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The Sirens of Suspense

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Jane D Everly was born in Nottingham, England where she developed a depthless love of fiction. While aspiring to be a romance novelist, she discovered an edge to her work that was quite unexpected. It appeared that her love of action and adventure stories would forever prevent her from writing the stories of sappy romantic entanglements she believed she had always been meant to write. Instead, heavily influenced by the rise of geek culture, she began to write stories filled with kick-ass heroines and villains with delusions of attaining world domination. 

Jane relocated to Vancouver, BC, Canada in 2013 to pursue her writing career. She now lives in a beautiful downtown Vancouver apartment with her cat, Mr Bojangles, and an entire world of espionage and intrigue poised at her fingertips.

Find Jane on Facebook and Twitter.

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item1 WHY YOU DON'T MESS WITH item1
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Sometimes the finished product is only half as interesting as the journey of creating it. I’d like to share one such example. I was inspired, as writers often are, by the news that trended on twitter earlier in 2015 that Ian Fleming’s glorious cannon of work involving super-spy, James Bond, was about to find itself in the public domain. What did that mean for lovers of Fleming’s womanizing rogue? If true it meant that anyone could write a novel or make a movie featuring James Bond. They could even go back and remake Goldfinger, Dr. No, Moonraker, or any of the other previous big screen adaptations.item6

I should probably insert at this point that I love the character of James Bond. I always have. For all of Fleming’s flaws and closed mindedness when it comes to race and sexuality (partially due to his generation and upbringing), his main character always appealed to me. He’s a perfect man, romantic, action-driven, intelligent, and charming. I’m talking purely about the Bond from the novels. He underwent a number of changes when he hit the big screen, not all bad, but not all good (Connery remains my favourite, in case anyone was wondering, though Craig is a close second). As such, Fleming’s character influenced a lot of my earlier work from the romantic side of things. Bond in the novels was a truly hopeless romantic. While the movies portray him as somewhat sex-obsessed, the novels show a more tender side in that he falls for every woman he encounters to some extent. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it never works out and the woman always ends up leaving him at the end of the novel or at the beginning of the next story.

Anyway, I digress . . . you get it, I love Bond.

As it turns out, the copyright news was all complete crap. The story had been blown out of proportion. Copyright is a funny thing in that it tends to be different depending on which country you currently find yourself occupying. In general, copyrighted works remain protected for 70 years following the death of its creator. That’s why Sherlock Holmes has been adapted six ways from Sunday. It’s allowed.

Ian Fleming passed away in 1964 which means his work is protected in most countries, the US and UK included, until 2034. However, one country holds a considerably different timeline for copyright. Behold, Canada! That’s right, the land of beavers and maple syrup holds a copyright limit of only 50 years. That means that as of January 1st, 2015, James Bond entered into the public domain in Canada. As fortune would have it, I found myself then (as I am now) living in British Columbia, Canada. I’d had this idea for a female spy thriller rattling around in my head for the past few years and with the news that Bond was available I pitched the concept to my agent. He filled me in on the particulars that I could only get away with it in Canada so it probably wasn’t a good idea as limiting publishing a novel to just one country would be silly. He was, of course, correct. item9

So I did the only logical thing. I wrote to the Ian Fleming Foundation, who own the book and film rights, to ask if I could write a book featuring a character who was (potentially) the daughter of James Bond and could I use the term ‘double-00’. With all the politeness that the English can muster, they said no, absolutely not. Novels, even the newer ones have to be commissioned by the foundation. However they did write: "...I wish you all the best for your novel and the strong, original characters you have created." Which I thought was very nice.

The take-away here is ‘you don’t mess with Bond.’

So now what? I have this great character. She fits beautifully into the Bond universe while maintaining her own story but I can’t reference Bond, M, Q, or 007. Well hell, I’ll write it anyway. And I did. My agent, Mark Gottlieb, signed the book, HAVELOCK, on spec with Curiosity Quills Press who released it first as a four part serial on Amazon and then as a full novel this past November.

But how did I get around the Fleming copyright? I wrote the novel without ever mentioning James Bond or any of the other copyrighted material. I may have planted easter eggs, I definitely gave some gracious nods to Fleming’s earlier novels, but I built a new universe where MI6 is crumbling and my main character’s father has vanished. The identity of said father is a mystery that allows readers to make their own deductions, until it’s revealed in later novels at least.

If nothing else, I’d like readers of this article to take away two things: Firstly, be careful of copyright laws. While it may seem like a small thing to infringe slightly upon a known brand or character, the owners of said copyright will likely be less forgiving. Secondly (and slightly contradictory to my first point), don’t be afraid to take chances with your writing. If you have the next great Bond, Bourne, Potter, or Everdeen story rattling around in your head, find a way to get it onto paper but without messing with someone else’s property. If the story is good, people will love it regardless.

TELL US YOUR FAVORITE BOND or leave a comment on the blog below or on our Facebook page and you’ll be entered to win a copy of HAVELOCK! (US entrants only, please.)

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