I hope everyone who’s already read this has enjoyed it, and I hope the peeps still reading, or will be soon, like it as well. The High King’s Golden Tongue ranks as one of my personal favs of the books I’ve written, and so too does Heart of the Lost Star. It may even trump THKGT as my fav in the series so far, though I suspect that if I can pull it off the final book, The Fallen King’s Penitent Soldier will trump it. Time will tell.
But The Heart of the Lost Star contained many elements that were well outside my purview, and without the kindness and hard work of the beta and editor who helped me out, this book would not be anywhere near as good.
Jader, right from the start, was inspired by many of my friends. Those friends who constantly hear shitty things like ‘you don’t sound Black’ or “you don’t look Mexican’ or ‘I totally couldn’t tell you’re Jewish’ and stuff that manages to be even worse. This sort of attitude isn’t uncommon in the queer community either.
He is also graysexual, a minor but still important element. This was important to me because it seems in so many stories, it’s always the shy, quiet, and/or introverted character who falls under the ace spectrum. But Jader is extremely extroverted, confident, vain, and rarely quiet.
Another important element of this story, of course, is Kamir and the abuse he’s suffered. My beta went above and beyond assisting me with Kamir (and countless other elements of the book), and to them I’m eternally grateful (I remain obscure about their identity because I don’t know how much attention they really want). Anything I got right, I owe to them. Anything wrong is obviously on me.
So too for the trans elements of this story. It’s been a source of amusement and vexation that so many people have, from the first book, assumed this world simply had some sort of mpreg I never bothered to explain. All my betas and editors instantly picked up that many characters are trans, so I wasn’t expecting the confusion and assumptions that came with the books’ releases. While some of that is on me, for not being as clear as I thought, I think it also speaks to just how little trans rep there is in fiction, and how little attention and support trans people get, even within their own community.
Like a lot of the first books in MM romance, books with trans characters right now still tend to make their being trans the focal point of the story. And as I have said many a time, I believe strongly in ‘queer as incidental’ rather than always using ‘queer is bad’ for easy conflict and cheap drama. In SFF especially, I feel it’s important to show worlds where a character being trans is a non-issue.
While books that put queer matters as the central focus are equally important and have their place, my preference will always be for incidental. Because when I was growing up, and trying to figure myself out, it was disheartening and painful that my only options were Queer is Bad or Bury Your Gays.
There were other little things that I really enjoyed writing: more of the Islander culture, finally getting to put Chass on-screen, laying the foundation for the shenanigans in books four and five. And the rest of the crew, of course, especially Sarrica, who is my favorite character to write.
Speaking of Sarrica, shortly after finishing Heart, I wrote a ficbit about him, Allen, pertaining to a brief conversation that takes place in the last bits of Heart. So if you’ve finished Kamir and Jader’s story, here is the ficbit for you to enjoy 🙂
I hope everyone is having a lovely week, and if not, I hope the weekend arrives quickly and proves to be infinitely better ❤️ ❤️ ❤️