SPOILERS THROUGHOUT. I will try to be plot-vague, but specific enough to be useful. These are probably also out of order.
Overall statements of intent
I’m a white person writing about characters from a variety of fictional racial and cultural backgrounds. I strive to build complex characters, cultures and worlds that aren’t built on lazy shortcuts or the shortcomings of our own world, but I also bring in my own unconscious biases in this area. I welcome good-faith comment on my work, and seek to improve whenever I fall short.
The world in which the Healers books and any future spin-offs take place is intentionally one without homophobia or transphobia (and the rest of their archipelago of phobias), and as little ingrained sexism as I can consciously manage.
In other words, queer people exist, and it’s never a problem to anyone. Similarly, women are considered equal to men and always have been. My characters can be obnoxious for a vast array of reasons, but not because of another character’s sexuality, sex, gender or gender presentation. Their world doesn’t give such biases a pass. Being a homophobe/etc. isn’t a part of anyone’s religion or culture, no one considers it normal to be shitty about it, it just isn’t accepted and effectively doesn’t exist.
Why? It’s my story, and I decide how to build the world. So that’s how I built it. You can do that. It’s fiction.
That’s my goal while writing. I acknowledge that I bring in my own unconscious biases, welcome good-faith comment on those aspects as well, and seek to improve when I fall short.
I choose not to use sexual assault or the threat thereof as a plot point or backstory in my work. Part of that comes out of building gender equality into the setting; part of it is because I simply choose not to.
I don’t write about children in peril. I’m kicking around future story ideas including adult characters with abuse in their backstories, but we’re not there yet. When/if we get to that point, meet me back here for details.
I don’t write about companion animals in peril. If they show up, they’re going to be okay.
It’s kind of a surprise to me that religion has such a big role in my work, because I’m not religious, and was raised with only the barest cursory gestures toward one. But belief ended up being a core part of one of the narrators of the Healers series, and so it’s pretty pervasive.
Details about the various religions and factions will eventually be outlined on the Lore pages of this site, but my point here is that none of the fictional religions in my work are intended as a commentary on or recommendation for any real-world religion. They’re all melanges of various cultural influences, wrapped around ideas/ethical frameworks that I thought it would be interesting to explore. That’s all.
The Healers series
The most frequent content warnings for the Healers series overall are medical gore, depressive internal monologue (particularly in book 1), and rudeness sometimes bordering on fictional racism. One of the narrators is bisexual, and it comes up fairly frequently. (I count that as a positive TBH, but reviews have commented on it, so it may be worth noting.) There’s a lot of religious references in the series as well, primarily in book 1 but continuing throughout. One of the narrators is deeply religious, and the other is not; the differences between their worldviews are a part of their character arcs. The story itself doesn’t take a stance either way.
The Healers’ Home
- Swearing: 17 d—ns and three sh—s (two from the same fairly salty character)
- A character uses some racialized insulting language at another
- Discussion and description of / scenes with side characters who are experiencing homelessness
- A character does some magical healing on a patient’s leg, with a moderately detailed description of a broken bone injury
- One of the narrators continues to have depression and seeks what we’d now call talk therapy for it – in the story, this is in the form of a religious counselor
- A healer character talks about the death of a patient
- References to food scarcity/shortages on an individual and city-wide level
- A character is confronted by police and has a crossbow pointed at them
- A character enters a “marriage of convenience” arrangement, with no sexual activity involved