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Book Tour Q&A: The Talisman of Delucha by A.J. Calvin

Today we're taking part in the book tour organized by Escapist Book Tours for The Talisman of Delucha by A.J. Calvin! Continue reading for the book blurb and a Q&A with the author.

About the book

Ravin is an anomaly amongst those who use magic. He refuses to join the Council of Auras and tie his fate to the wizards, and long ago escaped a terrible fate amongst the Enlightened, called the Shadow Council by some. His escape gave him freedom few others with his power enjoy, and he means to keep it, no matter the cost.

Serving as an advisor to the Deluchan queen, Ravin learns a powerful relic is kept deep within the catacombs below the palace. War is on Delucha’s doorstep, brought about by none other than the council he fled from and their Soulless leaders. He resolves to retrieve the relic in order to combat the imminent threat, but collecting the Talisman of Delucha is not without its own danger.

As the Soulless’ army prepares to besiege the Deluchan capitol, Ravin makes one final, desperate attempt to secure the Talisman. The kingdom’s survival depends on his success, but time is not on his side.

On to the interview...!

Thank you so much for joining us for this Q&A! We’ll start off with one of our standard podcast opening questions–tell us something great that’s happened recently.

Thanks so much for having me!

Most recently, I celebrated my fourth decade going around the sun. It’s funny, but I don’t feel like I should actually be this old… Still, I consider it a good thing.

But in terms of books, the big news in March was The Moon’s Eye was featured in Kirkus Review’s Indie Books Worth Discovering post for 2023. It was hugely exciting when they contacted me in December and so hard to keep under wraps until everything went live. It was an honor to be recognized.

The link to their list is here:

What are you currently reading or what’s up next on your TBR? What made you pick up this book?

I’m currently reading The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. I follow the Fantasy-Faction facebook page, and it has been recommended so many times the last couple of years that I finally decided to check it out. I’m enjoying the story so far.

The next book on my TBR will probably be The Kheld King by L.L. Stephens. I recently read Sordaneon and I have to know where the story goes from there. I’ve also heard the third book will release later this month…

They say to never judge a book by its cover, but a cover is still a marketing tool that helps sell books. Can you tell us about the idea behind the cover of your book?

As with the rest of the trilogy, the cover for The Talisman of Delucha was inspired by a scene in the book. The talisman in the story is located deep in the catacombs beneath the royal palace and is safeguarded by ancient magic – and more. There are two characters at the beginning of the book vying to obtain the talisman, Ravin and one of the Soulless, but I’ll let the reader discover who is ultimately successful.

Describe your book in 3 adjectives.

Intense. Magical. Complex.

How different is the final version of this book from the first draft?


The original versions of the trilogy were written when I was a teenager (dating myself here, but it was more than 20 years ago.) When I decided to revisit the stories and publish, I ended up rewriting the entire series.

Many of the characters are the same, and the general story arcs for most follow a similar path, but there are significant changes in parts of the series, most notably in the final book, War of the Nameless, which in it’s initial state was, for lack of a better term, a hot mess.

After spending the better part of a year rewriting the trilogy, it then went through editing and proofreading to reach its current state. It was a lot of work, but worth it. I’m happy with the end result.

Has your writing process changed since you wrote the previous book? If so, how?

It hasn’t really changed between books one and two of this series, but between version one and two, there was a big difference.

When I first started writing the series, I just wrote on a whim. I didn’t plot, and sometimes the passages were ridiculously short. There were too many points of view, and some aspects weren’t clear or cohesive (which is the reason for the rewrite I mentioned earlier.)

When I went about rewriting the series, I plotted every chapter. I whittled the POVs down to six from over twenty, and I really made an effort to get into the characters’ heads. It was a crazy amount of work, but 100% worth it.

Are there any challenges specific to continuing a series vs starting it?

For me, starting is the easy part…but I have to know where the story will ultimately lead or I’ll never finish it. (I have a filing cabinet full of unfinished stories and most of those are ones I started on a vague idea but had no idea how to keep it going.)

With all of my series, I’ve had a general idea of start and finish from the outset. What I don’t know is how long it will take me to reach the end. For The Relics of War series, it was three books. For The Caein Legacy, it was four. For The Mage War Chronicles (which I’m still writing) it’s going to be at least seven. The more complex stories require more words/books to complete.

I think the biggest challenge for me with writing series is making sure the story progresses as I want it to, but also ensuring each book is unique and different from the rest, at least in some fashion.

When you started the series, did you have a clear idea in mind for how you wanted to continue it in subsequent books? How, if at all, has that changed while writing this book?

I mentioned earlier that I plotted out all of the books. For the most part, I followed the outline… until Adalin came into the picture.

In The Talisman of Delucha, she was originally supposed to have a minor role, but one chapter early in the book changed that—and I had to adjust my outline for the rest of book two and all of book three. I liked the dynamic Adalin had with Ravin, and he needed someone to bring him down a few pegs.

In the end, I’m happy I made the change. The feedback I’ve received from the ending of the third book made it worthwhile and tells me I made the right decision with making Adalin an important part of Ravin’s story.

Otherwise, the story followed my outline pretty closely.

Which location that appears on the page in the book would you like to visit?

The Murkor caverns. I’ve always had a fascination with caves, and the Murkor people/their society intrigue me. And as a scientist myself, I’d hope for a tour of their alchemists’ laboratories.

Which do you find harder, starting a series or continuing a series?

I’ve never really considered this.

It certainly takes more work to start a series. I like to have a good idea of the world, the people, the magic, etc before I start writing, which takes time. But I’ve never considered that hard. I enjoy the worldbuilding and research involved.

And now that I’ve written two complete series and am working on a third, I don’t consider the continuation part hard either.

I mean, there are some challenges involved. I want each book to be unique, yet familiar enough to the readers that it feels like a natural progression of the story. And with series, there’s always the question of cliffhangers. How do you end book one to ensure people will want to read book two? Do you leave it open, or do you end it on a major cliffhanger and hope the readers don’t eviscerate you for that decision? (For the record, none of the books in The Relics of War end on a cliffhanger, but you can tell there will be more to the story at the end of books one and two.)

I recently went through a revision/editing marathon with The Caein Legacy where I scoured all four books back to back to back. In the end, I was able to ensure there wasn’t redundancy between books, my style remained consistent, and the character’s voice retained its identity throughout. It was a lot of work, but I think the series is better for it. But the story itself? Writing was the easy part.

Has your favorite character to write changed from book to book?

In the initial version of The Relics of War¸ Vardak was easily my favorite. But twenty-some years later—and this time with a plot outline in hand—that changed.

Ravin De’vor was definitely my favorite during the rewrite. The reader doesn’t get to see much of him in the first book, but he takes a prominent role in books two and three. He’s at times irreverent, but he ultimately does want to do what’s right. And in the end, he’ll do what he believes is necessary to achieve that, even if it means he loses everything. I loved working on Ravin’s chapters.

Would you say that this book went through more or less extensive editing than your previous books? If yes, why do you think that is?

Considering this series required a full rewrite, it took far more editing than anything else I’ve written to date. And I don’t mean just rephrasing sentences. I started over from scratch. As I mentioned earlier, some of the story arcs are the same and many of the characters are too, but the series as a whole is 100% brand new.

As to why the rewrite was required… That’s a bit more complex. I wrote the series as a teenager. I didn’t write seriously then—it was just a hobby, and I never thought I’d pursue publishing. I grew up and my goals changed. I still liked many of the ideas from The Relics of War, and decided to wrangle the story into an actual real book. And I’m a perfectionist in most things, but when it comes to my writing, I’m borderline obsessive. It had to be the story I wanted, and I had to be happy with the end result before I’d even consider sending it to beta readers or an editor.

When I decided to pursue this project, I was querying agents for The Caein Legacy, which I’d written in 2019-2020. I honestly didn’t think The Relics of War would appeal to agents (not to mention all of the books are above the “acceptable” word count for most), so I decided to indie publish the series as an experiment.

The success I had with book one alone stunned me. I wasn’t expecting so much interest, and the majority of the feedback I’ve received has been really positive. It showed me that not only was the rewrite and subsequent editing worth it, but people wanted to read my work too. It also showed me that indie publishing can be amazingly fun—and I’ve since decided to stop querying my other series. I’ll be publishing the first two books myself later this year.

If you had to swap the roles of two of your characters, which would be more disastrous to the story?

If Ravin and Dranamir switched places, I think the entire world in the series would be doomed. Dranamir is merciless, cruel, and powerful, but in terms of magical ability, she’s no match for Ravin.

If Ravin had become Soulless in her stead, he would have been almost unstoppable. It’s a good thing he’s not on the Nameless god’s side.

In your opinion, what kind of reader would like this book?

Fans of classic fantasy series would enjoy this series. While I was writing it originally, I took some inspiration from authors like Katherine Kerr, Tad Williams, and Raymond E. Feist.

I’ve had a few people tell me it reminds them in some ways of The Wheel of Time, which is a series I’ve never managed to get through myself, so I can’t say for sure.

There is content in the series—and language—that is probably not suitable for younger readers. I market my books to an adult audience.

Is there anything you can tell us about any current projects you’re working on?

I have a few projects in the works, and I’m happy to share some info about all of them!

First, there’s The Caein Legacy, a four book series that I’ll be starting to publish later this year. The first book, Exile, will release on May 24. This series was so much a work of the heart for me, and I’m incredibly excited that it’s so close to publication.

You can learn more about Exile on my website:

Then there’s Serpentus, which is a standalone novel that runs parallel to The Relics of War. I finished writing it in December, and it’s currently with beta readers. I also had a meeting a few weeks ago with my cover artist, Jamie Noble, to discuss artwork for this project.

I loved how Serpentus turned out. It features a character that appears near the end of War of the Nameless, and follows a story arc that was not featured but in passing in the main trilogy. (For those who have read The Relics of War, the character in question is Owen Greenwaters.)

Serpentus will tentatively release in early 2024. You can read a little more about this project here:

And lastly, there’s The Mage War Chronicles, which is my current writing project. I’m drafting book five, which I don’t have a title for yet. This series is set in the same world as The Caein Legacy, but about 1000 years earlier. Each book features a different main character, but their stories overlap a bit and intertwine. I has been a fun project so far, but requires a lot of referencing back to previous books on my part to make sure I have the details straight between books.

I won’t start releasing The Mage War Chronicles for at least a couple of years, but you can learn more about that series here:

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Do you have any parting thoughts or comments you’d like to leave for our readers?

I appreciate you taking the time to do this interview. I love talking books—even if they aren’t my own.

And finally, where can you be found on the internet if our readers want to hear more from you?

My website:



My newsletter:

Where to buy the book:


Barnes & Noble:


Google Play:

Apple Books/iTunes:

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