Happy Anniversary! And A Request!

us-elfstonesOn January 1, 2000, this website came into existence.

That means we just celebrated an anniversary. An important one. And like any anniversary in my life, I tend to look back and reflect on the time that has come before.

In the summer of 1996 and in a hobby effort to learn HTML and graphic design, I developed a fan site dedicated to the works of Terry Brooks. I have been a fan since I first read The Sword of Shannara in 1988, coming later to the books than some but earlier than most. Like many, I immediately enjoyed the magic, adventure, and immersive aspect of Terry’s characters. And those books went with me when I attended the University of Washington in Seattle—where Terry and I first met at one of his signing events.

More than fifteen years have passed since that meeting and a lot has happened during the time Terry and I have known one another. I graduated college; he saw his grandson graduate high school. I had cancer twice; he blew out a knee. I began my writing career with The Dark Thorn; he continued his writing career with more than fifteen new books.

And every day, month, year—you awesome fans have been there.

Judine has always said Terry has the best fans and she is right. This website would not be what is without you. I have had the honor and pleasure of meeting some of you but serving all of you as Terry’s official webmaster. And have never once regretted starting that 1996 dedication website on your behalf.

But that is only half the reason for writing this letter, to not just reminisce but to also challenge you. It is time to take an important next step.

Because 2015 is the year of the Shannara fan!

As many of you know by now, the Shannara books are being adapted into a television series, the first season of the show based on The Elfstones of Shannara. The show runners and executive producers have been hard at work. Production has been greenlit. Cast members are being announced. Filming begins in a few weeks. And the most important thing: Terry is unbelievably happy with everything that he has seen and been a part of thus far.

Like him, I am more than excited! Remember: I started this journey as a fan first. While I have maintained more Terry Brooks secrets over the last fifteen years than you can possibly imagine and must continue to do so, I am as eager as the rest of you to watch this show. And have it be a success.

And success means more people watching the next episode than the last one.

That’s where you come in!

Terry Brooks Fans, you have more power than you can possibly imagine. Social media has made you all the perfect publicity machine. Twitter Retweeting. Facebook Liking and especially Sharing. Etc. We live in a brave new world where information spreads quickly if people take a mere second to click a mouse. And people love finding a new television show to watch. Look at HBO’s Game of Thrones as an example. Almost every episode led to an increase in viewership the next week. That’s because George R. R. Martin’s fans helped drive new people to the show—by word of mouth but largely by social media.

As soon as new developments arise regarding the Shannara TV series, Terry and I will quickly share it with all of you. I challenge you to share that news via your social media! With your friends. With your family. And urge them to share the news as well.

And together, we can launch the Shannara TV show in the grandest of ways!

Happy Anniversary, Fans! Here’s to a great 2015. And another fifteen years of reading Terry Brooks!

Best Wishes,

Shawn Speakman


22 responses to “Happy Anniversary! And A Request!”

  1. Happy Anniversary and thank you Terry for all the years of letting us escape into fantastic worlds with amazing characters and horrifying creatures and taking our imaginations farther than most any author or series has ever done!

  2. I remember finding the website, back when it was a fan page, and seeing Terry’s daughter had signed the guest book saying she would show it to her dad. Remember when websites had guest books? LOL

    Congrats on 15 years!

  3. i can’t wait to spread the word. Terry Brooks took me on a journey with the sword and my life has never been the same. Thank you Terry Brooks and thank you Shawn for all your hard work.


  4. I read Tolkien until Terry started writing. When I read the Sword it was a first edition less than a year old borrowed from a friend. I wish he had made it a gift. PLEASE post something on the facebook page at least once a week when things start coming together and dates and times are known. It makes it much easier to share and as a writer your words are going to be put down with much more grace and thought than ours.

  5. Terry Brooks has always inspired me. I’m finishing my first real novel for the most part after reading sometimes the magic works. Thank you for your books. Maybe next time a five thousand word one so I can’t finish it in a day and up being sad till the next one.

  6. I am very new to the Shannara series, but am eagerly awaiting the TV adaptation.

    As a huge fan of Game of Thrones, one thing that stands out to me is power of fansites: Winter is Coming, Watchers on the Wall, etc. I am not a webdesigner, but I’m sure there are some great ones out there. May I suggest creating a fansite dedicated to the Shannara TV series? One reason for Game of Thrones’ early success is the fansites providing frequent posts, updates, essays, etc. to keep the community up to date on everything show related. Shannara needs the same thing, and the sooner the better.

    Here’s hoping we get more news, casting updates, maybe behind-the-scenes photos and videos as the year progresses.

  7. i luv mr. Brooks I remember reading sword of shannara when I was 17 years old I’m now 46 and have read every book he has written he is by far my fav author and I for 1 can’t wait for this tv series just wish they would have started with the first king

  8. I’m way ahead of you~
    I’ve already been tweeting about it, and retweeting everything I see news about production. XD

    And happy anniversary~! Thank you for all your hard work~ 😀

  9. Congratulations, Shawn and Terry. Great milestone for you and the website. Looking forward to the TV show.

  10. Congrats Shawn, it is great to see the website still going strong !!! I remember the early days, it was a great time. I made some amazing friends that i am still in contact with today, and it was a thrill to meet you and Terry in Seattle on a couple of times during my travels around North America (If you ever visit Australia I hope I can return the favour!). Can’t wait for the TV series… it should be loads of fun.

  11. Hey! I have a question about the TV adaptation (like everyone.)
    I’m one of Terry’s younger fans, I stumbled on Sword of Shannara while browsing the YA shelves at my local library looking for something to feed my hunger for good fantasy. I found the book I read (and the ones after) relatively clean, but in light of the adaption of A Song of Ice and Fire which is full of nudity and gore, I was wondering if the TV adaption of Shannara will be accessible to younger fans.

  12. I’ll retweet all I can to help get the word out, Shawn. I will be reading Dark Thorn next on my reading list – looking forward to it!

  13. Honestly, I think we all owe it to Terry for providing us all of this fun over the years. You know it that I will be sharing. Thanks to you as well for all of your hard work Shawn!

  14. Happy anniversary & congratulations Shawn!! I started reading Terry’s books in the mid to late 80’s & have read many of them multiple times & will continue to read every single one he will ever write! I have not been able to read yours yet because of lack of time as of late, but I had the pleasure of meeting you & Terry at Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills in Beaverton & have a copy of Unfettered signed by both of you! I’ll be starting that very soon, but now I’m wondering if I should go back & read Sword, Elfstones & Wishsong before the series starts! So many books……….so little time! And of course I need to read The Dark Thorn too! Refer to my previous comment…….So many books……..so little time! Thank you both for all the awesome adventures & keep ’em coming! You rock Druidmaster!!