The Talisman Series
1. What name do you use for your books?
Brett Salter, but I also answer to “hey Dude” and “Dad” if you yell it really loud over and over.
2. What is the name of the series your writing?
Drumroll please… … …The Talisman Series (clamoring applause)
3. What genre(s) is The Talisman Series?
My series is written with middle-grade fantasy readers in mind. You know dragons, and knights,and spells, and stuff. But I lovingly refer to my books AIANs which is an anacronym I made up. It stands for Anime-Inspired Action Novellas. Copyright pending…
4. What’s the name of the first book in your series?
“The Search For Synergy”
5. Describe The Search for Synergy please. (make us want to read it)
Oh man! This book is so freaking awesome! That should be the tagline. If you’ve ever been a teenage boy apprehensive about how you fit into the world, then you’ll enjoy it. If you’ve ever been a teenage boy who, in reality, is a shapeshifting, fire-breathing dragon thrust into the role of protecting your world from an evil army intent on breaking through interdimensional gates and destroying the place, you will ABSOLUTELY dig it! The book is not just for teenage boys though. I wrote it to be something I would enjoy reading and that appeals to all ages and genders. Barebones, it’s a story about finding your way while defending your home and getting swept up in an adventure grander than what you’ve always known.
6. How many books in the series have you written?
So, I have self-published 4 books in the series. However, I have “written” 11 of the proposed 12. So, if you like the first 4, there is PLENTY more story to come.
7. What are those book’s names? (In order please)
I love that you want to know their names. Naming things is HANDS DOWN my favorite thing about being an author. Here they are in order:
- “The Search For Synergy”
- “Riders of Fire and Ice”
- “Windy City Ruins”
- “The Battle For Verdana”
8. How do books 2-4 continue or add to The Search for Synergy?
The first book is a “getting to know you” kind of deal. We meet the main three characters, learn their ambitions, and see how their world is teetering on destruction. In the subsequent books, the reader gets to travel with the main two characters (Rome and Julian) to different parts of the world and really expand upon the magic and lore of the series. They meet new friends to help in their battles and run into all kinds of trouble from the Darkbrands (bad guys). We see throughout the series that the secrets of the Talismans are not as tightly kept as one would imagine. As Rome and Julian’s allies grow, so does the mystery of the previous world and its tumultuous history.
9. Which book is your favorite?
Look, don’t get me wrong. I love them ALL! I write stories that I would like to read. That’s my motivation and my modus operandi. But if I had to choose ONE, I would say “The Battle For Verdana” is my best work so far. By this time in the series, we’ve collected all the main characters and gotten to know their quirks and abilities pretty well. Also, the secrets and powers of the Talismans are really beginning to unravel for the reader. Plus, there is a massive battle scene (duh, it’s in the name of the book), and the end leaves the reader on the biggest cliffhanger yet.
10. What part of The Search for Synergy was the most fun to write?
A bunch of the scenes in the book were ripped straight from my childhood experiences. That made it pretty cool to see my life play out on written pages. But I would say my favorite part is writing the character Julian Rider. He’s a blast to write because he is totally snarky and sarcastic, but at the same time, he’s very loyal to his cause. Much like me…smiley face. Plus, his favorite word is “dude”. Also, much like me. There might be a pattern there…
11. If your planning more sequels, can you share a bit about your plans for them?
Yes. I can! In fact, I plan on releasing the 5th book of my proposed 12 by winter of this year! It needs and edit or two….or three or four. And it needs some cover art, but it should be out this year. I can give you a little hint. Remember when I mentioned the cliffhanger at the end of the 4th book? Well, that DOES get resolved, but the 5th book opens so much more trouble for our heroes in the form Darkbrand threats. Plus, we get a ton of reveals regarding the “big bad’s” plans, more Talismans, and we maybe, possibly, definitely get to visit a new dragon den???
12. How do you come up with character names for your stories?
Naming things is my FAVORITE part about being an author (giggles). So, a common theme in my books is the 6 elements that dominate the world where my characters reside: Fire, Water, Ice, Forest, Earth, and Wind. Character types and character names are ultimately attributed one of the six. For instance, the Darkbrand generals, the Minotaurs, get their names from whichever element they hail from. Not to give too much away, but a water-based minotaur is called a Hydrotaur, and so on. Almost every character gets their name from either the element they are associated with or a mythological inspiration. For instance, Julian’s little sister’s name is Camela Lynette Rider. She is named after both the utopian citadel of Camelot AND the Arthurian noble lady Linette. SPOILER ALERT: Her last name is pretty important too!
13. Are there therapeutic benefits to modeling a character after someone you know?
Yeah, so 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. That was therapeutic, for sure. But as the books continued and my characters grew in number, I found inspiration in outside sources such as close family and friends. I would not call it therapeutic, but I WOULD call it amusing to paint these extremely caricatured heroes with touches of the people I love. Most of my characters are just too dang goofy to be based on real people though.
14. Which of the characters do you relate to the most?
Roman and Julian. They ARE me.
15. Would you and your main character get along?
That is QUITE the metaphysical question there! Um… I would say, yes! I would get along with them about 85% of the time. I mean, I DO get along with them about 85% of the time. The character I’d like to hang out with most would be Jericho, though.
16. How do you develop your plot and characters?
My plot development takes heavy inspiration from anime. Specifically, shounen anime. Anyone familiar with anime tropes will see the pattern almost immediately. First, we meet the main character (usually completely oblivious to the dangers of their world). That character typically has some trait that makes them extraordinary (Rome can turn into a dragon). Next, that character meets some allies and learns more about the “true” world. Then, they overcome a small challenge which seems big at the time. As the books continue, the challenges get harder and further up the ladder to the “big bad”. Also, additional lore gets revealed and the character goes on an arc of self-discovery. But we can’t just follow that equation, now, can we? Developing the lore of your world is where the real creativity comes in. How do I make my characters “cool” and original? How do I stand out from the hordes of fantasy out there? Is there enough action in this book to keep the reader’s attention and how do I make it like something the reader’s never seen before? These are my favorite questions to ask because I LOVE coming up with creative stuff. It’s a main driving force behind my writing.
17. What’s the trickiest thing about writing characters of the opposite gender?
I would say falling into tropes. You never want to pigeonhole your characters to be a single “type” of character. And being the opposite gender makes it more difficult to understand the desires or feelings as much as you understand “being a guy or girl”. So, unfortunately, using tropes makes it easier to just force development on them when we should be expanding their characters through characterization. My first book is very male character heavy, so in the second one, I was like, “time to add some badass female characters and GIVE them characterization! Not FORCE it on them.”
18. How many of your books are self-published?
All 4 of my books are self-published. Why? Are you offering to publish me? That would be spectacular! C’mon! I’ll be your best friend!
19. Why do you write?
I write for a couple reasons. 1. I feel like there is something in me that needs to “create”. I try EVERY day to “create” something which scratches that itch. 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, creating palpable characters, and keeping all the details juggled properly is a larger-scale project with more channels for creative output. 2. I write to inspire others. I remember being a kid and reading things like The Chronicles of Narnia or The Xanth Series and being awestruck and engaged to no end. I want that! I want to inspire others to embrace that creativity gene and nurture it. I tell my kids all the time to practice being creative. Take some time to draw a battle scene of dragons or a kaleidoscope of butterflies! Construct a folded-up, 8-page comic book about a superhero you invented. Make up a dance and share it with you friends so you don’t look like the only weirdo doing it. Use the rainy days to read about new places and explore that part of your brain that dies a little each time you stare at your screens. Egon Spengler famously said, “print is dead”, but it’s not. It’s just evolved. We have more ways to share our stories now than ever. And I just want to be part of that amazing assembly.
20. What’s the best money you’ve ever spent with regard to your writing?
To be quite honest, the best money I spent was to buy my cousin a gift as compensation for the uniquely stunning work he does for my cover art. He is a terrific artist and is on board to help on all the books forthcoming. Shout out to Michael, his wife Amanda, and their beautiful baby boy Andrew!
21. At what time of the day do you do most of your writing?
I write whenever I have some free time. I used to have a job that granted me a ton of downtime. That’s when I wrote the first 3 books. Like most of the things in my life, I am pretty clueless when it comes to making a schedule, so I just write when I can. I’ll tell you though, the best ideas come to me at night juuuuust before I fall asleep. Which makes remembering them nigh impossible unless I wake myself up and write them down.
22. Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?
Nah, dude. I’m still just as crazy, lazy, and misunderstood as ever. I HAVE found that some of my old sarcasm has been replaced by compassion, which is nice. I also blame my kids and being a parent for that change!
23. What books helped you the most when you were writing you books?
I would NEVER have gotten as far along in this series as I have without the brilliant works of art I alluded to earlier. The Chronicles of Narnia, The Time Quintet, Piers Anthony’s Xanth Series, The Lord of the Rings, Dr Seuss, etc. Not to mention the thousands of hours I’ve spent watching and reading anime. But I think THIS is a good spot to mention a web series that has inspired me in almost every atom of my writing. There is a show called RWBY that I HIGHLY suggest anyone who enjoys MY books, action, humor, and fictional world building should check out immediately. Go ahead. Just do a Google search for it and start watching. Start with the trailers! My writing mirrors that show in uncountable aspects, but the one that really stands out is that as you watch RWBY and read my books, you can see and feel an obvious shift in value. For RWBY, you can literally SEE the show get better in production, animation, writing, and character development as the seasons progress. I feel like my series follows the same journey of improving similarly with each offering. And watching a positive evolution like that happening right before your eyes is rare in all forms of media.
24. What books have you read more than once in your life?
So, I have already mentioned a few fantasy/sci-fi series that I have read more than once. But here are a few more books that might seem a little “uncharacteristic” of my writing:
- a. “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream”.
- b. Shakespeare’s Sonnets
- c. “Pinkalicious” – at least 1,000 times to my daughter.
- d. “Trains, Cranes, and Troublesome Trucks” (Thomas and Friends) – 1,000 times to my son.
- e. “After the Fall” and “Before the Dawn” by E.C. Myers.
- f. “Animalia” by Graeme Base.
- g. “The Monkey’s Raincoat” by Robert Crais.
- h. “A Clockwork Orange” by Anthony Burgess.
- i. “The Essential Stories & Poems of Edgar Allan Poe”.
- j. “The Shining” by Stephen King.
- k. “Naked Lunch” by William S. Burroughs.
- l. Final Fantasy X Official Strategy Guide (sigh)
25. Who has been the biggest supporter of your writing?
I really have a LOT of people that support my writing. It’s too hard to nail down just one. And I don’t want to list them all because my dumb brain would forget someone and then I’d feel bad. Sorry.
26. How do you use social media as an author?
I’m on “The Gram”. @talismanbrett. I also have a Facebook page for my series which I will list below. I am contributing on Authorsden, Good Reads, and I have a Fandom Wiki page on Fandom.com. Please check that out. I spent a lot of time on it. Come click around and learn about my series!
27. Exactly what formats are your books available in?
Sales pitch time! You can get my books from Amazon.com on Kindle OR paperback if you, like me, prefer to actually HAVE the book in your hands. That’s really it. (shrugs) All the Amazon marketplaces. Oh! Make sure to check out my “dad band” PSP and the Dad Jokes. Facebook link below. I’m the funny-looking bassist that jumps around all over the place like a lunatic.
28. Add anything else your feel pertinent to your books here.
I just want to add that I am genuinely appreciative of anyone who reads/has read my books. You guys inspire me to keep at it. You are what makes me feel cool for being kind of a big dork. I hope that if you like my book or ANY book you read, you share it with someone else. Opening doors for others will never get old, and it will ALWAYS be chivalrous. Just remember to hold your Talisman tight and keep a wary eye out for portals. Peace out!
29. Include links for you & your books here.
Authors Den – https://authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=214341
Review by Yves Robichaud – https://yvesrobichaud.com/2021/01/17/my-review-of-the-search-for-synergy/
Facebook page for my “Dad” Band – https://www.facebook.com/pinksalterpeters
*** The author’s answers have not been altered in any way. I haven’t even spell checked the answers.***
Book 2: Riders of Fire and Ice
Book 3: Windy City Ruins
Book 4: The Battle for Verdana
Brett Salter has self-published the first four books in The Talisman Series, and has maintained all the rights to them. He started work on the series in 2017. He has more planned in the way of a second series that he has already begun.
Brett lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and two kids. They recently added a dog, Walter Salter, to the family. He set out to write books he would enjoy himself, the end result being a series littered with engrossing characters and cinematic action sequences that hold the attention of readers of any age.