Excerpted from A Princess of Landover by Terry Brooks. Copyright © 2009 by Terry Brooks. Excerpted by permission of Del Rey, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Terry Brooks is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the Genesis of Shannara novels Armageddon’s Children and The Elves of Cintra; The Sword of Shannara; the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara trilogy: Ilse Witch, Antrax, and Morgawr; the High Druid of Shannara trilogy: Jarka Ruus, Tanequil, and Straken; the nonfiction book Sometimes the Magic Works: Lessons from a Writing Life; and the novel based upon the screenplay and story by George Lucas, Star Wars®: Episode I The Phantom Menace.™ His novels Running with the Demon and A Knight of the Word were selected by the Rocky Mountain News as two of the best science fiction/fantasy novels of the twentieth century. The author was a practicing attorney for many years but now writes full-time. He lives with his wife, Judine, in the Pacific Northwest.
Shawn Speakman: Hi Terry! I hope this interview finds you well?
Terry Brooks: Nicely fatted up for a summer roasting, thank you.
Shawn Speakman: A Princess of Landover will be published in August. What made you decide to return to the Landover series after so long?
Terry Brooks: Guilt and fear, mostly. I've been promising a new Landover book for the better part of the last eight years to those readers anxious for one. But finding a story hasn't been all that easy. The Landover books all have a basis in true life, something to do with what's happening to me. Nothing has happened to me of a sort that lent itself to a new fantasy tale, so I've been stymied. Then something happened. My publisher suggested I should actually write the book they paid me for some eight years ago. What a concept! I quickly found something worth developing into a story.
Shawn Speakman: Did you have to reread the other five books to reacquaint yourself with where the characters were at the end of Witches' Brew? And did your reread of your own work stand up to your critical eye?
Terry Brooks: I reread Witches' Brew rather carefully because those events bear heavily on what happens in Princess. I did less of a critical reading of the other books because it wasn't necessary. Mostly, I reread to make sure the continuity of the overall story lines and character description is solid. Usually, I learn something I've forgotten, as well. It was true again here. But I never like reading my stories with a critical eye after they are published and try not to make judgments on them. They are what they are.
Shawn Speakman: You have said several times that the life of Ben Holiday mirrors your own? How so? And is that still true with A Princess of Landover?
Terry Brooks: Metaphorically the plots mirror aspects of my own life. They are not to be taken literally. I am not Ben Holiday in most ways. For instance, I don't box. Princess is like the other books; it reflects things that happened to me and that I still look back on with some mix of rueful disbelief and wonder.
Shawn Speakman: If you are Ben Holiday, is Mistaya a conglomeration of your own children? Is that why she is such a brat at the beginning of the new book?
Terry Brooks: No, Shawn, she is based directly on you. Are you crazy or what? You want me to condemn my own children in print so that they can make my life miserable. You are one evil guy, you know that? Okay, seriously. No, Mistaya is not based on any sort of mix of my own children. She is her own person. Some of the things that happen to her happened to some of my kids, but you will have to figure out what those things are for yourself.
Shawn Speakman: What was the most enjoyable part about returning to Landover?
Terry Brooks: It's like coming home to a familiar place you've been away from for awhile and discovering things you had forgotten. The writing opens new doors in the form of fresh storytelling, but it also pokes around in closets that have been closed up for awhile. I always like how that feels. Plus, I like writing about Ben Holiday.
Shawn Speakman: Where do you see the Landover series going in the future?
Terry Brooks: Good question. I have another book in mind, a direct sequel to Princess, but nothing after that. I may be about done. I have a new series I am thinking about starting to take its place.
Shawn Speakman: To the Landover question most asked on the website: Will Abernathy ever lose the Wheaten Terrier look and be reunited with Elizabeth?
Terry Brooks: Wait a minute! Abernathy is still a dog? Drat, I have to get back to work!
Shawn Speakman: The Landover series has been optioned for a number of years in Hollywood. Got any news on that front?
Terry Brooks: Nothing worth reporting. The option is in its final twelve months. Will something come of all this ratting around? It would if I had something to say about it, but I don't. I think it will probably come back to me and I will option it again to someone else.
Shawn Speakman: By now the fans know you are always about to finish a book when a new book is released. What are you working on right now and when can we expect it?
Terry Brooks: I am just finishing the fourth book in Genesis of Shannara and will begin writing the fifth in the fall. These comprise a two-book set in the cycle, an effort that I still expect to run somewhere around ten books. But I think that after finishing Book Five, I will go back to the future of Shannara and write the next set of that time period, which follows the books of High Druid.
Shawn Speakman: Thank you for the interview! Any last words for the fans?
Terry Brooks: Shawn, I take it back. You are not evil. You are a good guy and you run a great website. Keep up the good work.
From the Hardcover edition.