I is for Ian, Ian Fleming


It’s I-day today. And I bring out someone not quite a classic yet just as timeless, just as well loved and way more exciting. He is the one who created the coolest, hottest hero ever.. and I mean ever. It’s the flamboyant Ian Fleming – the man behind James Bond. If anything he was at least just as dashing as the hero he created.

A tough legacy to follow

Ian Fleming came from a well respected, wealthy English family. His grandfather was a banker and his father Valentine Fleming, a landowner and Member of Parliament as well as a war hero who was killed in the War when Ian was about 9. His brother Peter excelled at Eton and Oxford and went on to become a well know travel writer. Ian had to live up to a towering legacy.

A restless soul

All of that seemed like a tall order for Fleming. He could never distinguish himself at academics. He left Eaton before completing his graduation. At the military academy he left without taking an officer’s commission. He tried to take the Foreign Services Exam but could not clear that too. Finally, like his brother, he joined Reuters – the news agency - and became a journalist.

Ian Fleming
A few years as a journalist convinced him that his salary would not let him live the kind of high life he wanted. His own inheritance was out of reach so he took on work as a banker. A few years later, bored of his banker’s job he quit and joined the Times.

In 1939 he joined the naval intelligence. That’s where he seemed to have finally found his calling. Quite like his hero he planned and carried out dangerous missions. He also wrote countless reports where his natural flair for writing showed up and they made for great reading. It was during those days that he went to Jamaica for a conference and fell in love with the place promising to return.

In Jamaica, Bond is born

My favourite Bond
And return he did. He built himself a house called Goldeneye and every year, for six years, he would go to Jamaica to live the high life he had always wanted... partying, romancing and having affairs. The turning point came when a married woman, Anne Rothermere, he was having an affair with, got pregnant and pressured him to marry her. While waiting for her divorce to come through he started writing his first novel Casino Royale. After that, each year he used his Jamaican holiday to write a novel.

At the age of 56 Ian Fleming died of a heart attack. In a very Bond like manner his last words were to the ambulance drivers. Said he, “I am sorry to trouble you chaps. I don’t know how you get along so fast with the traffic on the roads these days.”

James Bond..

.. would be the dullest, most uninteresting man to whom “things happened”, thought Fleming when he first conceived Bond. However, 12 Bond novels later, we know better. Secret Agent 007, took on a life of his own.

Fleming modeled Bond after many real life characters including his brother and himself. He put to use his real life experiences. His villains too were people he disliked in real life!

Seven actors have played James Bond in 23 films, beginning with Sean Connery in 1962 to Daniel Craig in 2012.. but you already know that. So who's your favourite Bond? I'd go with Sean Connery.

I won't leave a clue for tomorrow. Girls and boys.. wait for the magic to begin!

This post is part of the April A to Z Challenge, 2014 for the theme AMAZING AUTHORS.

Also linking to the Ultimate Blog Challenge.

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