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Utah author breaking boundaries of the author-reader relationship

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Utah author Bonn Turkington used his almost 30-year journey of world building and insights into what a fan wants out of a series to write and create other media for “End of the Past” (Glass Spider Publishing, 304 pages, $15.99).

While the idea for “End of the Past” was years in the making, Turkington didn’t sit down and write the book until college.

“I was originally going to major in multimedia,” Turkington said. “I liked creating digitally but I’d always been writing before that and, after a year of college, I decided to do something I actually wanted to do.”

Switching his major to creative writing cemented the world he’d built into a fully written novel.

“I’d been writing what became this book — bits and pieces of stories, creating the world in one form or the other — before high school, and it just took many years to become what it is now," he said.

The world he created is set in a land called Disparia. Within this land are multiple provinces, one of which, FreePort City, is the setting of book one. Future installments will take place in the other provinces. In “End of the Past,” the main character, Vahn, is in FreePort City during a chaotic time, still not recovered from his father’s suicide and mother’s disappearance seven years ago. He makes a decision to attempt to face his past and ends up fighting to survive a dangerous battle.

Turkington builds a world that is fully fleshed-out to the smallest details. From the manner of dress, food, professions and even holidays, the characters move through this foreign land, revealing an intricate and complex realm.

Writing the story was only the beginning for Turkington. He wanted to take storytelling back to its roots.

“Stories began with cavemen sitting around a campfire and, in early humanity, stories weren’t written once and contained," he said. "They were living, breathing organisms that originated in a community and with multiple people and developed as time went on. Every time someone told it, they put their own spin on it."

This philosophy is made easier in the digital age, Turkington said, and he aims to take storytelling, and his world of Disparia in particular, to the next level with his website dispariabooks.com.

The website contains information supplied by Turkington in the form of extras, such as facts about Disparia and its characters, but also includes forums for fans to add their own art or fan fiction about the world.

“I’m bringing stories back to their original habitat,” Turkington said. “Even though it’s through technology and not around a campfire."

The idea for an interactive website came from years of Turkington playing video games, reading books and being on the search for extra tidbits from authors to stay immersed in the world.

“I wanted to give people who read my book more," he said. "I’m not the only one writing this because the people who experience a work are just as much a part of it as the person who is creating it. Works are a community effort where everyone who interacts with it has some sort of impression and experience with it.”

Turkington also plans to release a comic book set in the world of Disparia, along with future novel installments. He emphasized that each avenue to explore the story shouldn’t take away from the other.

“Everything I do sort of speaks to a central theme and story going on, nothing is irrelevant," he said. "When you pick up the book, you’ll want to learn more, so you pick up the comic book, then you go on the website and read more. It’s all supportive of the rest.”

This month, Turkington plans to launch a YouTube channel. His goal is to be accessible as an author and also share his more than 10 years' worth of knowledge of the publishing industry. The first guests will include human resource specialists, publishers, publicity specialists and writing professors.

Turkington is excited for all of these endeavors and is looking forward to readers diving into his world, even though it’s a lot of work.

“It’s all hard, but it’s fun," he said. "I want to establish continuing relationships. It’s not so much trying to find the time. It’s just one of those things that I have to do. I couldn’t do this any other way. I feel like I’m compelled to. If you asked me to do something else, I wouldn’t know what else to do.”

"End of the Past" includes some combat scenes without graphic violence, no swearing and no sexual content.

If you go …

What: Local author showcase

When: Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English Bookshop, 1511 S. 1500 East

Web: kingsenglish.com

Tara Creel is a Logan-native-turned-California-girl and mother of four boys. Her email is taracreel@gmail.com, and she blogs at taracreelbooks.wordpress.com.