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Terry Brooks, Epic Fantasy Author

By Anne Cullison. Jan 7, 2014. 8:00 AM.

Topics: Science Fiction

Terence Dean Brooks, better known as Terry, was born on January 8, 1944 in the rural Midwestern town of Sterling, Illinois. It was in this rural town that Brooks spent much of his formative years. Without much else to do, he spent the majority of his time relaxing in Sinnissippi Park and day dreaming up the stories that would one day make him a bestselling author. This park would eventually become the setting for his Word & Void trilogy.

Brooks_High_Druid_ShannaraBrooks has long held writing as a passion, completing coursework in English and Law. He began to write in earnest as early as high school; however, he had a hard time committing to any one genre. He began works of science fiction, western, and even traditional fiction, but was rarely if ever truly able to finish a story. It was in college when he was given a copy of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings that changed everything for Brooks. He realized that the genre of fantasy brought together all the elements of different genres that he loved.

Brooks_Shannara_Straken-1As a result he wrote his first full novel, The Sword of Shannara (1977). It took him seven years to write, but was an instantaneous success. It was the first work of fiction ever to appear on the New York Times trade paperback bestseller list, upon which it remained for over five months. Though Brooks credits Tolkien with inspiring him to write fantasy, he has noted that he emulates the writing style of William Faulkner. 

Brooks remained a practicing lawyer throughout the early portion of his writing career until he completed the Shannara trilogy. Following the trilogy’s success, he left his practice and began work as a full-time writer. His success has followed the style of his books and been plentiful. He has written 23 bestselling books which currently have over 21 million copies in print.

With the epilogue to The Wishsong of Shannara, Brooks delved into short-story writing. He found the genre challenging, to say the least. The epilogue went through multiple drafts, each one, Brooks says, quite different from the others. It will likely be Brooks' last short story; he finds the genre confining and vastly prefers the long form of the novel. 

This year will see new and exciting endeavors from Brooks. His latest book, The High Druids Blade, is scheduled for a March 11, 2014 release. And MTV is currently working on adapting the Shannara trilogy for a television series. 

Anne Cullison
Lover of all things books. Spends her time chasing three rambunctious children and enjoys picking up books to read as soon as they fall asleep.


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