Please join us in welcoming author Ken Farmer to Books & Benches. He's here to talk about the Old West and his latest book, FLYNN, The Nations Book #8 . Ken is an author, actor, director, and and narrator—a man of many hats and talents. Check out FLYNN below and continue reading for a Q&A with the author.
"With a compelling plot, vivid characters, realistic action, and gripping narrative, THE NATIONS is not just a thrilling saga of the American West—it is a triumph!" —DWIGHT JON ZIMMERMAN, New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling co-author of LINCOLN'S LAST DAYS
Deputy US Marshals Fiona Mae Miller and Brushy Bill Roberts hunt the mysterious Gentleman Bandit. Who is he? Who is Flynn? Does Marshal Fiona Miller meet her match?
A spacecraft crashes near Aurora, Texas, April 17, 1897. The townspeople give the pilot a Christian burial in the local cemetery…but was there a survivor?
The sheriff of Jack County, Texas, is somehow involved with Fiona, the Gentleman Bandit and the crash at Aurora. Find out in the third Lady Law novel in the Nations series…FLYNN.
Q&A with KEN FARMER
"It’s no wonder Ken Farmer's classical historical fiction is rated best of the best."
—Mary Deal, Bestselling Author
What can you tell us about your newest release?
My newest release is entitled, FLYNN. It’s number eight in the bestselling, sward-winning western historical fiction series, The Nations. FLYNN was released on January 27, 2017 and has hit number one in sales on both Amazon’s Old West and Classic Western categories. In fact, the eight volumes in The Nations series hold the first eight places in Amazon’s Old West best sellers.
The series began with it’s namesake, The Nations, featuring the real life character, Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves as the main protagonist. In the process of my research on Bass, I discovered there was one, count ‘em, one female Deputy US Marshal that worked the Indian Nations under Judge Isaac Parker IN THE 1890s…Deputy United States Marshal F.M. Miller. A local newspaper of the day wrote: “Marshal Miller is a woman of dashing manners…expert shot and a superb horsewoman, and brave to the verge of recklessness.” And no one has written about her…duh? I introduced Deputy US Marshal Fiona Mae Miller in BASS and the LADY, and then the next novel in the series was, LADY LAW, with Marshal Miller as the main protagonist. Since then, she’s been the lead also in BLUE WATER WOMAN. Fiona Miller is reunited with Bass Reeves in FLYNN and my WIP, AURALI RED.
Do you consider your books plot-driven or character-driven? Is that how you naturally write, or do is there a purpose for what you chose?
My novels are definitely character driven and that is apparently my natural style. I worked for over forty years as a degreed professional film/TV actor and evolved from the structured style (method) they taught in college to the Organic Style. Basically, that means I got the heck out of the way and let the character take over. My writing progressed the same way. It’s called being a Pantser. I don’t write an outline of any sort. I know the general story, but may not know exactly how it’s going to end. I just created the characters, I get out of the way and let them tell the story…Sometimes they surprise even me.
Please give us some insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?
My main new character in FLYNN (along with Deputy US Marshal Fiona Miller), Sheriff Mason Flynn has a special Code he lives by:
Talk less and say more.
When you give your word, keep it…’nuff said.
Know where to draw the line.
Don’t tolerate rudeness.
Protect the weak
Take care of your horse, it will take care of you.
When you’re scared, keep it to yourself.
He carries a .45 Colt Peacemaker and only uses it when he has to.
Deputy US Marshal Fiona Miller’s code is very simple: She doesn’t backwater to any man.
What appeals to you most about your chosen genre?
Well, like a lot of kids my age, I grew up on the western. Double features, Saturday serials, TV, Classic Westerns and of course books. The one thing I can identify with is there was always a distinction between right and wrong—good guys and bad guys. Like the good guys always wore the white hats. My early heroes were, Tim McCoy, Hoppy, The Lone Ranger, Tim Holt, Johnny Mack Brown, Randolph Scott, Joel McCrea, Dale Robertson, Roy Rodgers, Gene Autry, Ben Johnson, The Durango Kid, Red Ryder and of course John Wayne.
My favorite author is Edgar Rice Burroughs and yes, he wrote westerns too.
What else have you written?
I have written or co-written eighteen novels including six action military: The Black Eagle Force series—Black Eagle Force: Eye of the Storm, Black Eagle Force: Sacred Mountain, Return of the Starfighter, Black Eagle Force: Blood Ivory, Black Eagle Force: Fourth Reich, Black Eagle Force: ISIS, and Blood Brothers. Two contemporary SyFy: Legend of Aurora and Aurora Invasion. Eight Historical Fiction Westerns: The Nations, Haunted Falls, Hell Hole, Across the Red, Bass and the Lady, Lady Law, Blue Water Woman, Flynn and my WIP is Aurali Red. The first book I ever wrote was a ‘how to’ book entitled, Acting is Storytelling.
The Nations won the Laramie Award for Best Classic Western - 2014. Haunted Falls won the Laramie Award for Best Action Western - 2013 and our first novel, Black Eagle Force: Eye of the Storm won Best Adult Fiction at the North Texas Book Festival - 2012. Six of my novels have been #1 in sales in their category on Amazon including my current release, FLYNN.
The Ringo Kid, aka Alex Cord, endorses The Nations, "Stands alone, unlike any Western you've ever read...Great dialogue. Action packed, blood and guts aplenty. With admirable skill, the authors blend violence and tenderness to move the reader to care about the characters."
Ken Farmer didn't write his first full novel until he was sixty-nine years of age. He often wonders what the hell took him so long. At age seventy-five…he's currently working on novel number sixteen. Ken spent thirty years raising cattle and quarter horses in Texas and forty-five years as a professional actor (after a stint in the Marine Corps). Those years gave him a background for storytelling…or as he has been known to say, "I've always been a bit of a bull---t artist, so writing novels kind of came naturally once it occurred to me I could put my stories down on paper."
Ken's writing style has been likened to a combination of Louis L'Amour and Terry C. Johnston with an occasional Hitchcockian twist…now that's a mouthful.
In addition to his love for writing fiction, he likes to teach acting, voice-over and writing workshops. His favorite expression is: "Just tell the damn story."
Writing has become Ken's second life: he has been a Marine, played collegiate football, been a Texas wildcatter, cattle and horse rancher, professional film actor and now a novelist. Who knew?
Visit the author at www.kenfarmer-author.net.