Hello and welcome! First I would like to thank you for taking the time to hang out and for letting me pick your brain.
DA: Thank you for having me here, Christine!
Okay, first question. Who is Dyrk Ashton? What can you tell us about you?
DA: Good question. Who is that guy? I wonder sometimes myself. These days, he spends a lot of time in front of the computer and on his phone, talking about his very first book and wrangling the myriad aspects of production, publicity and promotion – and loves every minute of it. Plan is to get back into serious writing mode by July 1 and get that second book done! Mostly just a midwestern boy who’s had the opportunity to do a whole lot of fun things in his life, like act in movies, make movies, travel, teach film, read and write.
Where did you come up with the idea for Paternus?
DA: I’ve always loved writing, and my imagination drives me crazy. When I realized I actually had time to write again, it had to be something I’ve thought about for a long time, and actually longed for in books that I really hadn’t found. I’ve always been fascinated by mythology and the act of storytelling, and the idea that we could be more than we are. I love all kinds of books, but really get into stories like Percy Jackson, The Alchemyst, and close to those, The Golden Compass, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Mortal Instruments. I wanted to read something similar to those, but for grownups. The Iron Druid and American Gods are close, but not quite what I wanted. So I wrotePaternus because I wanted to read it. It’s kind of a modern myth about myths, if that makes any sense. I like to learn stuff in books, too, about history, science, places and things, that’s always a bonus, and contemporary fantasy affords me the opportunity to put that kind of thing in my books, something high fantasy really doesn’t (other than philosophically, I mean). I also have a kind of goofy and snarky sense of humor, and I think that definitely comes through in my work.
For those who have not yet visited your website, when did you decide to start writing?
D.A.: I went back to college for my PhD later in life, and during school and then teaching full time I had no time to read fiction, let alone write anything. When I went to teaching all online I had time to read. Then I realized I could make time to write! That was a startling and wonderful revelation. And it was about 4 years ago now. Wow. Four years…
What were the inspirations for your mystical characters?
D.A. All of them are inspired by real characters from mythologies around the world. And I read them all. There are striking similarities between characters from myths and legends from all corners of the globe and time periods, so I wondered – what if they were actually thesame being, known to all these cultures throughout time? I then considered what kind of prehistoric creature could fit these kinds of beings and did a lot of research there. And that’s how the characters came into being in the book. Of course they aren’t natural creatures, but imbued with, well, something else, I can’t tell, it would be a spoiler. But I can say, they’re Firstborn…
Who are some of the authors you enjoy reading?
D.A. Boy, early on there were so many I won’t even attempt to name them all, but super-faves would have to be Tolkien and Zelazny, but there’s E.B. White, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.P. Lovecraft and Robert E. Howard in there too. Lately, really impressed by Joe Abercrombie, Max Gladstone and M.R. Carey, as well as Suzanne Collins. I read as much of their work as possible and always finish their series. I often will just read the first in a series of books because I’m a freak for getting a sense of the widest variety of storytelling and writing styles as possible, but I will admit, and don’t tell anybody, I read ALL of the Vampire Academy books. Shut up!
Do you have any hobbies? Well, besides being the comic relief of Book Born of course.
D.A. No, just comic relief 😉 I collect and see a lot of movies. And I LOVE the beach, though I rarely get to any these days. I consider myself fairly new to writing and the whole world of sci-fi and fantasy cons and networking, so those are my biggest hobbies, and I’m really enjoying that. Oh, I have a problem with shoes. Meaning I like them. A lot. And have a few pairs…
What can we expect from you in the future?
D.A. The future! Okay, well, my version. Paternus is the first in a trilogy, so working on books two and three. Between now and the release of book 2, I’m putting out two novellas. They delve more deeply into the history of a number the main characters from Paternus, including the the stories of the settlement of Ireland, the Deluge, and the history of Bodvar Bjarki. I’m also working on a book trailer that should be ready within the next month.
Who is your favorite character and why?
D.A. Oh man, I don’t think I have a favorite character, but I’ll choose Fiona Megan Patterson, Fi for short. She’s closest to being the main character, or at least the most pivotal. I like her because she’s troubled, but spunky and smart. Though she feels inadequate, she keeps striving and finds some pretty marvelous strengths. I like that story of self discovery and growth. And she’s kind of a smart ass. I like smart asses.
Lastly, do you have any words of advice?
D.A. For writers, I’m a total believer in writing for yourself. Write what you love, and what you really want to read. Yes, you must have feedback from beta readers and editors, but only you can decide if you like what your writing will become if you make their suggested changes. Follow your gut, believe in yourself. If you write something you really like, at least one person will love your book 😉
Thanks again Christine!
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