The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain, volume IV: Author's Notes and Acknowledgements
Once again, I feel compelled to explain myself.
About this whole sordid plot
Was Skinner really sleeping in chapter one?
How did Elizabeth get back to her room when she fell asleep in the library?
Why was Skinner so nervous a few days before the ball?
Where did Skinner go the morning after the ball?
What happened when Skinner confronted Everett?
Why did Skinner avoid Elizabeth for so long after the wedding?
What finally prompted Skinner to go and talk to Elizabeth?
All of these questions, and more, will be answered when I release the companion volume from Skinner's point of view. You can expect to start seeing it within a week of this FAQ being posted.
Is March 21st really Tom Sawyer's birthday?
I found no references to Tom observing his birthday in any of the three Sawyer novels. Since I really wanted the League to celebrate his birthday as they did Elizabeth's and Skinner's, I invented a date. The first day of spring, as Elizabeth notes, seems entirely appropriate for our optimistic American.
What's this about the Prince of Wales being shot at in Belgium?
That really happened on April 5, 1900. England's heir to the throne, Prince Albert Edward ("Bertie") was visiting Brussels and was the target of a failed assassination attempt. When I looked up events which took place that month, that jumped out at me as something that Elizabeth, being a loyal daughter of the empire, would have noted as soon as she became aware of it.
Why does Tom trace the letter V on his face when he's thinking?
Ask Mark Twain. That's something he mentions in Tom Sawyer, Detective - in fact, it's a fairly important plot point in that story. I thought it was an endearing little trait, and as Elizabeth is so fond of Tom, it seemed like the sort of thing she would notice.
So Elizabeth starts out not liking Everett...but then she does like him? Explain this?
Bear in mind that Elizabeth is rather young, and quite inexperienced with men. Apart from the business with Robert Stuart a couple years ago, the chief man in her life has been the invisible one, and he's really the only person from whom she's accustomed to receiving so much undivided attention. So initially, Mr. Everett unnerved her, but after she got a bit used to him, she found the attention flattering. (Which she wouldn't have, if she'd known its real purpose.)
Tom didn't have a brother, Sid was his cousin and he would have considered Huck to be his brother.
This comment is taken directly from a review, and I include it here to point out that it's wrong. Sidney Sawyer was Tom Sawyer's younger half-brother. As proof, I offer the following quote from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; if you don't believe Mark Twain, then I really can't help you. This is from the very first chapter of the novel:
~Tom's younger brother (or rather half-brother) Sid was already through with his part of the work (picking up chips), for he was a quiet boy, and had no adventurous, troublesome ways.~
If the League disliked Everett so much, why didn't they keep her away from him?
They did make more of an effort to do so than Elizabeth knew (as you'll see in Skinner's version). But she is an adult, and Nemo is only a father figure to her, not any kind of formally appointed guardian. Yes, the League is Elizabeth's family, but they felt awkward attempting to interfere with something that was more or less making her happy.
Why did Elizabeth give in to Everett, instead of raising the alarm with the League?
To put it succinctly, sheer terror. He was enough of an authority figure in St. Petersburg that he very possibly could have done exactly what he said he would do, and the lives he was threatening were those of the two people she loves most. It seemed safest to err on the side of caution.
Why did you split the wedding between two chapters, instead of putting it all into one?
Tension. Or, to put it another way, because I'm evil and wanted you to think the wrong thing. "Writers are liars," as Neil Gaiman says in Sandman.
Where did you get your description for Skinner after he turned visible?
Well, back when I was writing the first volume in the series, it dawned on me that I might do that at some point. As I have all the other characters in the League looking like their film counterparts, it made sense to do the same with Skinner. But I had no idea what Tony Curran looked like, so I did a websearch for pictures. After sifting through about a dozen pictures of him as Skinner, I found my first shot of the real person. (Incidentally, Elizabeth's reaction to seeing him for the first time is an exaggerated version of my own.) So that picture became the basis for my description of visible!Skinner.
What can we expect from the Skinner version of this story?
I'm going to assume that this is your way of asking for teasers. Among the highlights, you'll get Skinner's thoughts during his arrest and jail stay, a lot of "sage advice" from Tom Sawyer, an attempt on Everett's life, and the heartbroken ramblings of a very, very inebriated invisible man.
Why the dedications on each chapter?
Just saying thank you to some particular individuals who have helped, inspired, or encouraged me along the way. This series wouldn't be what it is without a lot of input from others. And it saved me the trouble of putting another big, long thank-you paragraph at the end of this FAQ.
Is volume five really going to be the last volume?
Volume five will be, without question, the last Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain. I'm going to miss her.
Credits, thanks, and all that jazz
The basic premise of this story series 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 series 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 stories in this series were written out of affection and appreciation for the original works on which they were based.
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.
A Tale of Two Cities is by Charles Dickens. Sydney Carton is the down-and-out anti-hero who makes great sacrifices for the woman he loves. Nicholas Nickleby is also by Dickens, and to be honest, I've never read it; I found the quote Elizabeth mentions in her diary and thought it was too appropriate not to use.
Sense and Sensibility is a novel by Jane Austen, and a film starring Emma Thompson. Elinor and Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon are among the principal characters, Elinor being the protagonist.
The only things to which I can lay legitimate claim are the personality of Elizabeth (who says that she is perfectly capable of owning that herself, thank you very much) and a number of other original characters, including Ben Everett.
Thanks, as always, to all of my readers and reviewers. One person who did not get a chapter dedication, and who deserves more credit than I can give him, is my husband Kevin. A lot of men might not appreciate their wives doing something as all-consuming as this project has turned out to be, but he takes it very much in stride. He even feeds me at the computer when I'm in the middle of a brainstorm.
Do be sure to check out Skinner's version of events. Then you'll know what was happening when Elizabeth wasn't around to observe. Thanks for everything, and as always - cheers, my freaky darlings!