He is also the writer of the Nathaniel Cade series, about a vampire who works for the President of the United States: Blood Oath; The President’s Vampire; and Red, White, and Blood are all available now from G.P. Putnam’s Sons.
A short novella about Cade, The Burning Men, is available from Amazon.com.
His next book, about the Fountain of Youth, will be released by William Morrow in 2015.
His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, the New Republic, Washington Monthly, and on The Awl. He lives in Los Angeles with his family.
Chris Farnsworth Interview
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Books by Chris Farnsworth
Chris Farnsworth Transcript
Tim Knox: Chris Farnsworth is my guest today. Chris is a former investigative reporter who moved from Iowa to California and turned from journalism to screenwriting, then to fiction.
He hit pay dirt with the Nathaniel Cade series, about a vampire who works for the President of the United States.
Chris is an extremely humble guy who kept using words like ‘right place right time’ and ‘extremely lucky’ but we know there is more to his success than dumb luck.
Chris’ work attracts the attention of the critics, the readers, and everyone in the industry.
Chris is also open with his advice on what it takes to succeed in the industry, how to grow your fanbase, and how to get started.
Here then is my interview with Chris Farnsworth on this edition of Interviewing Authors.
Tim Knox: Chris, welcome to the program.
Chris Farnsworth: Thanks so much for having me.
Tim Knox: For those in our audience that aren’t familiar with your work, give us a little biography.
Chris Farnsworth: Well basically I’ve gotten really, really lucky. I started out as a reporter on a very small weekly in Boise, Idaho and sort of worked my way up to being a business and investigative reporter. When I was in Orange County I worked at the newspaper there. A friend of mine was a screenwriter and I was trying to write books in my spare time. He said, “Oh you’re in California now. You’ve got to write scripts.”
So I wrote a script basically just to see if I could do it and sort of to my amazement it sold within two weeks. I was just floored and my agents at the time said it never happens this fast. As it turns out they were right. I flailed away for a while being both a reporter and then just a screenwriter. Then the writer’s strike hit, the WGA writer’s strike, so I couldn’t even really fail to sell a script at that point.
So I decided well I’ve got this time and I’ve got this idea that my agents at the time hated. I figured I’d try to write it as a book again. The germ of the idea was in 1867 there was a man who was pardoned by the President of the United States at the time, Andrew Johnson. The man was reportedly accused of being a vampire, of killing two people and draining their blood while he was on a ship.
I was just kind of fascinated by that. I thought what would the President of the United States do with a vampire? Then I thought well what wouldn’t the President of the United States do with a vampire? So it sort of spit-balled into this huge idea of a very special Secret Service agent who protects the United States from all manner of cult threats. That’s how I began the Cade books.
Tim Knox: You know what, I find that so interesting. The one thing that you really talk about is your agent at the time did not think it was a great idea.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah my agents at the time, my film agents at the time, did not think vampires were any kind of a growing concern.
Tim Knox: And now what do you think they think?
Chris Farnsworth: I think they’ve probably come around.
Tim Knox: Well if you will let’s kind of back up because I always like to start at the beginning. So you’re from Boise and you’re a reporter. Did you move to California specifically to write books or for the newspaper business?
Chris Farnsworth: I moved here specifically for the newspaper business. I started in Boise at a small alternative weekly and then I got a job in Phoenix at the Phoenix New Times where I was doing investigative reporting solely and then I got a job at the Orange County Register where I joined the Business Section and I covered the tech and the .com boom at the time.
Tim Knox: Before that had you always wanted to be a writer? Had you thought about writing books?
Chris Farnsworth: Almost always. There was a brief period where in college where I thought I was going to be a lawyer but sanity prevailed.
Tim Knox: You’re not the first former lawyer to use that phrase.
Chris Farnsworth: There are a lot of really good lawyers out there and I don’t think the legal profession is missing anything for not having me in it.
Tim Knox: So when you were in college, I think you told this story, you wrote something and you submitted it to an agent and they asked for more but then you didn’t hear back?
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah my very first novel I wrote, I wrote as my senior thesis. I sent it off to a bunch of agents in just sort of these incredibly blind, amateurishly queries. One of them, a fairly high powered agent, did get back to me. I spent the entire summer and most of the next year just waiting to hear after I sent the full manuscript and never did. Of course I had these visions of well this changes everything and this is going to be the big break. What am I going to wear to the Nobel Prize ceremony? I don’t know if you even have to show up in person at the Nobel Prize ceremony. It was one of the great lessons in learning not to count your chickens before they hatch.
Tim Knox: I think what you’re describing there a lot of authors, including myself, have been through that. You send it off and you get someone who will just nibble and all of a sudden you’re very positive you’re going to be the next Hemmingway and dating models. The one phrase that you used in an interview that I listened to was, “That was the longest walk to the mailbox every day.”
Chris Farnsworth: Absolutely, yeah, absolutely. It’s actually a really good thing the book did not get published because it’s fairly terrible. It was an undergraduate novel. I was playing with toys I really didn’t fully understand. It was a great exercise but it wasn’t what I would call ‘good’ by any stretch of the imagination. It was called Road Trip and it was about a guy who’s a truck driver and just all the insane things he encounters when he’s out on the road.
Tim Knox: So you finally ended up in California. Your friend said you’re in L.A. so you’ve got to write movie scripts. Tell us a little about that because your first script I think was The Academy. It sold quickly.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah my agents took it out and within two weeks it had been optioned by MGM. It was about a covert government program that took orphans and turned them into spies. This was before Bourne Identity came out, before Agent Cody Banks but it was sort of a mix of both of those.
Tim Knox: So it was optioned by MGM and they just never did anything with it?
Chris Farnsworth: No we had meetings and then it just got put into turnaround, which is basically Hollywood language for, “Here’s your check; you can go away now.”
Tim Knox: Talk a little about that. As we were just talking about, the range of emotions that an author goes through because some authors try their entire life and never get a meeting at MGM so you’ve got to be very high on this and very expectant and then nothing happens.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah I think that you’re entire career as a writer can be, or at least my entire career as a writer can be summed you up as learning to manage expectations. There’s always another hurdle that you’re going to have to jump over. There’s always going to be something else that you’re going to have to do and the work never really ends. That’s what makes it both really incredibly gratifying and incredibly frustrating.
I’m never going to tell you that I haven’t been incredibly lucky. That’s where I start from. I’ve gotten opportunities that I never would have dreamed of. I sold my first article to Boise Weekly for something like I’m going to say $30, $40 and in grad school that was a lot of money. That was at least dinner and several beers.
It becomes a series of graduated hurdles you’ve got to jump over. You always think well once I get published then I’ll have really made it. Once I get a screen option I’ll have really made it. Once I finally get my novel published I’ll have really made it. You never really have that feeling. You feel great for a couple of days and then you’re like okay well I better get back to work.
Tim Knox: But you have to be the eternal optimist, don’t you? You’ve got to get back on that horse and write some more.
Chris Farnsworth: Oh yeah, absolutely. You can never give up because there’s always an excuse not to write. The blank screen is the easiest thing in the world to turn away from. Even with deadlines bearing down on me, even after all my really incredible luck, I can still find excuses not to write and I can still find excuses to be discouraged.
Tim Knox: Now did you find that your time as a journalist, did that help you become a novelist?
Chris Farnsworth: Absolutely. I think that the great thing about journalism, about writing for a daily newspaper which barely even exists anymore, or a five times a day posting on a blog or whatever, is that it teaches you the importance of deadlines. It teaches you not to be scared of the blank screen and to get past that fear. The greatest thing for me was having an editor over my shoulder in a noisy, crowded environment saying, “Hey we are a daily paper. You do have to get this done today.”
Tim Knox: The value of deadlines in the newspaper business.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah it teaches you to produce even when you don’t feel like it and it teaches you not to listen to writer’s block. I’m not one of those writers who says writer’s block doesn’t exist but I do believe that there is a real fear in a lot of writers of writing just something that’s terrible and that can really paralyze you.
Tim Knox: So let’s move ahead a little bit. So you had the idea for Nathaniel Cade. He is a vampire in the service to the President. What year was it that you had that idea?
Chris Farnsworth: I had the idea I guess 2007 right when the Writers Guild of America went on strike.
Tim Knox: So really you were ahead of the vampire curve that we’re riding now.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah there’s a phrase that some of my friends and I use called ‘sniffing the zeitgeist’. A lot of writers just seem to have the same ideas at the same time and I think the sudden resurgence of interest in vampires was part of that, and same with the zombies. When I was a screenwriter I did a young Greek gods screenplay and I thought I was so far ahead of the curve. I thought no one else would come up with this. The day it went out to the studios we heard back immediately, “Oh yeah, we got five of these today.”
Tim Knox: Let’s talk about that process. You had the idea. How long did it take you to turn that idea into a sellable book or manuscript?
Chris Farnsworth: I wrote it pretty fast. I think the actual writing took about a year with work and other things in between and also my wife got pregnant and we were going to have a baby. We sold one house and bought another but not in that order so there was a lot of stressful stuff going on. It took about a year to actually finish the book.
Tim Knox: Once you had it finished did you submit it to agents? What was your process of getting published?
Chris Farnsworth: I went through the entire blind query process. Having contact in Hollywood is usually not very helpful in getting contacts in the literary world or at least it wasn’t then. It’s changed a lot but there’s still kind of a wall between literary publishing, the New York world and Los Angeles. I didn’t have any contacts. I didn’t have anyone who had an in. I just had to go through the whole blind submission process. Again, there I got very lucky. That’s how I found my agent, Alexandra Machinist, who’s remarkable and brilliant.
Tim Knox: How many agents did you query? Do you remember?
Chris Farnsworth: It had to be at least 100.
Tim Knox: You had had some prior success selling things quickly. How was it dealing with that whole agent querying process?
Chris Farnsworth: It’s never as fast as you like it. Everything takes longer than you think it’s going to. Writing the book’s going to take longer. I think actually I’ve learned that applies to my life in general. Everything takes longer. You should always budget in two weeks more than you think you’re going to need to. But yeah writing the book took longer, the querying and agenting process took longer. I think that Hollywood and my screenwriting experience was actually very helpful in that regard because that’s a lot of waiting around – waiting around to hear from a producer, waiting around to hear from an agent, waiting around to hear from a studio. You’re always waiting for the answer and the answer is usually no. You’ve got that tension between do I really want to know? As long as you don’t hear it could still possibly be a yes.
Tim Knox: No news is good news.
Chris Farnsworth: Exactly.
Tim Knox: So you got the agent. How long did it take him to sell it?
Chris Farnsworth: Her. Alexandra sold it really incredibly fast. We did a little revision on it and then I think within I’m going to say three months or so she landed a really amazing deal for me.
Tim Knox: Was that a series deal?
Chris Farnsworth: Yes.
Tim Knox: And you’re three books in?
Chris Farnsworth: Three books in, yeah.
Tim Knox: How do you like writing the series?
Chris Farnsworth: I like it a lot. Right now I’m actually taking a break from the series because I got a job to do a different book but I liked it a lot. I liked the idea of carrying ideas and characters through and I’m a huge fan of serialized entertainment anyways. I learned to read from comic books which are just one cliffhanger and one continuation after another. I’m a huge fan of TV. That’s where I learned how to tell a story, from watching and reading these incredibly serialized continuous cliffhanger entertainment. For me that’s what I wanted to do in the book anyways. When I set out to write the book I wanted to write something I would want to read.
Tim Knox: So did you start of intending to write a series?
Chris Farnsworth: Yes, I wanted this to be a franchise character.
Tim Knox: Let’s talk a little about character development. Nathaniel Cade is such a unique character. He’s a vampire that works for the President. How much thought did you give Nathaniel? How much backstory did you do on him?
Chris Farnsworth: I had to think about him a lot. There are a lot of vampires and there’s a strong tradition of the “good vampire” in literature or the vampire is anti-hero or the vampire is hero. So I wanted to give him things that set him apart from other characters who obviously were inspirations like Joss Whedon’s Angel or the Twilight characters or the vampires of True Blood. There are a lot of characters out there who have similar DNA and what I wanted to do was make him strong enough to stand in that company on his own right. It’s up to readers I guess to see if I actually succeeded at that but I wanted to give him something that was different and also I wanted him to be frightening. I wanted to get back more to the idea that a vampire is not some late night cable sex god. A vampire is a predator.
Tim Knox: That’s one thing I was going to ask because now all the vampires just seem to be beautiful people.
Chris Farnsworth: Right and at the time I started writing Cade there was just absolutely no downside to being a vampire. You could even go out in the day again but you would just sparkle. I’ve said this many times in many interviews but I never liked vampires. I never did like them. It goes back to being terrified by one on a Scooby Doo cartoon when I was far too young to be watching television.
Tim Knox: I think I remember that one.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah exactly.
Tim Knox: That was scary.
Chris Farnsworth: A vampire is not a good guy. By nature he’s not a good guy. He feeds off of other people and condemns them to a horrible death. That’s not something a good guy does.
Tim Knox: No matter how good looking he is.
Chris Farnsworth: Exactly.
Tim Knox: How much inspiration did you take from the old vampire, the Bram Stoker vampire?
Chris Farnsworth: I love the book Dracula. I reread it right before I began writing this and I was surprised by how modernist it was, how much Bram Stoker used the current technology, the current science to combat a creature of superstition and how the book when it’s told with letters and journal entries and such how it gives it such great immediacy. Dracula I think is a great character because of all that. He’s filled in in the negative space created by the ways all the other people see them. That way you see he is a really frightening, terrifying, shadowy figure.
Tim Knox: And not someone who can go out in the daylight and just glow.
Chris Farnsworth: Right, right. He could go out in the daylight; his powers were just vastly reduced.
Tim Knox: Right. The lure of the vampires of the old days is there was mostly the evil but there was a sexy side to the vil.
Chris Farnsworth: I think that there’s a lot to be said about the idea that vampires represent our repressed sexuality, that they represent the desires and our fears that come from wanting to depend on other people and yet be independent of them, the idea that we can somehow control our emotions and we can control who we love and that we can control the need that we have to be loved in return and the needs that we have from other people.
Tim Knox: Now along with the vampires these books are really a historic fiction to a degree. Nathaniel Cade’s involved in a lot of things that are going on in the real world. Talk about mixing those two.
Chris Farnsworth: Well for me that was the fun part. I’ve always been a news and political junkie. I was a journalist and I was a history major. For me, this was a chance to go in and write the real secret history of the world as I saw it. I’ve had a lot of experience with conspiracy theories and I’ve read a lot of those books and it’s always so tempting to try to make the world make sense. There’s a very compelling idea that there’s got to be somebody behind it all. There has to be a reason for all of this. Humans are pattern seeking animals. That’s a very human response to the chaos of history as it goes down around us. I just sort of inserted a vampire into every conspiracy theory I could possibly imagine.
Tim Knox: It was Forrest Gump with fangs.
Chris Farnsworth: He’s always been there. He’s involved in the Nixon administration. He’s the reason for the missing space on the Watergate tapes. He’s involved in the Kennedy assassination. If it’s happened in U.S. history since 1867, Cade has seen some part of it.
Tim Knox: How much fun is it writing this character?
Chris Farnsworth: He’s a lot of fun. He’s superhumanly strong, superhumanly fast, much smarter than we are, much meaner and tougher and yet at the same time has this inflexible moral code most of the time. but he is a predator so it’s great to put on that coat for a while and pretend that nothing can hurt you.
Tim Knox: Do you find yourself kind of walking the fence on exactly how far he goes to either side?
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah I think that’s his great burden to carry is that again it shouldn’t be all fun and games. Being a vampire … it shouldn’t be, wow, I really want that. It should be this is a horrible, horrible price to pay. The way he balances that price, instead of going over entirely to the dark side and preying on humans is that he’s been given a mission. He’s never going to get to see happiness or the promised land himself but he is going to protect the meek until they get there.
Tim Knox: This could be completely off topic but what did you think of the Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter movie?
Chris Farnsworth: I know Seth Grahame-Smith, the guy who wrote that, and he did a fantastic job. I think Seth is if anything much more obsessed with the actual history than I am. He went back and he told me about it when he talked. He went back to the journals and he went back to the actual historical records. I used broad strokes. I honestly think Seth could tell you what hour that his vampires would show up in the actual historical record. I think he could tell you what day of the week in terms of what journals that Abraham Lincoln could have… I think he would have found a spot on the day planner where Abraham Lincoln would have written down 10:30 to noon: slay vampires.
Tim Knox: That’s funny. How much research do you do writing all this historical stuff?
Chris Farnsworth: I still do a lot of research. A lot of it’s out on the fringes. Like I said, I read a lot of conspiracy theories. I read a lot of fringe science books and I read a lot of… one great thing is that America has this fantastic tradition of horror writers starting with H.P. Lovecraft. This homebuilt literature of horror that’s been mostly overlooked and mostly ignored by mainstream literature but that has a real American and a real authentic original stamp on it. This is something that America came up with on its own.
Tim Knox: Right and America seems to embrace this sort of thing. Are zombies the new vampires?
Chris Farnsworth: I don’t know what the new vampires are. I think zombies are still the same zombies. You look at The Walking Dead, which is still one of the highest rated television shows on. I think you look at the fact that zombie movies are still number one at the box office. I don’t think people have gotten tired of zombies yet. I think zombies stand or shamble or whatever on their own. They fill a different but very similar need for fear in us.
Tim Knox: What I have seen happen and I think this is probably going to happen at some point here is there’s going to be a mixing. You remember Godzilla meets Frankenstein. Zombies are going to meet vampires at some point and they already have in some shows.
Chris Farnsworth: That’s one thing that I really like about Cade is that he gets to fight everything. He’s fought Frankenstein’s monster soldiers. One of my favorite and actually one of the scariest movies I remember from my childhood was Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, which was just a great. It had all the universal movie monsters and it was a great, entertaining team up of a film. It was really fantastic.
For me that’s the whole point is getting all of these characters together and you see that in Underworld. There’s some comics that are vampires versus zombies. I think you’ll see more of that and even like Justin Cronin’s The Passage or Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain. Those vampires are a lot more like zombies than they really are like the classic opera cape wearing creatures of the night.
Tim Knox: Do you see this with a lot of authors and filmmakers there – now they’re trying new things? You know what I mean? We’ve done this kind of vampire. What can we do differently? The old make them glow and go outside.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah I think everybody’s always looking for the next big thing, the next big change. That’s why they want to try stuff like The Strain and they want to try stuff like The Passage or why readers want to read about a Secret Service agent who’s also a vampire. People are constantly looking for a novelty and they’re constantly looking for a new way to pour old wine into new bottles.
Tim Knox: Let’s kind of switch gears a little bit and talk about your process. How big is your family now?
Chris Farnsworth: It’s me, my wife and our two daughters – a six year old and a three year old.
Tim Knox: So they take up some of your time. When does daddy write?
Chris Farnsworth: Daddy started going to the office right about the time my first daughter started to walk, which was right around when she was two, and became this daddy seeking missile. I couldn’t write at home.
Tim Knox: I’ve got two daughters. That’s why I’m laughing.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah. You can’t get anything done at home. You don’t want to. It’s much more fun to hang out with your incredibly cute child. So yeah, there’s an office that’s down the street from my home and I walk to it every weekday. I try to make it as much like a real job as possible. I sit here and I try to type for as long as I can every day.
That’s the other thing I think I learned from being a reporter. You have to show up and you have to do the job and you have to keep typing. It doesn’t matter if you don’t really feel like it. Unless you’re sick or you’ve had a leg removed you’ve got to get in that chair and type.
Tim Knox: One of the trends that I’ve noticed, and I’ve interviewed 50 or 60 authors now. The ones that seem to have achieved real success, they do treat it like a business. It is like going to the office every day. Talk a little about that. You’re very entrepreneurial I think. Talk about treating it as a business.
Chris Farnsworth: I think that it is a business. You have to take it seriously. If you don’t take it seriously nobody else is going to. There is a certain arrogance and I think there is a certain pretentiousness to it. There’s an old story about how Stephen King used to put his desk right in the middle of his living room and he said, “This is where I write. This is where the work gets done and this is what puts a roof over our heads and this is what puts food on the table so this is important and everybody needs to know it’s important.”
As a writer sometimes it’s really hard to stake out that claim. It’s really hard to tell your family and friends, “No I can’t do that. I’m writing. I’m working.” Even if it’s not your day job you still have to treat it like it’s the most important thing at that time and you have to make the space for it. If you don’t take it seriously nobody else will.
Tim Knox: Have you ever had an occasion where you tell your friends, “I’m writing,” and they look at you like, “So?”
Chris Farnsworth: Again I’m very lucky in that most of my friends are either writers or ex-newspaper writers. They’ve all been through it. They’ve all had people look at them like that so fortunately the look I get is more like, “Yeah, who isn’t?”
Tim Knox: Where do you get your inspiration from?
Chris Farnsworth: Mostly from my reading, mostly from the strange stuff I’ve read my whole life, the weird books I found in the library or the comic books I read when I was a kid or the strange tales of Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster and UFOs and the little quirks in history, the weird little unexplained mysteries that are still out there in historical record that nobody really has a good answer for even though we’d like to have one.
Tim Knox: And when you hear of those little mysteries do you feel compelled to solve them literally?
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah it’s like an antenna going up. I feel like I have to make at least some attempt at an explanation.
Tim Knox: Do you still read comic books?
Chris Farnsworth: Oh yeah, absolutely. I’m still a huge geek.
Tim Knox: Any thoughts on doing a graphic novel?
Chris Farnsworth: I have been trying. I would love to write comics. It’s never been easy to break into it. I would say it’s harder to break into it now. I keep throwing pitches at some of the companies and clearly I need to throw harder.
Tim Knox: Let’s talk a little about your new book. You’ve got a book coming out about The Fountain of Youth. Is that right?
Chris Farnsworth: Yes. This was actually an interesting development. There were these two movie producers, Tom Jacobson and Monty Wills, and they had an idea for a movie. First they wanted to see it as a book. They had the idea but they didn’t have the exact plot. They didn’t have the story. They really didn’t know how it ended. What they did is they hired me to come up with that stuff, to sort of fill in that part and to come up with a structure and a plot and the action.
Then I took that and I pitched it to publishers or rather my agent pitched it to publishers and Alexandra was able to sell it as a proposal. So then I got a deal to actually write the book. Now Monty and Tom, when the book’s published, they’ll take the book back to the studios and actually try to make it into a movie.
Tim Knox: Wow, how weird is it not to be writing a Nathaniel Cade book?
Chris Farnsworth: It was a little weird at first. It’s been a nice break but I completely understand that people are getting impatient to see him again. It’s a fun character and I left the last book on a cliffhanger, which was an incredibly cruel thing to do since I’m not going to be getting back to him anytime soon. I’m just finishing a different book with a new standalone character that I hope will do well.
Tim Knox: How do you think the Nathaniel Cade fans are taking this little hiatus? Do you hear from them?
Chris Farnsworth: So far they’ve been very graceful. I don’t have to deal with anything like George R.R. Martin’s problems. Nobody’s threatened to kill me. It’s incredibly flattering that people out there are so invested in this world that you’ve built that they can’t wait to see what happens in it next.
Tim Knox: I think that’s one thing that has changed with the internet and self-publishing and social media. It’s really made authors more accessible to their fans.
Chris Farnsworth: Overall I think that’s great. Overall I think that the increased accessibility to writers creates more investment in the book and the process and you get to meet people. Not everybody can afford a book tour and not every book gets a tour paid for by the publishers so this is a way to reach out the people who do enjoy your work and I think it removes some of the loneliness that used to be involved in being a reader or a writer.
I think there was a time when you just didn’t know aside from sales numbers if anybody liked the book or what they thought of it. This has had a really huge disintermediating effect and this has been a real way for people to connect with one another. I love hearing from people and I love the feedback and I’m really flattered every time somebody picks up one of my books and the fact that they just gave it a chance.
Tim Knox: Do you spend a lot of time on social media?
Chris Farnsworth: More than I should, yeah.
Tim Knox: You and I met on Twitter.
Chris Farnsworth: Exactly. I love Twitter. Twitter is great. It’s a great addiction that almost looks like writing and can keep you from doing your real work. No I think it’s important to maintain contact and I think it’s important to have a connection with all the people who have invested in me and invested in the books. I’ve been working more and more on trying to shut it down and actually just get the writing done, especially now that I’m close to the end of another book.
Tim Knox: That’s one thing I think you have to be careful of. You can really get caught up in all the other stuff that is not the writing.
Chris Farnsworth: Exactly. Writing is such a lonely and insular process and Twitter is like cracking the window and seeing out into the world and it’s a chance to talk to somebody. That’s very attractive when you’re staring at the blank page.
Tim Knox: Have all your books been traditionally published?
Chris Farnsworth: Yes I wrote one short story about Cade that I did publish as an eBook and that’s out on Amazon and Nook and Kobo and iTunes.
Tim Knox: Any plans to do anything else self-publishing wise?
Chris Farnsworth: Not right now. There’s a lot of friction and conflict between publishing and self-publishing right now, especially with what’s going on with Amazon. I just want as many people as possible to read my books and I know that my short piece would not have had near the reach it had if people hadn’t already found me through their bookstores. I’ve been really lucky that way. I think that I want as many people as possible to read the books and however that happens I’ll be happy to get it there.
Tim Knox: Any plans or any talks to get the Nathanial Cade books to the movies?
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah it was optioned the day it came out by a guy named Lucas Foster. Lucas is a really smart, really good movie producer. He was the executive producer on Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Law Abiding Citizen and Equilibrium and he’s got a list of credits longer than my arm. He’s really good and he’s really smart and I absolutely trust him to do the right thing by the material. That said, everything takes longer than you think it will. It’s a matter of raising the money and making sure that we have the budget to do the project right.
Tim Knox: That’s one thing I was going to ask. At this point in your career with the experiences you’ve had, are your expectations more tempered now than they were a few years ago?
Chris Farnsworth: Actually no. This is a terrible thing to say but I think the more success you get the more optimistic you get and the more you expect it to keep going that way. I try to remember back when in that first couple of days after selling my script. It changed my life but it doesn’t change everything. You still have to go to work and get up in the morning, go to work and having children I think is actually a really wonderful reminder. They don’t particularly care how many books you’ve sold. They just want to make sure the Cheerios are in the bowl at the right time in the morning.
Tim Knox: Kids will bring you down to Earth quickly.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah kids are a great reminder.
Tim Knox: Well Chris we’ve got just a couple of minutes left. You’ve already given us a considerable amount of advice but the audience for this show by and large are authors who are looking to do what you’ve done, are looking to breakout, looking to grow. Any final words of wisdom for them?
Chris Farnsworth: This is what I always say so I apologize if it’s a repeat from previous interviews but I do think it’s just that important. Obviously keep doing the work but do the work that you want to do. Never be ashamed of your enthusiasms. Write what you want to read and if you can’t find people who love it then rewrite it until they do love it. It’s so important not to write just the next thing that you think is going to sell or just the next thing that you think somebody else is going to want to see. That’s not going to make a very good book.
Tim Knox: You have to be true to yourself then.
Chris Farnsworth: Yeah, exactly. Be true to yourself.
Tim Knox: Chris Farnsworth, tell folks how they can find out more about your work and your website.
Chris Farnsworth: You can always go to ChrisFarnsworth.com or you can find me on Twitter at @ChrisFarnsworth and then you can also find me on Facebook.
Tim Knox: Very good. We’ll put up links. This has been great. Will you come back and talk some more after the next book?
Chris Farnsworth: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been very kind.