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Terry Brooks
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Terry Brooks   Terry Brooks is the New York Times best-selling author of the Shannara series and the Magic Kingdom of Landover series. His first book, The Sword of Shannara, was the first fantasy novel to ever appear on the New York Times bestseller list, where it remained for 5 months. George Lucas also asked him to write Star Wars episode 1: The Phantom Menace. Terry Brooks is one of the most popular fantasy authors alive with over 30 million books sold in North America alone.

Buy Terry Brooks's Books at the following locations: (downloadable audio books) (independent bookstores)
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This episode originally aired on 11/5/2009 with the following authors:
Note: The following interview has been transcribed from The Author Hour radio show. Please excuse any typos, spelling and gramatical errors.

Interview with Terry Brooks

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Bonus Question(s) that Didn't Air on the Live Radio Show

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Matthew Peterson: I should have mentioned too, you did the Hook book, didn’t you?

Terry Brooks: I did.

Matthew Peterson: My boys just watched that movie for the first time last night. [laughs]

Terry Brooks: Did they really?

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Terry Brooks: How’d they like it?

Matthew Peterson: They loved it. They were just glued to it. It’s a long movie.

Terry Brooks: Yeah, it is a long movie, as a matter of fact. Well, yes, I did write that one. Although I wasn’t as fond of my experience with that one as I was with working with George Lucas.

Matthew Peterson: Well that’s what my bonus question was. I wanted to find out your experience with writing the Star Wars book. So many years had gone by since the last Star Wars movie, and now we’ve got this new Star Wars movie that so many people looked forward to, and you got the responsibility to write the book. Tell us a little bit about that experience.

Terry Brooks: Well, I tell everybody that it was a very good experience and it couldn’t have gone better than it did. I had some reservations about it because I had not had a particularly good experience working on Hook. But you don’t say no to George Lucas and go back and tell your family of Star Wars lovers that you just turned a chance to write book one of the series. So, I went to Skywalker Ranch and met with George and his people, and they were very forthcoming with me. They basically told me they were going to give me anything I needed to get the job done. It was not going to be an adversarial situation, and I spent about three hours with George discussing the project at length. He did something that is almost unheard of in the movie adaptation business, which is that he said he wanted me to write some original material for the book, about Anakin Skywalker. And we discussed at length what that might be. He encouraged me to feel free to change the script and to re-write the dialogue and to do anything else I needed to make the book successful and in fact, really, to make it a companion piece to the movie, rather than just a paint by the numbers rehash. And he gave me insights in our conversations later, into the history of the Jedi and the Sith which proved to be very, very helpful in drafting up that book. So, you know, I have only good things to say about that experience.

Matthew Peterson: Got some one-on-one time with George Lucas, huh?

Terry Brooks: Indeed.

Matthew Peterson: That’s exciting.

Terry Brooks: It was great!

Matthew Peterson: I know he’s doing other things, but I could see him . . . and you know, there’s lots of different directors that could pick up your books and do something exciting with them.

Terry Brooks: Well, of course, I wish he would! But, he hasn’t called yet. And I haven’t gotten up the courage to call him and say, “Hey! You’re done with those Star Wars [movies], how ‘bout a Shannara series?”

Matthew Peterson: Yeah!

Terry Brooks: [laughs] Great!

Matthew Peterson: Well, thank you Terry!

Terry Brooks: Alright! Talk to you another time.

Extra Material That was Cut from the Show Because of Time Constraints

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Terry Brooks: [referring to the other guests on this episode] I know them all except for Brandon. I know he’s doing the end of the Wheel of Time series.

Matthew Peterson: I’ve met him before. And he’s a nice guy, but he’s still kind of new.

Terry Brooks: Yeah, well he is. He’s written a few things, but this is a big stage on which he’s being asked to perform, but he’s going to be judged fairly heavily.

Matthew Peterson: Oh, I know.

Terry Brooks: It’s a lot of pressure, I’m sure, for him to have to deal with.

Matthew Peterson: I know. I asked him that. He’s kind of new, he’s written several books. I asked him a couple years ago, I said, “Hey, you’re going to be a New York Times best-selling author”. [laughs]

Terry Brooks: Right now.[laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, “How does that feel?”

[Matthew’s sidenote: Brandon then stared out into space and finally said that it was a hard thing to imagine, that the whole situation was surreal]

Terry Brooks: And they will measure him against Jordan in every possible way. So I’m sure he’s going to have his followers and detractors, both. It’s a very tough position.

Matthew Peterson: Yeah, yeah.

Terry Brooks: Speaking from an old Tolkien guy . . .

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: You know when I was younger, your books, I remember the covers. I was just a young kid and my brothers were always reading them. And unfortunately they called it the Sword of Sha-nar-a.

Terry Brooks: Well, you know, they do that all the time, readers do. And I’ve quit worrying about it. I just tell people, “You know, you say it the way that feels comfortable for you. It doesn’t matter.”

Matthew Peterson: Yeah.

Terry Brooks: If I say it Shannara, that’s fine for me, but you can make it anything you want.

Matthew Peterson: So, all these years I’ve been calling it the Sword of Sha-nar-a, and like last year, I got the audio books and I’m like, “Oh!”

Terry Brooks: [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: It’s not Sha-nar-a.

Terry Brooks: Well, you know, it’s probably not the worst mistake you’ll make in your life. So, don’t worry about it. [laughs]

Matthew Peterson: Yep! But I really enjoyed them. So, for the new comers, who haven’t read them yet. Let’s just talk about the Sword of Sha-nar-a . . . Shannara, [laughs] just for a second. Tell us just a little bit about it, like the premise of the story itself.

* * * * * * * * * *

Terry Brooks: . . . and the form I really liked was European adventure stories, you know, Alexander Dumas, and Robert Louis Stevenson and so on and so forth. So, I wanted to find something in that format. . . .

* * * * * * * * * *

Matthew Peterson: The last few books have been part of the Genesis of Shannara. You’ve got Armageddon’s Children, The Elves, Gypsy’s Morph.

Matthew Peterson: And you have . . . I know there’s a graphic novel that just came out. That’s kind of like the new rage now, doing graphic novels.

Terry Brooks: [laughs] Yeah.

Matthew Peterson: I haven’t seen the graphic novel yet.

Matthew Peterson: We’ll probably get some more graphic novels, probably, sprinkled throughout?

Terry Brooks: I don’t know, you know, that graphic novel thing is . . . . I just don’t know. There’s been some talk about it, but nobody’s really excited about the idea. So, I don’t know if we’ll see anymore of that sort or not.

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