I approached Carte Blanche with some nervousness, because:
1) I've never been a fan of authors resuming series started by others. I understand some reasons WHY it's done but I've never been crazy about it. And, yes, I'll be making similar remarks when Ace Atkins publishes his first Spenser book (now that Robert Parker has died and the estate has arranged for Atkins to resume the Spenser books and for Michael Brandman to write the Jesse Stone books.)
2) While I like the surprises and cliffhanger nature of the action in author Jeffrey Deaver's books I wasn't sure how well that would fit with the James Bond formula. And his solution - to alter that formula, led to the last concern...
3) Any time an author decides to shift a character in time - in this case making Bond a vet of the war in Afghanistan - I fret that they may be making too many changes.
But I decided to read Carte Blanche, put these concerns to the author and let the reader decide whether my concerns were justified or not.
Here Bond's immediate task involves stopping someone from doing something terrible involving the death of thousands. If you think that description is vague, that's intentional because Bond and his employers also are short on specifics. So Bond has to chase possible suspects around the world to stop evil-doers from doing acts of terrorism, but those who are supposedly on his side are not always true allies. In short, it's typical Bond but under a new author and with some changes to James himself - he's now a ex-smoker, for example.
How did you come to be recruited to take over the Bond series? Were you contacted by the estate? Were there any restrictions made on what you could do with the character?
I won the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for my book Garden of Beasts a few years ago. In accepting that award in London I commented how honored I was because I started reading Fleming at a young age (about eight) and I counted him as an influence in my own writing. I suspect the members of the estate in the audience heard my remarks, checked out my other books and then, about a year and a half ago, contacted me to ask if I would want to write the continuation novel for 2011. I said yes almost immediately. There were very few actual restrictions, but I reassured the estate that I would do their boy justice.