The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain: Author's Notes and Acknowledgements
There are a few things which take place or are mentioned throughout this story which are not necessarily clear to all readers, as evidenced by a number of questions I've received from some. So this final "chapter" is meant to clear up some of those details. (Do not read this unless you've read the whole story, or things are going to be spoiled for you.) If there's something you're really wondering about and you don't see an answer here, drop me a comment or contact me in some other way and ask; I'll update this chapter to include the appropriate response.
I. About Elizabeth Quatermain
According to canon, Allan Quatermain didn't have a daughter. You know that, right?
Yes. Believe me, I looked into it before I made my story available for public viewing. But I liked the idea too much to abandon it just because he never mentioned a daughter in the books.
Why don't we know what Elizabeth looks like?
There are two reasons, one personal and one logical. The personal reason was that I was determined Elizabeth would not become a "Mary Sue" by any stretch of the imagination, and so rather than give you any ideas that she's the most ravishing creature this side of Mina Harker, I decided it would be better to allow you to decide for yourself how she appears. The logical reason, of course, is that the entire story is comprised of Elizabeth's entries in her own diary, and I couldn't think of any circumstances which would have this proper Victorian girl sitting down and telling her diary what she sees in the mirror each day.
Is Elizabeth based on anyone real?
She has several qualities belonging to assorted people I know in real life. Actually, more than one person has described her as me in a corset. This is not entirely inaccurate.
Is there any significance to Elizabeth's birthday?
The only reason Elizabeth's birthday got mentioned at all was to bring up a brief reminiscence of her father and their last time spent together, which was when he taught her to shoot. As to the choice of date, I decided that if she's going to hang out in my head this much, we might at least have some things in common. So I gave her my birthday; I'm not using it much just now.
Why does Skinner call her Bess? Does she really hate it that much?
Skinner calls her Bess because Skinner is completely incorrigible and loves to be as informal as possible. She's not crazy about the nickname, but she recognizes that it's a sign of his fondness for her, so she tolerates it in good humor. Or humour. The pattern seems to be that she is "Bess" under ordinary circumstances, and "Bessie" when he's feeling particularly affectionate, silly, or parental.
II. About this whole sordid plot
What was the deal with the letter?
The letter was a forgery. Sebastian de Gaulle arranged for Elizabeth to receive the message, which she believed was from her father, with the intent of luring her to Paris and to her death. Originally, I had intended for there to have been a real letter from Allan to his daughter, intercepted by de Gaulle and replaced with the forgery, but it never made its way into the story.
So was de Gaulle her half-brother?
That would be telling! But I can tell you that the unanswered question is going to fester in her mind for a very long time. And she might never completely get over the guilt she feels for killing him.
This business with the Porte Rouge and Elizabeth's mistake. Was there a point to that?
That was me laughing at myself. I had been entirely too pleased with the key message she received in her first diary entry. When the time came for them to start looking for the actual key, however, my ego took a nosedive because I realized I never got around to reading Hunchback. So I spent a short amount of time searching the text for 'secret' places within the cathedral. The two I mentioned, Frollo's private room and the Porte Rouge, seemed like good ideas at the time. I reasoned that Frollo's room wasn't real, but when I went online to learn more about the Porte Rouge, I found out that all it refers to is the red door. By that point, I had already written the story up to Elizabeth's conversation with the sexton; I considered going back and removing all the references to the Porte Rouge, but I decided that having my heroine screw up that way would be a nice bit of comic relief, so I kept it. If nothing else, I hope it will remind me in future stories not to be overly impressed by my own cleverness.
What's this reference to Tom solving a murder mystery?
That is the plotline of Tom Sawyer, Detective, the last of Twain's novels about his most famous character. Seventeen-year-old Tom solves a baffling murder; the story is told from the point of view of Huck Finn. Interestingly, the book takes place in 1897, two years prior to the LXG movie -- which means that the film's Agent Sawyer is approximately nineteen years old. I made him twenty in my story just for the sake of argument.
What the heck happened in the warehouse with the flashback to Africa?
I'm not too sure. Elizabeth hates guns, hates violence. Her father taught her to shoot, but she didn't really want to learn; she only went along with it to please him. In the warehouse, she recognized on some level that if she didn't kill de Gaulle, he was going to kill Tom and Skinner, if Skinner wasn't already dead. As near as I can figure it out, her subconscious took over and put her into a situation where she could fire the gun without realizing she was shooting at a person. Either that, or the ghost of Allan Quatermain came back to save his daughter. Pick the theory you like best. Elizabeth herself is not terribly clear on what happened, and she spends most of her time trying not to think about it.
Props to you on remembering to illustrate the Mina/Henry/Tom love triangle. Now please explain this possible love triangle you've established with Elizabeth/Tom/Skinner.
I'll explain this much. When I started writing this story, I was perfectly well convinced that Elizabeth would eventually fall in love with Tom and vice versa; that was how I planned to end it. What I did not count on was that Elizabeth would develop this bond she seems to share with Skinner. She is of the mind that the relationship between them is of the platonic, brother-sister variety of friendship; the trouble with this is that it hasn't dawned on her that maybe he doesn't agree. Meanwhile, yes, she is attracted to Tom, and finds his continued interest in Mina to be problematic, but at this stage in the game she thinks that her only concern is that he doesn't get hurt again. In other words, she hasn't completely figured out that she's attracted to him. And nobody is entirely sure what Tom is thinking about any of this, but he seems to be a bit more tuned in to the Elizabeth/Skinner relationship than a neutral observer would be, so his interest might not be solely focused on Mina.
III. About me, sequels, and other random nonsense
Are you really planning to write more stories with this character?
Edited answer, March 2009 (since by now it's pretty obvious that yes, I did): At the time that I initially wrote this FAQ, the answer was "Sure looks that way." Literally, I felt more like a conduit for someone else telling a story than the story's actual writer. Very little went the way I expected it to go. Looking back five years after I first began, all I can do is shake my head and wonder what happened.
Your writing style is very period. How did you do that?
I read a lot. And I can be pretty good at faking what I don't know. Also, I set the spellchecker on my word processor to use the British spellings of words (colour, favour) instead of the American (color, favor). For the record, I am an American, though a blatant Anglophile.
IV. Credits, thanks, and all that jazz
The basic premise of this story is based upon the film The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, released in theaters July 11, 2003. The film in turn was based on the series of graphic novels of the same name by Alan Moore. In a general sort of way, everything you read in this story is the property of the much more clever people who were involved in those two projects, and I made absolutely no financial profit from the use thereof. The only thing I can lay legitimate claim to is the personality of Elizabeth -- and she says that she is perfectly capable of owning that herself, thank you very much. Oh, I also made up de Gaulle, but I don't like him well enough to say I own him. Besides, he's dead.
The characters of Dr. Henry Jekyll and Mr. Edward Hyde are from Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The character of Wilhelmina Harker is from Dracula by Bram Stoker.
The character of Allan Quatermain is from King Solomon's Mines, Allan Quatermain, The Ivory Child, and other stories and novels by H. Rider Haggard.
The character of Captain Nemo and his amazing Nautilus are from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne.
The character of Rodney Skinner is patterned, loosely, after the original Invisible Man, from the book The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells. Personally, I prefer Skinner's company, but that's just me.
The character of Tom "Special Agent" Sawyer is from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Tom Sawyer Abroad, and Tom Sawyer, Detective, all by Mark Twain.
The character of Moriarty (mentioned in this story, but never seen) is from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Additionally, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, originally published in French as Notre-Dame de Paris, is by Victor Hugo. Leaves of Grass is a poetry volume by Walt Whitman. The Canterbury Tales is a medieval collection of tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
In summation, if you want to read literature that's a lot better than my fan fiction, you have lots of options.
Thanks go out to everyone who read this story. Special thanks are in order to three of my readers. Two are known on as EtCetera Kit and Emerald3. Etcy gets her props for pointing out a few factual errors and the like in early versions of the first chapter, thus helping me to make a better story; while Emmy needs to be thanked for her eloquent and truly delightful reviews. They are, incidentally, excellent writers themselves, so if you'd like to read more LXG fan fiction, please stop by their profiles and have a look. The third reader to whom I owe the most thanks is called "darkmark90," and it was after reading email from this gentleman that I realized I'd given Elizabeth entirely too much advance knowledge of something there was really no way she could have known. So thank you very much for helping me correct my error.
Special thanks are also extended to two real-life friends -- Christianne, who was the first fan of the story, and Regina, who was the only person who caught a rather glaring error I made with regard to Paris's proximity to the coast.
Next stop, Egypt. Cheers, my freaky darlings!