Readers, friends, and family have asked me where I get my ideas. How do I come up with these stories with crazy baddies who create serums that turn men into women or villains who can transform into giant cockroaches? Where did I get the idea for Dama X’s man-made, high-tech island with underground labs and hidden weapons and an army of kick-butt women? In TimeTrap, due to release this summer, I enjoy living through my hero and his disappearing truck that can also change colors to fool anyone tailing him.
I do love my superhero stories and they play a role in inspiring the stories that I write. But my other inspiration came from watching Bond movies.
Particularly, Moore. Roger Moore.
I grew up in the 1980s and saw my first Bond movie, Octopussy, when I was eleven years old.
The smart and stunning Maud Adams played the title character. A wealthy business woman and smuggler, she is a leader of an Octopus cult of kick-butt women who later use their skills to band with Bond and take out the bad guys. It had everything that fed into my imagination: a suave hero, an intelligent heroine, a private army of women warriors, cool gadgets, humor, larger-than-life baddies, exotic locales, and pure enjoyment. Check out its trailer from 1983:
Roger Moore became my go-to Bond. The only Bond I knew at the time. Like they say, you never forget your first.
My love of Bond movies came before the internet and Netfix, so I stalked the video stores renting every Roger Moore Bond film my mom would let me. Weekly, I checked the TV listings for Bond films and would set up my VCR to tape them. I watched and rewatched Octopussy before I discovered The Man with the Golden Gun, For Your Eyes Only, and Moonraker. When I was 12, I begged my mom to let me see A View to a Kill in the movies. I was entranced by Grace Jones. She was so cool and a badass, and I believed she could take on James Bond—and possibly win.
We only had one TV in the house and my grandmother liked to chide me as I hogged the screen to watch Bond skiing through forests shooting at the bad guys or leaping from planes and wrestling in mid-air: “That’s ridiculous. No one can do that. That would never happen.”
But that was the point. It was ridiculous. The villains were too over the top. The women were too sexy and smart and conniving.
Roger Moore was too handsome, strong, intelligent, sexy, and debonair, and he did it all with a humorous flare. You could almost see his tongue in his cheek as he delivered his witty one-liners or came up against an array of femme fatales or my favorite baddie, Jaws (who eventually finds love in Moonraker).
Moore portrayed a fantasy. One not different from superheroes in comic books. Critics label Bond a male fantasy. And although I agree with this assessment, they also miss how he was a female fantasy as well—and not because he was hot, alpha male savior.
As I child, I didn’t long to be the sexy femme fatales who seduced Bond or those he saved who uttered the requisite line, “Oh, James,” at the end. No, I wanted to be James Bond. A female Bond. I wanted to fight off a group of ninjas, shoot a gun with deadly accuracy, travel the world, save then hook up with hot men, and deliver cutting one-liners before I took out the baddies. I wanted to have a watch that shot a laser beam. I wanted a car equipped with hidden guns that could drive underwater.
All those years of watching Moore as Bond built up my imagination and my thirst for these types of stories. Since I couldn’t be Bond, then I could write about characters that reflected aspects of Bond’s world. I could write books that captured the ridiculousness of Bond and how much fun it was to escape into them.
In my book, Dama X, I pay tribute to Bond by including quotes from the films in my chapter headings. I include Bond Easter eggs in all my books—some obvious and others for diehard fans.
I owe much of my imagination and my current stories to Moore and his incredible delivery of Bond that made me believe the ridiculous could be possible and entertaining. I still get the gleeful tingles and want to squeal when I hear the opening song.
RIP, Roger Moore. Thanks for the memories and inspiration. You will always be the only Bond for me.
Nobody does it better.