Blog

Keeping it short and sweet

July 21, 2013

Tracy Farr

It’s been a week for (very) short fiction, for me — a nice change from the long slog of the novel. Back in May this year, as the deadline for 2013 National Flash Fiction Day (NFFD) competition — for stories of 300 words or fewer — was approaching, the NFFD folks (in NZ Society of Authors Newsletter Friday 17/5/13) asked 2012 finalists “What’s so great about flash?”. Here’s what I said: My first fiction published in print, back at the tail end of last century, was flash fiction, so it’s a form I’m fond of. Not much more than a single page or screen of words, for the ...
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Crossing the ditch: guest review in Perth webzine The Starfish

June 19, 2013

Tracy Farr

It’s always bothered me how little known in Australia are even some of the best New Zealand writers. When I was asked to write a trio of mini-reviews for Perth webzine The Starfish, it seemed the perfect opportunity to rave about New Zealand writers; maybe I’d even be introducing them to a Perth audience. So I chose three novels that I’d read recently, that I’d loved reading, and that were by some of my favourite contemporary New Zealand writers — Stephanie Johnson, Emily Perkins, and Sarah Quigley. You can read what I had to say about their novels — and ...
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When I first held you

June 13, 2013

Tracy Farr

Fifteen years to the day since I first held my real-life baby, I held, for the first time, my brand new baby. Yes: the advance copy of my debut novel, posted last Friday from my publisher in Australia, arrived in today’s mail. Lena has landed in New Zealand. I’m feeling a lot less exhausted today than I did fifteen years ago, even though I’ve been carrying this bouncing baby book for a whole lot longer than nine months. There’s a similar sense of wonderment though, of astonishment — did I really produce this?! — and, yes, I’ve had a bit of ...
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The old woman and the sea

June 6, 2013

Tracy Farr

The first review of my novel was published last week (in Books+Publishing Reviews, 30 May 2013, reproduced here with permission), and reviewer Katie Haydon (who gave it four stars) said it would be appreciated particularly by, among others, “lovers of the sea”. I’m pleased she mentioned that. Water flows through the novel; it’s almost a character in it. It’s of central importance to the novel’s main character, Lena Gaunt. And for me? I have a complicated relationship with the sea. I was slightly scared of it as a child. That’s long-ago me in the photo, pointing to where the baby whale was, one of those childhood ...
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It’s instrumental

May 31, 2013

Tracy Farr

In my novel, The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt, the eponymous Lena Gaunt – musician, octogenarian, junkie – is Music’s Most Modern Musician; theremin player of legend. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about theremins for the last few years, while I’ve been writing the novel. I may even have become a little obsessed with them (OK, disclosure: so obsessed that last summer I embroidered an RCA theremin on a cushion). Because I’ve been thinking about them so much and for so long, I didn’t quite realise just how unfamiliar a musical instrument the theremin is to most people. I’ve been asked ...
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