I just have a few things to say as we move towards the end of the year and look back on 43 years of Shannara. I want to thank you for your constant support of my writing. I want to thank you for the Shannara Community and all the times you have come out to see me at signings and conventions. In particular, I want to thank you for Shannara Con. Your attendance, your kind words, your tributes and your unfailing love have left me immensely touched and grateful. If I had these past 43 years to live over again, I would want them to unfold just the way they did. I may not write another Shannara book – who knows at this point? But the ways in which you have embraced the ones I have written is good enough.
I want to tell you something Judine told me a long time ago – something I have repeated for years over and over. Something I believe with all my heart. I have the best fans in the world. It is wonderful to know so many people love my books. It is grand to know so many have stayed with me over the decades. But what really matters to me is that I can brag on the kinds of people who read my books. People who are considerate of and kind towards others, who speak with such warmth when I meet them and who exhibit all the traits of humanity that I wish everyone could embody. It doesn’t matter about your race, your religion, your political affiliation or your sexual persuasion. This is one world, and we are one people, and I think I have been blessed to find those who read me embody this character and this acceptance towards others. Don’t change that. Be who you want to be and let others do the same. Be caring and be aware and always be gracious and understanding. Be what you should be.
Thanks to all of Del Rey and the many people who work there, past and present, who have done so much for me since The Sword of Shannara published in 1977. I have been helped, guided, supported and cared about in ways I had no right to expect. Yes, writing is a business, and sales of your book are the bottom line. But it helps to know that the people working at a publishing house see you as something more than an economic resource, Del Reyvians have shown my kindness and consideration well beyond that goal. I think of them as business associates, but mostly as friends.
Thanks to my agent Anne Sibbald at Janklow & Nesbit who have steered me through more than one thicket and a dozen bramble bushes with their well-considered advice and negotiations. I trust him implicitly, and she earns that trust every single day. All she asks of me is that I write, make my deadlines, listen to her cautions and be a good person. Well, not that last, but she is appreciative when I manage to come off as at least trying.
Thanks to Anne Groell for ten years of friendship and editorial guidance. No one has served the cause of my writing more directly than she has. And Lester & Judy-lynn Del Rey, Owen Lock and Betsy Mitchell from the years before. I have always believed that we should treasure our editors and their constant efforts to make our work that much better. The relationship between Author and Editor is like a marriage. Trust, loyalty, friendship and a sharing of a common goal are essential. I have always had that. I treasure it.
Thanks to Shawn Speakman, my Web Druid and close friend, who came to me years ago with his fan website already in place and asked me to make it the official Terry Brooks website. Once I took a look at what he had created, I never needed to look anywhere else. Over the years – somewhere just shy of 25, he has done so many things to make my life easier. He is my reference guide when you stump me with your questions on Ask Terry, my go-to guy on tech support in all things, my advisor on what you, the readers, are looking for or need from me that I am not giving and my conduit to ways in which I can better respond to requests for what you think I can provide.
Mostly, of course, thanks to Judine. I should hardly need to add this by now. She has been my muse and my strongest supporter since we met at a bookstore back in 1986. She keeps me centered, provides me with needed advice, serves as my first reader and supplies me with an abundance of reassurance when I get knocked off my pegs and down on myself. I love her beyond words. This has always been so and it always will be. Living with a writer is not all it is cracked up to be. But she accepts the bad as she embraces the good, and I believe we were fated from the first to find each other and live out our lives together.
I haven’t written my thanks over the years as so many writers do; I haven’t offered it in print form in my books. Aware of this, I am trying to make up for it here. I owe so much to so many, and I will never be able to give back what I have received.
Bless you all. Stay safe, stay sane – and never stop reading.
I will always keep you in my heart.