The Story Behind Fables & Other Lies by Claire Contreras
12 Jan 2021
By Claire Contreras
I’ve always had an overactive imagination. I was an only child for eight years, and had little friends up to that point, so I guess in a way my imagination was my salvation even before I began writing. All of my books are a testament to it, but none more than Fables & Other Lies, which is my most recent release. It’s difficult for me to classify this book. Is it a gothic romance? Is it folklore? Is it fantasy? I guess it’s all of those, or maybe none of those. The one thing I can say for certain is that it stemmed from Caribbean folklore.
My parents moved here from the Dominican Republic when I was just shy of three years old, so of course, I’ve always considered myself to be American above anything else. Still, my Dominican culture is thick and runs deep and there is no escaping it. From a young age, I’ve been listening to folklore from my birth country. My grandmother used to tell me a lot of these stories before bed each night. They all heeded some kind of warning of the occult, and I think they were meant to scare me into not doing anything outlandish, like go swimming after dark, or walking into the woods alone. Unfortunately for my grandmother, I’m a sucker for the macabre. I mean, I had Charles Addams comics pasted on my walls beside all of my JTT posters. My parents thought I was strange, to be sure, but they never outright said it, and when I started writing short stories about ghosts I think they were just glad I had something to do to pass the time.
From the folklore my grandmother used to tell me, I created worlds inside my head. Worlds filled with “what ifs”. I’m fascinated by the things that make us jump or turn the lights on, but I’m also enamored with the feeling of hope that love brings to our lives. When I was writing Fables & Other Lies, I revisited the folklore I’d heard as a child and laced it with a story about family, betrayal, loss, and an unexpected, yet unforgettable unconditional love. My grandmother passed away long ago, but I like to think that she’d be proud of this story and get a kick out of the fact that all of those spooky stories she used to tell me inspired it.
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