The old adage is true to some extent: writers write the books that they want to read. In my case I can say that this is true, though that’s where it gets a bit more complicated for me. I read widely; everything from poetry and literary fiction to speculative fiction, horror and experimental novels. This is reflected in my writing as a multi-genre author.

Horror is my favourite genre as a reader. It has always been an endless source of fascination, ever since I started binge-reading R.L. Stine, Stephen King and Dean Koontz from my pre-teen years onwards. I particularly love when there is an element of ambiguity in a horror plot. Have you seen the film, the Babadook? Not only is it scary, but there’s room for interpretation: is it all in her head? Due to mental illness? Or is the sinister entity a real supernatural fiend.

Photo: From IMDB

Ambiguity isn’t for everyone. Some horror fans want the supernatural element to be clear cut. I don’t. I enjoy multilayer plots that make you want to revisit the story to see if you missed anything. As a writer, this is also how I choose to present my own plots, though I tend to go for a 80/20 ratio; my horror stories present as supernatural with a bit of wiggle room, so that if the reader wants to make a different informed choice about what the book is saying, they can. I’m not going to insult my readers’ intelligence: if you read one of my books, you aren’t going to be spoon-fed, so don’t expect it.

Another reason I enjoy writing horror (The Blue Man) and psychological (The Buddha’s Bone) fiction is that I find these genres work best to show my ultimate goal in storytelling: writing that confronts the nature of self. All of my main characters undergo a dark psychological journey, have a crisis of identity, and create a new sense of self by the end. Whether that’s a dark sense of self, or a light one, comes down to the individual story.

Speaking of horror, I’m currently implementing feedback from my editor and proofreader on Book 2 of my Belfast Ghosts series. I’ll be writing another update on this novel soon. It isn’t a direct sequel of The Blue Man. In fact, they’re only related by theme; both are ghost horror and both are set in Belfast, Northern Ireland. That’s where the similarities end. More on Book 2 soon!

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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