Nobody likes to talk about race and racial discrimination in the real world, so why in the world would anyone talk about race in a fantasy novel. Well, my question always was why not? Fantasy is no stranger to this idea of magical classism, and it seems like because of that people seem to think that magical classism transcends race or that in fantasy worlds like Harry Potter or Percy Jackson or even The Hunger Games (Fantasy-ish. More like a branch of sci-fi since it’s dystopian but you get it) that racism doesn’t exist or at the very least the problem of racial discrimination is never blatantly mentioned in those novels.
When I set out to write The Immortal Queen Tsubame, I decided to bring that issue to the forefront, so not only does MaLeila, the protagonist, have the fact that she was essentially new magical blood and a female going against her, she had the fact that she was black as a third strike against her in a magical world that was predominantly run by white men who could trace their magical ties back thousands of years if they had. And I know a lot of people have an issue with that. They want people to be able to imagine the character and cast the story, but the fact of the matter is that there is no story if the MC wasn’t black and she didn’t have to face certain social discrimination that propel some of the events of the rest of the novel even though the book is a fantasy.
I also bring to the table the issue of black/African-American slavery in the magical world because certainly because a person had magic didn’t make them some perfect moral authority and in some ways, being a slave owner or slave that could use magic made the situation much worse. I can’t really delve into how without spoiling the book, but it was an interesting undertaking to say the least to figure out how race would affect a magical world. And if you’re interested to see how I deal with it, check out The Immortal Queen Tsubame.