Terry Brooks was born in Illinois in 1944, where he spent a great deal of his childhood and early adulthood dreaming up stories in and around Sinnissippi Park, the very same park that would eventually become the setting for his bestselling Word & Void trilogy. He went to college and received his undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, where he majored in English Literature, and he received his graduate degree from the School of Law at Washington & Lee University.
A writer since high school, he wrote many stories within the genres of science fiction, western, fiction, and non-fiction, until one semester early in his college years he was given The Lord of the Rings to read. That moment changed Terry's life forever, because in Tolkien's great work he found all the elements needed to fully explore his writing combined in one genre.
He then wrote The Sword of Shannara, the seven year grand result retaining sanity while studying at Washington & Lee University and practicing law. It became the first work of fiction ever to appear on the New York Times trade paperback bestseller list, where it remained for over five months.
During the spare time he could afford from his law practice, Terry wrote The Elfstones of Shannara, which followed in 1982 and once again brought the literary world an epic novel of wonder and adventure in the eagerly awaited sequel to The Sword of Shannara. The Wishsong of Shannara, published in 1985, finished the remarkable trilogy.
After publishing his first three Shannara novels, Terry knew that writing was not only his life's ambition but that he could make a living with it as well. Even though he was hesitant, he quit his practice of law to pursue a full-time writing career. He moved to Seattle and began writing Magic Kingdom for Sale--Sold!, which began a bestselling new series for him in 1986. After two more Landover novels—The Black Unicorn and Wizard At Large—Terry wrote The Heritage of Shannara, a four-book series returning to the very heart that had made him such a success. The publication of The Talismans of Shannara in 1993 concluded that storyline.
Terry can't write in one series for long. He needs, as a creative writer, to take time off from a project which inevitably allows him to explore new mythos and ideas that he is constantly thinking about; he recharges himself in this way for when he comes back to a series it is meaningful storytelling. Rather than start a new Shannara novel after he finished The Heritage of Shannara series, he wrote two more Landover books—The Tangle Box & Witches' Brew.
Once done with the Landover books and another foray into the Shannara series with the release of First King of Shannara, Terry decided to create something new. Since the beginning of The Heritage of Shannara series in 1990, Terry had been thinking of a new series; a dark, contemporary fantasy set in a town similar to the Illinois hometown he grew up in. The ideas for this new series grew, expanded, and grew some more over the next several years while he wrote other novels, and in September 1997 Terry released Running With the Demon, his darkest most complex masterwork yet. The story of Nest Freemark and John Ross continued in A Knight of the Word and Angel Fire East in what has been tentatively titled The Word & Void trilogy.
In the midst of writing The Word & Void trilogy, George Lucas, the esteemed creator of Star Wars, personally asked Terry if he would write the novelization to Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Being a Star Wars fan Terry agreed easily and soon found himself travelling to Skywalker Ranch to discuss the project with Lucas, and a month before the theatrical release of the movie the book was published with great success.
It was during this time that Terry decided to have an official website, one that a dedicated fan would devote time towards to ensure that the latest news, touring information, and book summaries could be available to his fans. Terry found his fan. Read that history here.
During the six years that followed the website's inception, Terry wrote two Shannara trilogies: The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara and High Druid of Shannara. The six books take place 130 years and 150 years respectively after the events of The Talismans of Shannara where Walker Boh is still a Druid and is still trying to form a new Druid Council.
This year's release of The Gypsy Morph, Book Three of the Genesis of Shannara series, finishes off a storyarc begun in Armageddon's Children and The Elves of Cintra. Terry has just finished writing a new Landover novel as well! Click here to get a glimpse of what Terry is up to right now.
Terry Brooks lives with his wife Judine in the Pacific Northwest and on the road meeting his fans.
To read a more comprehensive biography of Terry Brooks, read his memoir/writing book titled Sometimes the Magic Works.