I use my Mac for writing books

Young Bond writer and Fast Show co-creator Charlie Higson shares his Mac secrets

MacFormat: Why did you get a Mac in the first place?
Charlie Higson: I love word processors. Some older writers say: “It’s not a proper book if you use a word processor. Nothing beats a medieval quill!” But writers become obsessed with writing tools and worry they’ll lose the magic if they change things. I started on an Amstrad, but had friends with Macs. I knew Macs were better, but feared because they could do more than write that I’d waste time. Lo and behold, I got a Mac, and these days I spend loads of time arsing about on it!

MF: So how does the Mac help you work?
CH: I couldn’t write without Word – or Final Draft for scriptwriting – because I write first drafts fast and do lots of restructuring. The Mac’s also great for research – if you need to know a fact, it’s there, instantly, in front of you.

MF: How do you approach writing more generally?
CH: I love the process. I enjoy being stuck in my office, writing. The hard part is getting the original idea – everything starts with a moment of inspiration, and things then happen quickly. While I was being asked to write Young Bond, I could see in my mind how it could work and what the story might be. But where those ideas come from is impossible to say.

MF: What makes something essentially ‘Charlie Higson’?
CH: I love characters. What connects my adult thrillers with The Fast Show is that they’re about strong characters and what makes them different, funny or interesting.

MF: And your career standouts?
CH: The Fast Show was successful in terms of cultural awareness, but it was brilliant at a fairly late stage in my life to be offered a new career as a children’s writer. It’s fantastic that I’ve become popular with a generation for whom The Fast Show means nothing – to them, I’m Charlie Higson, writer of the Young Bond books.

MF: What are you working on?
CH: A series of books called The Enemy, which is ‘kids versus zombies’. I’m working on the second one and I’ve been doing research on the Mac, wandering around Google Street View, imagining zombies jumping out from behind buildings!

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This interview originally appeared in issue 224 of MacFormat, the UK’s best selling Apple magazine.
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