It was on this day in 1952, at his Goldeneye estate in Jamaica, that Ian Fleming began writing a little spy novel called Casino Royale. He had been tossing around the idea for some time; as a matter of fact, he mentioned such to friends, even as WWII raged.
But it wasn’t until he prepared to marry his mistress, who also happened to be carrying his child, that he began writing in earnest. A good distraction, you know. Good distraction, indeed. It took him a little over two months to complete that first novel. And despite the fact that an ex-girlfriend suggested that if he absolutely, positively had to publish the thing, it would behoove him to employ a nom de plume–and he, himself called the work a “dreadful oafish opus”–it garnered immediate popularity upon publication.
He was forty-four .
While it may seem a late start to some, those years served a training ground of sorts. No doubt he amassed characters and plots as he served as assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence in the Admiralty in London, or the Foreign Manager in the Kemsley newspaper group. Even the name of his hero came from a book on his bookshelf–specifically, Birds of the West Indies, by American ornithologist James Bond. You see, he felt it a rather mundane name and, as he explained to The New Yorker, “[he] wanted Bond to be an extremely dull, uninteresting man to whom things happened . . . a blunt instrument . . . ”
Of course, we all know Bond, James Bond to be anything but boring.
So in honor of the day it all began, let’s raise a glass (shaken, not stirred, naturally)–and perhaps revisit one of the original fourteen James Bond titles by Ian Fleming . . .