W.B. Maxwell was the third surviving child of novelist Mary Elizabeth Braddon and her husband John Maxwell, a publisher. He became a novelist and playwright and was a prolific author of short stories. His first work, The Countess of Maybury, was published in 1901. He followed it with a novel every year until 1913. His plays included The Last Man In, a drama produced at the Royalty Theatre, Glasgow, and The Naked Truth, a comical farce first played at Wyndham's Theatre, London, in 1910. At the outbreak of World War I, he volunteered for the British Army, though nearly 50 years old at the time, and served as a lieutenant with the Royal Fusiliers in France until 1917.