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,

Not yet back from my travels, but done for now with New Zealand. Hope you enjoyed the posts. But having gotten that out of the way, it’s back to work with the latest Ask Terry:

Joseph Spix writes: I notice you list a reading order for the Shannara tales. Why do you seem to exclude the series Word & Void. To me, after I read it, and certainly after Nest Freemark is mentioned in one of the Genesis tales, it is as much prequel as Genesis.

Terry Brooks replies: It was only a prequel as an after-thought and isn’t directly connected. I kept them separate on purpose, wanting the Word & Void to be its own creature and not an appendage of Shannara. Since the word Shannara and the characters – with one exception – do not appear in the Shannara series, I list it separately. Some readers of W&V like it that way; they are fans of this series and not the Shannara series. I perfer to think of them separately. See below.

Steve Williams writes: I have been a fan of the Shannara series since I was a 7th grader back in 1981. After reading these books, I had a hard time getting into the Word/Void works. However, over the years, I have come to love those works as much or even more than the Shannara books! Any chance you might go back into the histories of the Knights of the Word, especially during the 20/21st century?

Terry Brooks replies: So, for some readers, it takes work to shrug off Shannara and get into my other books, either in Word & Void or in Magic Kingdom. See above. As for continuing the series Word & Void, probably not. I don’t have any plans at present, although I have been toying with the idea of writing a short story or two for the collection I am working on. We shall have to see.

David Salchow writes: If season two and beyond of The Shannara Chronicles is not another of the books in the series, this implies a sequel or prequel to Elfstones. Any chance of new, original stories occurring in the Four Lands? Would you ever allow another writer to script an original story in your world? Thanks!

Terry Brooks replies: As far as books go, no. I intend to finish the Shannara series on my own. When I am dead, all bets are off. As for stories in another medium, we would have to see. No express plans for this at the present.

Wendy Bartle writes: You’ve sometimes joked that very few people pronounce “Shannara” the way you do. How will it be pronounced for the upcoming MTV television series?

Terry Brooks replies: Good question. This is a case of, “You made your bed, now lie in it.” For years I have insisted readers should pronounce the title in a way that feels natural to them. I have avoided glossaries, insisted majority rules, and watched the larger number of readers pronounce the word SHA-NAR-UH. So when I brought this up in a meeting with the writers, they simply said, “Well, everyone says it SHA-NAR-UH. So we will, too.” End of discussion.

Duffy Atkinson writes: Has Judine ever been a creative help for you, maybe was able to spitball some idea that ultimately helped you through a sticky section where you just couldn’t find a pathway through or overcome some plot/character problem? If so, has she ever come up with a plot/character idea so usable that it made it into any of the Shannara books?

Terry Brooks replies: Yes.

Oh, you want more? Well, I shall give you more but not much. She is my first reader. As such, her job is to catch general mistakes with repetitions, spelling, grammar usage, and language that fails to convey the thought. She reads primarily as a literary and women’s fiction enthusiast, so she brings a fresh perspective. That helps me to see where there are failings before it gets to my editor, who immediately finds others. Once in a while I will talk something out with her to see what she thinks about it. On occasion, she will set me straight about something or reveal a failing in my thinking or writing. It’s sort of like talking things over with your best friend who is an avid reader and has great insight into what works and what doesn’t.

But no specifics, I am afraid. Someone might kidnap her and hold her ransom.

Okay, see you next month with the next batch. Or maybe sooner with something else.

Be well,

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)!