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Game Talk - Tracy Fahey

Probably my earliest memory of Tracy is at the Birmingham Horror Con in 2018. In the middle of the afternoon, I'd escaped from all the bustle on the ground floor and was taking a breather upstairs. Tracy eventually walks past, sporting a bone pendant - with what appears to be half a lower jaw of a sheep. And ever since that encounter, I've known her to be nothing less than engaging and compelling. And damned near flawless when it comes to a live read.

1. For those who don't know, who are you?

Hi! I’m Tracy Fahey, and I’m an Irish writer of horror fiction with a fixation on dark folklore, the domestic uncanny, and Gothic bodies. I’m primarily a writer of short fiction; my collections are the 2016 ‘The Unheimlich Manoeuvre’ (Boo Books) (shortlisted for a British Fantasy Award for Best Collection), the 2018 ‘New Music For Old Rituals’ (Black Shuck Books) and the 2020 ‘Unheimlich Manoeuvres In The Dark’ (Sinister Horror Company). My YA novel, ‘The Girl In The Fort’ was released in 2017 by Fox Spirit Press. My short stories are published in over thirty American, British, Australian and Irish anthologies. I’ve been awarded creative residencies in Ireland and Greece. I hold a PhD on the Gothic in visual arts, and my non-fiction writing is published in edited collections and journals.


At present I’ve just finished a new collection, coming out on 13th February 2021, ‘I Spit Myself Out’ (Sinister Horror Company) and I’m working on co-developing a screenplay based on my short story ‘I Look Like You, I Speak Like You, I Walk Like You,’ rights to which were acquired in 2020.

2. Game talk – how do you organise and manage your game? How has it evolved?

I’m trying to be more organised with my game! I’m being stricter about setting writing goals. I started writing fiction in 2013, and to date I’ve gone from project to project without taking a breath - but during this lockdown I’ve been re-examining not just how I write, but how I manufacture opportunities to write, how I promote my work, and how I want to build to a sustainable career in writing. To this end I spent my New Year planning what I want to achieve this year, and breaking down these aims into smaller, achievable sub-goals. I intend to revisit these once a week and ask myself what I’ve done to contribute to the realisation of these goals.

Oh, and I always have a new collection in the pipeline. I find it useful to write thematically, so as I’ve just finished my female-voiced ‘I Spit Myself Out,’ I’m now contemplating two bodies of work, one on the Gothic dimensions of crime, and another based on Michel Foucault’s essay ‘Of Other Spaces.’


3. Talk us through one of your biggest achievements in your game – give us the story behind it. How did it play out?

I should say the nomination for a British Fantasy Award or getting an Honourable Mention from Ellen Datlow for ‘The Best Horror of the Year,’ or being included in Stephen Jones’ latest edition of ‘Best New Horror’, but to be honest, it was when Lol Tolhurst, formerly of my all-time favourite band, The Cure, asked me for a copy of my book, and then supplied me with an amazing pull-quote. His agent, Marjie, had approached me to work on his book tour for ‘Cured’ in 2017 due to the fact I’d organised a large Gothic festival in 2014.

What can I say? Hard work, but a lot of serendipity (and one very star-struck me).


4. Excellent. Let’s come back to the screenplay thing. How did that come about; is this your first experience working on a screenplay?

Yes, this is my first screenplay, but I love the challenge of writing in different modes. It came about through the good offices of my publisher Justin Park who sent a copy of The Unheimlich Manoeuvre to LA, where it caught the eye of a producer who optioned one of the stories ('I Look Like You, I Speak Like You, I Walk Like You.') After several long transatlantic conversations, we discovered we made an excellent brainstorming team, and he invited me to co-develop the screenplay. And that is how fairytales happen in real life!


5. It's great if things go according to plan. Tell us about when it didn't; how did you handle it? What were/are those challenges?

Well, my first collection ‘The Unheimlich Manoeuvre,’ was published by Boo Books, which folded almost immediately after launching my book in 2016. That was disappointing, but I continued to promote it through readings, panels and other genre events.

And then came a series of uncanny resurrections. It was nominated for a British Fantasy Award in 2017, the same year that Justin Park of the Sinister Horror Company acquired it - it’s now been released in two subsequent editions including the 2020 deluxe edition with additional stories, introductory essay and story-notes. Instead of disappearing from sight when the original press folded in 2016, it keeps returning in a series of uncanny recurrences. I often joke with my publisher, Mr. Park, that ‘it’s the book that just won’t die.’


6. Give a pep-talk to someone on game in your field.

Read, read, read.

Write, write, write.

Be consistent with both practices. Learn from what you read. Write as much as you can. Know what you do well. Push your boundaries. Aspire.

But as well as that - keep an eye out for quality anthology calls, be aware of open calls by prestige publishers, attend Cons and events in your genre. Be the best advertisement for your work.

My new collection, ‘I Spit Myself Out,’ is published in February 13th 2021 by the Sinister Horror Company. In it, eighteen unsettling narratives map the female experience from puberty to menopause.


'I Spit Myself Out' is a collection of female-voiced stories exploring the terror that lurks beneath the surface of the skin. In this collection, an Anatomical Venus opens to display her organs, clients of a mysterious clinic disappear one by one, a police investigation reveals family secrets, revenge is inked in the skin, and bodies pulsate in the throes of illness, childbirth and religious ritual. Disturbing and provoking in equal turns, 'I Spit Myself Out' reinvents the body as a breeding ground of terrors that resurface inexorably in the present.


'I Spit Myself Out' will be available on Kindle, Paperback from Amazon and the Sinister Horror Company website. For any enquiries or further information visit: SinisterHorrorCompany.com


Website: www.tracyfahey.com

Twitter: @tracyfahey

Email: tracyfaheyauthor [at] gmail [dot] com


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Photography by Josie Macdonald Photography © 2021 and Ronya Galka Photography © 2021. Used with permission