A lot of little things go into the process of writing a book, even one that came together as relatively easy this one, so I thought it would be fun to invite you back to see what’s behind the curtain. Below, I’ve compiled a list of trivia surrounding The Private Life of Jane Maxwell. Hope you enjoy it!
- Jane’s first name came from the very first note I ever wrote down about the book, where I described the protagonist as “a normal Jane Schmane”.
- Her last name is from James Clerk Maxwell, the scientist who first published about the electromagnetic spectrum, and (quoting Wikipedia here) “bringing together for the first time electricity, magnetism, and light as different manifestations of the same phenomenon”. I really hope that he didn’t steal his research from a woman, because that would just suck.
- A lot of the other names in the book are tiny Easter Egg nods to women who’ve worked in comics, both past and present. Not the main cast of heroes, but side characters, street names, etc. You’ll have my mad respect forever if you find them all.
- “UltraViolet” came from the fact that in my notes I was using the placeholder name “superV” for Doctor Demotion, and “ultraV” for her. I started calling her UltraViolet almost by accident after that.
- For the longest time, I actually had no idea what Jane’s job would be. I knew a wanted a normal Jane Schmane to end up on a parallel world, I knew I wanted her to be told she had to pose as her double who’s the head of a team of superheroes, I knew who the villain was, and… that was it. The book was completely stalled at that early stage of development, because I just could not get a handle on the characters. I went through a bunch of different options: scientist, student, doctor, tech support, etc., etc., and nothing worked until one day I just thought, wait, HA, wouldn’t it be funny if she draws superheroes for a comic book? After that, the rest fell together naturally.
- Despite a general love of superheroes and comics, and despite having read a lot of serialized webcomics over a years, I hadn’t read more than a handful of completed graphic novels before I started this book. Suffice it to say, I have long since remedied that.
- A big inspiration as I was writing this book was The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore. Nothing about it directly applied to my work, exactly, but just learning the background of such an iconic female superhero as I was writing about female superheroes really made me ponder what it means to step into these shoes, and what kind of voice I was adding to the conversation. The Wonder Woman movie then came out about a month before my book was released, while I was deep in edits, and it instantly meant so much to me, I honestly cannot even express the depth of how this movie hit me.
That’s it! Did you guess any of them? What else about the characters, creation process, or history are you curious about? Feel free to comment with any questions! And, of course, let me know if you spotted any of the easter eggs I mentioned.
Haven’t read the book yet? The Private Life of Jane Maxwell is available on all major ebook platforms, as well as in paperback.
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