Saturday, June 25, 2011

In Other's Words: When iconic literary characters outlive their creators

I wrote a feature for the National Post's summer Books Extra about writers who write about another author's characters. Sometimes these are one-off deals, sometimes authors make a career out of it. I talked to Jeffrey Deaver about writing the new James Bond novel, Budge Wilson about write a prequel to Anne of Green Gables, and Max Allen Collins about his posthumous collaborations with Mickey Spillane. You can read the piece in this weekend's Post or online.

Here's a preview:
In art, tributes are pretty much de rigueur. As consumers we’re accustomed to cover songs, tribute bands and flawless copies of famous paintings. In literature, though, that expression of adulation is less common. Certainly, there is a wealth of fan fiction and series written under a common nom de plume, but perhaps for fear of accusations of plagiarism, writers tend to steer clear of writing too much like one another.

Nonetheless, some series and characters take on a will of their own — or rather, the fans do. This sometimes leads to the publication of unfinished novels, or, as the latest James Bond novel indicates, to continuations of an author’s work.

The latest Bond is Carte Blanche, which essentially describes the conditions under which American crime novelist Jeffrey Deaver worked when writing it. Deaver is the fifth author to write about Bond since Ian Fleming died in 1964, and the first to fully embrace a contemporary version of the famous spy.
Read the rest...

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