As a reader, and as a writer, I love books where there is room for interpretation. I’m also a fan of an unreliable narrator; I love having to question what is actually happening in a story I’m reading. I like to be challenged instead of having everything right there on the page for me.
Out of my own novels, The Fairy Lights is the only book I’ve written so far that uses an unreliable narrator. If you have read the book (no big spoilers if you haven’t), the novel starts as a ‘haunted house’ story but in the latter half, veers into a strange and surreal journey as main character Aisling ventures into the spirit world – or worlds, as there are many ‘realms’ in this book.
But what is actually real and what is actually a product of Aisling’s internal fantasy world? At what point does real life in the story veer over into a fantasy narrative constructed by my main character to suit the story that she has built up as her ‘safety net’ to avoid dealing with her past?
Is The Fairy Lights a fantasy book? No. How about a YA book? Nope. It is neither a fantasy story nor a YA book; though I imagine the premise may be confusing to some readers, together with the fact that it’s a short novel, which could possibly mislead some readers into thinking it’s aimed at a younger audience. The Fairy Lights is psychological literary fiction, as well as a ghost story. It requires you to question the reality of the tale. As a big fan of movies such as Brazil and Total Recall, I love how the twists at the end can be explained as much by psychology as they can by science fiction. Such stories, that can be interpreted in multiple ways, are an inspiration for my writing.