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Moonlight Blade – Author’s Note

THE MOONLIGHT BLADE is a book informed by pre-colonial Filipino culture, but it is a fantasy born from a What if?

What if magic was real? What if the Spanish never came and disappeared kingdoms, social classes, customs, religions, and even our names? Who might we have become?

So much of our pre-colonial culture was lost or intentionally destroyed. Today, there are historians doing reconstruction work from contradictory and fragmented sources, but is not always easily accessible. What is accessible is often colonial or created by outsider perspectives, which is problematic for different reasons.

I love studying history, and though I did research, this is not a historical or an alternate history. I took many creative liberties for the sake of plot and character. The pantheon of diwata, the government, and religion are invented. There are anachronisms when it comes to the food, clothing, and some of the traditions described. And this imaginary diaspora is not meant to be homogenous, but composed of people from different tribes with various customs, language, and clothing.

There are some things that I think I could have done differently, but I don’t believe there is any perfect way to tell a story.

But I do believe that engaging with the emotional truth is more important than surface details. Culture is not just aesthetics. This isn’t a story about the past, but a diaspora story about what it means when the ‘home’ that people talk about only exists to you in stories. It’s about complicated mother daughter relationships, how filial piety can be abused, how trauma gets passed on through generations, and how pride can destroy families. But this is also a book about love for one another and finding community.

Most of all, I wanted to tell an entertaining story where we (and the world) get to see us as Filipino’s as EPIC.

My greatest hope is that this book opens up space for more stories unapologetically about us.

And for everyone else who picks up this book, thank you! The Moonlight Blade is at its heart a story about an underdog who’s been told she’s worthless and different her whole life, finally discovering her own power and place in the world. I think that’s something that a lot of people can relate to.

I hope you enjoy the story!

Note: Deadline City S4 Ep 10, includes an excellent discussion about Fantasy worldbuilding for non-European worlds, and how complicated it can be.