Interview with Kyle McCurry, Author of The Fleeing Company

17 Dec 2019

What can you tell us about your new release, The Fleeing Company?

Well to start, it is the first book of a series called The Drifters’ Road. It is intended to be a tale about good and evil, with religious allegory regarding whether or not there is a greater power that watches over us all, and in the long run a theme of people discovering what their road is, or what purpose has been set before them.

The plot itself is of a young traveler named Adroegen, who has to lead his friends, simple folk from the south, away from a pack of goblins, led by their leader, the goblin chief, who is hunting them under the command of an evil lord in the north named Vyroun, and Adroegen’s friends are caught in this hunt. As they run, this company goes on a long adventure and encounters several obstacles. Adroegen tries to keep his friends safe but also greatly wants to kill the goblin chief, who had helped kill all in his kin years ago.

The story takes place in a fantasy or fairy tale sort of world, inspired much by J.R.R. Tolkien and all sorts of different European mythologies and folklore. There dragons, goblins, talking birds and trees, and other creatures that one would see in fairytales, and down the road the story will have other creatures that will be more of my own creation.

With the story I try to capture what I think is the heart and spirit of storytelling, which I have found is summed up with one word: escapism. This one simple word is ultimately why I believe we turn to stories, to see things interesting, fun, and imaginary that would not otherwise be found on our real life. And this is fundamentally the sort of spirit that I try to capture in my stories.

What or who inspired you to become an author?

If there is any single author, I would say Tolkien, who was nothing short of a master storyteller, and arguably the greatest author to ever live. Yet as to what led me to becoming an author, while I have always liked stories, I daresay that there was not quite a day where I simply said that I will begin writing books. Instead, at some point I simply had an idea come to me, one I kept thinking of, and then one thing happened after another, where I soon had a story in my head and I decided to write it, and suddenly now, here I am as an author.

What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?

That is a good question. I would say that nearly everything that I read is at least a hundred years old, and some of the texts I read are around a thousand years old. Among my favorite books would certainly be The Hobbit from Tolkien, and any other works of Tolkien for that matter. The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson would be another. As to the rest, I would say that I read a lot of short fairytales rather than large books. I have one book at home of all of Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytales, and I have taken a good amount of influence from some of his tales, so I might put that as one of my favorite books. The Exeter Book, while not exactly a story book, but rather a compilation of Anglo-Saxon riddles, poems, and other texts, would be another favorite book of mine. And lastly, among many choices, I think I would pick the poem of Beowulf, though that is a difficult choice, as there are all kinds of other texts I could put here.

Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?

Well, it would certainly depend on who would be willing to speak with me. But if I were able to have a chance to speak with anyone I wanted, I think I would love to talk to Christopher Tolkien.

As to what I might ask, well, where to begin! I think one good question might be if there is any story about him and his father that he could tell, that not many people know about. Then there are all kinds of things to ask about what it is like running the Tolkien Estate for all the years that he has.

Most of all, I would want to express the deep admiration, appreciation, and respect that I and I am sure so many others out there have for the work he has done in both carrying on and protecting the enormous legacy of his father. Christopher’s work in bringing Middle Earth and its history to life might be equally important as that of his father’s.

What’s your favorite thing about writing?

I think that if I were to plainly say what the delight in writing is, it would be freedom, where one has the freedom to place within their stories whatever their imagination desires. Within the imagination and freedom of the mind, the writer can create a tale of knights, princesses, pirates, mermaids, robots, spaceships, and all kinds of other vast and endless possibilities that might absorb their interest. That I believe is what is ultimately the joy in writing and telling stories.

What is a typical day like for you?

I work a day job in the restaurant business, and I am there early in the morning and through the afternoon. Then I am home before the evening and then I work on my writing.

What scene in The Fleeing Company was your favorite to write?

If I were to choose one chapter, perhaps I might pick Chapter Five, where my characters find themselves at the house of a wizard named Ganglere, after escaping the pack of goblins that were chasing them.

While there, Ganglere gathers several animals of the forest, from bears and bees to thrushes and finches, and speaks to them about where the goblins have gone since the company had arrived. At the same time, my main character, Adroegen, listens to his friends and their interest in what gifts this wizard possesses, and they learn of a great being called Enilundar, who created the entire world and was said to watch over all on it. Adroegen, however, had lost all in his kin years ago, and thus he does not at all believe that any higher power watches over him, and so he grows angry upon hearing words of this being.

I think what I like about this part of the tale is that it has a few different things taking place at once, from a wizard speaking to several different forest animals, to learning a little about the history of that world, and to learning more about the main character and some of his thoughts on higher powers.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

I daresay that there is not quite a motto that I follow. Well, in terms of how I approach writing, perhaps I would offer that I try to practice patience and creating a story correctly over rushing it and then ending up with flaws. Also, I believe it important to understand and remember what the story is at its core and to not stray from it. I also like to respect works from the past, as many of those works influence the stories that I try to write today.

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Kyle McCurry is the author of the new book The Fleeing Company.

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