With the recent release of Dyrk Ashton’s newest book, Paternus: Wrath of Gods, the Fantasy Inn thought you might like to hear a bit from the author himself and invited him for a chat.
Hi Dyrk, thank you for agreeing to visit us at The Fantasy Inn and having this interview. Could you tell us about your journey, and how you became Dyrk Ashton the Author?
Thank you for having me! My journey to becoming an author… what a strange and twisted journey it’s been. I’ve always loved stories, both reading and telling them, and had a pretty wild imagination. Which was not always appreciated, believe me. I became enthralled with fantasy at a young age, and wished the world still had magic and dragons and knights. Things that really do go bump in the night, hidden places and beings. I’ve always been fascinated with the “what if…”
I decided to study film after going through about a thousand phases, from blacksmith to herpetologist, and did that for many years. I went through periods of intense writing, from short stories to screenplays, and actually attempted to write a novel in high school. Neat idea, terribly written. The screenplays were pretty damn good, I think, but that’s an even tougher business than trying to be a working author with an agent and trad publisher.
Only in the last five years have I taken novel writing seriously, and the first book was wrriten almost as a lark, to keep me happy. I wanted to experiment with all the various methods of writing and storytelling I’d studied and played with for so long; to write a book I really wanted to read, and that was different. As I got closer to finishing, I learned more and more about self-publishing and decided that was what I’d do, just to see if anyone else liked my insane ideas. Some do, some don’t, which is wonderful by me. I think if I’ve pleased everyone, I’ve done something terribly wrong.
One of the things I struggle with when telling someone about Paternus is not going into an excessively large amount of detail and over explaining everything. Could you please give us the elevator pitch you use for Paternus?
Since I decided not to go the agent route (again), I never did come up with a solid pitch, but what I usually tell folks is that it takes place today, in this world, and unbeknownst to humankind, most all the myths and legends from around the world are based in truth. Through the eyes of two young protagonists the veil of normalcy is peeled back as these beings are revealed to them, coming out of hiding to hunt their own in the first strike of what may be the final battle in the world’s oldest war. Or something like that. It also depends on who I’m talking to. Some people say, “Oh, Urban Fantasy then.” That makes things easier. It’s when someone says, “Fantasy?” then I have to revert back to the old, “You know, like The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter,” and start all over again.
I understand a lot of research has gone into the creation of Paternus. How did you learn so much about mythology, and was there a part you found particularly interesting?
I have been fascinated by mythology, legends, fairy-tales and folklore since as far back as I can remember. Always asking myself, where did this stuff come from, and how could anyone ever have believed them, let alone made religions out of most of them? I started with the standards, Norse, Greek, and Roman, but I always wanted to find the oldest texts possible, not modern retellings, and to seek out alternative tellings of the same stories. It went from there to stories from all around the world, which of course included studying many religions.
The acts of mythmaking and storytelling are in themselves extremely intriguing to me. How do they come about, and change, and what may be the motivations and reasons for them? And of course, the possible mythemes, the kernals of possible truths that may have spawned them in the first place and connect many of them together.
Do you have a favourite Firstborn, and if so, which and why?
I can’t say I have a favorite. I love them all, even the bad ones. Edgar has somehow turned into my favorite to write, I think, even though he isn’t actually Firstborn. His life story and personal nature and internal conflicts, mixed with his blind faith, really appeal to me for some reason.
Are there any two mythical figures you were excited to have duke it out?
Oh yeah. Having the Cerberi fight each other in Book 1 was something I really looked forward to. And Samson taking on the vampyr/werewolf mob. In Book 2 it had to be the Kali/Nidhogg battle, I would guess. Book 3 is where the real head-to-head super-powered knock-down-drag-outs will happen, though, and I’ve been looking forward to writing those since I started taking notes for Book 1. We haven’t even met some of the combatants yet. This is a bit of a teaser, but one thing I’m really looking forward to is setting Zeke up to have to hold his own against the Wendigo. Kinda creeps me out just thinking about it. In a good way. Yeah I’m weird. But you’ve read my books, you already know that…
Are there any other interesting Firstborn we can expect to see in Paternus 3? By my reckoning, we don’t have a half-sloth yet. Hiu is particularly interested in the chances of a green leafy Firstborn appearing.
Unless I have it in the background, no plans for the sloth right now, though you never know. BUT – there will indeed be a green leafy Firstborn – the oldest of them all. It is not, however, a cabbage. Sorry Hiu.
We’ll definitely meet some more big-bads and big-goods in Book 3. Also a bit of a teaser, we’ll meet the ones talked about in Books 1 and 2, like Yggdrasil, The Twins, Quon Kiang, and Azh. But, there are more. I think I might be most excited about introducing The Kraken, also known as The Leviathan, the Beast of the Sea. Yikes.
I’ve heard you plan on keeping Paternus to a trilogy. Do you have any plans for after the third book in the series? Prequels or sequels? A different world?
I’ve tried not to think about it too much, on purpose, because for me it’s always been ‘best laid plans…” It depends I guess on how well Books 2 and 3 do. Lately some ideas for a follow-up trilogy have been percolating that I think could be really insane and fun to write. I also have some ideas bubbling about a more straightforward urban fantasy series, but based in the same world, that would bring in many of the same characters while exploring the world more deeply. Then there’s something I’ve wanted to do for awhile, a standalone novel following Gilgamesh and Enkidu, but also Priapus, and their adventures trying to find Noah. Probably even more adult, raunchy and comedic than Paternus. Considering a possible venture into the Mahabharata as well, but that’s a big, big project.
I’ve seen you’re part of the Sigil Independent guild, how have the other members been helpful throughout the writing and publishing process of the Paternus books?
DA Sigil is an absolutely amazing group, and I have to hand it to Matt and Daniel for making it all happen and keeping it going. I’m actually a pretty late add to the group, so I haven’t really been involved that much other than in some promotional stuff. I did truly enjoy the ritual hazing though, with the cupcakes, goats and trapeze. And the spanking, of course.
Get Paternus: Rise of Gods on sale.
Paternus: Wrath of Gods is now available here.
Visit Dyrk Ashton’s official website.