Chat Transcript: Terry Brooks


brooks-bearersI love online chats.

Bestselling author Terry Brooks conducted an online chat yesterday via the B&N Facebook page. It lasted two hours. Terry was asked some hard questions along with the common easy questions.

Those who came to the chat were polite, interested, and avid fans.

It’s always fun to be involved in a chat like this. Terry came over to my home where I could add my technical expertise if need be. Thankfully I wasn’t needed much. Sometimes Terry was taken aback by a question; sometimes he couldn’t help but be snarky.

The point he made about Sarah Palin still has me a’giggle.

He spent time talking about his new book, Bearers of the Black Staff, but spent much more time being excited about what he is writing right now—the first book in a post-Straken trilogy that deals with Tael Riverine, Grianne Ohmsford, the search for the lost Elfstones of Faerie, and much, much more!

The two hours flew by.

Here is the transcript from that chat. I took the liberty of reorganizing it so each questioned asked of Terry is followed directly by his answer:

Terry Brooks: Greetings from the NW ether.

Barbara Henry: I’ve not read your books. Give me some reasons to read!

Terry Brooks: My books? Or in general? Okay, you read me to escape your life and recharge your batteries. And because I can keep you up all night. So to speak.

Joanna Jorgensen: I’ve heard there’s been rumors of making a movie before, any chance of it happening?

Terry Brooks: Movies, Joanna? I’ve heard those rumors. But nothing is set just now. All the old options lapsed and the new ones are under discussion. Whatever happens will get posted on the website.

Terry Brooks: Let me get back to that question about movies. Both Magic Kingdom and Shannara were under option to different movie studios until a few months ago. Now all those have come back, and we are currently discussing those and Word & Void with different companies. One thing I am determined about is that I won’t option anything more if I don’t have some strong assurance that it won’t sit for three to five years. So it may take time to find the right people to make it happen.

Susie Sharp: I am glad to hear your views on a movie and I hope that you will have enough say in it that it will not be wrecked by Hollywood!

Terry Brooks: Susie, I can’t promise it won’t get wrecked. The best I can do is try to find the right people and make it all move forward. I have always viewed movies as advertisements for books. But that has pretty much changed. What I don’t like is hearing younger readers come up and tell me how surprised they are to learn that Lord of the Rings is a book. The danger is that a piece of writing will be usurped by the movie, if successful I wouldn’t much like that.

Joanna Jorgensen: I have read your books for a while now, what is the inspiration of continuing this series? It’s a great way to bring both the Word/Void series and the Shannara series.

Terry Brooks: Joanna. I like the series. When I run out of interest or ideas, I will close it up. Hasn’t happened so far.

Stephen Mark Monteith: You mention in your book Sometimes the Magic Works that you space out every now and then when an idea for a story pops into your mind, sometimes in the middle of a conversation. How often does that actually happen?

Terry Brooks: Can’t answer that now, Stephen. i just got a new idea.

Michele Scott: Hi Mr. Brooks, I’ve always been an avid reading of the Shannara series as well as your others. I was caught by surprise when you linked the Word/Void books with the Shannara world. Did you intend to do that from the ‘get go’ or did that sort of just happen as you were writing them?

Terry Brooks: Michele, I didn’t have the idea until after High Druid. When thinking about a sequel to Word & Void, I tracked over to the old world of Shannara, and there it was, waiting for me to take it on.

Julie Carcione: Terry, how did you come up with The Princess of Landover book idea. It seems a bit of a stretch from your norm?

Terry Brooks: Julie, I decided awhile back to leave Ben and Willow and do a book or two on Mistaya. I thought it worked well for a series that needed a new look. If they make a movie, I will write something abougt Ben again.

Ben Marble: Do you plan on breaking into new ground sometime in the future? I love your Landover, Shannara and Word/Void series, but didn’t know if you were planning on any new worlds to dominate verbally?

Terry Brooks: Ben, I do have a pretty good story in mind for the immediate future, but I need some space to put it together. Next up are three books in the future of in which the protagonists go in search of the missing Elfstones. Got to do those first, then the new one.

Angelo Younness Pisano: Terry, what’s the process like when you start to conceptualize each new novel?

Terry Brooks: Angelo, you want the 25 words or less answer? It can start anywhere, on any level. I just start thinking about something and can’t let go of it. The rest follows. Sounds vague, but if you think of it as magic it makes sense.

Josh Schlanger: Hi Terry, remember me from your 2008 Denver book tour stop? I’m the guy whose books you signed, ha ha. But seriously, a couple questions. How many more sets of books are you planning to write that include the Knights of the Word? When will their story end? Also, you’ve said in the past that Grianne Ohmsford may or may not appear in the next Shannara trilogy. Will she, and what role would she play? Feel free to share some other spoilers from the upcoming trilogy as well.

Terry Brooks: Josh, no more Knights of the Word. They all died out in the last set of books. Now we have their descendants. You will see the future in Bearers of the Black Staff and its sequel next year. As for Grianne, she will appear in the book about the search for the missing Elfstones.

Marty Moon: Any hope of seeing the return of old characters in the new book?

Terry Brooks: Marty, as you know, people tend to die after a hundred years or so, save Druids. Think about that one when considering who might aqppear in Bearers of the Black Staff.

Sarah Moore: Mr. Brooks, what advice would you have for a young writer looking to start out? And I already write every day, so no need to tell me that! Ha!

Terry Brooks: Sarah, patience and perseverance. A lot of each. Read some books on writing by other authors after you have read my own — got to get a plug in for that — Sometimes the Magic Works. There is no one road and no time frame. You just have to keep plugging away. Ask Shawn.

Jeff Merhige: Will the future protagonists be related to our favorite Shannara family? Wil has always been my favorite.

Terry Brooks: Jeff, in the books on the hunt for the missing Elfstones, yes indeed. But for the first time, they share equal billing with several others. We are trying for equal oppotunity.

Brandy Coffee: Mr. Brooks, the cities of Pia and Zolomach are only mentioned in The Sword of Shannara. Were they destroyed or will they make an appearance in any future novels?

Terry Brooks: Brandy, I really couldn’t tell you. Maybe we should name an airship or two after them. We’ll see.

Arthur Strutzenberg” Just wanted to tell you how much enjoyment I get out of your books—read Shannara when I was a freshman in high school, and have been hooked ever since. Was utterly flabbergasted when a few years ago when one of my students mentioned that his English teacher was having them read Magic Kingdom For Sale as part of their lit class. How does it feel to be included in the list of authors that English teachers use for their lit classes?

Terry Brooks: Arthur, it concerns me. I have always thought that if my books were part of a required reading cirriculum, my career was over. But so far, so good. I kind of like being back in the classroom — from a distance.

Thomas Howard: I failed 10th grade trigonometry because of The Sword of Shannara. I literally could not put that book down.

Terry Brooks: Thomas, you would have failed it anyway and no one uses Trig any more anyway. Except Sarah Palin.

Thomas Howard: I love that answer! I’m currently re-reading the Shannara series since I have nothing to fail now 🙂

Mike Farless: Terry, I have always loved the Leah family. Do you have plans to bring some new members of the family into your upcoming books? Also, ever thought of putting out a replica of their sword?

Terry Brooks: Mike, good news! A very important member of the Leah family will surface soon. As for weapon replicas, I don’t think so. Maybe some company will decide to do that, but not me.

Stephen Mark Monteith: Mr. Brooks, I’m a writer myself (albeit unpublished so far), and I’m forced sometimes to write a story idea on a scrap of paper and stick in a folder because I’m too deep into other things. What’s the most number of projects you’ve had “in the works” at any given time?

Terry Brooks: Stephen, I usually have four or five projects in mind at any given time, but I only work on one at a time. The others are in development, to use the movie term. I don’t like fragmenting my thinking by trying to shift back and forth. It usually blurs my characters and voices. So I just do one and then move on to the next.

Laura Bytheway Loveridge: Some people think I’m weird when I say that Allanon is my favorite druid. Do you have a favorite? And if so, which one?

Terry Brooks: Laura, you are weird, but you are also a good person. Lots of people like Allanon, in fact, as a favorite. As for me, I love all my characters. But at any given time, I have one I concentrate on. Just now, it is a young Elf who has become a Druid, but who is in disfavor with her family and friends for doing so. She is key to what happens in the search for the missing Elfstones.

Joanna Jorgensen: What other authors would you recommend that parallel your style?

Terry Brooks: Joanna. I am unparalleled, as I am sure you know. Actually, I don’t know how to answer that question. I am reading Justin Cronin’s The Passage, Susanne Collins Mocking Jay and Kevin Brook’s Dawn. To name a few.

Alexa Smith: I recently finished my first ever first draft last year! I was so excited, but before the excitement I was paralyzed by fear. Cause my novel was coming to a close and it wouldn’t be the same after I wrote “The End” Even though I had spent 3 months of revision on it since. It still isn’t the same. Do you ever get that? Coming to the end and suddenly coming to the realization it’s over. And the characters will be there, to read over and over, but it wont be the same as when you first wrote about them. I was paralyzed for a long time over the end of that novel. Does it ever happen to you?

Terry Brooks: Alexa, that’s well put. I do have both fear and regret of finishing a book. I am always afraid that it stinks and someone will have the nerve to point that out. Besides disgruntled critics. But I like the process more than the finished product, so I am always ready to move on to something else. If I spent a lot of time mulling over what I had done, I would be in trouble. But there are all those stories waiting to be told, so I just have to get on with it.

Brandy Coffee: Will there be a Landover/Shannara crossover in the future or ever?

Terry Brooks: Brandy, there will be no Landover/Shannara/anything else crossover. Magic Kingdom is its own beast.

Jeff Drummond: Hi Terry, thanks for doing this chat! I was wondering if we would ever get a closer look at life in the Wing Hove?

Terry Brooks: Jeff, as a matter of fact, you will get a fresh look at the Wing Hove and it will happen in the preworld of Shannara as well as the future.

Darrell Heath: Hey Terry! Greetings from the steamy south. The bulk of your creative output is within the fantasy genre, do you ever desire to write outside those borders?

Terry Brooks: Darrell, I was just down in the steamy south. How do you stand it? I was drenched every day one way or the other. Okay, your question. I might do something outside of fantasy, but so far nothing has occurred. Even the things that are mostly mainstream tend to have fantasy elements. I just like the idea of magic being a part of our lives. Guess that’s cause I think it is.

Michele Scott: One of the MANY things I liked about the first book of yours I read, The Sword of Shannara, were the illustrations inside. They were unique and I couldn’t stop from staring at them — my paperback had Hildebrandt works in them. Even sketches by other artists in later books complimented your writing. Your stories stand alone and have always held my interest — but I always wondered why the illustrations were dropped from your books… ?

Terry Brooks: Michele, illustrations and drawings and paintings and even maps cost extra in the printing and have to be recouped in the cost of the book. Publishing is a small margin business, so the publishers aren’t too ready to add those extras in books by established authors. Anyway, I kind of like it to happen in each reader’s mind. That way, it feels more personal and private.

Eli Oftenes Jakobsen: Will you surprise us with a new creature in Bearers of the Black Staff?

Terry Brooks: Eli, the agenahls are new, but mostly we are seeing the evolution of Lizards from Genesis of Shannara into Trolls. But there will be some new ones down the road.

Brian Bremner: Terry, I am sure you could list a great handful. But as your writings have been a great inspiration to me, I have grown curious, what are a few books that had been especially inspiring in your early days?

Terry Brooks: Brian, early days were all about science fiction, then European Adventure Stories (think Three Musketerers and Ivanhoe), then William Faulkner, then Lord of the Rings. That takes me up to age 21. But really almost everything I read has some sort of influence.

Nazim Choudhury: Hi Terry, how many books until we get to read about Allanon again? I read Sword, Elfstones and Wishsong as a child and I still miss him!!

Terry Brooks: Nazim, I don’t know about using Allanon in future books. He really belongs to the past. We’ll have to see if there is a place where he would fit in.

Ted Jump: Hi Terry, you are pretty prolific in your writing. How do you get so much out in such a short amount of time? I am an aspiring writer myself, and I struggle to get a first draft done in a year (without edits). How do you do it?

Terry Brooks: Ted, if you have been paying attention, you might have noticed that the last three books were first published in the early 1990s. I just put them back out with new titles and new covers. Really saves time. Okay, kidding. How about good work habits? I do a book a year, and I have a means of seeing that I can finish a book within that time. Sometimes I can do more than one. Really, its just practice and a sense of confidence in what you do.

Stephen Mark Monteith: Some authors say that, to survive in the 21st century, you need to have your own website and have a certain amount of time devoted to developing online projects. How effective have you found the Internet to be in furthering your work?

Terry Brooks: Stephen, I think use of the internet is crucial for an author. I found out about eight years ago how effective a tool it was when I questioned people at signings and discovered that 75% were there because of the web site. So I do almost everything, as does the publisher, through the web. It is the best clearing house and billboard we have. Publicity elsewhere doesn’t reach enough people. I don’t know what I would do without my website. But don’t tell Shawn or he will want a raise.

Portia Russell: Hi Terry, what all this nonsense about these books appealing to teenagers… they are timeless! I’m 57 and I just read them all for the first time!

Terry Brooks: Portia, Well, once upon a time my readers were almost all male and teens. But that has changed over the past 33 years, and now I have readers of both sexes and all ages. This is not something you can plan, but I am lucky it is so. I like the idea of my books being interesting to everyone. That was true of Tolkien, and who am I to argue with that?

Angelo Younness Pisano: Reading The Gypsy Morph, I often wonder to what degree current events might come into the realm of influence in your writing? Are you writing in a pure and sanitized bubble over there in Hawaii?

Terry Brooks: Angelo, very perceptive. I use current events as motivation and as subject matter for my thematic structure. I usually get upset about something and use that as incentive to write through what I want readers to consider about their own world. Not my place to tell you what to think, but only to make you think. Maybe you have made some of these connections. By the way, Hawaii went away about three years ago. I am only and always in the Pacific NW.

Barbara Henry: Did you write any short stories before you went to novellength?

Terry Brooks: Short Stories, Barbara? Here’s the deal. I used to write short stories when I was first starting out — say 13-15 — I might even have finished one or two. But I quickly discovered that I was meant for long fiction. I have real trouble fitting stories into less than two hundred pages. So I try not to get trapped into short fiction these days and leave it to those better suited to the task. Hard, hard, hard stuff.

Jennifer Roberts Corkins: Hi Terry. Thanks for being on this chat. I have been reading your books for a lot longer than I would like to admit. I have my father’s 1977 edition of Sword and it is well loved. I grew up near Rockford in Illinois so the Magic Kingdom and Word/Void series were also great. You were at Woodfield on my 16th birthday (again, long ago) and signed Wishsong for me. Will you ever be coming down to Florida for any book signings?

Terry Brooks: Jennifer, I don’t know how much touring I am going to do from here on in. I have lost some of my enthusiasm for traveling. Too hard to get from A to B. I think I will do some, but no more 26 cities or that sort of stuff. I may do a few conferences and conventions. This year I am moving, so I don’t have real time to tour. Next year, I might. Florida is always nice.

Anthony Martinez: During the Straken series we encountered River and Forest Trolls for the first time (not including the ‘lesser Trolls’ that appear during the Second and Third War of the Races). Any chance of seeing them in the future?

Terry Brooks: Anthony, there were always be Trolls of some sort, but I haven’t mapped out that particular aspect of the new books just yet. Since there are three, we may well see more than one variety along the way.

Brandy Coffee: Have you been approached to do another Shannara video game since the last one?

Terry Brooks: Brandy, no interest in a new video game that I am aware. But every time I say I think something is dead, I have to eat my words. So I will just say that if it happens, you will read it on my website, I promise. Right now, I have an agreement with Subterranean press to do an illustrated edition of Indomitable, which should be interesting. That, and the usual one Shannara book a year.

Laura Bytheway Loveridge: Does it bother you when people mispronounce names? Like Shannara, for example, is a name people say many different ways. Is it weird to hear people say it differently than you intended it to be?

Terry Brooks: Laura, it does not bother me in the least. I didn’t intend any of my names to be pronounced in any particular way. I only wanted to be sure they COULD be pronounced. I like it that people an say names the way that feels right to them. Once they buy the book (or steal it) they have ownership and the right to say things the way they want. So, for me, SHA – NA – RA.

Wade Oharra: Mr Brooks, you stated earlier that in your new series of books that the protagonists were going in search of the missing Elfstones. Will you at any time explain where the Stones originate from?

Terry Brooks: Wade, yes, I will. Now quit trying to pry loose information ahead of time.

Amanda Ryan: Hi Terry, thanks so much for doing this chat, I’ve been a fan of the Shannara series for years now, can’t wait for the latest!
Tacking on to Laura’s question, is there a pronunciation guide floating around anywhere? Oh, and the new website looks great!

Terry Brooks: Amanda, not that I am aware of. As I said, I want you to say the words the way you want. I know all of you can do this. I have faith in you. Don’t let me down.

Ron Kemp: Is the Jachyra from Wishsong related to the Reaper from Elfstones?

Terry Brooks: Ron, no. The Jachyra and the Reaper are different creatures entirely. Interesting idea, though. But they are just brothers with different mothers.

Josh Schlanger: Does the entity known as the Void still exist in the Shannara series? If so, is there any chance we will see any Void-serving demons pop up in the future? And in response to my previous question, are you saying that the guy in Bearers is not a Knight of the Word even though he has the staff?

Terry Brooks: Josh, the Void does exist in Shannara throughout and this world as well, in case you haven’t been reading the papers lately. All of the demons are Void created and their genesis is pretty much the same. As for Black Staff people, Sider Ament is a descendant of the Knights of the Word, but they haven’t been called that for five hundred years and they are no longer regarded as protectors of Humans or Elves. Read Bearers of the Black Staff for more on this.

Angelo Younness Pisano: I’m reading now that you enjoyed The Road by Cormac McCarthy! It was a natural transition for me from your style to his. And his is so raw it leaves that lasting impression while yours is so intricate it lingers for days. Have you seen the movie version?

Terry Brooks: Angelo, The Road was grim, grim, grim. I don’t like books or movies that are nihlistic. I like to keep at least a semblance of hope alive at the end, usually something to suggest that like those people on the Titanic, their hearts will go on. I like that we will encounter darkness and hardship and will struggle to over come it, but I also think we will be largely successful in this.

Alexa Smith Mr. Brooks, I’m finishing up the Heritage section of the books now. (My dad read me the first three books, then I read the Scions and on). Any suggestions on which section I should start next?

Terry Brooks: Alexa, the logical followup to the Heritage books are the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara books. Look at the list in the front of any Shannara book and the series will be set out chronologically for easy reference. Also, go back and read First King of Shannara, the prequel to Sword.

Barbara Henry: Thank you Mr. Brooks. I have enjoyed the discussion and getting to know a new author (new for me). I enjoyed your insights and observations. Your humor too!

Terry Brooks: Barbara, thanks for joining in. If I don’t show a little humor, I shouldn’t be doing this. I really like writing and the interaction with readers. We all share a common love of books. We all think reading makes our lives a little better.

Brandy Coffee: What is your opinion of eReaders and e-books?

Terry Brooks: Brandy, another question that I could go on about. I like ebooks and I think they have an important place in reading. one thing we know is that everything is going to change because that’s how the world works. So trying to pretend that ebooks are just a fad is silly. I think most people will end up with both paper and ebooks as time goes on, and I think publishers will offer then that way. You know, buy a hardcover, get the ebook for free. I am old school, so I like my favorite books in hardcover paperback. But that’s just me. Other people like them on screens or audio. Just depends on what works best. The only thing I am prepared to say is that I like reading better than gaming or movies. More interesting, more engaging. But, again, that’s just me.

Wade Oharra: I missed the signings to some of your books due to overseas duty. Is there a way I can order them or send them to you to sign to complete my collection?

Terry Brooks: Wade, you can get the new book online through The Signed Page. Older books, you have to find through your local book stores or an online seller. If you want something signed, you have to send it to me at my address on the website with return postage and packaging. I will get it back to you at some point but it usually takes time. Or you can wait for me to show up where you live and come out with all your books and I will sign them all.

Margee Vernon: Mr. Brooks, thank you for including strong female characters in each of your books. I’ve been a fan since you first started publishing.

Terry Brooks: Margee, thanks. After writing Sword, I had a few people point out that there were no major female characters in that book. So ever since, I have made sure there were. Maybe gone overboard a time or two. But you will find a couple in Bearers of the Black Staff when it comes out August 24.

Portia Russell: I noticed that in the “future” world of Shannara there is no mention of newspapers, magazines or books (except for the Old Druid and Elf histories of course). Why did future generations stop recording their history?

Terry Brooks: Portia, future generations during the first thousand years pretty much quit recording much of anything because they were just trying to stay alive. But slowly with the Druids and the Elves in particular writing down records of things became more of a regular practice. But everything is still done by hand as of the end of High Druid. Interestingly enough, the whole search for the Elfstones comes about because of something that was written down thousands of years in the past and results in a recovery of information thought lost.

Nancy Riggs: As I write this, my black lab named Shannara is sitting at my feet.

Terry Brooks: Nancy, give Shannara a hug. My grandson has a black lab named Shadow.

Laura Bytheway Loveridge: Do fans every recognize you as you go about your day? Do they ever come up to you? Do you ever get sick of it?

Terry Brooks: Laura, no one used to recognize me, but that has changed. Usually when they either see or hear my name, they ask if I am THAT Terry Brooks. I say I am A Terry Brooks, at least. But no one is ever rude or bothers me in any way that is offensive. As Judine is fond of saying, I have the nicest readers.

Alejandro Guzmán: Are the Shannara books going to be release for the Nook/iPad?

Terry Brooks: Alejandro, they are already on the Nook. The iPad is still in its infancy, and its list of available books for reading is much smaller than that of the other ebooks. I don’t know how long it will take to change that. But given the nature of the competition it will probably happen pretty fast.

Angelo Younness Pisano: In your opinion, Terry, what sort of discourse takes place between modern contemporaries of the sci-fi/fantasy genre? For example, you’re reading the new release by Justin Cronin, The Passage. Have you ever or will you respond to those writings? I guess I’m wondering if it’s ever sort of like what poets get down to sometimes… Thanks!

Terry Brooks: Angelo, if I understand you, I can say that writers talk back and forth once they get to know each other. But I wouldn’t want to write anything based on reading another writer’s book. Nor do I like making negative comments about the things I didn’t like personally. So, it sort of depends on how things shake down. I just met Robert McCammon years after he wrote Boy’s Life, one of my favorite books, and we got to know each other become friends. That’s how these things happen.

Susie Sharp: Do you have any favorite contemporary authors or ones you would recommend?

Terry Brooks: Susie, I’ve listed a few already. I read a lot of what’s termed young adult fiction, and there are a number of fine writers there. I like Robert Crais and T. Jefferson Parker and James LeeBurke as mystery writers. It sort of goes on and on. I read a lot. Thats’s what I do for pleasure.

Stephen Mark Monteith: You mentioned in Sometimes the Magic Works that you worked closely with George Lucas while writing the novel adaptation of Episode I and even helped revise the script at times. Have you ever considered writing an actual screenplay yourself?

Terry Brooks: Stephen. I did work closely with George Lucas on The Phantom Menace, but only on the book. I had nothing to do with the screenplay or anything else. I might do some work on a screenplay at some point, especially if it is on one of my own books. But really I am a book writer.

Brian Bremner: Terry, having spent years reading your books (growing up reading them!) I have recommended them to many friends who offer the same review, many like your books and the fact that they are “cleaner” than a lot of other authors. Is there any reason you keep your books more family friendly?

Terry Brooks: Brian, what can I say to that? I write fantasy the old way — so all can pick it up and read it at any age. If there were a reason to include hard language, graphic sex or whatever is taboo at any given time, I might do it. But I’m not comfortable with it, so I don’t. What’s there is a reflection of who I am and how I think. Storytelling is about getting people so involved they cannot put the book down. I strive for that, and the way I do it seems to work.

Julian Andrew Barr: Hi Terry, thanks for doing this. Might we ever see a follow-up to Sometimes the Magic Works? A lot has happened since then…

Terry Brooks: Julian. Sure enough. For one thing, I’ve gotten a lot older. But I don’t have a follow up on the boards just now. I am more interested in other things, all of them fictional. So it may not happen. Maybe I said it all. Maybe that was all I know. What do you think?

Shawn Speakman: Have we seen the last of Tael Riverine?

Terry Brooks: Shawn, who gave you permission to ask a question? Okay, I’ll make an exception. Tael Riverine was always intended to return in a later book. He will do so in the set that deals with the missing Elfstones, although not right away. This is a complex story with serveral plotlines, so you have to be patient.

Laura Bytheway Loveridge: I am an aspiring writer and sometimes I feel like my writing is cliche or has been done before. Do you ever feel that your writing is cliche? If so, how do you get past that and write anyway?

Terry Brooks: Laura, everything has been done before. It was one of the first lessons I learned from my first editor, Lester Del Rey. Cliche comes about mostly because you are trying to copy a style you saw elsewhere or an approach you think you need to take. Use your own voice. Tell the story the way it feels right to you to tell it. Don’t force things in that you aren’t comfortable with. Your voice is unique. You need to trust it if you are to succeed.

Neeley Davis Ussing: Terry, I just wanted to thank you for writing some wonderful books. My father encouraged me to start reading the Shannara books in ’89. My 15 year old son is now reading them. It’s great to have 3 generations siting around my table discussing your books.

Terry Brooks: Neeley, bless your father. I do have a lot of multi-generational family readers. I like it when people pass the book up and down the blood line. Again, you can’t plan for that, but it sure helps you as a writer.

Kelly Carney: Just signed on—almost missed this. I’ve been a fan for nearly 30 years. I love movies, but MUST read the book first as the book is always better. I haven’t tried e-books as I like to sit in a comfy chair (or bed) with my book in hand. My 3 children- aged 18 to 23- are also huge fans of all your work. Thanks for doing this and for all the great reads! If it wasn’t for you my oldest would have quit reading in the 6th grade!!

Terry Brooks: Kelly, glad we’ve kept you and the kids entertained and reading committed.

Stephen Doerk: Where do you usually write? What is the perfect writing atmosphere for you and do you have anything special that you need to have around you when you write?

Terry Brooks: Stephen. I am like Monk. I have my space and I don’t like it disturbed. Everything is right where I want it and that’s how I have to have it to write. I don’t write on the road or i strange places like Starbucks. I am very organized and very set in my ways. Ask my wife.

Ron Kemp: What happened to Panoman Creel from Sword?

Terry Brooks: Ron, Panamon Creel escaped his old life and moved to Florida, where he ran a fishing service and sold baby alligators to tourists.

Stephen Mark Monteith: I had a creative writing teacher once tell me that fantasy was a “dead” genre, that there was nothing original left to write. I personally think it’s more about the characters themselves than which genre they happen to inhabit. What do you think about the “future” of epic fantasies, as far as their longevity and their potential for originality?

Terry Brooks: Stephen, someone or other has been saying that fantasy is a dead genre ever since I was born. They were saying it when I wrote and published Sword. Now we have Harry and so forth and it doesn’t look to me like the end is in sight. With the advent of special effects in movies, that dog might hunt for a thousand years. It is all about innovation and fresh approaches, and I don’t think we have seen the last of those. Just saying.

Jose Cuevas: Thanks for doing this chat! You are my favorite author! When will we see another graphic novel besides Indomitable?

Terry Brooks: Jose, there are no plans for any new graphic novels at this point. The closest thing we have is the Subterranean Press eventual release of Indomitable as an illustrated coffee table book.

Terry Brooks: Two hours are almost up, so I better take this opportunity to thank you all for sitting in and for your questions. Mostly, as always I want to think you for being readers of my work for so many years. I have lived a charmed life as a writer, and I have not a single regret or bad memory about any of it. I am blessed to have been able to entertain you for as long as i have and hope to continue to do so for years to come. see you on the website or in a bookstore or wherever we come together.

Bearers of the Black Staff hits stores on August 24th in the US and a week later in the UK!