BrooksBlog: When SWORD Published

Web Druid Shawn suggested I write something about the release day of The Sword of Shannara.

As if I can remember that far back. But I will give it a try.

I was living in Illinois then, still a practicing attorney, still really in the dark about how the book world functioned. Lester & Judy-Lynn Del Rey had taken me under their collective wing and guided me along with Sword for the better part of 3 years. I was green as grass. Didn’t know a thing. When they called me to say that the book was on the New York Times bestseller list, I thought that sounded pretty good. But I didn’t know anything about the list. I thought lots of people ended up on it. That’s sort of the way it went leading up to the release.

But the day of the release wasn’t anything special. I wasn’t touring in those days. I lived in a town with a small Waldenbooks Store, miles from anything. I had been reviewed to death, but only in print. No one was calling for comments or anything. No bells or whistles or sirens went off. It was just another day.

I do remember that several days later Judy-Lynn called and asked how I was coming on the next book. Next book? Gosh, I thought, maybe I ought to think about writing one.

15 responses to “BrooksBlog: When SWORD Published”

  1. Nice story, it’s nice to see the person behind the pages. I hope that publishing companies still take care of their writer’s that well when it’s my turn!

  2. That is an intersting look back at the release of your first book. I can remember going into the bookstore when it came out and buying the paperback since I couldn’t afford the hardcover at the time. Looking back I wish I had waited a little longer and saved for the hardcover. But I enjoyed the book back then and have re-read the entire Shannara story arc many times over the years. Adding the other parts of the story as they come out.
    Thank you for writing it from the bottom of my heart.

  3. It is very ironic that you posted about this today. I read The Sword of Shannara for the first time in 5th grade. This morning, my son was off for his second day of 5th grade and called me while I was at the office. His question? “Hey dad, can I bring the first book in that series you are always reading to school to start reading?” You’re darn right you can son. I am very happy to start him off on his journey into your novels.

  4. In 1981, is was a fresh faced 10 year old who loved dinosaurs. My mother loved to read and had a wide a varied collection of books.
    One day I went through them and discovered this hardback book with a full colour centrefold of these wonderful cartoon like characters.

    I decided to read a few lines and after I had read the first paragraph, I was hooked. I read The Sword of Shannara in about 3 days. For a 10 year old that is a pretty impressive feat.

    Thanks for taking us back to that time Terry. Memories are what help define our character and give us a lifeline to a time that seemed more innocent.

    p.s … off to the bookstore today to get my copy of Measure of the Magic. I hope that it’s out in New Zealand. Love the anticipation 🙂

  5. Whenever I come to this website, it is always so heart warming to hear the stories people have of when they first read the Sword of Shannara. I remember when I first read the Sword of Shannara. It initially was only out of a need to earn lots of points in our Accellerated Reader program, and the Sword of Shannara had the highest point value in our library. Ever since then I have been hooked. I pray to spread this series on to subsequent generation, for it is surely a story worth being told.

  6. When I was young I used to read all kinds of stuff and I remember how much I loved the Hobbit and when I got a little older liek early High school it was Lord of the Rings and boy I was hooked on this genre. Then in middle high school I stumbled into Shannara for the first time and I was really excited. Years later I finally made it to Elfstones and Wishsong and thought man this stuff is just as appealing if not a little more so than Tolkien! I had at some point read Magic Kingdom, Wizard at Large, Black Unicorn, and perhaps had heard or read little of the Heritage series. Then as the years went on and I had children and jobs and life got busy I had fallen away from reading like some backslider from church. Then one day 5 years ago I was in between jobs and plenty of time on my hands and I stumbled upon this Website and Forum and to my amazement, Terry had never stopped writing in all those lost years. In fact in case some don’t know this: from 1985-2011 Terry has never missed a year with a new book except 1989 when he was probably in preparation for my favorite set ever, Heritage of Shannara. This forum opened my eyes as well to three more Trilogies I never even knew about! Voyage, High Druid and Word/Void was the start of my collecting frenzie. When I started in Oct 2006 I owned 13 books by two Authors: Tolkien and Terry. Today I own over 420 books by over 100 authors! Nearly 95% hardcover first editions. So thank you Terry fro putting back the excitement and for all your wonderful stories!

    I have heard it said recently that they are calling George R.R. Martin the Tolkien of our time, but I say it’s been Terry all along. GRRM, is in my collection and I haven’t read the Song of Ice and Fire series yet, but we’ll see. I doubt he will change my mind.

  7. I bought The Sword of Shannara for a friend as a birthday gift when we were in Junior High. I had found it in a bookstore and being huge D&D fans, thought it would make a perfect gift. The night he opened it, I asked if I could borrow it and I’m not sure if I ever returned the book! Since then, I’ve read your entire collection multiple times. Both my kids are now getting interested in reading. Both have picked up my copy (found a hardback copy a few years ago that I cherish – you signed it for me at a reading a few years ago), but neither has read it yet. I still have hope. Keep up the great work and thanks for all the entertainment.

  8. I remember when I was young and me and my older brother shared a bedroom. One time, he was reading the Sword of Shannara at night and started laughing. I asked him what was so funny and he told me a little bit about the book and the interaction between characters that was funny. I asked him what the book was about, and he told me this great tale of a world of fantasy, with dwarves and elves and such. He also told me I was too young to read it and understand it. I was so intrigued that I didn’t care. When he was done reading the book, I picked it up and started my Shannara journey. 30 some-odd years later, that journey still continues and Sword is still one of my favorite books of all-time.

  9. I was laid up with a broken collar bone, and since you can’t do anything with a broken collar bone, my mother came back from the store and handed me a book to read. It was The Sword of Shannara. I have been hooked ever since. I love everything you wrote, but Sword will always be my favorite, I have reread it several times.

  10. The sword of shannara was a superb read and the elfstones and wishong of shannara were even better in my opinion.I thought when I was a boy no author woud compare to Tolkien but I think Terry has overtaken the great man.Since reading many forums and reviews a lot of people have said how great George rr Martin is,why? I just don’t see it I tried to read the game of thrones and I got bored straight away.when I read sword I coudn’t put it down and that is the same in every book I have read to this day,when I pick up my copy of measure up Tommorow I know I will finish it in a day ,and I will regret it the next day when I have finished it.That is how much I rate Terry and how his work has appealed to me over the years.He stands alone as the king of fantasy in my opinion.Thank you Terry for all the joy you have given me over the years keep the good work up

  11. I wait in anxious anticipation every year for the next book and I always reread the book that came out the year before as a refresher. Every year for Christmas, I read the Heritage of Shannara again. I have been doing this for ten years now and I am still feel the magic each and every time. When people want to know a great book to read, I recommend any of the Terry Brooks books. You can never go wrong and they end up looking for and picking up everything he has ever written.

    Thank you for starting us on the road to Shannara and may many more books come our way. I apprereciate all the hard work, commitment, resolve and dedication you put forth for each and every book. I have one book case in my house that is dedicated to your books and as another comes out, I always have plenty of room without moving anything around.

  12. A close friend introducted your “Sword Of Shannara” and I’ve been hopelessly and forever hooked on Terry Brooks books. Terry, the only problem I have is that you can’t write fast enough; It is pure torture waiting in anticipation for the next book: but wait, I will! You are my favorite writer and someday I hope I get to meet you. You’re my inspiration and someday I hope to have one of my books published. you’re greatest!

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