terry-brooksFor many years the only chance a fan had of speaking to Terry was to meet him at tour events or conventions.

With the establishment of this website in 2000, Terry began accepting two questions from each fan per month. On the last day of the month, five questions are randomly drawn. Terry answers these five questions and they are 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 I’ve fallen a bit behind on my Ask Terry obligations, but I shall make up for the last three months in the next few days. Without further ado, I give you::

Cameron Clutter writes: Hi Terry! I recently read Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle. In the acknowledgements of his last book, he thanks you as his mentor and friend. Just wondering how you two met and what your role in his writing was?

Terry Brooks replies: I really have nothing to do with Christopher’s writing. He was writing and published before I met him, and I can tell you he doesn’t need any help from me. We are friends, and now and then we talk about the business and related issues. I am mentor mostly by virtue of being considerably older. As for meeting, I think we met through Shawn, who had gone to one of his signings. But shortly afterwards, I invited him to Maui and that was our first conference experience together.

John McKee writes: Oviously this is a fantasy world, but you clearly spend time making sure that the normative laws of that universe are fairly realistic. Do you have any plans to reflect the diversity of human relationships, with for example a gay character(s)?

Terry Brooks replies: You haven’t been paying attention, John. But let’s test your powers of observation. Check out Armageddon’s Children and see if you can spot a gay character. But, careful, now. It isn’t immediately obvious, and it isn’t one of the street kids. Hah!

Anonymous writes: I have one question. I was wondering if you could tell us more about your upcoming novel, The High Druid’s Blade?

Terry Brooks replies: The High Druid’s Blade is a stand-alone story, complete unto itself. But it is linked by a handful of common characters to two more stand-alones that will immediately follow. The principle link is complex and very dangerous sorcerer named Arcannen and a shared history of magic with Leahs and Ohmsfords. It will tie up a few loose ends from Witch Wraith, and it will further expand the growing conflict between magic and science. For the first time, the Druids and the Federation are mostly allies. The title to the book refers to a position created by the Ard Rhys of the Fourth Druid Order for a Druid protector.

Tim Jones writes: The Elfstones of Shannara and the Heritage series are among my favorite classic fantasy tales of all time. Just wondering if the TV series is going to be dark, violent and risque ala ‘Game of Thrones‘, or more old school fantasy that the whole family can watch?

Terry Brooks replies: The TV series will hearken back to the old days. We plan to be the alternative to Game of Thrones, and the series will be geared to adults and young people both. This is not to say it won’t be intense and people won’t die. It will mirror the books closely in this regard. It will definitely not be a repeat of Game of Thrones.

James Johnson writes: Dear Mr. Brooks, my name is James Johnson and due to the fire alarm at the Phoenix Comicon this year I didn’t get to speak with you. I did however have a chance to speak with Shawn, Peter and Sam at one of the booths. After re-reading one of the Shannara books I realized I had inadvertently almost plagiarized a couple of names from your work in my own novel. I’m fixing that, but wondered what your thoughts are on the fine line between a noticeable inspiration and plagiarism, considering technology now brings everything from everywhere to everyone? Thank you for your time, and for all of your books which have been part of my inspiration (to quote you) “to write non-fiction about elves.”

Terry Brooks replies: Well, names are not necessarily protected. But I wouldn’t want people looking at names I’ve used and immediately flashing on another writer’s books. Better to come up with them on your own. Plagiarism is really about copying another writer’s work directly or so closely as to be indistinguishable. General plots or types of characters or ideas for stories do not fall in this category where the copying isn’t obvious. That said, the less you do to put yourself in another writer’s shoes, the better. Readers pick up on this pretty quick, and they call in. That risks a warning from the many, many lawyers who service the needs of Random House. Best you avoid that.

See you in a few days with more answers!

All my best,

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)!