New Series For Children

Welcome, Guest Hound Charles Salter

By Jeff Salter

Or, I should say “welcome BACK,” to my big brother, Charles A. Salter. He’s been my Guest Hound before, perhaps twice before, but he’s back today to share with us about the four new childrens’ titles in his new Kare Kids Series.

Folks, I was a professional librarian for nearly 29 years and for several of those years, I evaluated and selected (i.e., purchased) childrens’ books. There were oodles of picture books for the pre-readers, and a goodly assortment of titles for the so-called “young adults.” But I found there were pretty slim pickings for reading kids in Grades 3-7 or so. Back then, I would have ordered sets of these Kare Kids titles for each of my public library system branches.

And they’re even enjoyable for grown-ups to read, whether or not you’re still a “kid at heart.” After all, a good story is a good story.

Anyway, I’ve convinced my brother to stop by 4F1H and tell us about his series. Following the short interview you’ll find blurbs and covers for the four titles already available. Buy these for your young readers — they’ll make delightful Christmas presents.


What inspired you to write about the Vikings in The Travel Twins and the Lost Secret of the Vikings?

[C.A.S.] — I have always been fascinated with the Vikings. I spent my junior year of college at the University of Leeds in England and spent all my vacation time touring Europe. I absolutely loved the natural beauty of Norway in particular and have been back a couple of times since then. The locations in the book, including that scary train ride through the Scandes Mountains all the way down to a branch of Norway’s largest fjord, are all absolutely authentic. I’ve been there and I rode that train—the steepest normal-gauge train in all of Europe—and the experience has been rumbling around in the back of my mind ever since. I knew it would make an exciting location for one of my novels, especially since the Vikings lived in that very area centuries ago.

Each book in the Kare Kids Series has different protagonists. How is it writing new characters for each book? What’s the common theme that links them all?

[C.A.S.] — My plan was for the first four books to introduce all six major characters and for planned future books (not yet written) to mix and match these six preteen kids in later adventures. They are all related in one extended family, and each is based on one of my grandchildren. Three are brothers in one nuclear family; the other three (a pair of fraternal twins and their sister) are cousins in a different family. Book #1 is the adventure of the twins’ mother when she was a young girl (Kelcie) in Maine; #2 is about grown-up Kelcie’s daughter Charlotte; #3 deals with the three brothers who are Charlotte’s cousins; and #4 is about the twins in Norway. All six kids are spunky, independent, and courageous. All six really care about family, friends, animals, and the environment and translate this concern into concrete action to make their corner of the world a better place.

The Travel Twins and the Lost Secret of the Vikings is book four in your Kare Kids Adventure Series. What have you learned so far writing this series?

[C.A.S.] — Gosh, I’ve learned a number of things! I suppose the main thing I have realized is that most books for preteens which are popular now deal with either some form of magic or superheroes. Kids today do enjoy reading those kinds of stories, but they are not exactly realistic. I thought it would be fun to have books in which resourceful and resilient kids live in the real world and use their normal human skills to solve the kinds of problems we all face. To get out of a jam, help a friend, or save a trapped pet, the Kare Kids can’t wave a magic wand or fly through the air wearing a superhero outfit. Rather, they must use their ordinary youth skills. I think books like this can encourage kids to look within for their own heroic qualities and grow up with a more assertive and independent outlook towards life.

What’s your writing and production process like? And how crazy is your schedule right now?

[C.A.S.] — I took many months to write, edit, and polish the first three book manuscripts, but I timed publication so that one would come out each month of summer, intending to provide a reading series for kids out of school. My writing process involves coming up with unique characters who are confronted with an unusual situation or problem they must struggle to handle. But right now I sometimes wonder if I bit off more than I can chew myself! It can be difficult handling several different books at once, each in a different stage of development. I started writing book #5 a few weeks ago and then realized, “Nope…it will have to wait till the others are finished…I just don’t have the time and energy for yet another one right now.”

What advice would you give to writers who may be starting to write their first series?

[C.A.S.] — Before starting my Kare Kids Adventures I read a number of articles filled with suggestions for writing a series. I think my favorite piece of advice is this — make each book a self-contained story which a reader can enjoy on its own. After all, not every reader will start with book #1 and continue straight through the series. Some readers may jump aboard only on book #3 or #4 or later, and the writer certainly doesn’t want to disappoint them with an incomplete story in which one has to buy the next book to find the resolution of this book’s plot. However, the writer of a series should add extra touches which provide additional meaning and interest for readers who DO keep following most or all of the series. In my case, only by reading more than one volume does the reader come to appreciate fully how all the main characters are actually related to each other, and how their shared past (back to the days of their ancestors in England, Scotland, and Norway) helps shape the kind of people they are today. I’m hoping readers will love that theme as I develop it in the books…it certainly fascinates me.

What’s been the best part about writing this series, so far?

[C.A.S.] — I’ve been a writer all my life, one with an intense desire to write. You might say I can’t NOT write. I am always coming up with ideas, jotting them down, expanding them, and then developing fully the ones which appeal to me the most. The best part for me about this particular series is writing what I consider a tribute to my real children and grandchildren, each of whom as fictionalized characters appears throughout the series.

What do you hope readers will take away from your series?

[C.A.S.] — Like any writer, I want most of all to find readers who will enjoy the books and want to come back for more. But, in particular, I want to encourage youth readers to realize that they do possess heroic qualities and can make a difference in their world. They may not be able to battle dragons with magic wands or put on a cape and fly on their own power around the universe. But they can make their own corner of the world a better place if they try. I hope the KARE KIDS ADVENTURE series will help readers see that.


Kare Kids Adventures #1: The Secret of Bald Rock Island

Ten-year-old Kelcie – whose fisherman father disappeared years ago – decides to help Mr. Bartleby solve the island’s two enduring mysteries — what happened to her father… and whether Mr. Bartleby actually saw a sea creature that night. Kelcie resolves to explore the forbidden area of her island home off the coast of Maine. But as she puts the final pieces of the puzzle together, a new storm arises. Can she solve the mysteries and return to safety before the new storm claims her… as the previous one did her father?



Kare Kids Adventures #2: Charlotte and the Mysterious Vanishing Place

Nine-year-old Charlotte discovers that a patch of the woods behind her house is sinking deep into the earth. The growing sinkhole traps two puppies, including her own, and threatens an entire nearby kennel. Charlotte alerts her family and the authorities, but a fierce rainstorm sweeps in — she is the only one around as the center of the dangerous sinkhole rips open and threatens to swallow the fallen tree to which the puppies cling. Can Charlotte save the trapped pups and get herself out before the giant sinkhole swallows everything?



Kare Kids Adventures #3: How Three Brothers Saved the Navy

In their Force Recon Marine training game at an abandoned airfield one day, three brothers – aged 12, 10, and 8 – discover a sinister plot. What they first thought were ordinary skydivers are actually hostile terrorist agents training to land with guns and explosives on a navy aircraft carrier their father commands. Captured by the gang, can Matt, Ryan and Jack use their junior military skills to escape, get vital information back to their dad on the carrier, and help devise a plan to defeat the terrible plot?



Kare Kids Adventures #4: The Travel Twins and the Lost Secret of the Vikings

Twelve year old twins Josh and Hannah travel from the USA to Norway to visit their Uncle Olaf, who runs the Museum of Norse Antiquities in Oslo. Sadly, the museum’s greatest Viking treasure – Leif Erikson’s fabled Sunstone – is stolen. Hot on the trail of the suspected thief, the twins ride the scariest mountain train in all of Europe. While spying on the suspect’s suspicious behavior, the twins are suddenly kidnapped! To elude their captors, they’d have to break free somehow and sneak across the top of the train as it chugs through a tunnel. Is that even possible? Can they prevent the thieves from using Leif Erikson’s Sunstone to translate ancient Viking Runes which hold a terrible secret lost for a thousand years?


Lieutenant Colonel (ret.) Charles A. Salter, Ph.D., S.D., served 28 years in the U.S. Army after seven and a half years as an assistant professor and then tenured associate professor at Spring Hill College. He holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania (1973) and a Doctor of Science in public health from Harvard University (1989). He was licensed as a psychologist by the state of Massachusetts, as a nutritionist by the state of Maryland, and was a charter member of the Prescribing Psychologists Register.

He has written on family matters for the newspaper syndicate Scripps-Howard, Today’s Family, Life and Health, Woman’s World and more. He is the author of sixteen books, most recently the adult fiction series The Ebay Detective. The Kare Kids Adventures series are his first books in middle grade fiction. Charles currently resides in Maryland.


About Jeff Salter

Currently writing romantic comedy, screwball comedy, and romantic suspense. Fourteen completed novels and four completed novellas. Working with three royalty publishers: Clean Reads, Dingbat Publishing, & TouchPoint Press/Romance. "Cowboy Out of Time" -- Apr. 2019 /// "Double Down Trouble" -- June 2018 /// "Not Easy Being Android" -- Feb. 2018 /// "Size Matters" -- Oct. 2016 /// "The Duchess of Earl" -- Jul. 2016 /// "Stuck on Cloud Eight" -- Nov. 2015 /// "Pleased to Meet Me" (novella) -- Oct. 2015 /// "One Simple Favor" (novella) -- May 2015 /// "The Ghostess & MISTER Muir" -- Oct. 2014 /// "Scratching the Seven-Month Itch" -- Sept. 2014 /// "Hid Wounded Reb" -- Aug. 2014 /// "Don't Bet On It" (novella) -- April 2014 /// "Curing the Uncommon Man-Cold -- Dec. 2013 /// "Echo Taps" (novella) -- June 2013 /// "Called To Arms Again" -- (a tribute to the greatest generation) -- May 2013 /// "Rescued By That New Guy in Town" -- Oct. 2012 /// "The Overnighter's Secrets" -- May 2012 /// Co-authored two non-fiction books about librarianship (with a royalty publisher), a chapter in another book, and an article in a specialty encyclopedia. Plus several library-related articles and reviews. Also published some 120 poems, about 150 bylined newspaper articles, and some 100 bylined photos. Worked about 30 years in librarianship. Formerly newspaper editor and photo-journalist. Decorated veteran of U.S. Air Force (including a remote ‘tour’ of duty in the Arctic … at Thule AB in N.W. Greenland). Married; father of two; grandfather of six.
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19 Responses to New Series For Children

  1. WOW! It is great to be back on your blog. Thanks for having me! I’ve always thought your blog name was one of the coolest, and appearing here is a great way to wrap up my lengthy blog tour. I have spent many months of 2016 appearing on countless parenting, family, and writing blogs, and I can say without hesitation that yours has one of the cleverest titles and attractive appearances I have yet seen. The falling snow, for example, is a great touch and a tribute to the season, and I am happy to be a guest “hound” again. I especially appreciate your enthusiastic endorsement as a librarian, now retired.

    Liked by 1 person

    • jeff7salter says:

      always a pleasure to have you visit, Charles.
      Glad you like our site snow, but we can’t claim credit for it. As far as I know, Word Press distributes the snow to everyone during December. LOL
      Yeah, it was amazing how many blogs were on your tour. I think I lost count at 18.
      Hope a lot of parents and grandparents see your titles somewhere — because they’ll make excellent Christmas gifts.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. jbrayweber says:

    Wonderful interview! Nice to meet you again, Charles. Congrats on the books. Each one sounds great and I bet you had fun writing them. I think kids really do want to be and act extraordinary. These books sound like they could inspire kids to be heroes within themselves and their worlds.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! Definitely yes–these books were about as much fun as I’ve ever had writing. I agree with you 100%…I think every kid wants to believe in heroes…and wants to be a hero himself or herself. And if kids face challenges in life head-on they can become heroes in their corner of the world, e.g., giving first aid to siblings injured in outdoor play, rescuing trapped pets, and helping family or friends deal with personal crises.

      Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      great to see you, Jenn. Yes, I also agree — from an early age most children have grand ambitions. Unfortunately, over the years, too many have their dreams crushed (or at least diminished) by unfortunate situations/people … at home, school, community, workplace, etc.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Exactly! That brings up the topic of resilience, the ability some people have to keep trying and eventually triumph over adversity rather than be crushed by it. That is the stuff of heroes, the very essence of heroism. And I believe that resilience is a skill which can be learned and developed, through such things as parental good examples, faith in God, and taking to heart stories in which regular people find ways around, over, or through life’s difficulties. The heroic kids in my series are like Davids who do not flinch at the approach of Goliath, but rather attack him head on!

        Liked by 2 people

      • jeff7salter says:

        amen — and the Biblical David is a prime example. After all, he was the “least” of his brothers and not considered worthy for the prophet to even evaluate…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Welcome back, Charles. Your series sounds fascinating. My grandkids aren’t at your target age, but I may just get these books and save them a few years. I think we all understand what it’s like to try and juggle different story ideas at the same time. It’s like trying to carry on several simultaneous conversations. Best wishes on the series’ success.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      I’ve read all four titles, Patty, and I’ve enjoyed them a lot. As I told Charles at the time I first read them, they brought back memories of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series, though for kids a few years younger… and with more real world accountability than the Hardys and Drew had to deal with.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much, Patricia! In some cases children much younger than my series characters (about 8 to 12) enjoy these stories, even if they are too young to read them on their own. A couple of book reviewers in my recent blog tour reported reading the books to the whole family and found that the younger kids actually enjoyed them more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Welcome, Charles! So good for you to be with us again.
    I think you have the basics of a great series down; self-contained but interesting to followers, So few writers think to do this.It is hard, especially for kids, to track down all the books in a series. I like the idea of new protagonists, yet family, in each.
    Looks like another kid series for me to read! I love so many of them.
    I wish you success and all the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    • jeff7salter says:

      thanks, Tonette. These were extra fun for me to read, because I could remember many of the adventures my brother and I had when were those ages. For example, when I was in 2nd grade and Charles in 5th, we two wandered all over Disneyland together for hours at a time… with no parents in sight (though they were in the park somewhere).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Great example, Jeff! There were no “helicopter parents” hovering around when we were kids. We were expected to be independent but also resourceful and responsible. I remember well that specific Disneyland adventure and many more that we shared in “the good old days.” We actually did get into some situations similar to the ones in my book series. Remember the time the family visited the Blue Ridge Mountains, and you and I decided to climb to the top of a nearby hill using only dead reckoning? Spaces that looked simple from the ground looking up proved to be dangerously thick and thorny and full of sudden drops. No cell phones or anything in those days, so if we got ourselves into a jam we had to get ourselves out of it…with no assistance. And we always did, even if we (most often you) ended up with some scrapes and scabs and later scars for our efforts.

        Liked by 1 person

      • jeff7salter says:

        Yes, Ridgecrest was another good example. Not only did we overextend ourselves on the distance — and briefly lost the “trail” — but it rained and we had to hastily make a shelter. But, after the rain stopped, we worked our way back down the slope and eventually found our specific building in the complex.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you–it is good to be back with a group of such friendly and encouraging fellow writers. I hope you enjoy the books! I have given each of them to my pastor as they came out, and he has been reading them in sequence to his three young daughters. He says they find them full of suspense and are then overjoyed at the happy endings. Two of these girls are younger than my series heroines, but they still enjoy listening to these tales of adventure and courage in the face of adversity.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: Welcome Back, Charles Salter | Four Foxes, One Hound

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