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,

Welcome to Spring. At least, I hope you have Spring in some reasonable form or other. Ours, here in the Northwest, began around April 9. So it hasn’t had much time to settle in, and I live in fear that it might just choose to up and go again. But for the moment we have mostly clear skies, pretty decent weather, and flowers everywhere. Maybe its the flowers that make everything seem better.

So, on to ASK TERRY in the hopes that maybe he knows something:

Arnulfo Camat writes: Just where do you get most of your ideas for your plots and setting from? Previous books read? Irish Mythology? Current values of the modern era?

Terry Brooks replies: Ideas come from just about everywhere. Stephen King once said he got them out of a phone book. Another writer said he found them on bathroom walls. Didn’t work that way for me. I have to keep my eyes open and my possibilities unlimited. Cause you never know. Many good ideas come from reading the newspapers and magazines. Certain items catch your eye and set you to thinking. One question leads to another, and you begin to posit what if? Eventually, if there’s something there that’s useful, you get to it. A lot of it is simply trial and error. The thing you have to remember as a writer is that once you start a project you have to live with it. Usually for a year. You cannot afford to begin and then throw away. There isn’t time and there isn’t (these days) energy for that. So you have to be passionate about your choice of story and characters and you have to stick with it.

Cathy B. Wilcox writes: Have you ever wondered whether, in modern times, God speaks to us through authors? Are your insightful works and the questions you pose (I’m thinking now of The Word and the Void) inspired by the Word and meant to enlighten and guide us? They have certainly provided food for my thoughts. Thank you!

Terry Brooks replies: Now there is a compliment. If my books have proved insightful and my questions have made you think, then I have done my job. I don’t know who God speaks through. I would guess he speaks to and through most of us in one way or another. Except I am pretty sure he doesn’t speak through those who so loudly claim he does. I don’t see enough evidence of it; just a lot of bragging and hot air. But as people we are in tune with the world and its life, and we find most of the truths we come to embrace through that. What I will promise you is that in writing my books I will continue to try to make you think about things and will try to be honest about what I see in the larger world.

Shawn Spjut writes: In your autobiography, Sometimes The Magic Works, you talk about writing ‘scenes.’ Do you mean you write ‘scenes’ and then put them together (filling in the transitional work later)?

Terry Brooks replies: I don’t remember the context of that statement, Shawn, but I will try to explain it based on how I work. Books are made up of scenes that connect to tell a story. One of the cardinal rules of writing is that you don’t try to see to far ahead of where you are working. If you become distracted by the whole, you fail to focus sufficiently on the parts. So the trick is to make each part – or scene – stand on its own while still connecting to advance the whole of the story. Writing a scene is for me like writing a small book. It needs a beginning, a middle and an end. It needs to be self-contained and whole. Unless I break it up deliberately as I do chapters and we follow it through several stages. It is pretty complicated. Mostly, it has to do with practice and about furthering your education by studying how other writers work.

John D Kelly writes: Love the work you do, thanks. When will there be unabridged audiobooks on The Heritage of Shannara series?

Terry Brooks replies: I can’t give you the answer to this question just at the moment, John, but I am looking into it and will post it on the website as soon as I know. Random House has reclaimed the audio rights and seems to be intent on doing all the books at some point that haven’t been done as unabridged works.

Randy J. Hudson writes: Dear Mr. Brooks, in past years you have appeared at the Books and Co. store in Dayton,Ohio for book signings and discussions on current novels. I buy all your novels and recently had the extreme good fortune to acquire a first edition of The Sword of Shannara. Will you be coming to this area in the future?

Terry Brooks replies: Randy, I have good news for you. I will be touring this August and September with Wards of Faerie through four or five states in the midwest. At least, that is the tentative plan. Certainly, coming through Ohio is on the list of planned stops, including Books & Co. if I get up off my duff and make a date with them. Hope to see you there.

See you all next month. Check out the blogs upcoming for news about the Get Lit at the Beach event I helped co-chair, about books into movies and about Todd Lockwood’s work on Wards of Faerie. See you all next month, right here on this page.

Share a smile with someone who needs it,

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)!