January ASK TERRY Posted

Terry Brooks
Terry Brooks

For 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 for January 2015 and Terry’s answers! Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!


Hello Faithful Readers,

You do put up from a lot with me, but one thing you don’t have to put up with is an erratic publishing schedule. Thus, The Sorcerer’s Daughter publishes in May and a year from now the first in the final Shannara series will be out. How do I know? I just finished writing it more than a year ahead of schedule. So be of good cheer.

I will do the same as I tackle January’s edition of Ask Terry.

Anonymous writes: Hi Terry, I know we are still a few years away from reading the end of Shannara. J.K Rowling claimed to have written the last chapter of Deathly Hallows in 1990 (17 years before the book published). Have you always known how the Shannara series would end?

Terry Brooks replies: Anonymous! Good to hear from you again. As to your question, I pretty much always knew the ending although I have been refining it over the last five years of so. It helps me to always be writing TO something definite. So I wanted the Shannara saga to have a cyclical aspect to it because that is how I believe the world works. Once you read the entire ending, some three years down the road, I think you will see what I mean.

Rob McLear writes: I’ve always had a hard time coming up with names, even for trivial writing prompts back in my schooling days. Some authors research their character names according to their character traits, while others choose names they just plain enjoy (or so it seems). What process do you follow for some/most/all of the names (people, places, etc) in your writing?

Terry Brooks replies: Think I have addressed this one before, so am ready to go with it again. I keep lists of name on legal tablets and call them up when I start a book. Sometimes, I use them as recorded earlier. Sometimes, I use hybrids. I don’t research the meaning or origin of names. I want them to feel like they are right for the person, place or thing. I want them to resonate with the readers. So most of my time on this subject is spent fitting the names to the character and the character’s story arc, his defining traits and the way the word sounds when I speak it.

Dan Lange writes: Have you ever thought of having Edgewood Dirk crossover thru the Fairy Mists from Landover to Shannara?

Terry Brooks replies: No. In point of fact, Dirk has it in his character contract that he cannot be traded, sold or lent to any other book or storyline unless he approves. And basically, he doesn’t approve of very much. Landover is his world, and he wants to remain in it exclusively. Just the other day he told me he doesn’t much like Moor Cats, and what can you say to that?

Mike S. writes: The Wishsong of Shannara has been my favorite book for longer than I can really remember. I’ve enjoyed every one of your books since then. So I want to ask you something about the Ildatch. When Brin first finds it and it is speaking to her it claims to have once been part of the Word. My understanding from your more recent works is that the Word is “good” and the Void is “evil”. If that is true then how did the Ildatch come to be as part of The Word? Did it simply become evil after that?

Terry Brooks replies: Oh, boy. How about 25 words or less? The Word and the Void are flip sides of the same coin. One is light, one dark, one good, one bad. But all things come from a singular source. What I am saying about the Ildatch is that it was once used for good, but it took on a dark quality when its pages were filled with spells and conjuring of darker magic. So it turned away from the Word and embraced the Void, and that was the beginning of the end for the Warlock Lord and many others until it was destroyed.

Marc West writes: Will there be another book in the Legends of Shannara series?

Terry Brooks replies: Not sure about whether the next book in that stage of the saga – in the prehistory – will be a part of Legends. But there will be such a book, one to pick up where Measure of the Magic left off and continue the longer story of those times. Hope to get to it in a few years, if not sooner.

All right, everyone. Be well until next time. Those of you not happy with The Shannara Chronicles because it didn’t meet your expectations, I regret your unhappiness but not the show. And please don’t take it out on Shawn. I made the decision, and you know how I feel. I like what MTV has done.

All good magic,

Ask Terry

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