Interview with Brett Salter

An Interview with Brett Salter – author of “The Search For Synergy”

Before we just jump into the interview, let’s hear a little about Brett himself…

My background in writing stems mostly from the inspiration I found as a kid when I read Fantasy and Sci-Fi books. These include The Chronicles of Narnia, The Xanth Novels, The Time Quintet, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and everything from Shakespeare to Dr. Seuss. In my formative years, I joined several punk rock bands and wrote songs, poetry, and short stories aplenty. As an adult (?) I took on a dare and wrote the first book in my Talisman Series. I loved the feeling it gave me and the idea of inspiring others so much that I kept writing until I had an entire series.  I am currently working to finish The Talisman Series. I have self-published 4 of the books which can be found on Amazon. At this very moment, I am on book 11 of the 12 I have planned. I also have plans for a series which will take influence from the portal fiction genre about a girl and 6 others that travel to another dimension to fulfill a destiny by saving a planet from cruel overseers. Keep a wary eye out for portals. Stay cool!

What is your favourite dragon in literature?

Great question!  So many to choose from.  I would have to go with either The Gap Dragon (Stanley Steamer) from the Xanth Series or Falkor from “The Never-ending Story”

I’m not going to be reviewing your newest novel, but from your other published novels, is there one that is your own personal favourite?

I would say that my favcorite of the published books is the newest one, unfortunately.  By this time in the series, we’ve met pretty much the entire character roster and learned all their abilities.  Also, most of the Talismans are known and the plans for the big bad are very well documented.  However, the fifth installment (coming out this winter) will be my personal favourite because of all the cliffhangers and character growth of our favorite Master Dragons and Synergist Knights.

Everyone has a ‘first novel’, even if many of them are a rough draft relegated to the bottom and back of your desk drawer (or your external harddrive!). Have you been able to reshape yours, or have you abandoned it for good?

Actually, I do have one.  It’s a short story about Death in a physical form coming to visit those before they die and WHO plays the part of the harbinger itself.  I wrote it about a year before I started “The Search For Synergy”.  I had planned to return and extend it to novel length because I really like the idea, but I think now it’s a little dark for me.  I prefer inspiring and giving kids adventure rather than scaring them and giving them nightmares.

Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?

I feel like my character development has gotten better.  That’s a pretty lame answer (I know), but I really think it’s true.  Most feedback I get from my readers is that they LOVE the main two protagonists, but that the secondary characters are even better.  That goes to show that as I’ve added characters to the series, I’ve gotten better at making them more believable, relatable, or even just plain bonkers enough to stand out as a fan favourite!  I find this to be quite a compliment to the way my writing has changed.  It’s fun to go back and see it progress too!

Some authors are able to pump out a novel a year and still be filled with inspiration. Is this the case for you, or do you like to let an idea percolate for a couple of years in order to get a beautiful novel?

Well, I wrote the first 3 books in my series in the first year (2017-2018).  Then, I waited to write 4-6 which took about another year.  Then, I took a break.  Once 2020 hit, I had a little more free time so I started books 7-11 which I finished by the beginning of this year.  I’ve spent the majority of this year promoting and editing book 5 which I want to release in Winter of 2021/2022.  All that to say that I can average 1-2 books per year when you finally do all the math, but I technically write spurts directly reflected by the amount of free time I have available.  LOL.

I have heard of writers that could only write in one place – then that cafe closed down and they could no longer write! Where do you find yourself writing most often, and on what medium (pen/paper or digital)?

Oh!  It’s ALWAYS digital.  My penmanship is equal to that of blindfolded chicken scratch.  It always has been.  I felt bad for my teachers growing up.  As far as WHERE I write, it is mostly at my house surrounded by my barking dog, and ringing phones, and neighborhood kids running through the house like herds of gazelles, and televisions blaring cacophonies of cartoons, and abrasive, punk-rock music, and all the things that make my house the zoo we’ve grown to love.  That’s probably why editing is, for me,  a total nightmare!

Before going on to hire an editor, most authors use beta-readers. How do you recruit your beta-readers, and choose an editor? Are you lucky enough to have loving family members who can read and comment on your novel?

Ah!  Interesting seque.   So, my Beta-reader is my son.  Almost everything goes by him to see if it is cool or not for the middle-grade crowd.  He’s read through book 10, but don’t ask him for spoilers.  He is tight lipped about it.  And, I use family to edit as well.  My aunt does it for every book I self-publish, and I am very appreciative of her expertise.  Everything I do is DIY.  My cousin even designs my covers!

I walk past bookshops and am drawn in by the smell of the books – ebooks simply don’t have the same attraction for me. Does this happen to you, and do you have a favourite bookshop? Or perhaps you are an e-reader fan… where do you source most of your material from?

I flat out refuse to read unless I can physically hold the book and turn the pages.  I am in agreement with you that there is something about the smell or touch of a book that makes it more intimate.   There is something to be said for the old adage “The book was better”.  I feel like if I watch something, I am basically TOLD what and how the work plays out.  The setting, the characters, the sounds.  Everything is dictated to me by the director’s vision.  When I read,  it can be MY vision which is way more personal….And self-absorbed.

I used to find myself buying books in only one genre (fantasy) before I started writing this blog. What is your favourite genre, and have your tastes changed over time?

I would say my favorite genre to read is probably Fantasy.  I grew up on it. (Xanth, Lord of the Rings, Narnia, etc) As I attended high school, the curriculum dictated different genres and classics which I certainly appreciated. And in college, where my major was English, I really got my eyes on some different stuff including poetry (my soft spot) and all that comes with a liberal education.  So although I own and have a fondness for the classics and almost every sub-genres of fiction, my mainstay is definitely Fantasy.

Social media is a big thing, much to my disgust (agreed)! I never have enough time myself to do what I feel is a good job. What do you do?

Lightning round.  Here we go!

I manage my own social media.  I’d love to hire someone, but it just comes down to my non-negotiable hiring rate of $0 per hour.

I do not enjoy being my own social media social mediator.  That is probably why I have such a tiny social media footprint.  All jokes aside, I hope to grow if I can though.  For now, check out @talismanbrett on “The Gram” and The Talisman Series on FB.

In lieu of a large social media presence, I prefer to bother people like Rose at The Cosy Dragon to do all my promoting for me!  Smiley face.  Seriously though, I am very appreciative of the work and assistance that The Cosy Dragon provides.  It really helps a ton for people like me that are not the most active on social media.

Answering interview questions can often take a long time! Tell me, are you ever tempted to recycle your answers from one to the next? 

Great question!  So many to choose from.  I would have to go with either The Gap Dragon (Stanley Steamer) from the Xanth Series or Falkor from “The Never-ending Story”

Haha.  I’m kidding, of course.  The temptation is there, but I treat each interview like meeting a new, potential fan for the first time.  It’s got to be original if you want to make a lasting impression on them.  I think it’s all about making your audience feel like they are part of something bigger.  Part of my stories!

And to wrap up, a bit of a left-field question: which superpower is the most over-powered/broken and why? My personal answer to this one might be the ability to transform – if you can become anything, you can theoretically become another super hero and get their powers!

I would say in the realm of fiction, I would say that invulnerability is the most broken power.  Especially if you have an evil despot in a position of authority that is invulnerable, that makes defeating them nigh impossible.  I would say in MY series, The Talisman Series, one of the most broken powers is Mr. Jones’s spell Transportation incantation that basically allows him to teleport groups of people anywhere he wants.  I even had to set some limitations on it because I was like, “That’s not really fair! What’s to stop him from using this for nefarious purposes.”  I guess we should be happy Mr. Jones is on OUR side!

Thanks Brett for your time today and your energetic answers! If you’d like to hear more from Brett, please do visit his FB pages or the Wiki about his books! You can also find his books on a range of platforms:

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