Fleming’s James Bond appeared to use women rather than romance them. By romance I mean allowing some form of emotion to develop. When the Bond franchise moved on, after Fleming’s death, slowly emotion crept into the romantic sub plots and women became more a part of the main plot and not just the decoration.
For my hero, Ian Vaughan, there has been little chance of developing such themes due, in ‘A Cast of Hawks’, to lack of opportunity and in ‘BATSU’ the traumas of a marriage break-up.
I was recently asked why when starting with an apparently happily married couple I chose to break things up. Well there were two reasons, the first being the need for my hero to have more freedom for derring-do, and the second to allow the opportunity for a romantic sub-plot that could be fleeting or firm. The question is how to develop a scenario that is relevant to the plot, but not too distracting. His bosses would not want him to become emotionally involved for fear of maybe a change of sides; Vaughan would not be the first agent whose head has been turned by a pretty face. In this fictional world however, I am Vaughan’s master, and it is up to me whether he keeps the codes of decency he has displayed so far, or whether he turns into a cold user of the women he meets.
The more interesting issue for me is how my characters develop personalities whilst I write. Obviously I start with some concept as to whether they are good, bad, weak or strong. Thereafter they seem to take over as their dialogue responses appear in my mind almost outside of my control. In ‘Shadows in Sunshine’ there are at least two potential routes for a romance to develop and even the possibility of the two colliding. Annoyingly I have no idea whether or which way it will go until I start the dialogue then, like a first date, the flame will either burn more brightly or be snuffed out. It only takes a word or a minor habit to win or lose a second date, or maybe a more intimate meeting.