September Ask Terry Posted

For many years the only chance a fan had of speaking to Terry was to meet him at tour events or conventions. Now with the establishment of this website, Terry will accept two questions from each fan per month. On the last day of the month, five questions will be randomly drawn. Terry will answer these five questions and they will be posted monthly for your enjoyment.

Below are the questions selected last month and Terry’s answers! Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!

Dear Readers,

Looks like a little summer is still hanging in around here. Today is sunny, bright and 65 degrees. What else can you ask for? Certainly not a batch of Ask Terry. But it comes with the territory, I suppose. So onward and upward with hopefully cogent answers:

Cody Meldrum writes: In each book, the Elves, Dwarves, Man and recently Trolls have been focused on. Are we ever going to learn more or have a story that revolves around the Gnomes? They seem to be the outcast race. All we really know of them is that they are tribal and the only character we know from them is Slanter. Any chance they will ever catch a break?

Terry Brooks replies: Well, I don’t have a story in mind that revolves primarily around the Gnomes, but I’ll give it some thought. Mostly, the stories revolve around established families in the Men and Elves camps. The Trolls and Dwarfs don’t really have a major roles in my stories, either. They tend to be important, but are supporting characters. I can tell you that in the new set of books coming out next August there will be a major Gnome character who will appear in all three books and play an important part in the storyline.

Joshua Andresen writes: I just finish reading Indomitable and Dark Wraith of Shannara. In the stories it looks like Kimber Boh and Jair Ohmsford may have a relationship. Can we assume that Kimber and Jair are the ancestors of Walker Boh?

Terry Brooks replies: You can assume that but you would be wrong. Jair is the son of Wil Ohmsford who is the grandson of Shea Ohmsford. Check it out. We don’t know about Kimber’s origins; the author never tells us. What’s his problem, anyway?

Alec Anonymous writes: Dear Terry, I have just finished reading The Measure of the Magic, and as an avid follower of your books, I would like to know if you plan on following up with any novels that take place after The Measure of the Magic but before The Sword of Shannara series? My mind would be more at peace if those gaps between those books were filled.

Terry Brooks replies: Yes, Alec, I do intend to follow up with 4 or 5 more books in the Shannara prehistory that will fall directly between the close of Measure and the formation of the First Council of Druids at Paranor. So rest easy. Doing 9 or 10 books in that series has always been the plan. I just have to take breaks every so often to tend to other series and stories. Right now, I am finishing up a 3 book set that takes place in the future of Shannara following the close of the books in the High Druid series. Shortly after that, but not right after, I will probably do another set of books following Measure.

Stig Johansen writes: Will we bee seeing any more heroic people from Leah soon? Its been awhile since there has been any main characters from that area. If I remember correctly, you haven`t used a female character from that area yet. Is this something you are considering for the future?

Terry Brooks replies: Gosh, Stig, what are you doing? Reading my mind? Are there cameras somewhere in my office? Just so happens that there is a major character in the new series from the Leah family and the last I checked she was a girl. She is the object of affection of twin Ohmsford boys, each of whom is convinced she is the one for him and likes him much better than his brother. She is also the only one who can tell them apart – even their mother isn’t always sure. But she will figure prominently in the entire series, so your unspoken wish is granted.

Bryan Krossley writes: Would it be possible to audio record all the names of people and places in your books starting with The Sword of Shannara that are out of the ordinary and make it available for download. The reason I ask is because until Dragon Con at your interview I along with all the other people where mispronouncing “Shannara”? It would be nice to know the characters by there spoken name.

Terry Brooks replies: Here’s the thing, Bryan. I have deliberately avoided doing exactly what you are asking. Not that I haven’t been asked to do it over and over and not that I haven’t thought about it from time to time. But I adopted a hands-off policy early on in my writing career when it came to Shannara. I didn’t what a definitive vocabulary to facilitate pronunciation. I wanted readers to adopt their own way of saying names, which I think makes a book more personal to each reader. That’s why you never get a comprehensive description of characters and creatures. I want you to imagine them. I want you to be part of the process. If I put out a guide, it removes that element of the reading of the books.

Admittedly, in retrospect, I probably should have done something about “Shannara”, which no one has pronounced the way I do since the very beginning. I just thought everyone would say it like I do – SHAN-NA-RA. Isn’t it obvious?

Guess not. My mistake, but I still think I will leave the creation of a comprehensive vocabulary for another time and place.

There you go for this month’s Ask Terry. I think the uptick in questions will be noticeable as we get into next year and the 3 books in 12 months program for August 2012 to August 2013. Right now, after giving you this month’s book recommendation, I’ve got to get back to work on Book 3 so I can make deadline.

Best Wishes to All,

Please completely fill in the form below and send the two questions you want to ask Terry this month.

[formidable id=6]


10 responses to “September Ask Terry Posted”

  1. To the last question about pronunciation. Terry didn’t mention this, but there are audiobooks that can help with that. You will probably be surprised by what all you say wrong. You can pick them up on Audible, and they can transfer to your ipod.

    • Even audiobooks are subject to the hired actor/reader’s interpretation though. For example, I own the old audio cassettes (I’m old -_-) of Heritage of Shannara. The first three books are read by Theodore Bikel, and the Talismans one is read by Rene Auberjonious (spelling may be off… he played Odo in DS9!). Both of them pronounce things a bit differently (Bikel, for example, pronounces “Leah” with a double syllable, like the first name “Leah,” while Rene pronounces it in one syllable like “Lee.” One says “Hades’ Horn,” the other says “Hade – shorn”, and I think Terry, in a recent video, pronounced it different than both.)
      This stands to reason that they aren’t given much to go on by Del Rey et al who do the audios (i.e., there’s no “guide” like there is for Star Wars books).

      That being said, I notice Terry and all the audios I’ve heard (the two on the cassettes plus one CD) all say “Shannara” with the first A as in apple and with all the emphasis, as a dactyl (first stressed followed by two unstressed syllables.)

      My overall point is I don’t think audiobooks have a “bible” to go on per se and shouldn’t be seen as the be-all/end-all either.

      • Great points! Yes they shouldn’t be looked at as the definitive way, especially with all the different narrators throughout the years. I should have stressed that. But they still do a good job most of the time, and definitely help with pronunciation. I know I get a tad lazy reading, and sometimes do not take the time correctly pronounce a name. I know many people still pronounce “Shannara” differently than the author himself like he was saying above. Although I consider his (Terry Brooks) way the actual right way. But in most cases I think audiobooks are a great listening tool to help with the names in his books.

  2. As to Walker Boh’s ancestry, I thought he was a descendant of Brin Ohmsford while Par was a descendant of Jair….haven’t read Heritage series in awhile but pretty sure Walker is not a direct descendant of Kimber. His mother was a Boh but his father may have been a descendant of Brin. Cause he inherited Brin’s Trust that Allanon bestowed on her.

    Oh bother, now the temptation to re-read the whole thing is setting in. That itch to know, to discover. Oh how wonderfully cruel you are Mr. Brooks for writing such tales.

  3. I for one am a little bit disappointed whenever an audibook pronounces a character differently from how I pronounce it. Thanks to Terry for letting readers make up their own pronounciations, not to mention characters’ backgrounds and destinies, without having to be told.

  4. Thank you Terry for answering my question. I have always been somewhat curious about the Gnomes because they always seem to be overlooked and underwhelmed. I am excited to hear in the next series that will play an important part. In Wishsong of Shannara I thought Slanter was a very interesting character. I am very excited about the new series!

  5. A long time ago — circa 1980 — there was vinyl record of Terry himself reading an excerpt from The Sword of Shannara. For those of us who had copies, it was possible to hear how he pronounced the name Shannara, and I hope he won’t mind if I tell you: he put the stress on the first syllable.

    I didn’t know how he pronounced Hadeshorn until he did a reading at a bookstore in my area a couple of months ago. He gave it two syllables, not the three I had been expecting.

    • I think he misunderstood the question as asking whether Walker is the ancestor of Jair rather than what it was asking, which is whether Walker is descended from Jair. The books are clear that Walker is descended from Brin. The Heritage books are also clear that Walker alone among the cousins in that series is descended from Brin. The others are descended from Jair. If Walker had also been descended from Jair down the line somewhere, you’d think he’d mention it somewhere, but he doesn’t.

      The puzzling bit isn’t Walker but Par and Coll. In Heritage, they are explicitly said to be descended from Jair, and Walker is the only living descendant of Brin. But in Ilse Witch, Walker tells Bek that he and Grianne are also descended from Brin via Par and that they have her wishsong rather than Jair’s, which is strange, because Par’s wishsong is precisely Jair’s illusion version. There’s no way what Walker tells Bek is consistent with what Heritage says about their ancestry.

  6. Terry,
    I love your writings! It was many years ago that I found that I loved reading because I picked up your Elf Stones of Shannara and I ate it up in about a week. Now many years later and a graduate degree to go along with my life’s accomplishments, I still enjoy loosing myself in the world of one of your books. My question for you is, I know you write about a lot of different characters of certain families–how do you keep the family relationships straight? Do you have posted in your office some sort of genealogical chart to help? Although I do suppose you already have all the relationships memorized since you’ve dedicated your life to your wonderful works.

Leave a Reply