Researching James Bond
By Michael J Lee
Believe it or not this project really took off once I started doing historical research.
I know. Sounds crazy. We all know James Bond has nothing to do with reality. He deals with comic book villains who live in futuristic lairs. What could possibly be realistic about that?
But it wasn’t always that way. Ian Fleming began writing about what he knew. With his first novel, Casino Royale, Ian claimed he invented nothing. As a veteran of the intelligence services he knew all about the kind of brutal assignments that he detailed in the book. The operation to scam Le Chiffre at the card table so his bosses (in the novel the K.G.B. not terrorists) would kill him? According to Fleming that really happened. The first two kills that give Bond his double 0 rating? Also based on real operations during World War II. And the early books are noted for a nearly journalistic approach. Fleming had a knack for describing exotic locations, what one reviewer called “The Fleming Sweep.” He was also, like Stephen King, very precise. Bond lived in a very defined world. His cigarettes came from a very particular shop in London and he had a very particular brand of lighter.
With that in mind I took a look at conditions during the Cold War. I researched British Intelligence and the K.G.B. I looked up possible ways for Ian to sneak into East Berlin. I looked for a possible, though not easy escape route. I ended up sending him on a pretty unusual journey but it was one of the best sections of the novel in my opinion. I actually wrote way too much. My first draft was loaded with Ian’s early history with British Intelligence. There’s a whole section that takes place during the failed putsch against Gorbachev where Ian breaks into the underground bunker of Directorate 666, the K.G.B.’s Paranormal division. But I had to chop that out. It was making the novel too long. Maybe I’ll release that as a short story later.
Part of the reason I did this is because I was writing large sections of the book from personal knowledge. The other settings are Ohio, Connecticut, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, places I’ve been to or lived in for a few years. I knew that if the Cold War sections didn’t have some the same details, then they would stand out and not in a good way.
It was a very fun way to write a book. I was always an excellent student in History so that made it enjoyable. I’d learn various facts about Berlin and the East German Border and try to shoehorn them in. In fact I can’t wait to return to East Germany in a future novel.
That means more research. Yay!
From Russia with Blood
By Michael J Lee
400 year old vampire Ian Redd joined British Intelligence during the Cold War. But after the Berlin Wall came down they decided they no longer needed his services. He was retired, almost permanently. Ian escaped and has lived the quiet life in a small town until a professional hit team arrived at his doorstep. Who sent them? That’s a question that will lead Ian into the arms of a beautiful woman named Larissa Barton and into the most dangerous operation of his unlife.
Larissa Barton’s life has barely begun and it’s already gone off the tracks. She’s back in her hometown working as a barista. But things change when Ian Redd enters her life. Dark, mysterious and gorgeous, Ian is her only protection her from the people and creatures who suddenly want her dead. With Ian by her side Larissa plunges into a world of magic, werewolves, vampires, spies and assassins and discovers her own secret past.
“One part James Bond, one part Dracula, and a whole lot of action and adventure. From Russia with Blood kicks ass!” - Vivi Anna, award-winning author of the Valorian Chronicles
About the Author:
Michael J Lee was born in the Midwest and has spent time out on the East Coast and in LA.
He learned the craft of screenwriting the hard way, as a barely paid reader. That’s how he got a good feel for writing form and the craft of storytelling. His approach to a story is a lot like Bruce Lee’s approach to fighting, absorb what is useful.
Lee recently published his first paranormal romance, My Frankenstein. It’s been an adventure – and now he’s onto book 2, From Russia with Blood.