Geneve’s original trilogy (starting with Blade of Glass) was built on the idea that we are better when we work together. I’d penned the series when I noticed the dark trend of social and regular media megacorps juicing us together just to get the clicks.
Her story was set in a world much like ours, and not too far in the future. We couldn’t stop hating each other, and so everyone died. Why she and her fellow Tresward Knights survived was because they are absolute badasses. The whole trilogy is a collection of badassery, where people can summon the power of the gods through perfect sword strikes, or a broken-down illusionist can change reality if he’s willing to put it all on the line (yes, Meriwether, I’m looking at you).
My upcoming trilogy (starting with The Copper Bard) is still full of badassery, but not in the same way. Where Geneve, Meriwether, Armitage, and Sight of Day were competent heroes, the new crew is … a little different. Evanne is a bard, so useless at anything but charm. Tarragon is a fairy, and no one makes fairy-sized swords anymore. Pakhet is a tiger the size of a Clydesdale, who is terrified of everything. And Morgan, the Raven Queen of Or’sen, has been deposed, on the run, and without any of her ‘trusted’ retinue, except one old Queensguard.
I wrote the new series because at the time there was a real backlash against difference, especially towards trans and LBGTQ+ people*. This wonderful, beautiful community was under attack (perpetually, but more specifically at the time) from a bunch of shitlords, and it made me think a lot about what it must be like to be wonderful, but also different, and for people to just see the different bit, not the wonderful bit.
This is where Evanne comes in. She’s a brilliant singer, but people don’t really understand what she is (spoilers: she is half-human, and half-Vhemin). And she’s just going about trying to save the world, while the villains are trying to paint her as the villain. Her charm becomes her strength as she navigates challenges others can’t, because she so damn likeable. She makes mistakes, but gets back up, only to make them again. And in making mistakes, she also makes friends, and ultimately, a better world. Tarragon, despite the lack of fairy-sized swords, embodies love, faith, resourcefulness, and ingenuity, but also loss, and learning, and the power than comes from facing what you were, to become what you need to be. Their uniqueness isn’t a hindrance; it’s what changes the world.
Pakhet’s fear isn’t a weakness—it’s a reminder of the bravery it takes to face fears head-on. To do what’s right, even when it’s hard, and you’d rather run away (or, sleep in a flower bed in the sun). Morgan’s fall from power and grace encourages her to become resilient when she has no empire or soldiers at her command. She learns, and teaches, and becomes who her people really need.
Each brings a different perspective to fixing the world. It’s this strength found in diversity we really need, like, all the fucking time.
Our world and its cultures (or, the ones I’m passing familiar with) tend to celebrate conformity. Sameness. Beige. I hope when you read The Copper Bard trilogy, you see more of the beauty and power of being different. Everyone has something to give, if we only give them a chance.
* The Copper Bard trilogy is not a trans story, because I am not trans, and respect their community too much to try stealing their voice and using it for myself. If you want great stories from diverse authors, can I recommend some of my local team starting with A.J. Fitzwater, Andi C. Buchanan, or Sascha Stronach?