On Illya Kuryakin and Coming Full Circle

A couple days ago, I tweeted: “Seeing @ManFromUNCLE again this weekend. Yes, I know I should be writing. But movie has a tall Russian in it. It’s practically research.”  At the time, it was mostly a quick joke along the lines of ha ha, procrastination, because if there’s one thing writers are good at, it’s doing anything other than writing.  But then I started thinking deeper.

Robert_Vaughn_David_McCallum_Man_from_UNCLE_1966 (1)I have a long history with The Man from U.N.C.L.E.  I had been interested in the James Bond films at a young age. My dad had a collection of the Ian Fleming novels, and I remember seeing For Your Eyes Only when I was far too young to do so. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. would have originally aired when my mom was in high school, and as I entered high school myself I became a sponge for her experiences at that age.  It’s entirely possible that I first saw the show in reruns on cable because she watched it.  We had a VHS copy of The Fifteen Years Later Affair (the reunion special made in 1983) that she’d taped off the TV. The Man from U.N.C.L.E. was much more family-friendly to a young teen than James Bond.

And so, my teenage self met Illya Kuryakin sometime in the early-to-mid-1980s. My first Russian.  I don’t remember having a specific crush on him, but I’ve always been a sucker for a man with an accent. My fascination with a Scot playing a Russian on a show from the mid-1960s led into an interest in US-Soviet relations during the Cold War…

…which led to an interest in glasnost, which was Quite A Big Deal when I was in high school…

…which led to me taking an intensive Russian language course the summer of my sixteenth year…

Red_Wave_album_cover…which led to me hearing Red Wave, a US-produced album of underground Soviet rock music…

…which led, many many years later, to me writing a romance novel about a girl who travels to the Soviet Union during glasnost, falls in love with an aspiring musician, and the twenty years it takes for them to find one another again.

So I suppose it’s procrastination to take another Saturday night off from the novel’s revision to see The Man from U.N.C.L.E. a second time. But it’s not every day that your inspiration comes full circle like this. So I’m going to allow it.

Especially since I’m still a sucker for a Russian accent.

(Image Credits: “Robert Vaughn, David McCallum, Man from UNCLE 1966” by MGM-TV; “Red Wave album cover” by Big Time Records. Licensed under Fair Use via Wikipedia.)


One thought on “On Illya Kuryakin and Coming Full Circle

  1. Pingback: Time to NaNo! | Jen DeLuca

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