Dubai: Fiction heroes James Bond and Sherlock Holmes today walk a tightrope between adopting new characteristics and retaining signature traits that intrigued readers, leading authors said during the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature on Friday in Dubai.

Two best-selling authors who penned new novels on the long-standing icons shared their experiences during the festival.

American crime writer Jeffery Deaver discussed the contemporary Bond of his 2011 novel Carte Blanche while British author-screenwriter Anthony Horowitz touched upon Holmes’ portrayal in his 2011 book House of Silk.

Deaver’s Bond is a former smoker who drives a Bentley Continental GT and takes his time courting women — as opposed to the usual smoker Bond behind the wheel of a classic Aston Martin who is more impulsive with the ladies.

Also, the new Bond is a spy in a world shaped by recent conflicts rather than the Second World War.

Horowitz stressed it was Holmes’ friendship with Watson — and not just his skill at cracking mysteries — that stood the test of time.

“It’s how this cold [Holmes] is friends with this agreeable man [Watson]. They’re indispensable to each other. It’s the friendship, not so much the mystery alone,” Horowitz said.

The authors opened up during a session on ‘Rebooting Sherlock & 007’ at the literature festival venue, the Intercontinental Hotel-Dubai Festival City.

The authors also shared writing tips with the audience. Deaver advised “you should write the book you enjoy as a reader. Then you’ve already learned a lot about it [the genre].”

He added: “Organise what you write, have an outline, know where the book is going. Polish or throw out what’s not working. You’ll sometimes be rejected — it’s a speed bump, not a brick wall.”

Continuing with the pointers, Horowitz said: “Keep reading and writing. The difference between a successful and unsuccessful writer is that the unsuccessful one stops.”

The fifth edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature concludes on Saturday.