Fish Hoek author Tracey Farren, a passionate writer, surfer and mother has released her second book, Snake. Tracey’s first novel, Whiplash, was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Fiction prize in 2008 and won a White Ribbon Award from Women Demand Dignity.
Tracey has an Honours degree in Psychology from UCT. She started her writing career as a freelance journalist writing on a range of social issues, before turning to the writing of fiction.
Snake, the novel is out in the book stores at the moment while Snake, the film script has been taken up by a well known producer and has a very good chance of making it to the screen.
My new novel, Snake (Modjaji Books) can be described as a literary psychological thriller. When a charming stranger arrives on the farm, young Stella believes he has come to heal her family. It is not long before she realizes that she is very wrong. Jerry is here to destroy.
Snake is an adaptation of a film script I wrote years ago, even before I wrote my first novel, Whiplash. Snake was selected as part of a NFVF scriptwriting programme. When I arrived on the first day, the conveners dropped a bomb. ‘We love it,’ they said. ‘But we want you to write this as a thriller.’ I was appalled. I wasn’t interested in writing violence for the sake of eliciting cold sweat. I thought long and hard about my intentions as a writer. I decided that I could only write violence with some sort of escape clause, some sort of transcendence. I re-envisioned Snake as thriller with a difference. I would write it as a tabloid drama, much like the sensationalist stories on the lamp posts that feed on man’s inhumanity to man. But I would enter the story through the eyes of a loveable twelve year old child, asking her to explore the spiritual truths behind the madness that she witnesses. This fictional child had already come alive in my mind and was nagging at me, as if to say, ‘I don’t care what genre you choose, please just let me speak.’
The little girl tells her story to a tabloid journalist who comes all the way from the city with shiny shoes and two thousand rand from the Truth Magazine. The callous journalist pounces on Stella’s terrifying testimony, pronouncing it as ‘lovely Truth stuff.’ The contrast between the tabloid veteran and the anxious child seems to draw us even more into the child’s heart. We stay close as she explores the nature of God and hunts for goodness within the sinister visitor. From the wonderful feedback I am getting, the set up seems to have worked. As a writer, I am glad to have written a scary story that offers a child’s fresh understanding of the human spirit, all the more powerful for being painfully wrought.
For more about Tracey and her book Whiplash see http://scenicsouth.co.za//showcasing/our-writers/
We look forward the premiere of your film, Tracey. Reading the synopsis of your book makes me want to head straight for the book store!