not allowed to use him."


*Q was actually a Fleming creation - see CASINO ROYALE page 23 (Penguin Books 2002 paperback edition).


Can you tell us anything about your new Bond book FOR SPECIAL SERVICES?
Well, it depends. I am under a certain amount of restraint. I was with the publishers for three hours yesterday and they asked me not to say anything to the television of the press or anybody else, because they wanted maximum publicity when the book came out. But you ask the questions and if I can I'll answer them.

SAAB 900 Turbo magazine advert

Is it better than the first book?
They tell me it is stronger. I would be very disappointed if it wasn't stronger because I've had the experience of writing the first one. I've had the experience of being dragged through the Bond promotional mill, etc. So I hope it is better. You have to remember, of course, that I'm writing another book in between each Bond.

Well, Bond is on loan to the Americans. SPECTRE is back, and so is Blofeld, although that's all I can say. However, you are meant to spot who Blofeld is fairly quickly.

Sunday Times LICENCE RENEWED review illustration Sunday Times LICENCE RENEWED review illustration LICENCE RENEWED Coronet paperback
Sunday Times LICENCE RENEWED review illustration Sunday Times LICENCE RENEWED review illustration John Gardner in the SAAB
LICENCE RENEWED Review illustration by John Cameron Sunday Times
8 March 1981
Sunday Times LICENCE RENEWED review illustration John Gardner poses with the SAAB

How do you think up all the scenes? Do you get an idea and rush into your study to get it down on paper?
No, no. I'm a professional writer, I have been for 20 years, and a professional writer of fiction works seven days a week. I start at nine in the morning and finish at seven in the evening. Until a few weeks ago I hadn't been on holiday for three years, and I won't get another break for 18 months. I got used to writing when I was very young and the only way to continue being a success is to keep writing, and so it is a purely professional business. One sits down at a typewriter and stays there until the book is finished. Now what was the question again? Oh, yes. Where do ideas come from? I honestly don't know. They run into one another. You think of one thing which leads you onto something else.

Well, we hope you carry on doing the Bond books.
Well, I hope I shall. I know I like doing them, and if I'm asked to do some more I shall say yes. Of course, I shall say yes. But we shall have to wait and see.

Ross Hendry interviews John Gardner at the 1982 James Bond British Fan Club Convention


John Gardner FACT FILE