The Friday 13 with Dyrk Ashton

22015192_10213777092882980_1105359948_oDyrk Ashton was born in Athens (Ohio, not Greece), on a chilly Halloween morning. Writing novels is something he’d always wanted to do but never had the time, gumption, or the maturity, more likely, to actually do. He’s found he loves the writing process, actually needs it, and will continue to write even if nobody buys the stuff. Still, he’s been heard to paraphrase the immortal line of Billy Mack (played by the ever fantastic Bill Nighy), from Love Actually: “If you believe in Father Christmas, children, like your Uncle Dyrky does, buy my festering turd of a novel.”

And yes, Dyrk Ashton is his real name. He’s been told many times it sounds like the screen name of a Soap actor or porn star. Cool. Truth is, his father is of (mixed) English decent, and his mother (mixed) Scottish, (a Campbell, no less, though her father always emphasized that they were highland Campbells, not lowland. The highland Scots fought against the English, the lowlands sided with them, you see). Anyway, Dyrk’s mom liked the way the name looked when spelled with a “y” instead of the more common “i”. So there.


1.Why storytelling? What made you yearn to tell a good story, and how long was this story within you before it came out?

This has really gotten me thinking about what I do, and why I do it. I don’t know when it started, but I’ve always been fascinated by stories. I liked to make them up, even when I was very young. Sometimes I even passed them on as truth. As I grew older I became more and more intrigued by the storytelling process itself: why we do it, why have we always done it, where do the oldest stories really come from?

As far as the story for Paternus, I think it’s a conglomeration of all the things I’ve always loved in stories, modern and ancient. I guess I can’t help myself, I had to go big 🙂

2.What is it about your genre that speaks to you?

I love and read all kinds of books, but fantasy to me is the genre that encourages and displays the greatest expression of literary imagination. Even more than science fiction, because we don’t even have to pretend to justify the physics. That said, I set my story in present day, and have tried to work out a system of rules for the fantastic nature of my world and characters. Still, I didn’t have to, and that’s what excites me the most.



3.Without giving any spoilers, what is your favorite thing about this book?

I’ve tried to capture that feeling of wonder and awe that I myself might feel if I were to find out that gods and monsters of myth actually exist – and were standing right in front of me. Not sure if I did it very well, but I hope others feel it.


4.What character from your work frightens you, makes you feel dirty to write?

Good one! It has to be Maskim Xul. He is incredibly depraved. There are others, just as bad, but he’s the most disgusting, I think. A lot of the fun of writing the book was thinking about how absolutely ancient and powerful beings, though still real and natural beings, would feel about mortals, and what kind of morality, if any, would they have. Some would have very little, I believe.


5.Your main character walks into a bar. What happens?

I have several main characters, but I’ll pick one and not say who he is. There are a couple of possibilities. He’d get drunk and buy drinks for everybody until they were drunk, then they’d all sleep together, or he’d kill them. Most likely the former.


6.How do you police your production? Do you have a word quota, or a page goal, maybe you work for a set amount of time? Do you place demands on yourself when you’re working? How do you meet those demands?

I think I must be an anomaly in that I don’t do anything except try to write some every day. And because of day job and other responsibilities I don’t even get that done. I feel guilty about it, though, but it’s just the way it is. Just the idea of having to meet word counts per day makes me queasy.


7.Everyone has at least one specific challenge that holds them back. What is that challenge in your work and how do you overcome it?

Right now it’s figuring out how to balance promotion, social media, and writing. For years all I had was the writing.


8.You’re going to go back and visit yourself when you first started writing, at whatever age it was, and you can give yourself one piece of advice. What would it be?

Just keep writing. Listen to others, but don’t automatically think they are right about your story or style just because they have more years writing. Pay attention to them, but pay attention to what you like about your work more.


9.What piece of art, that is not writing, moves you?

I don’t know about one piece, but a fantastic piece of classical music, I’d have to say. Or certain genres of folk music, usual non-U.S. Beethoven, Celtic tunes, stuff like that.


10.If we wanted a good story—book, show or movie—one that you didn’t write, where would you send us?

I’m a movie guy, so I’d say Once Upon a Time in the West, The Burmese Harp, The Makioka Sisters, Seven Samurai.


11.What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

White sand and clear blue Caribbean waves. Gets me every time.


12.If you could live anywhere other than where you are, where would it be?

I guess now I have to say on the beach in the Caribbean somewhere now 🙂


13.You have a chance to hang out with any literary character for one day. Who would it be and what would you do?

Gandalf! We’d smoke pipes and blow smoke rings. Go for a long walk, then set off some fireworks.

This is a great list of questions, Jesse! I see some things here I’ve never been asked before. Thanks for the opportunity to do this.


For more from Dyrk Ashton:


Twitter: @UnDyrk

Facebook: paternusbooks

Instagram: undyrk

LinkedIn: dyrkashton


Audible: Paternus-Audiobook

Goodreads: Paternus



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