Saturday, September 15, 2012

Robin Maxwell - Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan - Author Interview

Author Interview

1. How did you come up with the title?
It was a process that I shared with a whole range of people -- from the Edgar Rice Burroughs estate, to my editors and agents, to loved ones and author friends. Quite early most of us agreed that the main title should be JANE, but the subtitle was hotly debated. We also agreed since Tarzan's name didn't appear in the main title, it needed to be in the subtitle. I believe I came up with "The Woman Who Loved Tarzan," but then I began second-guessing myself. Should it be "girl" or "woman?" Should it be "Loved Tarzan" or "Stole Tarzan's Heart?" Many people passionately believed the title should be "ME JANE." I actually sent out a questionnaire with about twenty choices to 85 of my most trusted reading friends. There were some pretty comical write-ins.

2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
We always think about Tarzan saving Jane, and his being her protector. But as I have a successful thirty year marriage that is based on equality, that's what I wanted to impart in JANE. If Tarzan saves Jane (which does happen on a couple of occasions), then Jane saves Tarzan different, significant ways. He is her teacher. She is his teacher. And of course, at the core of it all, is love.

3. How much of the book is realistic?
Quite a lot. I did massive amounts of research into Colonial Africa, Darwin's evolutionary theories about the missing links in human evolution, feral children, the lives of Edwardian women, female explorers and adventurers, the flora and fauna of the African forests, and lost civilizations. While I wanted there to be elements of the mysteries of the jungle, I leaned pretty heavily on science (Jane and her father are paleoanthropologists), and tried to make elements of the original Edgar Rice Burroughs story more realistic than fantastical, as I believe modern readers are a bit more discerning than readers of a hundred years ago, when Tarzan of the Apes was first published.

4. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book?
Short answer - no. I'm really, really happy with every aspect of it.

5. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Smack in the middle of writing it, I had a problem with my eyes, and I couldn't read my research books. If I worked on the computer, I had to limit my time on it and type in giant 24 point font (and zoom in on websites). So I had to depend on my husband, Max, to read to me so I could organize my notes. I'd write the manuscript chapters out in long-hand on yellow pads, then he'd read them to me and I'd touch-type them into my computer in the big font. In fact, he read me the entire manuscript word-for-word out loud several times during the writing and editing process. It was difficult, but because Max really loved this book, he took pleasure in the help he gave me, and it became a lovely bond between us. I feel it is just as much his book as mine - he's my own Tarzan! You can see by the cover of our local arts and entertainment magazine, that we identify pretty strongly with Tarzan and Jane!

About the Book

Cambridge, England, 1905. Jane Porter is hardly a typical woman of her time: the only female student in Cambridge University’s medical program, she is far more comfortable in a lab coat dissecting corpses than she is in a corset and gown sipping afternoon tea. A budding paleoanthropologist, Jane dreams of traveling the globe in search of fossils that will prove the evolutionary theories of her scientific hero, Charles Darwin. Little does she know she is about to develop from a well-bred, brilliantly educated Edwardian young woman to a fierce, vine-swinging huntress who meets and falls in love with Tarzan.

And so begins JANE: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan (A Tor trade paperback; September 18, 2012; $14.99), the first retelling of Tarzan written by a woman and authorized by the Edgar Rice Burroughs Estate. This renowned love story of the ultimate strong female protagonist, by award-winning author and screenwriter Robin Maxwell, deftly entwines real people and events with archaeology and ancient civilizations based on Maxwell’s research into Darwinian evolutionary theory and the historical discoveries of paleoanthropologist Eugene Dubois.

When dashing American explorer Ral Conrath invites Jane and her father to join an expedition deep into West Africa, she can hardly believe her luck. Africa is every bit as exotic and fascinating as she has always imagined, but Jane quickly learns that the lush jungle is full of secrets—and so is Ral Conrath. When danger strikes, Jane finds her hero, the key to humanity’s past, and an all-consuming love in one extraordinary man: Tarzan of the Apes.

Price: $15.99
Pages: 320
Publisher: Tor Books
Release date: September 18. 2012
Buy Links: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound

About the Author

ROBIN MAXWELL is the national bestselling author of eight historical fiction novels featuring powerful women, including Signora da Vinci and the award-winning Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn, now in its 24th printing. She lives in the high desert of California with her husband, yogi Max Thomas.

Links to connect with Robin:

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