Dedication and Foreward
This is a book seven years in the making, and is therefore dedicated to everyone who was a part of my life in those seven years, and to everyone who will have this book in their lives from now on. It’s especially dedicated to those who have struggled from discrimination, whether they made it through or not. It’s for those who don’t feel worthy of a dedication. You are. Never forget that.
The very first time I read The Defined Role was just the second day I knew Annie, a few years ago, at an anime convention where we both happened to share an artist table. After discovering she was writing a book, it didn’t take long to grab the opportunity to read it. I had no idea those twelve hours would lead to several more rereads and becoming her head editor.
These last few years of working on The Defined Role have reminded me of exactly why I love editing: assisting the evolution of an early draft into a final product which can then be shared with others. I watched a draft from 2017 become what is now published here, and I couldn’t be prouder to have been a part of it.
When talking about this foreword, there was one thing Annie specifically made sure would be included: sensitivity warnings. While written with extreme care, we understand that some topics may cause discomfort, and we want everyone to know what to expect for their own safety and well-being. There are very heavy suicidal situations and discussions along with mentions of self-harm. There are no detailed scenes of a character harming themself. There are moments where a sexual assault is implied, but there are also no details of the events. There are moments of implied domestic abuse and the resulting evidence of it. There is violence, including violence against children. There is also a moment of homophobic language. We understand completely if this warning means you can’t continue reading. That being said, you can be reassured that none of these situations are glorified, and that this story has gone through many sensitivity readings by a large variety of people. Any errors in this are completely unintentional and are no fault of the sensitivity readers. Education on the matter is welcomed.
While the topics are heavy, they are very real, and that was something that stood out to me while reading. This book is a commentary on people, how dangerous assumptions can be, and the different paths that are created based on a small nudge. It’s about how anyone can fight through, even when your life doesn’t pan out the way you planned. It is a story of hope and of asking for help. Annie has taken the common concept of demons and angels and given them humanity. It gives every human an opportunity to become more, both in life and after death. I believe that, after reading this book, people will be reminded this opportunity is real. I also hope everyone will love Jenkins, who everyone will learn is my favorite character.
This was a journey Annie started, I joined, and now, you get to take. We both hope it’s nothing but enjoyable, even though there is angst. And, as they say in the theatre, let the story begin!