Fantasy-fiction author Terry Brooks recently visited eighth graders at Stella Schola Middle School.
The students had been reading one of his books, “Magic Kingdom for Sale,” part of the Landover series, and got the opportunity to hear him speak about his books and the writing process.
Having written more than 30 novels and two movie novelizations, including “Star Wars: Episode I,” Brooks has reached millions of readers, according to a press release. He met eighth-grade teacher Brigitte Tennis at the 2018 Asian Hall of Fame, where Brooks was a guest speaker and Tennis asked if he would speak with her class sometime.
“Mrs. Tennis is very persuasive,” he said in the release.
It had been about 25 years since Brooks had spoken in a classroom and the interest SSMS students showed in his writing has inspired him to start sharing his expertise by visiting classrooms again, the release stated.
Eighth graders listened as Brooks briefly recounted his writing journey, peppering his lecture with childhood stories and humorous anecdotes.
“You know, I am still a kid at heart and I have a soft spot for the book Peter Pan,” he told students, according to the release.
Brooks went on to say that he is excited his writing and he has his “dream job doing exactly
what he wants t do, the release states.
When student Marissa Gantar asked how he got his ideas, Brooks said he loves writing fantasy because he gets to decide the storylines. And since he enjoys the layers of storytelling, he said in the release that he is “always writing about something besides the obvious story.” Brooks said he doesn’t like to reveal too much because he wants readers to think for themselves.
Brooks told students that he had always been the storyteller in his friend group when he was young.
“We played and made up stories and then we would be the characters,” he said in the release. “My mother said to go outside and play and we did.”
Brooks explained there were no cell phones, no permission to watch television and no hand-held devices, but that allowed time for creative play and imagination. According to the release, he began his career as a lawyer, but the stories just kept bubbling up inside him, so after his first three successful books in the Shannara series, he became a full-time writer who supported himself via writing.
“Once you find your voice and what works for you as a writer,” Brooks said in the release, “you have to work hard every time you write a new book.”
Smiling, he continued by telling students that the odds of being published are “the same as me being Brad Pitt.”
After laughing with them, Brooks followed up his joke with “but really, don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. If you love to write, then write,” according to the release.
He advised students that to be good at something they needed to practice a lot, constantly critique their work and try to improve and work hard.
The eighth graders asked many questions and then had their copies of Landover signed. Brooks took time to individually speak with each student before signing their book.
“The students really connected with him,” Tennis said in the release. “It’s a two-way street — the students have inspired Mr. Brooks and he has certainly inspired a whole new generation!”