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Tracey Farren

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Archive for the ‘Fiction’ Category

Book signing at Constantai Exclusives

On Saturday I sat at Constantia Exclusives with Peter Church, author of the novel, Dark Video. We had a fine time at the entrance to the store, drinking coffee, signing books and chatting to Exclusives customers. Peter and I are both highly social, so we reveled in the company. For me book signing is a great balancing activity after the solitude of writing. All those lovely people. All their nice smells and their wonderful stories! People seemed both intrigued and shy at the sight of us sitting behind a pile of books at the door. They tended to browse through the shop, circle a little, then come and question us. These encounters turned into wonderful conversations. It was brilliant that people were so honest. They quizzed us to establish whether our books could fit into their lives. A ‘not for me’ screen dropped over their eyes when they heard the words, ‘South African’. They were obviously encouraged when they heard, ‘intense psychological drama’ (Whiplash) or ‘hard hitting thriller,’ (Dark Video). They seemed to need a guarantee of entertainment. People tended to buy the books as gifts. The women’s ears pricked up when they heard that Whiplash was disturbing, yet spiritual and uplifting. They tended to buy the book for other women. Dark Video, on the other hand, seemed to appeal to people with adult children or grandchildren, as the protagonists in the story are UCT students. In reality, Whiplash is often greatly appreciated by men, and Dark Video appeals to people of all ages. The books are sure to work their way through the generations at home.

Happy reading and thanks to everyone who stopped to chat. A special thanks to Marilyn at Exclusives, who organized the morning and to Yaneska, the manager, who thought it was a great idea.

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What a launch!


Wow! What a fabulous gathering! The Gaslight cafe (Surfers Corner, Muizenberg) was PACKED; we had to stand on chairs to see the belly dancers. Julia Nowicki of Dance Alive studio led the belly in electric green satin. The good red wine lent visceral intensity to the drumming and the rolling and the lashing of hips. There is something about belly that reminds me of cantering war horses, adorned with bright tassles. My publisher, my editor and I all spoke from the heart. When I think about it now, the speeches revealed a quality of activism that seems to be building around this book. It is a first book for all of us; for Colleen Higgs of Modjaji books, for my agent, Ron Irwin, and for me. It was tuned away by the mainstream press, sometimes with regret. It was deemed too risky. The book, I think, is vulnerable to the very same prejudices that a sex worker might encounter in the public eye. Colleen and Ron swept past the prejudice and aligned themselves with the book’s fighting spirit.
I want to thank all the people who came last week to celebrate ‘Tess’s’ debut into middle class society, and all the people who have called or emailed, saying that they have been crying or laughing in sympathy with Tess.

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Nice Smile by Tracey Farren

(This story first appeared in Women Flashing, an anthology of flash fiction from Anne Schuster’s Women’s Writing Workshops>)

‘Here, take money for beers. I need shots of gangsters drinking’

I get beers at Auntie Sina’s. ‘What’s he doing, this whitie?’ she asks.

‘Taking snaps for New York.’

Auntie Sina snorts, ‘He’s making you look like skollies.’

‘Let’s start with you,’ the ou teases, ‘you’ve got such a nice smile.’

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Welcome to Tracey Farren’s Blog

tracey-cropped1.JPGWelcome to my blog.

My first novel, Whiplash (Modjaji Books) has just been published by Modjaji Books. It was inspired by the feisty street workers I met during my journalistic research. I was fascinated by the horror of their daily lives, and the audacious courage that it takes to confront it. The main character, ‘Tess’ was born of my deep curiosity and their indomitable spirit.

I have started a second novel called Snake in the Grass. It is a psychological thriller about a little farm girl who watches a charming stanger destroy her family. She is the only one who cans stop him!

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