This week, we’re very pleased to welcome Jack Lugo in from the cold to submit his Field Report. Jack is a budding fiction writer and rather flatteringly has cited Artistic Licence Renewed as an inspiration for his latest story. You can read that at the bottom of this post!
1. What is your favorite Chopping cover and why?
The Thunderball cover is my favorite. The skelton hand and the knife between the fingers is just such an iconic image and really sets the right mood for reading the novel.
2. Do you own any 1st editions?
No, they are too expensive for me right now.
3. What is on your literary 007 wishlist?
I’m still making my way through the original Fleming books. I have the last few of those left. Afterwards, I’d like to read a couple of nonfiction Bond books including Catching Bullets: Memoirs of a Bond Fan by Mark O’Connell and then afterwards read some of the John Gardner, Raymond Benson, and Charlie Higson books.
4. When did you read your first Bond novel and which is your favorite?
I only recently began reading the novels around 2013. I had been a Bond fan for a long time before, but that’s when I became more interested in Fleming and the source material. I then figured I should start reading the novels. I like the fact that they are a completely different entity than the films, and Fleming as a novelist really knows how to make his world come alive.
My favorite Bond novel so far is From Russia With Love. Devoting a large chunk of the first part of the novel to SMERSH’s operation and getting an inside look at them devising the scheme opened my eyes as to what Fleming was capable of as a novelist. I literally could not put down that book.
5. Do you have any favorite Bond dust jackets in paperback or by continuation authors?
I’ve been reading the novels digitally so the only time I get to see the dust jackets are when I search online for them. Becoming a fan of Artistic Licence Renewed has given me more of an appreciation for the artwork that went into the dust jackets. I don’t particularly have a favorite though for the continuation books so far.
From Jack Lugo:
For a while now, I’ve been trying my hand at some fiction writing, mostly short stories inspired by the noir genre. Some time ago, I came across the feature on Ian Fleming’s golden typewriter on Artistic Licence Renewed‘s website and decided to use that as a sparking point for my own fictional story. The series I’m writing is about a retired NYPD Detective who gets entangled in various cases despite the fact that he’s retired. The character himself is very Bond-like in the sense that he’s not politically correct, he’s a bit of a lady’s man, and he doesn’t shy away from dangerous situations. He views himself as a Bondian figure and the hyper reality setting of the story allows him to be this kind of character that admittedly isn’t all that realistic. Stylistcally, my stories are more contemporary noir than Flemingesque as my character narrates his own story and his attitudes are somewhat reminiscent of the hard-boiled detective despite the present day setting.
The 2nd story of my series was inspired by this story about Ian Fleming’s golden typewriter, which he ordered after writing Casino Royale and subsequently used for writing the rest of the Bond cannon. It hasn’t been seen since it sold at auction in the mid 90s, but I decided to use that as a sparking point for my own fiction. Even though it’s the 2nd story in my series, my stories are episodic and so you don’t have to read my 1st story to enjoy this one.
I thought this was good way to combine my love of Bond with my own fiction writing just to see what I could come up with. I’m still looking to improve as a writer, and I know I’ll never be as good as Fleming, however, it felt really good using some of the moments from the books as inspiration and integrating the things I appreciate about Fleming’s work into my own fictional creation. It’s far from perfect, but I hope Bond fans and those who like noir fiction or crime stories might enjoy it. I tried my best to live up to the Fleming formula of “sex, sadism, and snobbery.” Here’s the link to my short story (about 20 pages in length), and please feel free to comment: