Thursday 8 February 2018

Interview with BOND UNKNOWN writer Edward M. Erdelac

I recently had the opportunity to do an interview with Canadian James Bond writer Edward M Erdelac. As some of you know the copyright laws is Canada is different to most of the world with only 50 years protection. Therefore it seems okay to release James Bond novels in Canada that are not allowed to be sold abroad (making them collectors item at the same time).

The latest book is called BOND UNKNOWN and carries two story's about 007 with one written by Edward M. Erdelac.  

Can you tell my readers a bit about your self and how the book came to be.

I'm from Indiana, educated in Chicago, then moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. In the meantime I've written twelve novels, the most recent being Monstrumfuhrer from Comet Press and Andersonville from Del Rey.

Basically Bond Unknown came about when Neil at April Moon Books was discussing the copyright lapse on the Fleming novels in Canada where he's based, and posited the idea of James Bond encountering Cthulhu. A bunch of authors chimed in about their willingness to do unauthorized Bond fiction in the mode of the old books, straight up pastiches, but something about the Lovecraftian angle clicked with me and I pitched Neil the idea for Mindbreaker, and churned it out in a month or so (it's about the length of one of the Fleming books). In the interim another publisher did some ill-advised deconstructionist take on Bond. I don't think it did very well. Willie Meikle finished his Mythos take on Bond as well and Neil approached us both with packaging them together.

 I am also interested in your feelings regarding Canada being the only country with a shorter copyright span.

I don't really have an opinion on this. I can only say I'm glad it afforded me the opportunity to write the character. 

Have you in any way been contacted buy Ian Fleming Publications?

I haven't, no.

Have you read the Fleming books or is it mainly the films that made you want to write your on Bond story?

Oh yeah I definitely read the books, and they're the main inspiration for Mindbreaker. I read all my father's original paperbacks, water stained and practically falling apart, left over from his college days. As far as the movies, I didn't grow up a Bond fan. I never much cared for Roger Moore and that was the Bond of my youth. I actually thought Bond was some kind of romantic series growing up. I think it was when I saw Goldeneye in my teens that the character finally popped for me, and I went back and watched them all, then read my dad's books and found the real character for the most part only suggested in the early Connery movies. I do love the series now. 
The real appeal of writing Bond for me was Neil's insistence that the story had to take place in the timeline of the original 60's books. I wanted to write the Bond of that era. In rereading them for research, I was particularly interested in Bond's state of mind following his brainwashing by the Russians at the beginning of The Man With The Golden Gun. Bond had just left Kissy Suzuki for Vladivostok and been picked up by Russian intelligence, sent to assassinate M., and then re-conditioned. After all that, he's still resilient enough to take on Scaramanga. To me, this showed Bond was possessing of a mental strength perhaps more remarkable than his physical prowess. With the mental shenanigans that Lovecraftian stories usually engender in their protagonists, I got it in mind that James was somehow peculiarly suited to facing the Old Ones and coming through shaken but not stirred, if you'll pardon me. I had read a bit about the mystic John Dee and his signing off on intelligence to the Queen with the 007 cypher, and that really got my wheels turning, that maybe Bond had a purpose beyond being a blunt instrument. Not that chosen one stuff, which I don't care for, but that maybe something peculiar to his genetic makeup suited him as a weapon against the Mythos.
I'm also a fan of Dennis Wheatley's The Devil Rides Out, and Strange Conflict, about Duc de Richlieau, a sort of proto Bond figure, a debonair intelligence agent who also happens to fight the occult. So without naming names, the inspiration for the subsection of MI6 that deals with the Lovecraftian threats and sort of requests Bond in Mindbreaker, I conceived as of something that stemmed from Duc de Richlieau's World War II experiences, some pet project the man convinced MI6 to create. 
Anyway, with the basic idea of how Bond would fit into the Mythos, it was just a matter of coming up with the supernatural aspect itself. I'm not Fleming but I wanted to cleave as close to Fleming's style as possible, so I began with the idea of a kidnapped Royal Princess and went from there, gradually unveiling the real threat, sprinkling in familiar faces from both Lovecraft and Fleming along the way, and staying true to the character. I knew I wanted to do something with Egypt and Nyarlathotep, so I did a lot of reading into Ancient Egypt, the Napoleon expedition, and of course the modern era immediately following Soviet involvement in the country, a cool place for Bond to play around in. I also knew I wanted Tracy's father and the Unione Corse to make an appearance, so I read up on Corsica (which conveniently tied in with the Napoleon Expedition), and on archaeological digs on the island. 
My best hope is that I've done my due diligence and come up with a respectable story that can entertain fans of both Fleming and Lovecraft.

 On the website for April Moon Books it now says that the book is actually sold out

Book cover for BOND UNKNOWN (Note the letter 1 on the right side)

Author Edward M. Erdelac

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