Calling all Harley Quinn fans! Our friends at DC sat down with Harley Quinn series author Rachael Allen to talk about what she loves most about this iconic Super-Villain and how she approached writing the YA book series. Read on to get a glimpse behind the scenes and then read the rest of the Q&A on DC’s website.
What is it about Harley that makes her such a fun character?
I love writing someone who does cartwheels when she gets bored and fights for gender equality using messages staked out in sparklers. Who runs toward the danger instead of away. Who picks Gotham City Pride as the location for a secret rendezvous/showdown with a super-villain—and wears enough glitter to crop-dust Miami when she shows up.
I feel like the person who came up with the phrase “women contain multitudes” is a Harley Quinn fan.
Why was it important to you to write Harleen as a neuroscience student?
I’m a neuroscientist as my day job and one of my lifelong passions is getting women and girls interested in STEM. (In the past, this mostly involved bringing lots of brains to elementary schools.) But in 2019, I gave my agent a list of all my favorite female scientists in comics and asked if it would be possible for me to write one of them. Harley was at the top of that list. Can you imagine getting the call and finding out that you get to write a Harley Quinn story?
I wanted to write the parts of being a woman in STEM that I desperately want to change. So, I took wage gaps and harassment and every terrible thing that happened to me or one of my friends and poured them into this story. And then I let Harley light them on fire.
We need to encourage women and girls to pursue STEM fields, yes, but we also need to make STEM a safe place for them. I’m not going to stop fighting for that. (Harley wouldn’t.)
What message do you hope young adult readers take away from Harleen’s journey?
My two greatest hopes for these books are that readers will become more interested in STEM after reading and that LGBTQIA+ readers and neurodivergent readers will feel seen. The Harley Quinn trilogy is the first DC Icons series to feature a sapphic romance, and that means so much to me. I hope seeing Harley as a bisexual teenage girl scientist with ADHD will mean a lot to other people, too.