With Brett Salter, Author of the Talisman Series
I’ve recently had the pleasure of discovering this author’s amazing series, The Talisman series! His series is full of adventure, fantasy themes, relatable characters and dragons! This is not a series to miss and is perfect for any middle-grade, pre-teen, just starting their reading journey!
Scroll down for my lovely interview with this amazing indie author and some inside facts from his books!
Wanna see my full review, head over to my review page. You can find it under middle-grade header!
The first four book covers from the Talisman Series!
You can buy the series here:
Find the series on Goodreads!https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35381372-the-search-for-synergy
Summary from the Wiki Page:
The Talisman Series reveals the clandestine workings of the dragon race and their knights who embrace the role or protecting our world from the Tyrant King and his evil Darkbrand army. Whichever sides controls the Talismans and their magic, determines the destiny of the world. The question is, what are these Talismans, and how can they be used for the good of humanity and the dragon dens
Do you have an educational background in Writing or Literature? If not, where do you get your love of storytelling?
I don’t have a degree, but I did study English in College. That’s where I developed my love of Classic Literature and Poetry. In high school/ middle school, I read what I WANTED to read. (Fantasy, Sci- fi, Manga). But once I put my love of the classics together with my love of ‘geek culture’, I really found a home writing fiction and music.
Besides writing/ reading, do you have any interesting hobby you partake in? How do you like to spend your free time?
Yeah! I spend a lot of time on the soccer fields watching my kids play. I used to coach them and play too, but not so much anymore (old knees). I also play electric bass guitar in a “Dad Band” that covers alternative music from the 90’s. We play about 5-6 shows a year, so that rules! I also play video games and board games with OR without my kids (I’m a sucker for a good RPG).
Did you have a set of plans when first starting the Talisman Series? Has the general storyline changed much form the first drafts?
As with most things in my life, I entered this series flying by the seat of my pants. Not only, did I have no idea where I wanted to go with the characters and plot, but also I had no ending in mind (for the first books OR the series). So, I just kept writing installments thinking leaving each book on some sort of cliffhanger so I could continue with the next one. I am being very candid by telling you that until probably the beginning of last year (2020), I had no idea how I wanted to end this series. Now, with that ending surely in sight, the writing has become easier, but also curiously sad because I know it will have to conclude for these characters I’ve spent the last 5 years enjoying.
Do you have any plans/ drafts for future books? Can we get a sneak peak?
Abso-lutely! So, I’ve ‘written’ 11 of the proposed 12 books in the Talisman Series. They ALL need serious editing and artwork, so we are a ways off. But, I plan to release a new book about once per year until I either get traditionally published or burnout on these characters. I do have the humblest beginnings of a second series in the works. I have the plot of the first book and the ‘Legendarium’ already put to paper (or hard drive). That series will be a work of portal fiction mixed with destiny fiction and entail more adult themes as compared to the Talisman Series.
I can give you a little taste of my plans for that one below:
Seven young humans from the Earth’s dimension are sought and transported to an alternate dimension where technology does not exist. The realm is called —– and the most powerful beings there are a race of tyrannical warlords. There are seven of them, and they each run a specific knowledge on separate islands/ continents of the planet. There is a resistance living on the planet consisting of a small group of rebels who want to realize a prophecy by gathering the seven Earthlings who are destined to change the world and fix the oppression demonstrated by the dictatorial warlords.
As a writer, do you try to create original storylines or deliver according to what readers wish to see?
I write what I would enjoy reading. That’s kind of my mission statement. Now, that philosophy may not win me a Pulitzer Prize or get me on the New York Times Best list, but it assuredly will help me leave my mark because I will write with passion and fervor.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Was there an event or a person that inspired you to choose to be an author for a career?
In my past, I’ve been a musician and a poet. Those were great outlets for allowing that creativity bug to escape, but unfortunately, I found those to be more like fleeting diversions. Writing a book is a project that keeps the creativity pouring out for months at a time. Not that writing music and poetry is easy. It most definitely isn’t! I believe musicians and poets follow the same creative yens that authors do. I just feel like writing a series of books, creative palpable characters, and keeping all the details juggled properly is a larger-scale project with more channels for creative output.
As far as when I decided to write book, my mother dared me to “The Search For Synergy” based off an idea we had been kicking around for a while. Since the first book ended on a cliffhanger, I just kept going. Plus, I loved the idea of writing something my kids could read and share with other people. There’s a desire in me to share my books with every set of eyes willing to give them a chance.
Is there an author that you look up to or your books are inspired by? Do you have a muse?
I would say my inspiration comes form multiple sources including classic fantasy/ sci-fi books, anime, and ancient myths. But if I had to nail down one author that influenced my writing style and burgeoning personality, I would say that Piers Anthony was my idol author growing up. Of course, I LOVE the classics (Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, L’engle, Carroll, etc), but the Xanth Series really opened my eyes to how writing could be full of humor, full of action, AND full of lore all at the same time. This is kind of not in keeping with the question, but I would also say that since I am from the Nintendo generation, games like Final Fantasy also helped mold my storytelling and character development too.
I’ve noticed while reading the first novel, The Search for Synergy, that your writing style incorporates a simple wording structure, and yet you’ve snuck in slightly more complex/ challenging words for the age group the novel is based for. Was this a conscious effort, considering that your novels are geared toward middle- grade/ pre-teens audiences?
Haha, busted! Yeah, I mean, I kind of have a crush on words, ya know? What I mean is that I like the way certain words sound, and I try to sneak them into my writing. Also, I like to mix it up and try not to use the same words over and over again. I’ll just say this, my thesaurus is a great companion.
I understand that sometimes the words in my books may be too big for that age group, and here is where I run into rough waters as a writer. I want to gear my books toward a middle-grade audience since it was at that age that I really enjoyed reading. I want to inspire that age group like I was inspired. However, the young adult part of me wants to write with flair and colorful language, so I kind of get caught in this intermediary where I use lavish words with simple sentence structure.
In your Talisman series, the main characters are Rome and Julian. When creating the characters, are they based off of real people you know in life? Was there a reason you chose that particular person to represent in your book?
Oh man! Rome and Julian, huh? Yeah, those two are crazy! So, this can all be learned on the fandom.com wiki I created (link below). In the beginning, I based my characters off me. Just me. I’ve known myself for a long time, and it was a small cast, so it was easy. I made Rome and Julian to represent the two different sides of my personality.
Rome represent the level headed and introspective portion of me that wants to do the right thing, but rarely jumps at the chance to be a leader. Despite his uneasiness about assuming a leadership role, he always has the best interest of his friends and family in mind. Rome’s internal dialogue and hesitant decision making reflect how I feel about myself specifically during my teenage years.
Julian, on the other hand, is brash and braggadocios. Not to mention loud, and most times, his mouth operates without properly consulting his brain first. Even the idea of him rebelling against his family ideals is indicative of my own brazen and defiant nature during my teenage years. Julian uses informal language with everyone other than his father to emphasize the fact that he tries to be ‘cool’ with a ‘devil-may care’ attitude. Whereas Rome is more the internal example of how I felt as a teen, Julian more closely resembles my physical appearance during those years. Finally, the spatial linking that the two share as Synergist Knight and Master Dragon is a metaphor for how my two personalities differ and interact inside my head. LOL/ Seems funny to really say it out loud, but the idea of splitting my two personalities into two characters was an idea I wanted to explore since the earliest days of my writing.https://the-talisman-series-by-brett-salter.fandom.com/wiki/The_Talisman_Series_by_Brett_Salter_Wiki
As the author, there a certain character that you relate to the most?
Well, unfortunately, I gave away all the juicy bits in the previous question. Instead, I can talk about my FAVOURITE character. Is that okay? Cool! So, although Rome and Julian may representation of my differing personalities, and I find writing for Julian so fun, I Think my favorite character is Jericho Rider. We are swimming in spoiler territory here, so I gotta watch what I say, but he is just so cool and aloof and mysterious and righteous. All the things that make for a character I would root for in a show or book series. He gives off vibes of being the quiet one that everyone wonders what their thinking and wants to be friends with. Plus, I think his mastered spell is pretty unique even in a literary landscape where writing something original is nigh impossible. Plus, I want to have his hair!
In, The Search For Synergy in particular, what was the hardest scene to write and why
The first book in particular was 75% ripped straight from my personal experiences (obviously not the dragons, magic, and wolf monsters from another dimension). So it all came fairly naturally for me. It is kind of funny, but I think the hardest stuff for me to write is the mushy character, A has on character B scenes. I realize long ago that I CANNOT write romance. Plus, writing romance for teenaged characters is tough, man! I try to remember how I felt back then, but that is not how everyone feels, so it comes across as bumbling and wonky in my books. Of course, that is kind of how teenaged love is, so … There you go! I’m a master!
For other indie authors/ people first starting to get into the writing field, do you have any advice for them?
I know it’s cliché, but I would say I am a strong proponent of using your influences. That way what you love will come out in your writing. If you like stories about ghosts, write stories about ghosts. If you watch TV shows about unsolved crimes, make your series about unsolved mysteries. If the coolest thing you can imagine is a boy that can secretly transform into a dragon and go on quests with a knight-in-training… um. Read my books!! And THEN go write about them. The point is that writing can be daunting. And if you want to make the challenge more enjoyable, then you should dabble into what you like. It makes the climb much more agreeable and all the more rewarding once you get to the top.
When hit with a writer’s block, do you have certain strategies or steps you take to get yourself back on track?
I usually just try to focus on another part of my process. Like, I’ll drill down into promoting or do some editing of a future book. Luckily, since I am not traditionally published, I have the onerous task of doing it all myself. I joke about it being a pain doing all the writing, editing, and promoting, but it really is more of a luxury than a burden. The freedom that comes along with self-publishing outweighs all the hats I wear. This series and all my creative writing really is just a huge labor of love.
What do you wish a reader would take away from your series
- The importance of friendship and finding one true friend to grow with
- To always be willing to try new things and discover oneself
- To be creative, imaginative, passionate about things that interest you
- To strive to be the best version of you, whatever it is, because everyone is special in their own way
- To find a love in reading and discovering millions of different worlds upon the pages
Wow, Olivia! You really nailed it! I would say ALL of these are themes in the Search for Synergy. Do you want to be my PR manager, or maybe write my back covers!
I think the main thing I want to impart on young readers is to always take that first step into adventure. It could be a situation in real life or cracking open a book and following along with characters. Of all your magnificent suggestions, I think I like (C) the best. That is really what I strive for with my life and my kids lives. I want them to be passionate about their interests and always be creative because this world need creativity now more than ever.