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!
Happy Fall, Everyone,
Which it finally is out here in the Pacific NW. We were beginning to worry a bit about all the sunshine and no rain. Like the rest of the country earlier in the summer, but without the humidity. Anyway, no worries. It began raining this morning, just a drizzle, but it is supposed to continue through the weekend and then get seriously wet by Monday. Back to work on the Ark.
But meantime, a few minutes for that grand show Ask Terry (as if he actually knew anything most of the time). Let’s find out if he does this month:
Terry Brooks replies: Hi Haley. This question keeps coming up. Mostly – maybe always – if I don’t continue publishing on a set right away, that means it is done. So there will be no more books in the Legends of Shannara set after Bearers of the Black Staff and Measure of the Magic. That does not mean, however, that I have given up on working my way to First King. It does mean I am working now on the Shannara of the future with the new trilogy, The Dark Legacy of Shannara, beginning with Wards of Faerie and continuing on for three books, all due out between now and next July.
But even then, I expect to write ahead once more before going back. You just have to be patient with me and remember I am only one person with no clones in sight. The good news is I plan to live forever, so eventually I will wrap up the entire Shannara series, something I talked about at length while on this latest book tour.
Josh Wise writes: Can you yet reveal the tentative title for your stand alone 2014 Shannara novel? If “no,” then can you yet reveal anything about the story you’re preparing to tell us in that selfsame book?
Terry Brooks replies: I could, but we all know by now that the publisher might not end up liking my title anyway and it will be changed. Better not to give out a title that might be wrong than have to put out a disclaimer later. We should have it for you by next spring. I can tell you that the main character is a Leah, and that the story is set in the future some hundred years after the conclusion of the events in Dark Legacy of Shannara. It is a stand-alone, but only the first of a planned three, each with a different story and characters, each with its own agenda. Hope that helps.
Sean Conant writes: The Blue Elfstones aren’t supposed to be useful as a weapon against non-magical creatures, yet Aphenglow uses them to knock out her potential assassins. This seems to break a rule — unless those assassins possessed magic of some kind. Can you talk a bit about that?
Terry Brooks replies: You just want to find out how fast I can talk, I bet. Well, probably not fast enough. I have been shading those Elfstones towards multiple uses for some time, hoping no one would notice. But in an effort to simulate consistency I could argue that the assassins had weapons imbued with some sort of minor magic that strengthened the metal or contained poison. I could. But, really, I just slipped up. Or we could wait until the next two books to learn something about these assassins that is currently hidden from you. Hint, hint.
Avraham Steinhardt writes: At the end of Wards, the Ellcrys (Amberle) says she’s dying. The first one, which died in Elfstones, lived for thousands of years (since before the “Old World.” Why is the second Ellcrys’s life span so short( only about 530 years or so)?
Terry Brooks replies: First off, the life of an Ellcrys is not predetermined. Some live longer than others, and as with all creatures, no one knows exactly what that life span will be. In Allanon’s time, no one knew for certain how long the previous Ellcrys had been alive. The common belief was that it had lived since the age of Faerie, but that turns out not to be true in the current books, but only what was believed at the earlier time. All history works this way. One generation believes one thing, a new generation further down the evolutionary scale comes to believe something else. What was known about the Ellcrys lost traction over the years as complacency settled in and the belief that she lived forever took hold. Now, in Wards of Faerie a new truth is revealed and as you will see in the next two books, a new history, as well.
Jose Angel Cuevas writes: What is the reason why Wil Ohmsford cannot use the Elfstones? Is it because of his self-created block, due to fear? Or because of his Man blood?
Terry Brooks replies: Both. As will become evident in the current series, Dark Legacy of Shannara, no one who is not a full blooded Elf can use the Elfstones safely. It is an exclusively Elven magic, limited to usage by Elves and Elves only. But Wil managed to summon it anyway to save himself and Amberle. The problem was, it caused him to change, which impacted his genetics and has passed on to his descendants ever since. But he had a secondary problem relating to his knowledge that the Stones were dangerous to him and his fear of using them because of this. It is important to point out too that fear did not create the wishsong. So both were at work during his efforts to save the Ellcrys in Elfstones.
Note that this has been a problem for other members of the family, but some have done better than others because of the percentage of Elven blood they have attained through marriages back into the Race of Elves.
No book review this month. The author is swamped with reading his own work and getting it ready for publication. Or, he is reading additional work by authors he has recommended before.
Back in business by next month,
Please completely fill in the form below and send the two questions you want to ask Terry this month.
4 responses to “September Ask Terry Posted”
I know I am abrogating authorial intent here, based on Terry’s answer, but I also wonder if we couldn’t think about the Elfstones as having different potential depending on who is using them. Since the Elfstones have a certain base magic in themselves, they might ordinarily only have power to be offensive against magic on their own. But Aphenglow is both a Druid and an Elf; she has full right to use them, unlike Wil, as well as magic of her own, which can be used on those without magic. Perhaps one could imagine some kind of synergy, even though that isn’t explained in the text. I don’t know if that would produce conflicts with characters in other series, but I mostly seem to remember non-Druids using the Elfstones.
Just an idea. Terry’s welcome to steal it if he wants to. Another option is the unreliability of magic, but it seems like the Elfstones, being a talisman which by definition seeks to pin down the magic’s function, wouldn’t be as susceptible to those kinds of changes.
On the other hand, the assassins could be impure blooded; they could have something in them that’s magical–after all, we know that the Forbidding is failing, so maybe these guys have a little Darkling in them???
Either way, Brooks has been writing good stories for so long, I’m willing to shrug off a few inconsistencies now and then. He’s still the best!
One other possibility is that Aphenglow had studied more about the blue elfstones than Allanon had; Allanon may have been mistaken when he said they would only work against magic. With more knowledge of their history Aphenglow may have known more was possible. Wil may have blocked himself due to his belief they would only work against magic; being able to bring the three stones together required a knowledge of how they worked.
I believe the change happened by Aphenglow piercing the forbidding with the magic, making the magic more virile.
Hey Shawn, do you know if we’ll be seeing an exerpt from the Bloodfire Quest soon? The exerpt in Wards left me wanting more, as always… lol.