LONDON (Reuters) - The next chapter in the life of the quintessentially English character of James Bond will be penned by U.S. author Jeffery Deaver, who believes he has the "chameleon"-like qualities to get inside 007's head.
Crime writer Deaver, best known for his Kathryn Dance and Lincoln Rhyme books, has already started to write the outline for the new authorized Bond story, which will be published in May, 2011 and set in the present day.
Fittingly for the world's most famous fictional spy, the novel is known only as "Project X" until a title is chosen, and plot details are being kept strictly under wraps.
"For one reason or another I have learned over the years that I have a capacity ... to be a bit of chameleon," Deaver told Reuters in an interview to announce the book.
"I've written about young African-American characters in America, I have written about elderly characters, I've written from the points of view of women ... of serial killers ... and enjoy stepping into their shoes.
"I think it's going to be relatively easy for me to step into the role of Bond and the other characters in the book," added the 60-year-old.
"I am not writing this book as if I were (Bond creator) Ian Fleming. No one can really do that. I am taking the type of story that I generally tell -- a very fast-paced thriller, lots of twists and turns and surprises."
Deaver was first identified as a potential Bond author when he won the 2004 Crime Writers' Association Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for "Garden of Beasts" and spoke at the ceremony of his indebtedness to Fleming and Bond.
Corinne Turner, managing director of Ian Fleming Publications Ltd, said Garden of Beasts proved Deaver could write convincing stories set outside the United States.
Project X will be published by Deaver's publishers Hodder & Stoughton in Britain and Simon & Schuster in the United States.
FILM IN MIND
Deaver gave little away about the plot he has already begun to outline in detail, although he suggested it would be another fast-paced, high-tension mission for 007.
"It's not only important to maintain the Fleming tone, and by that I mean a good hero against a bad villain," he said.
"I think it's important too that I bring to the story my typical relentless pacing and plot reversals every so often so readers are really on the edge of their seats the entire time."
Deaver, whose "The Bone Collector" was adapted for the big screen in 1999 and starred Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie, said he taught students to have film in mind when they wrote.
"Stories like this should have elements of good solid filmmaking -- the scenes have to be extremely visual, there should be a crisp, clear, accurate dialogue," he said.
The Bond movie franchise is among the longest running and most lucrative in history, although the latest installment starring Daniel Craig has been delayed indefinitely due to uncertainty over studio MGM's future.
Deaver, who has written 26 novels and sold 20 million books worldwide, continues a long tradition of post-Fleming Bond novels authorized by Fleming's estate that have included Kingsley Amis, John Gardner and Raymond Benson.
More than 100 million Bond books have been sold in total.
(Reporting by Mike Collett-White; Editing by Matthew Jones)