It’s been five years since Yael and Molina reunited. Yael is one of the richest and most infamous thieves in the universe and a member of the Order of the Banshee.
Welcome to the November 9th stop on the blog tour for The Order of the Banshee by Robyn Singer with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
Author Guest Post
Tips for Writing Transgender Characters, Through the Lens of The Order of the Banshee
Representation of minority groups in fiction is important. I can’t imagine anyone who’s reading this isn’t already aware of that. Across all my work, including The Order of the Banshee and its predecessor, The Sunrisers, I aim to be as inclusive as possible, to represent as many groups as I can without merely checking boxes.
As a transgender woman, trans representation, especially in our current climate, is naturally of the utmost priority to me. The Order of the Banshee features three trans characters, specifically, two trans girls and one non-binary character. Through them, I’d like to give some tips for what makes good trans rep.
Layla is a kind teenage girl and aspiring glassblower who, unfortunately for her, is the great-granddaughter of the most notorious thief in this universe. Her “G-gma” sees more potential in her to follow in her footsteps than any of her other relatives, so she forces her to study under the series protagonist, Yael, even though she’d much rather be at art school sipping vegan smoothies.
Shun is also a teenage girl, but one shrouded in mystery and who tends to stay quiet, preferring to let her fists speak for her. She is also a student of Yael’s, and is loved by the found family she’s found herself a part of despite her prickly attitude and secrets.
Marcos is a wheelchair-bound enby teen with an even worse attitude than Shun. A computer genius since childhood, their skills were exploited by their parents for their own profit, and they now study under Yael so that they can become their own boss.
What can be taken from all of this? Quite a few things!
First and, again, this is hopefully obvious to anyone reading this, but trans characters should not be agency-free victims or “crazy” villains. There’s nothing wrong with a trans character being put through the wringer as much as a cis character, and there’s nothing wrong with trans villains (I LOVE writing trans villains), but in 2023, we no longer need stories where trans people just to be victims who need the help of the cis characters, and the trope of the “crazy trans villain” with no depth who exists to be afraid of or mocked never should have existed at all. Layla, Shun, and Marcos are all just as complex and just as active in the narrative as their cis peers.
Next, like any other minority group, trans people are not a monolith. We are diverse in personality, interests, politics, skills, etc. Layla is a sweet, high-femme, peace-loving hippie with a genius mind who hates being forced to go down a criminal path when she just wants to be an artist. Shun is a former child soldier who hates social interaction, is considerably more masculine than Layla, loves fighting, and actively wants to be a thief. Marcos is a hacker and a complete asshole, looking down on all the people they know they’re smarter than, but they act like this out of a sense of insecurity, and, like Shun, but unlike Layla, they desire to be a thief. All of these characters are trans, but that is all they have in common. Your trans characters should be as diverse as your cis characters.
Finally, and this one is especially important for my fellow genre writers, the struggles of your trans characters do not need to relate to them being trans. Layla’s struggle with her g-gma is about not wanting to follow in her footsteps, Shun’s secrecy relates to her time as a child soldier, and Marcos’ insecurity comes from their exploitative parents. None of this has anything to do with them being trans, and no characters ever attack them or insult them for being trans. In your fantasy or sci-fi setting, real-world bigotry does not need to exist. And even for non-genre writers, it does not need to be included; there are much more interesting conflicts you can give your trans characters, I promise.
About the Book
The Order of the Banshee
by Robyn Singer
Published 7 November 2023
Cinnabar Moth Publishing LLC
Genre: Sci-Fi, Space Opera
Page Count: 314
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
It’s been five years since Yael and Molina reunited. Yael is one of the richest and most infamous thieves in the universe and a member of the Order of the Banshee. She is rising through the ranks of the elite organization with her wife and her ride-or-die best friends, Aarif and P’Ken, at her side, and she’s even running her own school for thieves. Molina, former captain in the universe’s premiere peacekeeping organization, the Sunrisers, is happily married to Yael and tells herself that’s enough.
Their seemingly perfect lives are interrupted when they receive news of the death of Molina’s father. When Molina returns home for his funeral, she reunites with her former friend and now enemy: Kaybell, the emperor of the Cykebian Empire. Kaybell, eager to mend the relationship, informs Molina that her father was murdered and offers to help Molina find those responsible and bring them to justice.
While Molina and Kaybell hunt the people responsible for her father’s death, Yael is hunted by an invincible assassin – one with a terrible secret. These two seemingly unrelated events are more connected than Yael or Molina could possibly imagine.
“Yael, you must get up and shower,” P’Ken declared, standing right over me, both hands on her stick.
“Seriously, you’re starting to stink pretty bad,” Aarif followed, standing right next to her.
“Waaaaaaaah!” I cried, curled up in a ball in my bed. “I miss my Moli!”
The past few days had been absolutely miserable. For security reasons, I couldn’t contact Molina while she was on Cykeb, and living in the school without her around was too weird. As much as I’d been staying in bed, I couldn’t even sleep in such a big one without her. My only comforts had come from my endless supply of beer, instant ramen, and gummies, the bottles, cups, and bags they’d come in all over my bed and floor.
“She’ll be back soon. And then you can make up for lost time.”
“For now, however, you promised Shun you’d spar with her today, and a thief of your distinction shouldn’t be gaining a reputation as a lying thief.”
“Come on, let’s get ready for the day.”
I groaned for an extended period, rubbing my temples. “You’re not my parents.”
“Obviously not,” P’Ken rolled her eyes. “My child will never be allowed to make their room a pigsty.”
Aarif plopped down next to me, shaking the mattress. “We may not be your parents, but we are your family. We want to help you.”
I shook my head. “You can’t.”
About the Author
Robyn Singer is a lifelong New Yorker, and since she was a kid playing with her action figures, all she’s wanted to do is tell stories. She went to SUNY Purchase to get a degree in Playwriting & Screenwriting with a minor in Film and has produced several comic books, but she’s always had her eye on becoming a published novelist.
As an Autistic, bisexual trans woman, diversity and inclusion in stories are vitally important to her, and she seeks to represent as many groups as possible in her work. While she wants to show characters of marginalized groups experiencing joy, she also draws inspiration from real-world problems which bother her.
The Sunrisers (Cinnabar Moth Publishing, November 2022) is her debut novel. She writes novels and short stories of all genres and for all ages, and she continues to produce comic books. Her ongoing series, Final Gamble, will begin publication by Band of Bards in 2022.
Robyn Singer will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
|Nov 6||Literary Gold||Nov 7||Kenyan Poet|
|Nov 7||Long and Short Reviews||Nov 8||The Avid Reader|
|Nov 9||Westveil Publishing||Nov 10||Fabulous and Brunette|
|Nov 13||Sandra’s Book Club||Nov 14||Wendi Zwaduk|
|Nov 15||Kit ‘n Kabookle||Nov 15||It’s Raining Books|
|Nov 16||The Faerie Review||Nov 17||Dawn’s Reading Nook|
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.