The festival, sponsored this year by the ‘Daily Telegraph’, takes places annually in the small town of Hay on the English-Welsh borders, near Hereford. The town, which is overlooked by a castle, is known as the ‘Town of Books’, as it has nearly 30 second-hand bookshops, including one located in an old cinema.
Boyd was interviewed by Peter Florence on stage in front of an audience at the festival on Sunday June 10. The main topic of discussion was Boyd’s new novel ‘Waiting for Sunrise’, a story set in wartime Vienna and London. The highly-praised novel was widely seen as a homage to thriller writers and spy novels, and was possibly a factor in his selection as the new Bond author by the Ian Fleming literary estate. Indeed, during the course of the interview, Boyd also spoke briefly about his recent appointment as the new Bond author, and made a few remarks about the version of James Bond he intends to have in his new 007 adventure (which will be published in late 2013).
Boyd said Bond will be a ‘middle-aged man’ and a ‘middle-aged spy’, and that is one of the things that interests him. James Bond will be aged 45 in the novel, which is set in 1969. Boyd continued: ‘I’m a realistic novelist and what interests me about Bond is the human being. There will be no mountains filled with atom bombs or global plagues, no superpowers or preposterous enemies – there will be an entirely believable psychopath, not a preposterous psychopath’. He added that this will also apply to James Bond’s love affairs – ‘in my novel they will be entirely believable’.
Boyd pointed out to the attentive audience that the literary Bond, in his view, is a far more interesting character than the Bond of the movies, and he argued that: ‘The literary Bond is a much more troubled, complex, nuanced figure’. He also said at another point in the interview: ‘What you will get is a William Boyd novel that has James Bond as a central character’.
Interestingly, Boyd confirmed that ‘M’ and Miss Moneypenny will appear in the novel, and he added that, while he was taking it extremely seriously, ‘I’m going to have a lot of fun as well’.
Boyd’s latest comments echo what he has said previously. When he was announced as the new Bond author back in April, he said his version of 007 will be a ‘classic Bond’, eschewing gadgetry in favour of ‘story and character’.