Today we talk with Dyrk Ashton, author of urban fantasy novels in the Paternus Series.
Thank you for joining me today. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
I grew up in Northwest Ohio, in farm country and it is where I live now, though I lived in Columbus, OH for nearly ten years, and Los Angeles for six. Being a country kid, I spent a lot of time outside, climbing trees and exploring the woods, clambering about in the barns. I did a lot of reading, though. A LOT.
I have a PhD in Film Studies and have been teaching entirely online for a number of different schools for the past eight years. My background is in film production, so I taught production courses for many years, but now it’s studies courses mostly (history, theory and criticism), on the graduate and undergrad level, though I also teach a masters level screenwriting course.
It must have been fun working in the film industry. Do you have any highlights of from that time?
I played the Truck Zombie in the remake of Night of the Living Dead, 1990, appeared for about four seconds in Men in Black, and once wore a tiara and pink tutu in a Jeff Foxworthy video directed by Weird Al Jankovic. That’s pretty fun 😉
Can you tell me about your publishing story?
I got into this a little late in life, which I think is okay since I don’t think I would have had the chops and maturity before then (though whether I have any chops or maturity now is questionable at best). I self-published after looking at all the options pretty closely. The biggest challenge is wearing all the hats necessary. It’s basically running a small business.
How long have you been writing for?
I’d been writing short stories and screenplays for years, then a whole lot of academic journal type writing for another ten years before I dove back into creative writing in late 2011. Paternus: Rise of Gods was my first foray back into it, and my first real attempt at a full length novel.
Can you tell me about the series?
I’m terrible at elevator pitches, and they always depend on whether you’re talking to someone familiar with fantasy and fantasy genres or not. Generally my description is something along the lines of urban fantasy where the gods and monsters of myth and legend from around the world really did exist, and some still do. Now they’re coming out of hiding and hunting their own. The final war of the gods has begun.
Paternus: Rise of Gods came out May 2016, and book two, Paternus: Wrath of Gods July of this year (2018). The final book, War of Gods, is scheduled for release late Summer or Fall of 2019.
Where do you do the majority of your writing?
Believe it or not, most of book one I wrote in coffee shops in the small town where I live. I’d go in to one or the other and spend a few hours on my laptop nearly every day for a couple of years. Something about the background noise helped me concentrate. Time got tighter after it was released, though, so book two was written almost entirely at the desk in my home office. That’s how book three, that I’m writing now, is being written as well.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really, though I do listen to music more now, and for much of the writing of book two. Lately I go back and forth between a “personal station” Pandora with just one entry, The Pretty Reckless, and a playlist on my iPod comprised entirely of the full recordings soundtracks of the three The Lord of the Rings films.
Which is your favourite part of the whole process?
I love the writing part, but rewriting is where any real coherence, nuance, subtlety or feeling comes in. It seems to me that a lot of authors avoid the word “rewriting” like the plague. Instead they call it editing. For me, editing is what someone else does after my best draft is done.
How to you go about marketing your work?
I mostly fly by the seat of my pants. Developing a social media presence, advertising on Amazon, doing promos when I can. I’ve been pretty happy so far. I could spend a lot more time on it, but I just don’t have the time, being just one person and working a job as well. I know a lot of authors who do very little with social media and are extremely successful, both traditional pub and self pub, but it has been crucial for me. Without Reddit Fantasy, Facebook and Twitter, no one would be reading my books, I’m positive of that.
Thank you Dyrk for taking time to talk with me today and I wish you every luck with the series and everything you in the future. The first two books in the Patenus Series are available to by from Amazon now. You can also connect to Dyrk on his either Twitter or Facebook.
If you enjoyed this interview then why not follow my blog where I’ll be posting more interviews soon. I regularly provide an insight into my own experiences as I work towards publishing my debut novel, In The End. If you’re an author, or work in the industry and you’ve got an interesting story to tell, drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org