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,

Back for another round of Ask Terry. How many questions does this make now? Somewhere around 300-400? Always new ones and always they test my failing memory skills. Good thing I got that companion book to rely on when the going gets tough.

So, back from Tucson Festival of Books. Really huge, but lots of fun. Saw some familiar faces, including Naomi Novik and Robin Hobb. Did an onstage interview with Dennis McKiernen. Did a panel with Diana Gabaldon. What a name dropper, huh? But it was everything a book festival should be.

So now, back to work on Book 3 of the new trilogy, which I plan to finish by June 1. I think everyone is going to like this one. Also saw the first renderings of the centerfold piece by Todd Lockwood. Very dramatic, very sharp. Also saw the cover art which is amazing. Wards of Faerie, out August 21, 2012. Or so.

Now, on to the business at hand::

Lorenzo Abagnale writes: In the Four Lands, we’ve seen many races descending from mutated Men, in one way or another: Dwarves, Trolls (including Mwellrets), Gnomes, the Rindge. But have you ever thought about introducing a race that descends from mutated Elves instead?

Terry Brooks replies: Well, some of the demons in Heritage were Elves. The Shadowen. But mostly I haven’t thought much about that. Might be a good calling card for a new book. The Elves have not always been good and kind, but they haven’t had a mutated breeding like Humans. Thanks for the suggestion.

Steve Pierce writes: Will the UK edition of Wards of Faerie have the same artwork and maps as the US edition will have? Hope we do not miss out!!

Terry Brooks replies: I think the interior art will be the same as the US edition, but the cover will be different. The publisher wants to keep that stylized look where the covers sort of blend, so they are looking at another approach. I like what they are doing, though. Of course, you can always collect both US and UK editions.

C. Eleam writes: Lately, I’ve grown too self-conscious about my work, but more so I feel as if I’m really ripping you off. A lot of the things that my novel’s comprised of are inspired by the world of Shannara. Things such as missing elves and ancient Druids come to mind. The plot of course is different, but I can’t help feeling that I’m stealing from you, though I try to be as original as possible. I’d like to read your thoughts on this and how I should deal with the criticism on such — and if so (and I hate to bring this up) how did you deal with attacks on the Sword of Shannara akin to the Lord of the Rings?

Terry Brooks replies: All fantasy is indebted to books that went before. It is traditional to find certain fantasy tropes that remind readers of other writers and other books. I took a lot of flack because the first half of Sword is very LotRingish. But the trick is to write in your own voice, tell the story in your own style, and make the book your own. Stories of quests, of magic, of confrontations between good and evil, of mythic characters and so on and so forth are not a problem. Using someone else’s plot and characters and forms of magic is what you want to avoid. Instead of worrying about how closely your work resembles mine or someone else’s, just focus on your voice and on making the story feel like it is your own. If you catch yourself veering too far towards another’s work, just change it in some major way. You would be surprised how easy that is to do.

Darin Forcey writes: I have read the short story Indomitable and I know there is a book called Indomitable coming out at the end of March. What makes it different and worth reading over the short story?

Terry Brooks replies: The word content is exactly the same. The difference is in the packaging and the illustrations. The Subterranean Press version is a bit fancier and more fleshed out than the short story, bound and packaged nicely, illustrated throughout. There are also a limited number of signed editions. Guess that’s about it. Also, look for an ebook version of a short story prequel to Sword of Shannara which will publish online this June. It will only be offered in one format to begin with, but will probably be repackaged in print form later.

Rob Lucie writes: I can’t wait for The Annotated Sword of Shannara later this year as it would be great to have a hardcover edition on my shelf to replace the worn out paperback version. If the release proves successful, do you think something similar would be done with Elftsones and Wishsong in the future?

Terry Brooks replies: I think it is possible, Rob. But it will probably depend on the success of Sword as an annotated edition. This is a special offering, and we won’t do it with every Shannara book. But Elfstones and Wishsong would be exceptions to this. I can tell you that what I have seen of the Annotated edition is encouraging. I don’t want to say too much here, but what is planned is in keeping with my fondest wishes for how this should be done.

Okay, back to work. Book 3 is calling my name.

Be good to all,

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

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Written by Shawn Speakman
I am the long-time friend and webmaster for Terry Brooks as well as the author of The Dark Thorn, an urban/epic fantasy hybrid novel Terry calls "a fine tale by a talented writer." Join me on Facebook and Twitter (@shawnspeakman)!