RICHARD FARR: I’M WRITING THE SEQUEL TO THE FIRE SEEKERS
Posted by Ognian Georgiev
Richard Farr’s The Fire Seekers is the first part of Babel Trilogy. The official release of the book was yesterday, November 1. The novel finished 6th place at our Monthly Top 10 Amazon Bestsellers list for October. The pre-sales were very strong and we wish to our next featured guest to produce many more hits.
– The Fire Seekers is one of the hottest titles in Amazon. What the readers will find inside?
– It’s billed as a “young adult thriller,” but one reader said it’s more like “Dan Brown meets Umberto Eco.” A teen hero must try to understand the relationship between a set of strange disappearances and an ancient warning found in the ruins of the Tower of Babel.
– How did you decide to write the story?
– I used to teach philosophy. When I look at fantasy and speculative fiction, I see a lot of magic and other supernatural devices. But there’s something “supernatural” right here. Right inside your head, actually – consciousness! Religion doesn’t do a very good job of making sense of where it came from… but then neither does science. What if…
– What was the biggest challenge during the write up process?
– Having a very clear idea of the “conceptual arc,” and the characters, but having to make them and their narrative consistent with the underlying ideas. And vice versa!
– Tell us something more about your main character? Is it 100% fiction or it’s close to someone from your real life?
– Daniel is a totally fictional 17-year-old who has very little intellectual confidence but serious “jock” skills – climbing, karate, etc. Some reviewers have said his skills are unrealistic, but the fact is I *know* teens with many of those skills. OK, so he has a lot of them – and I did stretch a point with the flying-a-helicopter thing!
– How much time you need to finish the story and to publish it?
– It was supposed to take a year. It took almost two and a half.
– Would you give some insight of your other three top works: Emperors of the Ice, You Are Here: A User’s Guide to the Universe and The Truth About Constance Weaver?
– Many writers produce a lot of books in the same genre, because they’ve found a formula that they like and that works: with John Grisham or Janet Evanovich, or even a very literary writer like say Ian McEwan, there’s a sense in which you always know what kind of thing you’ll get from one of their books. For better or worse, I don’t think I’m ever going to be like that. “Emperors” is an historically true adventure story for any reader from 12 to 112. “You Are Here” is a non-fiction field-guide to literally everything in the universe, again written with a very broad age range in mind. “Constance Weaver” is a literary mystery – it looks like a whodunnit, but is really something else – and it’s for the kind of reader who isn’t put off by the idea that part of the plot (a set of letters) is written in eighteenth century English. I’m also working on a comic middle grade novel, some picture books, and a memoir. I could go on…
– Who are you?
– I used to be a philosophy professor. I gave up teaching philosophy to be a writer because I wanted to stop arguing and try representing. Unfortunately, “representing” is just as mentally taxing as arguing about Wittgenstein.
– What are your writing habits?
– They’re… bad. Writers ought to write for three or four hours in the morning, then go for a walk, then spend the rest of the day editing what they’ve written, and reading. I try to do that. Most days I fail, because editing what you’ve already written is easy and fun, whereas writing the next bit is like very slowly pulling out your own toenails.
– What are the plans for your next novel?
– I’m writing the sequel to The Fire Seekers now. It will be called Ghosts in the Machine.
– What are you doing to promote by the best possible way your book?
– When my first book, Emperors of the Ice, didn’t sell as well as I’d hoped (and about 95% of first books don’t), my agent said something very wise to me. “You could spend 40 hours a week on social media,” he said, “and hope that that will make a big difference, but it probably won’t. Or, you could focus on writing the next book.” That was the right advice. I am doing very little to promote The Fire Seekers, partly for that reason – I’m busy with the sequel. Also, partly because I’m lucky in that my publisher, Skyscape, is doing a great job for me on the publicity and marketing side.
– You’ve been a journalist and a teacher. How these professions helped you to develop as a writer?
– Journalism is a great training – especially if you work with good editors – because it forces you to be quick, to grab attention, and to be precise. No time or space to waste! I’m not sure teaching helped me to write, but it’s driven by a similar desire to share with others a passion about something. “Look how cool this is!”
– Is USA a better place for living than UK and what was the reason for you to cross the ocean?
– I came here to do a Ph.D., then got a job, met my wife, had children, and… woah, thirty years? It seems oddly accidental. There are places (and people) I love in both countries, and things I miss in one when I’m in the other. It’s odd, though, that someone who adores warm sunny climates managed to grown up in the UK and end up in Seattle. Not sure how that happened. Here in Seattle, I love being able to see the mountains from my house in the city. But at this time of year (an especially rainy October / November) I fantasize about moving to Malta, or New Zealand, or Ecuador.
– Ask yourself a question (And don’t forget to answer!)
– You like to cook – which famous authors would you invite round for dinner?
Shakespeare? Nah, too enigmatic – I’m not even sure he could do ordinary conversation. In fact, instead of going for literary weight, I’d restrict myself entirely to writers defined by their wicked sense of humor. In order around the table, then: Geoffrey Chaucer, Janet Evanovich, Jonathan Swift, P.G. Wodehouse, Laurence Sterne, Terry Pratchett, Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Flann O’Brien, Evelyn Waugh, George MacDonald Frazer, Dorothy Parker, and Oscar Wilde. Possibly Nabokov, if we can find an extra chair. I wouldn’t have to say a word all evening.
Check out more about Richard Farr at his Web page