Tej Turner, author and seasoned traveller, realised that his own experiences, backpacking in exotic parts of the world, were the perfect field research for his epic fantasy adventure series.
DARTFORD, KENT – 14 March 2022 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is committed to publishing outstanding books by incredible authors. One such author is Tej Turner. Tej works in Cardiff as a chef by day and writes fantasy books by night. But he is also an ardent explorer, informing and entertaining his many online followers through a travel blog in which he documents his, often ambitious, trips. Authors often spend more time doing background research for their stories than actually writing, especially if they have to create an imaginary world and populate it with competing peoples, myths, legends and cultures, not to mention geography, flora and fauna. Sometimes, though, the authors have already done some of the research without even realising it.
Peter Buck, Editorial Director of Elsewhen Press said, “In 2015, we published a gritty urban fantasy that Tej had written, The Janus Cycle, but we hadn’t physically met him because he was handling the edits while away on a 9 month backpacking expedition around Asia. In fact, we first met him in person when we launched the book at Eastercon in a hotel in Heathrow, Tej arriving straight off the plane from Kathmandu. We have been friends ever since.”
It was in 2014, just before going on that trip around Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Nepal, that Tej had written the first few chapters of Blood Legacy, the second book in an epic fantasy series he had been planning: The Avatars of Ruin. When he got home in 2015, he picked it up again to finish writing it.
Tej says, “I would like to say that I went travelling as ‘field research’ but that would be a lie – it is just something that I love to do. But that said, when I returned from that trip, I did realise that one of the arcs for Blood Legacy involved its main characters doing things that I had just done myself; namely journeying to lands that are not only different to what they know in terms of scenery and climate, but also – at times – a bit of a culture shock.
“I remember – when I returned home a year later and continued writing – reaching certain points of the story and realising that I didn’t need to do any research because I already had firsthand experience of what the characters were doing. One example of this being when they needed to cross a mountain range; I had just come back from doing a high altitude trek in the mountains of Nepal so the experience was all still fresh within my mind.”
In 2021, Elsewhen Press published Bloodsworn, the first book of The Avatars of Ruin series, and now Blood Legacy is also available, in both paperback and eBook. Tej is currently close to completing the third book in the series, Blood War. Tej adds, “Blood War includes a story arc from even more regions of my world, including a jungle civilisation.”
Bloodsworn attracted praise from best-selling authors Anna Smith Spark, who said: “Classic epic fantasy. I enjoyed it enormously”; and Christopher G Nuttall, who said: “a stunning introduction to a new fantasy world”.
Blood Legacy, too, has already garnered praise from respected authors. Allen Stroud, author and current chair of the British Science Fiction Association said, “Tej Turner is taking you on a journey into Fantasy, only it’s not quite the journey you expected, and it’s all the better for it”; Joanne Hall said, “a nuanced, smart high fantasy novel with intelligent, complex characters, good LGBT rep and some killer twists”; and David Craig said, “an exciting book which ups the stakes, mixing traditional fantasy with an element of possession horror”.
Blood Legacy is available from today in both eBook and paperback formats.
Notes for Editors
About Tej Turner
Tej Turner does not have any particular place he would say he is ‘from’, as his family moved between various parts of England during his childhood. He eventually settled in Wales, where he studied Creative Writing and Film at Trinity College in Carmarthen, followed by a master’s degree at The University of Wales Lampeter. Since then, Tej has mostly resided in Cardiff, where he works as a chef by day and writes by moonlight. His childhood on the move seems to have rubbed off on him because when he is not in Cardiff, it is usually because he has strapped on a backpack and flown off to another part of the world to go on an adventure.
When he travels, he takes a particular interest in historic sites, jungles, wildlife, native cultures, and mountains, and so far, he has clocked two years in Asia and a year in South America. He also spent some time volunteering at the Merazonia Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Ecuador, a place he intends to return to someday. He also hopes to go on more adventures and has his sights set on Central America next. Firsthand accounts of Tej’s adventures abroad can be found on his travel blog on his website. A place he also posts author-related news.
His debut novel The Janus Cycle was published by Elsewhen Press in 2015 and its sequel Dinnusos Rises was released in 2017. Both are hard to classify within typical genres but were semi-biographical in nature with elements of magical realism. They have often been described as ‘gritty and surreal urban fantasy’. He has since branched off into writing epic fantasy and has an ongoing series called The Avatars of Ruin. The first instalment – Bloodsworn – was released in 2021, and its sequel Blood Legacy is out now. He is currently engaged in writing the third instalment (Blood War).
About The Avatars of Ruin
Book 1: Bloodsworn
“Everyone from Jalard knew what a bloodoath was. Legendary characters in the tales people told to their children often made such pacts with the gods. By drawing one’s own blood whilst speaking a vow, people became ‘Bloodsworn’. And in every tale where the oath was broken, the ending was always the same. The Bloodsworn died.”
It has been twelve years since The War of Ashes, but animosity still lingers between the nations of Sharma and Gavendara, and only a few souls have dared to cross the border between them.
The villagers of Jalard live a bucolic existence, nestled within the hills of western Sharma and far away from the boundary which was once a warzone. To them, tales of bloodshed seem no more than distant fables. They have little contact with the outside world, apart from once a year when they are visited by representatives from the Academy who choose two of them to be taken away to their institute in the capital. To be Chosen is considered a great honour… of which most of Jalard’s children dream.
But this year, the Academy representatives make an announcement which is so shocking it causes friction between the villagers, and some of them begin to suspect that all is not what it seems. Just where are they taking the Chosen, and why? Some of them intend to find out, but what they discover will change their lives forever and set them on a long and bloody path to seek vengeance…
Book 2: Blood Legacy
The ragtag group from Jalard have finally reached Shemet, Sharma’s capital city. Scarred and bereft, they bring with them the grim tale of what happened to their village, and a warning about the ancient powers that have been awakened and now threaten all humanity.
Despite this, some of them still hope that reaching sanctuary within the Synod will mean an end to their hardships, but these hopes are soon dashed. Sharma’s ruling class are caught within their own inner turmoil. When Jaedin senses that there are moles within their ranks, not only does his call to crisis fall mostly on deaf ears, but some who do hear seek to thwart him when he tries to hunt these infiltrators down.
Meanwhile, across the Valantian Mountains, Gavendara is beginning to muster its forces. Using ritualistic means to augment their soldiers, their mutant army is like nothing the world has ever seen before.
The Zakaras are coming. And Sharma’s only hope of stopping them is if it can unite its people in time.
Covers by Alison Buck