BrooksBlog: In Praise of Fans

Terry signing at Powells (June 16, 2015)!
Terry signing at Powells (June 16, 2015)!

This blog is long overdue, but that’s how it is these days. I am back on tour with The Darkling Child, and it is something of a relief to be momentarily distracted from my work on the Shannara TV show, The Shannara Chronicles. It is also a reminder of how much I enjoy interacting with my readers on a personal basis.

Judine has always maintained that I have the best readers of any author she has ever seen, and she has seen a lot as a DM (District Manager) and bookseller. The reason she likes them so much is that they are consistently enjoyable to be around. They don’t act crazy or cause trouble, and they are always kind.

All true. But there is something else I have to tell you. They make me feel incredibly fortunate to know them.

In the old days, when readers wrote me letters – before the age of the internet and email – I made it a point to always answer. I thought readers deserved that much just for taking time to tell me stories about what my work meant to them. And to this day readers still show up at book events holding those replies and telling me how important it was to them to hear back.

But I have fallen away from answering those letters, both written and emailed, and I admit I experience a certain amount of guilt for this failing. It doesn’t help that there are too many of them and too little of me to respond or that my energy level isn’t what it once was or that other obligations intrude. Still, they mean so much, and I think they should know this. I can do it here in a general letter to everyone but it isn’t the same as a personal expression of appreciation, and I regret that.

I try to make up for this by going on the road with each new book, even it is only to a few cities or major events and talking to anyone who comes up to me. They have such inspiring stories. The other night a man told me we shared adjoining tables at a dinner but he was too shy to say hello and stayed silent. His appearance on this night was an effort to make up for that. A young woman said that using my books in her entry level high school English classes helps her engage her mostly non-reading students when nothing else will. Another young woman who has become a writer of fantasy herself told me my books inspired her as a young girl. Others talk about their childhood memories of reading my books with their parents. Some share them now with their children. For some, my books were there when they were going through a difficult time and it helped give them respite.

Recently, I was at breakfast with Judine and a young couple came up to say hello. Didn’t want to intrude, just wanted to tell me they liked my books. After they left, I went up to the cashier to pay my bill and found the couple had paid for our whole table.

Such incidents of unexpected kindness and nice stories go on and on. It reassures me more than I can say that my writing has touched so many. It is inspirational and incredibly humbling. It means must give something back. It means I have to try harder. It means I have to remember there are readers who are waiting.

It means, most of all, that I should keep writing.

30 responses to “BrooksBlog: In Praise of Fans”

  1. I can’t tell you how nice it is to find out that one of your favorite authors is ALSO an extremely kind, appreciative person! Thanks for coming to Powell’s! It was really cool to get to meet you. 🙂

    Chelsea (the blue-haired one)

  2. Mr. Brooks:

    I find it refreshing how you appreciate your readers! I am a true fan having read the Word and the Void series through at least 3 times! I have been a Shannara fan since my youth!

    I was totally unaware that there is going to be a Shannara TV show! How exciting! I hope it is on a channel that can reach the average person like myself and not on a premium channel!

    I will soon be reading Darkling Child. I wonder if you plan to do anything more in the Legends of Shannara series. The Measure of the Magic leaves me wanting to know that everybody made it somewhere and whether or not they flourished!

    Thank you for your works of wonder. You transport me to places I wish I could be or could have been at some time in my life; you make me forget MY troubles for the day!

  3. Mr. Brooks,

    Please do not ever feel guilt for not having time to respond to us. We all understand. It is us devout fans that are the one who should be praising you for all that you have done. You are an inspiration to many and have created some of the most wonderful places that we get to visit inside our minds when we read your stories. We all look forward to the future in what you bring to us and graciously appreciate the past.

    Thank You!

  4. Thanks, Mr. Brooks for all you do! I have gotten to see you twice now at events (the 1st time in Memphis and then last year in E.S., Arkansas) and you were so kind and gracious with me and all your fans. You took the time sign books, to visit, let me get pictures with you, etc. A big part of why I’m a fan is that you are just such a great person! I enjoyed Darkling Child and wish you the best of luck on the Shannara Chronicles! I know it will be extremely successful!

  5. Dear Terry, I am one of those fans who wrote to you years ago and told you how the Sword saved my life. Growing up being sexually abused by multiple people and being mercifully bullied I had given up on everything. What I don’t think I told you in that letter that I did tell your web Druid at Get Lit this year was that I was 14 and ready to take my life. I had stolen my grandmothers medications and was in my favorite reading place outside. I had my books with me and was going to take my life. One of those books was The Sword of Shannara

    My idea was to take the pills and slowly fall asleep reading but I started reading it and everything I thought was gone in the world I found in that book.

    The abuse did not stop until I was in my early 20’s but I found escape and salvation in your books. I continue to do so in my early 50’s

    After meeting you briefly at Get Lit I was so emotional. There was so much I wanted to say but couldn’t find the words. I was nervous and didn’t want to make a fool of myself.

    I carry a Shannara book with me at all times and I reread every book in the series prior to a new release. I love the feel and smell of books but I will admit having the series on my kindle helps when I am reading the entire series.

    So thank you Terry for doing what you do and for giving me Flick, Shea, Menion Leah, Allanon, Balinor, Hendal, Durin, Dayel and Eventine

    • I met you once at the end of a long day signing. You were amazing and made me feel worth it. Ty Terry and Judine. Looking forward to all the new ventures. 🙂

  6. Terry, you are the best author that I have ever had thr pleasure of meeting. You are an inspiration to so many! Keep up the wonderful work, we all love you

  7. Thank you Terry!

    Maybe your web druid could define a “DM” for me? I’ve met Judine and she doesn’t strike me as a “Dungeon Master.” 🙂

      • I meant to change it as well. It means “District Manager” and it was for Waldenbooks.

        • Mrs. Brooks,

          Welcome, and THANK YOU! You are the bedrock that Mr. Brooks relies on to keep himself stable when times are rough and the guiding light through times of darkness. You are his biggest fan and all of us here are most thankful for everything that you do. you do not get enough gratitude and thanks!

          You are most appreciated by us, please know that!

  8. You’re the man, Terry. I say that for many reasons, but mostly because it’s nice to see success come to those who deserve it, those who can keep their feet on the ground and not let their heads get too big. An avid reader and a terrific author form a mutually beneficial relationship, so Thank You right back! The occasional escape from this world is much appreciated.

  9. I was told to read your book’s by a good friend of mine, and I had never read fantasy before. I was hooked after reading First King of Shanara. And I have enjoyed every one since. You have made a very special place in my imagination, and I truly thank you for that. I am anxiously awaiting my signed copy of The Darkling Child. Thank’s for sharing your stories with us. I just recently sent a friend the first 4 book’s in the Shanara series and hope she enjoy’s them as much as I did!

  10. Terry,

    Thank you for your time, books, generosity, your kindness. None of those ever seemed to be in short supply.

  11. Mr. Brooks,
    I just want you to know how much I appreciate you and your books. I have read all of them, except The Darkling Child, at least twice. As for The Sword and a couple more, I’m probably going on 8 to 10 times each. I cannot wait until the next one comes out and before I have finished reading it, I’m waiting for the next! You are the best, and I couldn’t imagine not having your books to read. Thanks for all of the places you’ve taken me.

  12. Thank you Terry for your wonderful stories! They helped me get through a tough time in my life. Your books also got my imagination flowing once again to try writing after many years of having lost my confidence.
    And because of you, I found another author who gives me inspiration.
    Thank you so much Terry and Shawn! You are both amazing authors!
    I CANNOT wait for the Shannara series!
    – Michelle

  13. I had the pleasure of meeting you in DC area when you were on tour. I was so impressed of your kindness and modesty you showed. I have met other people who have a large fan base like yours and walked away disappointed. Thank you for so many great stories that sparked my imagination through the years. Now I am introducing your great story telling to my 12 year old to inspire a new generations imagination in this digital age.

  14. Thank you Terry for being the great person you are. I always think back and count myself lucky to have been able to see you during an east coast trip and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw RIchmond, VA on the tour. It was an awesome experience and I still have all the photos from that day saved. Hopefully I’ll count myself lucky again and be able to see you again; perhaps you wouldn’t mind coming to Florida on a book tour stop? One can dream. Thank you again for keeping us entertained with your wonderful stories! Really looking forward to the show!

  15. Terry, you are one of the kindest, humblest people I have met. I believe that the way we treats others will always come back around. Is it any wonder your fans have been so kind and respectful to you in return? 🙂

  16. The first book I ever read by you was Children of Armageddon. It actually saved my life. It was so good to finally be able to escape from my own demons and fall into a wondrous world of characters that you feel for and slowly fall in love with. I have been hooked for ten years now and am loving the darkling child. Waited a very long time for it, but as soon as I opened the first page, the memories of before came flooding back and I’m back with characters that helped to save my life. You have a very special gift Mr Brooks. So much so that I forgive you for making me wait for the darkling child lol! Take good care Sir. Xx

  17. Terry, thanks for all your hard work. Your books have been such a joy to read and I hope you write many more in the years to come!

  18. Mr. Brooks,
    My brother and I have been reading your books since your first came out. I am a grandmother of 7 and an art teacher in high school. Your gift of writing has touched my life in every way. My grandchildren read your books and listen to them on road trips. At work, I feel comfortable in sharing your books with my students because they are engaging and clean. Thank you so much…for everything.

  19. Yes tell about Leaf family and the magic being Past down would be cool. If they Met up with another group of people with objects or were infused with Magic and memorys. Maybe someone shady but redeemable. Someone that wants to leave the four lands. Forbidden. Love or just adventure seekers. Magic collectors. New blood, group Of three or four
    Friends meeting crazy people and beings along the way.
    Devided trying to get back together. With different help and different approaches good and bad lol

  20. I’d like to say thank you so much for being a wonderful person, and writing such beautiful stories! I really enjoyed meeting you at Powell Books the other day (… I was the fat one in bright red and yellow, wearing a straw hat, and who had Sometimes the Magic Works as well as Darkling Child).

    I wrote a letter to you 15-17 years ago as a part of a school assignment. I didn’t have your reply with me at the signing because it lit such a fire in me that my mom confiscated it (she may have also been a little jealous, since you’re also her favorite author) and has steadfastly refused to give it back (the same goes for the stories I wrote back then). I’d like to thank you again–even though I don’t have your letter anymore, it still meant a lot.

    While I can only truly speak for myself, I believe we all understand why you can’t really write back anymore. I was honestly stunned that you did it in the first place. When my teacher handed me an envelope and I saw your name, my thoughts were along the lines of “Wait, why would someone famous write to me? I’m nobody.”

    Your books helped me through a really dark time in my life. I’m not comfortable sharing the details (they’d make a book all on their own), but having that escape valve is what got me to adulthood. Your letter… Knowing that there was at least one person out there who said my writing style was engaging, even though I’d only shared the little bits of sunshine that I had, is why I’m still writing stories today–maybe I’ll eventually find the courage to submit something to a publisher.

    … What this is boiling down to, and what I’ll never be able to say enough, is thank you. Thank you for your work, for your kindness, and for the mutual love you share with all of your fans.

  21. It gives me such hope for humanity to hear your personal stories! Thank you for sharing.

    Thank you for writing. The Landover Series was my favorite so far … as much as I like the Shannara stories. I guess I could relate more to Landover.

    Wishing you well and looking forward to more stories!

  22. I love this. Perhaps it’s a reflection of Terry’s writing that people who enjoy it do not act “crazy”.