My wording in the video, that I “realized” Ion and Kwasi were gay, is intentional. The first characters I came up with were Marley and Dracula, and Negrescu Radu, with the basic story of Dracula coming to the village to exert his influence on the local lord there, and Marley as the villager who will be affected by whatever goes on there. As I expanded the cast, it wasn’t that I decided, “I’m going to have a gay couple!” Rather, with Ion and Kwasi, they just sort of came out that way (pardon the pun).
Somewhere on Twitter years ago I saw someone say that when you’re writing a fantasy novel, you get to decide what the biases of your characters are. Do you have elves or whatever? It’s up to you whether the human characters are elf-racist or not. It’s your world, after all.
This stuck with me as I developed my story with Wallachia. I had several plot threads I was mapping out, and sort of just didn’t want to take the time to also include stuff involving Ion and Kwasi having to hide their sexuality. More, I wanted the character conflict that arises to come from the choices they make, not who they are.