I enjoy reading my own books. I guess most authors do. I’ve been blogging, and still am, about characters in the various books, but I thought I would start writing about all my favorite “bits” that I’ve put in my books– events and people inspired by things that happened in my life, things meant to illustrate a character that someone might have missed, and inside jokes (some there for the reader and some just for myself, until now).
My first item up is Maxxim Industries– the home of Astrid Maxxim’s lab and workshops. Maxxim Industries has two inspirations– Swift Enterprises in the Tom Swift Jr. books, and Disneyworld.
In the Tom Swift Jr. books, Tom worked on the grounds of Swift Enterprises, a four mile square (as opposed to four square miles) complex of factories and airfields and laboratories. Since Astrid is a Tom Swift-like character and the story is essentially my take on that type of book, she needed someplace similar.
I remember being fascinated by Disneyworld when I watched Walt Disney talk about it on TV when I was little. Disneyworld, unlike Disneyland, is not just a theme park. It’s basically an entire county in Florida (80,000 acres) run by the Walt Disney Company, with theme parks sure, but also private residences, a Disney police force and Disney fire department, and undeveloped land.
I wanted something more like Disneyworld for Astrid– some huge county-sized place, dotted with installations, so I sat down and mapped out 180,000 acres of the southwest, in a nondescript part of an undisclosed state.