March Ask Terry Posted

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 from March 2020 and Terry’s answers! Enjoy!

Note: This section may contain spoilers!

MARCH 2020 ASK TERRY Q&A

Hi Again,

So good to be back in the saddle again.  Figuratively speaking, of course. But time to tackle another Ask Terry. Gives me something do to besides worry about Trump and COVID-19, both of which concern me greatly. Still safe and well on the Oregon Coast and getting tons of writing done. Once this pandemic is over, I should be ready to publish 3-4 books. Nothing like down time to get your page numbers up.

But for the moment, onward to answering your questions:


Nate Weinand writes: Sounds like you are doing well over there in the Pacific Northwest. Just wanted to ask if everything is ok, since you are in the epicenter of COVID-19? Is everything good with you and your loved ones? If you don’t mind me asking.

Terry Brooks replies: I am at the epicenter no more. It has mostly moved eastward and south, even though Seattle is experiencing a few blips on the COVID counter. Judine and I are ripe for getting it age-wise, but otherwise are pretty resistant. Knock on wood.


Steven Roberts writes: I’m sure this has been asked and answered recently, but are there any plans in the works to bring the world of Shannara to the big screen or back to the small screen.

Terry Brooks replies:  As for Shannara, the video, I keep hearing about efforts to bring it back, but nothing solid. Wish things were different, but not much is happening in La La Land just now. If it does, I will report it on my media sites ASAP.


David Salchow writes: Dear Terry, can you explain the importance of cover art? Like most readers, I’ve been attracted to cover art which caused me to grab the book and read the dust jacket back and flaps, often resulting in the purchase. Are authors selecting art work that is pleasing to their own eye? Or do authors choose cover art that best resemble their vision of the characters and their world? Or do the publishers select the art based on anticipated sales? Thank you and best of health to you and yours!

Terry Brooks replies: A lot of work goes into covers for books. I am definitely involved in what goes into each one of mine and have been since the mid-1990s. It works like this. A decision is made by the publisher regarding what sort and format we want for a new series. The same look will be used throughout any set. I am usually asked for suggestions of what I might think would work, but these days Anne and Co. do more on this than I do. That might change with this new foray into stories of fantasy unrelated to Shannara. But after we settle on an image, someone has to write the flap copy – summary of the story, teaser and author bio along with supporting quotes. Usually Del Rey (think Anne G.) does the heavy lifting and I make corrections or further suggestions. Now and then I will rewrite a paragraph or two, but not often. Then we look at a mock-up and make further adjustments.

The thinking is simple. What draws the potential reader to the book first is likely the cover art. If a reader knows my name and work, then the cover may further entice or simply identify the series. We have very definite ideas about what draws readers to books and how a cover identifies what a book is about. We also try to stay away from a cover that doesn’t represent a scene or part of a thematic structure in the book.

Whew! Got all that?


Anonymous writes: Are there any details on that new series that will publish next year (that you are at liberty to share)?

Terry Brooks replies: This is just Shawn, trying to trick me into giving away secrets ahead of publication. For shame, Shawn! Well, let’s give it a think. It is a new world, with a whole new geo-political-magical setup. New characters and plot line. Same ole writer and therefore same ole writing. This next book – the one presently scheduled for June 2021 – is more centered on wheels-within-wheels storytelling and much duplicity. Everyone has a secret. No one is exactly what they seem, save for the three leads. And all of them will change drastically by the close of the story. Great fun to write!


Kim Smithson writes: I enjoyed Street Freaks a lot more than I thought I would. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi. Where will you take Ash next? Seems like you could really send him into some dark and maybe strange places in the United Territories.

Terry Brooks replies: You got that right. Presently, in my plotting, I have him drifting up to the Northwest in search of Cay, who he will find eventually, but not before a lot of changes and new challenges. This story will involve trees – it is the Northwest, after all. It will also involve clouds and weather. Enuf!


Well that does it for this set of questions. Thanks for writing in and continuing to follow my search for the perfect book to write. Good to have a goal in this crazy world that takes you out of it regularly. Please be well, be safe, be sane and don’t listen too closely to any mad rantings by anyone – me included.

Miss you, all!

Ask Terry

Please completely fill in the form below and send the two questions you want to ask Terry this month.

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)!

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