After our previous interview with Mark Lawrence, The Chronicler is honoured to meet Dyrk Ashton. Dyrk is a new fantasy author who released his debut novel Paternus in March 2016. Paternus is the first in a trilogy that combines science and myth into an epic fantasy series. Praised as “American Gods meets the Lord of the Rings“, Dyrk’s novel is an exciting new addition to the fantasy world and is perfect for fantasy fans looking to get into a new series.
The Chronicler: Hi Dyrk, thanks for agreeing to this interview!
Dyrk Ashton: Thanks for considering me!
The Chronicler: To start with, tell us a little about yourself and your work.
Dyrk: I’m never quite sure how to answer this without just launching into a bio, which I have posted in a number of places. So to try something new I think I’m pretty boring. I love movies and books. I made films, and acted in them, for awhile. I’m a bit of a spaz and anxious much of the time. OCD. I like coffee and chocolate. Snarky, a dork, humble and a jackass at the same time. I have a PhD in film studies and teach film online for my day job. And I’ve decided I write. Just one book so far, nothing else published. Paternus, the first in a trilogy. Mythic fiction, contemporary fantasy. And I spend much too much time on social media. I never did it before the book, dreaded doing it, but now I have sooo many friends online I want to see what hijinks they’re up to and I WANT TO PLAY TOO!
The Chronicler: So what attracted you to fantasy fiction over other genres?
Dyrk: Fantasy has always been my favorite genre to read. I’ve always loved folktales, myth, and fairytales too, and those can be basically considered fantasy. I love a good mystery and thriller, and definitely sci-fi, but fantasy just does it for me and has since I was very young. Nothing inspired me in thought and play as a youth than the ideas of journeying like Bilbo Baggins, having a friend like Charlotte the spider or Stuart Little the mouse, cleaving marauders like Conan, or traipsing across Mordor, even stepping through a wardrobe and leaping down a rabbit hole.
The Chronicler: Fantasy is seemingly more popular nowadays, with Game of Thrones being so widely read. Do you think that enough people read fantasy? Is the genre still niche?
Dyrk: I’d never presume to say what people should or shouldn’t read. I’d just say that people should read. I don’t even have a good argument for reading fantasy, other than it can explore aspects of imagination, the human mind and experience, like maybe no other genre. I don’t think it’s niche, except in that I’m pretty sure the market is still rather small compared to more traditional literature – which may actually be the very definition of niche, I suppose.
“it can explore aspects of imagination, the human mind and experience, like maybe no other genre.”
The Chronicler: So what are your favourite novels? Which authors have inspired you?
Dyrk: For my favourite novels, I think this changes some every time I do it, and I can go forever, but I’m going to limit to three as an exercise in self-control. The Lord of the Rings. Jonathan Livingston Seagull. A Wrinkle in Time (because it’s so incredibly weird and f*d me up for months after I read it when I was in 5th grade). As for authors that inspired me I’ll get the standards/classics out of the way first, limiting it to three. Tolkien. Robert E. Howard. H. P. Lovecraft. Then, also limiting myself to three, it has to be Roger Zelazny, Arthur Conan Doyle, and… for today, I’ll say C. S. Lewis. Now, contemporary authors I find inspiring because of what they write and how they write it in the more recent milieu. China Miéville, Max Gladstone, Suzanne Collins, Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Rick Riordan, Joe Abercrombie, Charlaine Harris, Mike Carey, Chuck Wendig, Scott Lynch, and that’s nowhere near a complete list but, deep breath. Okay!
The Chronicler: If you had to recommend any book to someone looking to get into fantasy, which would you choose?
Dyrk: That’s a tough one, because even amongst fantasy fans tastes vary wildly. As a blind recommendation to someone who has never read fantasy, with a mind toward wanting them to like it and desire to read more, I’d have to say The Hobbit. It’s got all the elements of the genre in an extremely well written but easy to read style. It’s relatively short. And it’s brilliant, of course.
The Chronicler: Thank you for answering our questions!
Dyrk: Thank you for the opportunity!