Rachel Carson High School: I wanted Astrid’s school to be named for a female scientist, but I wasn’t sure which one. The first draft had Marie Curie High School, but that was a bit too on the nose. There were several other possibilities, but I’m happy with the final version. Rachel Carson is one of the great unsung heroes of the last millennium.
Bike Paths and Monorails: The kids in the story are too young to drive, but they get around on bike paths and in the Maxxim monorail. This gave me the kind of 50s retro-futuristic feel that I wanted. It’s just fun, too.
On the other hand, Maxxim City is supposed to be super-technologically advanced, so they can’t just use the same NEMA-1-15 and NEMA 5-15 electrical plugs you find in your walls at home (or the European equivalents). I wanted them to have something like a thunderbolt plug, but one which would carry both high voltages as well as data, hence the Excalibur outlet.
When I originally wrote the story, the hoverbikes were all sleek and futuristic, but I loved the cover design done by Matthew Riggenbach at Shead Studios. So, I rewrote it so that Astrid’s hoverbike was a retro-design in orange. Now it matches the cover picture and it adds a little something to Astrid’s character.