Ken Farmer: Western Storyteller

Ken Farmer (Deputy Kyle) and Kevin Costner on the set of “Silverado.”

College football player, Marine, salesman, wildcatter, cattle and horse rancher, professional television and movie actor and team penner – that is not a list of the careers of multiple individuals, but the accomplishments of a single man by the name of Ken Farmer. However, these careers only led
him to his true passion, when at the age of 69, he found his calling as an author.

Since that time, he has written more than 30 novels that frequently top the Amazon best seller list in the western science fiction and military action categories.

Not many would be daring enough to begin a new career so late in life, but failure is something that never crossed Farmer’s mind.

“It was very fulfilling. I am very heavy right brained, and I have a lot of creativity, and it wasn’t going anywhere after I retired from acting. I was not a happy camper. I do speaking engagements, and my theme is usually ‘it ain’t ever too late,’” explained Farmer. “My daddy used to tell me ‘If you think you can or think you can’t…you’re right.’ It never occurred when I started writing that I would fail at it.”

Farmer has written more than three million words since he began writing. The humorous 78-year-old makes his home near Gainesville, Texas, where he has been spinning out bestselling novels for nearly a decade, but his journey to success began long before that.

Farmer was born in Kilgore, Texas, the younger of two sons to Robert Reese and Johnnie Vertis Jolley Farmer. Robert Reese Farmer was a driller for Shell Oil, and at the time Kilgore was the big boom town. His father’s career choice meant a lot of moving for the family, and as a child he attended 21 schools in seven states. Farmer took a somewhat unique approach to fitting in at new schools.

“You learned to adjust,” said Farmer. “When I was in second grade I figured out I was going to be the new kid, so I would find out who the school bully was and pick a fight. You win some you lose some, but you’re instantly accepted. I tried being the new kid for a while and that wasn’t working, so I learned to
adapt.”

Farmer wrapped up his high school education in Gainesville in 1959 and made his way to the University of Oklahoma to play football, but he hit a spout of bad luck when he came down with mono and missed his finals. Around the same time, his best friend from his high school days, Dennie Clark, called and urged Farmer to join the Marine Corps with him.


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