|Terry Brooks describes himself as "an adventure writer with fantasy trappings." His first novel, THE SWORD OF SHANNARA, became the first work of fiction to top the New York Times Trade Paperback bestseller list. Brooks began writing in high school, influenced primarily by Alexander Dumas and J. R. R. Tolkein, both of whom would remain important to his subsequent writing. He received an undergraduate degree in English in 1966 from Hamilton College and studied law at Washington and Lee University. After graduating, Brooks joined a family law practice and married Barbara O'Banion in 1972. The couple eventually had two children. In 1977, Brooks published THE SWORD OF SHANNARA, a fantasy epic modeled on Tolkein's THE LORD OF THE RINGS. The book became a best seller, remaining at the top of the charts for five months. It was followed by two sequels, THE ELFSTONES OF SHANNARA (1980) and THE WISHSONG OF SHANNARA (1985), which were also very successful. The next year, Brooks published MAGIC KINGDOM FOR SALE--SOLD!, a humorous fantasy novel about a depressed lawyer who purchases a used magic kingdom through a catalog. While on a promotional tour for that book, he met Judine Alba, a bookstore manager. He divorced O'Banion, and married Alba six months later. 1986 was also the year that he stopped practicing law to become a full-time writer. Though MAGIC KINGDOM FOR SALE--SOLD! was not quite as well-received as the Shannara trilogy, Brooks wrote several sequels to it before returning, in 1990, to his original series. THE SCIONS OF SHANNARA, the first of the Heritage of Shannara series, exploring the prehistory of the first trilogy. Four sequels later, Brooks wrote two more books in the Magic Kingdom series, before moving on to other realms. RUNNING WITH THE DEMON (1997) was a break from the straightforward fantasy of his previous books--it was set in the contemporary word--and, though the change cost him some longtime fans, it widened his readership considerably. His next books, STRANGE DELIVERANCE (also 1997) and KNIGHT OF THE WORD (1998), continued this move away from fantasy settings, while keeping the magical and supernatural elements from his earlier work. A consistently best-selling author, his writing is moving onto ground occupied by Dean Koontz and Stephen King, and with his already-huge fan base, Brooks has become a major contender to their thrones--and in 1999, Brooks's novelization of the eagerly awaited STAR WARS EPISODE ONE: THE PHANTOM MENACE, guarantees that his name will appear on the bookshelves of even more people.