12. The creation of James Bond in 1952
Fleming often mentioned to friends and colleagues during his time with naval intelligence that he would write a spy novel one day. He didn’t tell them that they would be part of it, but many of them were. The inspiration for M, the head of the double 0 branch in his fictional world, was his former boss and mentor, Admiral Godfrey. Felix Leiter grew out of the many American agents with whom he worked during the war years. Q as a character didn’t exist in Fleming’s novels, but Q Branch did, as when M told Bond to see Q Branch “for any equipment you need”. Q Branch was based on Fleming’s experience with various pieces of special equipment created by Charles Fraser-Smith of the Special Operations Executive during the war.
Miss Moneypenny was a combination of several women with whom Fleming had worked, both during and after the war, including one or two with whom he had romantic relationships for a time. In the original draft of the first Bond novel, Casino Royale, the character was named Miss Pettaval, after Kathleen Pettigrew, the personal secretary of real-life MI6 director Stewart Menzies. Fleming’s brother Peter advised the author to change the name after reading the manuscript, to avoid legal complications. Bond’s supercharged Bentley could be seen in Fleming’s driveway, his custom-made cigarettes in his creator’s hand, enjoyed while the author sipped a vodka martini, pondering his creation’s next adventure.