Now that my second novel is published, I’ve been thinking about my author branding. After all, my writing is not about individual books, but my author career as a whole.

A reader got in touch recently to say that after having read my debut novel Gods of Avalon Road and now my second novel The Buddha’s Bone, she was surprised about how both books are very different. In case you haven’t read either of them, Gods of Avalon Road is an urban fantasy set in modern day London with flashbacks to Iron Age Britain and has elements of paranormal romance, whereas The Buddha’s Bone is a literary fiction book set in contemporary Japan. Two very different genres, but they have one common theme: both have main characters who thought they knew themselves, have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of self. To explore this further, I’m going to have to give you a spoiler alert warning if you want to read on. Otherwise, you can stop reading now until you’ve finished the books.

A bit more about the common theme in my writing, whether it’s my poetry collections, novellas or novels; all of my writing confronts the nature of self. In my debut novel Gods of Avalon Road my protagonist, Kerry, arrives in London fresh out of university and about to start her new job with an enigmatic employer, who lures her into an arcane occult ritual on Mayday. The Druid ritual summons ancient Celtic gods into modern day London. Kerry transforms from savvy singleton to one half of a smitten couple with Celtic Sun God Belenus; not only that but reconnects with her past life as barbarian queen, Aithne, who was betrothed to Belenus in a former life in Pagan Britain. This compares with my second novel, The Buddha’s Bone, that sees protagonist, Kimberly, arrive in Japan on a one year contract as an English teacher. She transforms from sophisticated Londoner to culturally inept traveller and becomes victim to a predatory colleague who senses her vulnerabilities as her relationship with her abusive fiancé back in England disintegrates. Both stories have completely different genres on the surface, but share the common theme of a young woman who goes on a journey of self-discovery, creating a new identity for herself.

My next novel, due for release in October 2022, also follows this same formula. Although the genre is supernatural horror, the theme is the same as Gods of Avalon Road and The Buddha’s Bone above. It will follow the story of two women who are plagued by a malign supernatural presence and seek to discover the truth of this sinister entity haunting them. You can read more updates on this current work in progress here.

In the meantime, I’ve also updated the ‘About my writing‘ page to provide more helpful information for new readers about the common themes in my writing, even though on the surface of it, my poetry and fiction seems very diverse. Ultimately, my work is all about writing that confronts the nature of self.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her writing centres around protagonists who are on a journey of self-discovery and who explore their identity by overcoming adversity. She began writing for publication while working as an English teacher in Japan, a career pathway that has influenced themes in her writing. Her former career as an Archaeologist has also inspired her writing and she has incorporated elements of archaeology and mythology into both her fiction and poetry. In addition to promoting her own work, Leilanie runs Bindweed Magazine, a creative writing ezine, with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from literary pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary tot, a voracious reader of construction vehicle books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://mailchi.mp/17e6ca162ff3/leilanie-stewart-author

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