New Release Interview: Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks


brooks-wardsWards of Faerie by Terry Brooks is published today in fine US bookstores!

That means your local bookstore and online retailer have it!

Wards of Faerie is set 100 years after the events of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, where the people of the Four Lands have become largely distrusting of magic after the failed Third Council of Druids. But when a Druid stumbles upon information that might lead to the re-discovery of the lost Elfstones of Faerie, Ard Rhys of Paranor Khyber Elessedil must decide to undertake the most dangerous of missions to acquire them—at all costs.

And those costs turn out to be high indeed.

Here is a bit more about Wards of Faerie:

Seven years after the conclusion of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Terry Brooks at last revisits one of the most popular eras in the legendary epic fantasy series that has spellbound readers for more than three decades.

When the world was young, and its name was Faerie, the power of magic ruled—and the Elfstones warded the race of Elves and their lands, keeping evil at bay. But when an Elven girl fell hopelessly in love with a Darkling boy of the Void, he carried away more than her heart.

Thousands of years later, tumultuous times are upon the world now known as the Four Lands. Users of magic are in conflict with proponents of science. Elves have distanced their society from the other races. The dwindling Druid order and its teachings are threatened with extinction. A sinister politician has used treachery and murder to rise as prime minister of the mighty Federation. Meanwhile, poring through a long-forgotten diary, the young Druid Aphenglow Elessedil has stumbled upon the secret account of an Elven girl’s heartbreak and the shocking truth about the vanished Elfstones. But never has a little knowledge been so very dangerous—as Aphenglow quickly learns when she’s set upon by assassins.

Yet there can be no turning back from the road to which fate has steered her. For whoever captures the Elfstones and their untold powers will surely hold the advantage in the devastating clash to come. But Aphenglow and her allies—Druids, Elves, and humans alike—remember the monstrous history of the Demon War, and they know that the Four Lands will never survive another reign of darkness. But whether they themselves can survive the attempt to stem that tide is another question entirely.

To celebrate today’s release, Terry answered a few questions from his webmaster!


Shawn Speakman: First, congratulations on 35 years of publishing. What do you contribute such longevity in a field that regularly ends careers?

Terry Brooks: Consistency. Trying to be sure that each book I write represents my best effort. Having read countless series where the author loses interest after 5 or 6 books, I determined a long time ago not to let that happen to me. It was hard enough getting my foot in the door in the first place. I respect my audience enough to know that if they didn’t like the books, my career is going to be over sooner rather than later. I’d sort of like to avoid that.

SS: Wards of Faerie, Book I in The Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy, publishes August 21 in the US and a few days later in the UK. Tell readers about the story and why you chose to set it after the events of the High Druid of Shannara trilogy?

TB: Setting the story after High Druid was the fulfillment of a promise I’d made 6 or 8 years ago to continue the future of Shannara at a later date with new stories. That was always the intention, but I had to write some other things first. The entire Shannara saga is working its way towards a confrontation between the magic of the present and the science of the past, both reworked and reshaped over time. But in the case of Dark Legacy, I wanted to answer one of the questions from readers that keeps popping up. What happened to the other Elfstones? We know about the blue Elfstones, but there were others, lost in the old world of Faerie centuries ago. What happened to them? So I set out to frame a story about what happens when someone actually finds this out and the Druids undertake a search to recover them.

SS: You often let stories percolate for long periods of time before writing them. When did you first realize you wanted to use the other Elfstones of Faerie in a story and when did that story finally come together to the point you could write it?

TB: I’ve been thinking about this one a long time. But I didn’t have the story in mind until several years ago. Then it took another couple of years to figure out the three book set. Really, I was still thinking it through almost up until the mid-point of the third book. You have to be fluid about these things, particularly when there are multiple books and the writing really informs the writer about how events should play out. I always start out with an ending and a set of characters, but not all the subplots and no real firm idea of who will live and who won’t. Life is uncertain in Brooks Books.

SS: I visited your Oregon coast home two years ago when you were writing Wards of Faerie and during that time you opened up the High Druid of Shannara omnibus twice to refresh yourself on what had come before. How often do you have to crack open your previous novels and do “research?”

TB: Who the heck knows? Lots and lots. I remember the story lines and the characters, but the small things tend to get lost in the cracks of my fading memory. I have to double check how certain magic works and what the old history really said, stuff like that. This effort was particularly difficult here because the Elfstones appear in almost all the books so I had to skim read everything to find if there were references I needed to reread. 20 some books later, it is pretty difficult to remember everything.

SS: You have included at least one character holdover from series to series. Example: Walker Boh bridges The Heritage of Shannara and The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara. This time, Khyber Elessedil bridges High Druid of Shannara and The Dark Legacy of Shannara. Is there a particular reason you do this?

TB: Well, I think readers like continuity. But Druids tend to live long lives, so it is natural that they will carry over from one set of books to another. Allanon was in the first three Shannara books, which covered four generations of Ohmsfords. You probably shouldn’t be too surprised to find at least one character from Dark Legacy reappearing in the next Shannara book I write.

SS: Aphenglow Elessedil is one of my favorite characters in Wards of Faerie — a determined Druid whose life is slowly unraveling.

TB: She does get rumpled more than a little from start to finish. She really represents the idealist whose worldview gets reshaped by what happens to her personally and to those she loves and cares for over the course of the trilogy. But she doesn’t quit, no matter how tough things get. She is a strong character, and her resilience has a lot to do with how the story turns out in the end.

SS: We now know the Four Lands is set in a future after our civilization’s self-destruction where magic and technology vie for domination. Will this battle ever come to a conclusion?

TB: See my answer to number 2 above. My plan for Shannara is to live long enough to wrap up the series by settling the confrontation of magic versus science – sort of like Predator versus Alien? Actually, I have other things I want to resolve as well. Oddly enough, I have known for some time how I want to close out the series.

SS: WARDS OF FAERIE, BLOODFIRE QUEST, and WITCH WRAITH are the three books comprising The Dark Legacy of Shannara. They are publishing six months apart. Why did you decide to give this gift to the fans?

TB: 2012 marks the 35th anniversary of the publication of The Sword of Shannara. It just seemed it was time to do what so many had been asking me to do – write faster, provide more books than one a year, offer an illustration or two, answer a major question I had been avoiding. Once I had the story in mind, I got ahead in my writing and decided to do the 3 books in a year’s time approach, so that Wards comes out this August, Book Two comes out next March and Book Three comes out August 2013. I won’t ever do this again, if I can avoid it, because the pace is too much and the work too onerous. I’m supposed to be retiring, not working harder! Others, I suspect, are saying the same thing about their lives just about now.

SS: You are doing a long tour for WARDS OF FAERIE. After all these years, why do you still tour? What does it do for you?

TB: It drives me crazy? Actually, I enjoy interacting with readers. There is value in meeting people face to face and having them tell you they love your work and are pleased with what you are doing. That carries over to when you are locked in your attic writing away into a black hole. You can remember the people who are waiting and for whom what you are doing means something. Always a good idea to feel that you have standards to live up to and people who depend on you not to screw up.

SS: Now that you’ve finished writing The Dark Legacy of Shannara and the short story Allanon’s Quest, what are your future writing plans?

TB: I am not talking about that just now. My writing plans are cloaked in secrecy. I do intend to do a couple of additional ebooks of short fiction for the web and I will be writing more hardcover fantasy novels. But readers will have to hang in there a bit before finding out in which direction I am going.

Wards of Faerie by Terry Brooks is in fine bookstores today!

Go get your copy!