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.

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:

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