The Final Installment in The Newirth Trilogy is now out in The Shape of Rain.
Question: The fantasy genre is a crowded market, can you tell us what sets The Newirth Mythology apart?
Michael B. Koep: The Newirth Mythology invites the reader to accept the story as a reality. From the very start I wanted to play with the idea of myth and truth to see if I could figure out how the power of a story can change one’s nature, perception and behavior. Myth and fantastic stories have captivated, entertained and sculpted entire cultures throughout history—gods, heroes, wars, magic and the like— The Newirth Mythology contains elements of classic fantasy, but so, too, it is filled with a modern perspective—modern characters that must come to terms with the reality of myth in all of its manifestations. For me, I’ve not encountered a story like it before.
Question: Which elements of the books are your favorite, and are they the same elements readers most connect with?
Koep: I love that the centerpiece to the entire story is a story itself. The words of a Poet that can alter existence—change history— a sought after book—a journal with a frightening supernatural element that characters are willing to risk their lives to obtain. Like a kind of Holy Grail, words are the quest and the curse. The settings align themselves within this theme as well. Battles are fought within medieval libraries—discussions of art and writing transpire over writing desks and ancient tomes—characters travel to the the exotic locations of myth: the Pyramids of Giza, the canals of Venice, the Aegean Sea. Lastly, the reader is invited to enter into the story and attempt to balance between what is real and what is fiction. The Newirth Mythology is a story about story.
Question: Was it important to you to have a compelling female character join Loche as a major protagonist, or did it just happen?
Koep: When I was on a national book tour in 2015 for Part Two, Leaves of Fire, I was scheduled to sign at bookstores during late afternoons in the heat of the summer for several months all across the country. As you can imagine, bookstores at that time of day in that time of year are not especially busy. However, the majority of bookstore visitors, I noticed, were thoughtful, intelligent and witty women ranging in ages between 29 and 60. Some stops on a book tour can be tedious and extremely lonely—but from one signing to the next, these same types of women (book lovers) always took the time to talk with me, share some of their favorite books (while we chatted they often carried an armload to take to the register) and stories about their families and their kids while taking a sincere interest in my work. Their presence made the sometimes alienating book tour not so lonely. When the time came to begin work on Part Three, The Shape of Rain, I found myself wanting to craft a character that these women would love. A thoughtful, bookish type with a dash of sardonic wit, a bit of loneliness and a thirst to learn more about the world and the people in it. Professor of Mythology, Astrid Finnley became an amalgam of these bookstore dwelling women.
Question: Tell readers a little bit about your process. A fantasy epic of this scale involves a lot more than just honing your craft as a writer. What was it like to do so much world building?
Koep: The world of the Newirth Mythology is both modern psychology and medieval epic. It is hard rock music and soliloquies delivered with a nod to Hamlet. It is a new myth told by a modern prophet. An ancient language and a pop song all in one.That seems like a lot—but for me, the process was much like throwing my favorite things and interests at the wall and keeping the things that stuck. Strangely enough, most everything stuck. I believe I managed to weave these relatively disparate elements together because I am involved with each in one way or another. Since I was very young I have harbored a love for myth and fantasy. At twelve I began working on what would later become the language of Elliqui (an ancient tongue of a forgotten immortal race). With that came the necessary step of creating the mythology that would be the foundation of this race’s belief system. Meanwhile, twenty years ago, I cofounded a fencing consortium to appease that weird place in me that has always wanted to learn the sword. The experience has not only fed my love for duels and things medieval, but it has also provided for me the rare occasion to raise a glass of ale or scotch at a tournament and deliver a Shakespearian speech or a poem or drunken toast with big words and pithy sentiment (with a sword dangling at my side, of course). In college I loved psychology, philosophy and literature. Most of all, Poetry. To this day I am a touring rock drummer and lyricist. Music has taken me all over the world. It has also taught me the importance of a well crafted pop lyric or a hooky melody. It has taught me to connect art to an audience. In a lot of ways, the world of the Newirth Mythology wasn’t really world building—it was rather me attempting to capture the world in which I live.
Michael B. Koep has been a college educator, an international touring musician and a dynamite
waiter. He is still an author, a swordsman, an avid world traveler, a visual artist, and a professional
rock drummer. Koep has climbed the pyramids of Giza, fenced an Italian master, and done battle with
the infamous North Korean propaganda loudspeakers by aiming a massive PA across the DMZ and
taking a drum solo. Winner of a Costello Poetry Prize, he lives in North Idaho with his son in a house filled with books, vinyl records, paint brushes, maps and musical instruments.
Connect with Michael B. Koep at MichaelBKoep.com, Twitter.com/MBKoep and
The Newirth Mythology Trilogy is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, and wherever books are sold.
Publisher Will Dreamly Arts, located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, is committed to producing
works that possess an artistic standard defined by originality, integrity and excellence in
the craft of fiction, poetry and nonfiction.
Connect with Will Dreamly Arts at WillDreamlyArts.com, Twitter.com/WillDreamlyArts