It's 1% inspiration against 99% perspiration, as Edison famously said. Putting up some of those Fangleworths images reminded me how much work we did to develop the Mirabilis story and characters.
Early versions experimented with a more modern style of army uniform:
which we decided just wasn't working. Possibly it would have been more historically accurate (the story starts in 1901) but I always go by Emerson's advice that "a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." The flamboyant hussar's uniform that Leo eventually chose is much more in keeping with Jack's dashing (over-) romanticism.
As you can see, in that very early version Jack looked about twelve years old. As we worked on character development, both he and Estelle became more attractive. And we opted to give Estelle more of a look that modern readers would find relatable. She cuts her own hair (with garden shears, as a matter of fact) and that was part of the character description from day one, so we were able to avoid any Princess Leia grannified weirdness.
All this work takes time, and even though it may seem blindingly obvious that the finished version is miles better, it isn't always obvious when you're groping your way through the maze of creative choices. More on this here.
Only in LA - I love LA but have to admit, some bizarre shit goes on out here. No wonder people in the rest of the country shake their heads. Maybe it's the combinat...