Okay, so before I start this blog post, I’m going to have to give you a spoiler warning: if you haven’t read my books yet and intend to, you might want to stop reading after this paragraph. Since the title is such a teaser, I’ll get to the point and let you know what you probably already guessed: my fourth and most recently published novel The Fairy Lights is my favourite. It goes without saying that, as an author, if I felt that my best work was behind me I’d stop writing, wouldn’t I? So, of course my latest book is my favourite. Now, let me proceed to tell you why (spoilers ahead).

Why not my debut novel, Gods of Avalon Road?

Do you want to know the truth? Yes, of course you do! Well, here it is: Gods of Avalon Road has too much sex in it. I’m sure you’re all thinking, ‘What on earth? She’s the author, she wrote those saucy scenes!’ Yes, I did. I wrote the book and I learned from it. I learned a lot from my first novel: how to write urban fantasy, all about consistent world-building and how to write paranormal romance – with more than a hint of pagan debauchery and occult, ritual sex. I did it to stretch myself as a writer. It’s a book I’m proud of, and I can tell why a publisher was interested in it (it was published in 2019 by Blossom Spring Publishing). It has many strengths; I’m proud of the historical aspects in particularly, especially the battle scenes in the flashback chapters to ancient Brittannia. But, it isn’t my favourite book.

Why not my second novel, The Buddha’s Bone?

The Buddha’s Bone has a special place in my heart, because I set it in a place where I once lived and really loved: Tottori, Japan. I was able to draw inspiration from real places, and the sense of detachment that comes with culture shock as that was something I experienced first hand. This novel also deals with serious topics: misogyny; racism; rape; miscarriage, to name but a few. So, why not my favourite? Mainly because I feel that the main character, Kimberly, hasn’t yet finished her journey. Indeed, I have had enough interest from readers asking for a sequel for similar reasons; they want to know what Kimberly does next after overcoming trauma. Don’t misunderstand: the book wraps up with a reasonably happy ending and not on a cliffhanger, so in that sense, it’s a completed, standalone novel. But as an author I have more to say about Kimberly and Naoki, and so I have outlined a synopsis for the sequel. I’ll keep you posted.

Why not my third novel, The Blue Man?

Book 1 in my Belfast Ghosts Series, The Blue Man, is undoubtedly my most popular novel, in that the interest from readers is high: not necessarily how it has been received. The Buddha’s Bone has a higher average rating on Amazon – 4.4/5 stars of 16 votes, whereas The Blue Man is rated 4/5 stars of 24 votes. Nevertheless, on a daily basis sales and Kindle page reads remain higher than my other books, including sales from clickthroughs on sponsored ads. Why then is it not my favourite, even if it seems to be my most intriguing book for readers? As much as I’m proud of this story, particularly the devastating ending, it’s a bit too depressing! It captures the lockdown claustrophobia well, and the sense of isolation and despair the protagonists feel as they battle the sinister entity, but ultimately who is the winner? So as much as I love this novel, more than my first two novels, it isn’t my favourite.

Why is my fourth novel, The Fairy Lights my favourite?

Since it’s a seasonal book, and a rather short novel too, this one is a quick read that ends on a more cheery note than The Blue Man, and maybe even more so than The Buddha’s Bone. It also changes swiftly from a supernatural story to a strange and surreal journey for the protagonist, Aisling; think A Christmas Carol morphing into Alice in Wonderland. I personally like this short, fast, weirdo; though readers still largely prefer The Blue Man. The Fairy Lights has been published for a month and sales have been going well, though it remains my second-most popular book after The Blue Man.

About Leilanie Stewart

Leilanie Stewart is an author and poet from Belfast, Northern Ireland. She has written four novels, including award-winning ghost horror, The Blue Man, as well as three poetry collections. Her writing confronts the nature of self; her novels feature main characters on a dark psychological journey who have a crisis of identity and create a new sense of being. 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 literary journal with her writer husband, Joseph Robert. Aside from publishing pursuits, Leilanie enjoys spending time with her husband and their lively literary lad, a voracious reader of sea monster books. CONNECT WITH ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA: https://mailchi.mp/75c5a1ad6956/leilanie-stewart-author-info

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