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When the Filter Fades: Janine Jellars discusses her new book with us

Have you been looking for a new summer read to add your list? When the Filter Fades is the ideal book for your next holiday or book club meeting. This month, we spoke to author Janine Jellars about her brand-new book, what inspired the characters and who’s on her to-read list.

When the Filter Fades is your first foray into non-fiction writing. What was the process like?

When the Filter Fades was actually the first book I wrote - I wrote this before The Big South African Hair Book. It was a creative exercise at the time, I had this story idea about celebrity and influencer culture. I wanted to investigate these hierarchies in the celebrity world and what women do in the name of fame, fortune and status.

The story came to me quite easily, and I knew I wanted to focus on three distinct women, with their own motivations and agendas. I thought it’d be interesting to have a fading star, a rising star and then a character who would serve as the catalyst for the drama.

I completed the bulk of the book in 2019 and started shopping it around, but then I signed a deal to write The Big South African Hair Book and I shelved When the Filter Fades. The pandemic happened, then I went to GIBS to do an MBA and, once I graduated, my current publisher reached out to me about this almost-forgotten manuscript. We took a few months to update and edit and now it’s out there in the world.

Lin, Lebo and Mbali are such dynamic and vibrant characters, how has the reception been to these women and where did the inspiration come from?

Lin, Lebo and Mbali are composites of women we all know so well from social media, or in real life. I worked really hard on giving them each their own voice, their own backstories and their own ‘traumas’, points of view and motivations. There are definitely pieces of well-known people within each of them, but I think I’ve made them feel real enough that they’re also widely relatable, even though they don’t necessarily live super relatable lives.

Your book launch recently happened, what are some of the standout moments since the book’s release?

The entire experience has been mind blowing to me! This is a book I started more than 6 years ago, a book I didn’t really think was ever going to be released, so to have it out there in the world, and to have such universal praise from readers, reviewers and other writers - it’s been an overwhelming ride.

Who in the local or international literary community is inspiring you right now?

I mostly read women’s fiction and romance. Locally, I’m always inspired by Angela Makholwa and Qarnita Loxton; internationally, Talia Hibbert, Jasmine Guillory and Bolu Babalola are my go-to’s.

Where can people purchase your book and what’s on the horizon for future projects?

When the Filter Fades is available at all major book stores in South Africa in paperback format, it’s also available as an ebook on large supplier websites.

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