I aim to write dark fantasy books that are not only intriguing, but also celebrate diversity. Real people are complex and varied. Characters should therefore embody some of our complicated internal landscapes AND also reflect the richness of identity we see in our everyday lives. I have sorely missed this celebration of diversity when reading many science fiction and fantasy books. So I created more than one transgender, queer, Brown, kick-butt badass in my Lighterseries.
I know it's not only me who wants to see themself mirrored in their favorite heroes. When we add on the layers of identity, like race, gender, sexual orientation and ability, it's easy to become invisible when you're not part of the majority. That's why representation matters. I am a non-binary person also navigating my world as Hispanic and queer. I hardly ever feel seen in all of my wholeness, even in the most welcoming of spaces. So when I do see myself represented in science fiction and fantasy, I feel less isolated. It's thrilling. And those books fuel me with the energy to keep fighting for visibility.
My experience as a transgender, queer, person of color is interwoven into Lieutenant Colonel Sel's narrative. The othering they experience, their fight to be seen and respected. Through their resilience and determination, Lieutenant Colonel Sel claims their authority. They become someone powerful and necessary, work that is not possible without key allies. Sel overcomes their marginalization through resilience, skill, and support from others. This is an experience so many of us can identify with.
I am excited and proud to have Sel as one of my primary characters. They are non-binary, and yes, I do refer to them by they/them pronouns all throughout the series. Lieutenant Colonel Sel plays a pivotal role in each of the Lighter books so that people like me can read about someone like them. Powerful, necessary, and brand-spankin' awesome.