Prophets Inc Chat 5

I'm honored to be invited to this live chat. As always, I'm pleased to get a chance to answer many of the questions readers have.

Before we begin, I would like to clarify an important point that is often the source of confusion: I am a novelist; I am not, in the essential sense, a fantasy author.

It is the defining characteristic, upon which other characteristics depend, that properly distinguishes a thing's identity. This is called the rule of fundamentality.

To define me as a fantasy writer is to misunderstand the context of my books by misidentifying their fundamentals.

There are many kinds of books: thrillers, manuals, sagas, textbooks, poetry, geometry books, fantasies, memoirs, history, etiquette books, novels, etc. Books properly belong in specific categories because of their essential characteristics. An essential characteristic of a cookbook would be that it primarily contains recipes.

The essential attributes of a novel are: Theme, Plot, Characterization. These are not the essential attributes of a fantasy book. The essential attribute that dominates a fantasy is its mystical or magical aspects. A novel, dominated, driven and defined by mystical elements, can certainly be a fantasy. But a saga (a long detailed report), dominated by mystical elements, can be a fantasy as well. World building books are fantasies when driven by magic. Sagas (generally a subcategory of Naturalism) and world building books (which also usually fall under the broad category of Naturalism) can be fantasies, but they are not novels; they lack the requisite elements of Theme, Plot, and Characterization. (Naturalism is a school of art that denies the existence of volition, thereby dismissing the need for plot. Romanticism, the category of art to which my novels belong, is based on the principle of volition and all that entails.)

A novel can certainly contain elements of fantasy, just as it can contain romance, adventure, political intrigue, and mystery, but containing elements of romance or fantasy does not make a book a romance or a fantasy if those elements are not the essential elements of the book -if they are not its defining characteristic.

Fantasy usually takes conventional values as a given. For example, the evil being battled is commonly a dark force that wishes to do evil- without any reason beyond that it is evil.

My books are novels that deal in important human themes involving the faculty of reason. I tell these stories through heroic characters.

The men who flew airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had heroes. They did not believe that what they were doing was evil; they believed they were doing good. Why were they willing to die in order to kill indiscriminately? Why did they believe that what they were doing was good? What constituted evil in their minds? Who were their heroes?

Why are my heroes different than the heroes of people like that? To answer those sorts of questions requires that I convey intellectual information.

Those are the kinds of abstract concepts I write about which are absent from fantasy, as such. I have no desire to tell simplistic stories of good and evil driven by mysticism and magic. My novels instead, involve the nature of and projection of values.

My books were defined in the marketplace as fantasy purely because of business considerations, not essential characteristics. In the business of selling books, the fact that there are elements of magic in my novels and, far more importantly, that I am published by a fantasy publisher, nullifies every other consideration. If I were now to write a book about a travel agent going on a whale-watching cruise and the boat was captured by Islamic terrorists who intended to use it to deliver a dirty bomb into Boston harbor, and this book were published by my present publisher, and I used my real name, the book would be racked in fantasy -despite its content.

Because fantasy publishers make their living publishing fantasy, they seek out fantasy that will sell to the fantasy reader, so there is rarely any confusion. Most fantasy authors are very deliberate in their intent to write fantasy books. In my case, I have ended up with a good publisher who happens to be a fantasy publisher, among other things but they failed to see beyond the fantasy elements in the first book. Look at WIZARD'S FIRST RULE. What did my publisher insist be on the cover? A red dragon. Was a red dragon, per se, central to the story? No. But in the minds of unthinking individuals the existence of a red dragon in the story superseded all other aspects and defined the book, therefore it went on the cover .

So, my books were categorized according to one of the least important elements of their content - red dragons -at the expense of the most important element - human themes shared by every one of you.

I've finally succeeded in getting Tor to put a new cover on WIZARD'S FIRST RULE. What is the subject of the new cover? Two people. Are they central to the story? Yes. Is magic central to their story? No. What is? Volition. How is volition carried out? Through the thinking human mind of the characters as demonstrated by the plot Theme, Characterization, Plot. A novel.

Along with cover content, I've endeavored to mitigate confusion and misconception by having the imprint used on my books changed from the one that says "fantasy" to the generic "TOR" logo and by removing some of the more overt fantasy trappings, such as the sword on the title page. You will also observe that the series name -The Sword of Truth -is no longer used on the books' covers. But, because of marketplace realities, there are limits to what I can do to get this message across.

Yet there are those who rail at me because I don't behave like a fantasy author is "supposed" to. I don't follow the rules, as they see it.

There are those who focus exclusively on this least important element -magic - simply because people I don't know, despite my strenuous objections at the time, insisted on placing a red dragon on the cover of my work, and because of that, and who published the book, I was racked in bookstores as fantasy. As a result, in the minds of some readers I am for all time to be labeled as a “fantasy" author. So I must now follow some unstated laws of writing - I must know my place - because I've been mindlessly labeled a "fantasy" author? That, my friends, is bigotry.

I am not an obedient subservient cog of a group, slavishly following the group's conventions. I am a thinking individual acting of my own free will.

Shania Twain had a similar problem with country music fans who resented her because her music doesn't follow the constrained conventions of country music. She has risen above category names. For most of my fans, so have I.

Most of Shania Twain's fans are not regular country music fans. Most of my fans are not regular fantasy fans nor are they so bigoted that they think I must know my place and stay in it.

While my books do contain elements of fantasy, and I'm proud of those elements - just as I'm proud of the romance, the political intrigue, the mystery -those fantasy elements are not the essential characteristics that define my work.

A proper novel, with a true plot, must have ideas that drive the story. Action without psychological articulation is not a worthwhile plot. Those essential elements that make my books novels (and not the fantasy elements) are the fundamentals that are most important to me, So please keep in mind that, while I will be happy to entertain questions that pertain to the fantasy elements, those things just aren't central. Magic is but a tool I use to help tell important human stories. The magic isn't what matters -the characters do.

You might say that the magic is like a light used to illuminate someone skulking around in the dark. When people focus intently on the magic elements, it's as if, when I shine that light on the man lurking in the darkness, they are asking me, "Say, what kind of batteries do you have in that flashlight -are they disposable or are they the rechargeable kind? One time you said it took a fraction of second for the flashlight to turn on. Now you seem to be implying that it turned on instantly. I’m confused, which is it -a fraction of a second, or do you really mean instantly? Hey, let me ask you a question about voltage. .." They only want to know about my flashlight. I want to know what the man is doing mucking about in the darkness.

Now, on to the questions.

Question: Terry, A lot of people who have seen your picture on the book cover noticed that there are some resemblance between you and Richard. Do you have any comments on that?

Answer: This is news to me

Question: TG, I read your article on sci-fi Dimensions, and was upset when you called drug users (a group which used to include me (pot)) a party to murder. Do you consider people who went to speak-easies responsible for the murderous gangsters? I would blame the prohibition laws. What do you think of people who purchase gasoline (from countries that support terrorism)? Also, your books have inspired me to give up drinking and smoking (I quit pot on my own, because I hated the way it made me feel). Thanks!Answer: I have a friend who had a daughter in college. One night, as she was walking back to her dorm room, some men drove up behind her and executed her. Five young women matching her description were murdered that same week. Drug dealers had killed any woman they saw who looked like a woman they wanted dead.This young woman's life is over. She will never be able to enjoy her life, to experience love, a family, a beautiful sunset. Her life is over as part of the price paid so that a drug user can continue to "experiment" with drugs.Pablo Escabar wanted to take out a competitor in the drug business, so he did. There happened to be 127 other people on the plane at the time. They are all dead, part of the price in human lives forfeit so that some user can continue to have his drugs.The people who use drugs did not murder these people, but they most certainly are accessories to murder. Every day people are injured and killed as a direct result ofthe work of insuring that the users of drugs have a steady supply.Knowledge of the violence involved in the distribution and use ofillega1 drugs is too prevalent for anyone to claim that they didn't know that their use of drugs contributes to and supports that violence. To deny the connection is to deny reality in order to ignore the guilt of helping bring death and suffering to innocent people. It should hardly come as a surprise to hear that those who use drugs would like very much to deny this reality -as if to deny rea1ity will make it go away.Man's mind is his means of survival. A rational being does not intentionally destroy its means of survival. Yet these people do, so little is their respect for even their own lives. And we should wonder that, in their lust to blot out their own consciousness,They have no regard for their contribution to the destruction of innocent lives?Blaming the law they break will not sanctify slaughter. Snatching at scraps of irrelevant arguments to try to wipe the blood from their hands or clear their conscience is but a futile attempt at self-delusion; it does not bring back the lives of those now dead just so users could continue to indulge their destructive whims.The silent, unspoken, unadmitted, cringing horror that grips the user's existence is testimony to the monstrous harm they know they help make possible. Drug users need to be corrected, their lives turned around, not indulged.But a greater moral guilt rests with the cold-blooded creatures who excuse the user - those monsters who hold such a cynical hatred of life that they would help the plague to fester and fill yet more cemeteries with the innocent and guilty alike as they strut around in the blood-soaked robes of tolerance and understanding.We all pay (through taxes) a handout so that many users can continue to finance their drug use. With our compassion we condemn the drug user to wasted lives and countless innocent victims to death, their loved ones to a living hell of agony -all because we lack the moral courage to say it's wrong and will not be tolerated.If my books have inspired anyone to give up excessive drinking or smoking then that only serves to prove that individuals can use their minds to come to understand andGrasp life's values when they see them illustrated in stories. It proves everything I've been saying.If anyone is upset with me for saying that those who use drugs are accessories to murder, I'd say that doesn't hold a candle to the condemnation coming from the face looking at them in the mirror. Excuses do not alter reality.
Question: Was Richard's mother going back into the burning house to save her toy ball? I know, it doesn't really matter, but I thought you were hinting at that in NE.

Answer: No.

Question: When you're done writing the Sword of Truth, will your next book or series of books be in a different genre, and if so which one? Mystery? (I hope.)

Answer: I don't know yet. Right now I have two more books under contract with Tor and I'm having a good time working out their plots. I can't wait to get started on them.

Question: Michelle - Will you write anymore short stories?

Possibly. Right now I have two more books under contract, so I must devote my attention to them.

Question: <hargokhalsa> Question: Which book was the most, if at all challenging, to write?

Answer: Each has its own unique problems and challenges. Each was a lot of work. I always devote myself to doing my very best job with everything I do. So, I guess that they are all equally difficult and equally gratifying.

Question: Terry, do you have any other ideas for books in your head right now? If so, what genre/subject do you plan to write with in the future, or after you are finished with the SoT series?

Answer: yes I do have ideas for books I would like to write in the future. They will revolve around some very interesting characters and will keep you turning pages from the first.

Question: why did you alter the paperback version of fotf (I only heard you did this, I never read the PB)?

Answer: my editor insisted that I add a scene (the one with Ann at redcliff) that I did not want to add. He also wanted many other changes that I absolutely refused to make, but I did concede with this one. It was a mistake for me to have done so. After the hard cover came out I had a new editor and for the paperback I asked to the book restored to the way I wrote it and intended it. The paperback is the version that reflects my true intentions.

Question: Lately I've found myself in many arguments defending your books against 'fans' who say they used to like your books but no longer do to the extent that they used to. Would you mind settling some debates by answering the Question: What, if anything do you have to say to the people that voice the opinion that you're latest four books haven't been as good as the previous four and call them "too preachy"?

Answer: Don't be fooled. The assertion made by these detractors is a note wrapped around a brick thrown through the window. These people are not fans. There are hundreds if not thousands of fantasy books that fulfill their professed taste in books. Why would they continue to read books they claim are bad? Because they hate that my novels exists. Values arouse hatred in these people. Their goal is not to enjoy life, but to destroy that which is good -much like a school child who does not wish to study for a test and instead beats up a classmate who does well. These people hate what is good because it is good. Their lives are limited to loathing and indifference. It isn't that they want to read a good book, what they want is to make sure that you do not. Ignore them.
Question: Terry, when you wrote FotF, and the conversion / transformation of Nicci, her search for the answer to the riddle of Richard. I was reminded of the story of the conversion Saul of Tarsus. (Sp) Saul went around killing and torturing Christians for their beliefs; Nicci went around killing and torturing people who wanted to life their lives. I was wondering if there was any conscious thought on your part regarding these two.
Answer: I’ve never heard of Saul of Tarsus before. I can tell you that I disagree with the rest of the premise of your Question: Nicci's "rapid conversion." Her search for the meaning of life started as a small child when she saw the special look in her father's eyes. Her conversion had already begun when her mother pushed her toward Brother Narev and introduced him as a man who did good. She spent her life doing what she was taught was good, yet always felt hollow and dirty kneeling before the altar of altruism Her search for the beauty of life was lifelong and she had a very long life. Her "conversion" was neither rapid nor mystical; it was accomplished at last only through reason after seeing many lessons through the way Richard lived life.
Question: What/who first introduced you to Ayn Rand, and what was your first reaction to her writings?

Answer: The first book of hers I read was Anthem. I picked it up because it was short. I was shocked to discover someone who so articulately expressed my beliefs and views of life. I recall being surprised that a writer held such views and was even more surprised that she would be published. I think that is when I first realized that people like me are hungry for ideas of substance in stories.

Question: Did Richard's talk about creating new magic (inventing spells, and such) in sotf have any philosophic meaning, or was it just some fantasy talk? It seemed important, but I couldn't get any real life meaning out of it.

Answer: Do you think that perhaps using your reasoning mind to come up with something entirely new and valuable to your life might be more important than repeating, through rote that what has come before? Look around you. Everything you have was made possible by the power of a reasoning mind envisioning something new, something original. I use magic as a metaphor; in this case for what wonders are achieved through thought and reason

Question: Richard has believed that the Midlands must work together in order to defeat the Imperial Order. However, it seems as if many of the times he has fought the Order himself or helped other societies to do so, it has always been in his own self interest. For instance, he helped the Bandakaran people because if he didn't, he would die. He made Jennsen see the truth because otherwise, Kahlan would be killed. My question is ho
PS Your books are amazing... keep em coming!

Answer: How come Richard isn't acting like a leader? Let me get this straight. To you, being a leader means that, one must sacrifice one's self? Self-interest, has no place in the decisions a man makes? You think, then, that a man who surrenders himself into the chains of slavery is a proper leader? This is who you would want to lead you? A volunteer slave? There's a comforting thought on the eve of battle.

Question: <stevo> Terry - your books being about free will i was wondering what your reasoning behind Kahlen’s power destroying free will was all about.

Answer: it was about her free will to use her power to fight those who would initiate force to destroy her or her people. If someone attacks you intending to take your life, you do not owe it to them to let them exercise their free will to kill you.

Draxus: In WFR, we see the effects of the boundary. It leaves a bunch of dead trees and what not, turning it into a desolate wasteland. We also see this in the Old world, surrounding the Bandakar (sp?) Where in the world is the desolate grounds between D'hara and Midlands. Was that boundary down long enough to allow the growth of trees and vegetation to grow back?? And what is exactly the time span of Debt of Bones to WFR?? 30-40 years?? Or is it less. Even so, There would not be enough time for the boundary to come down and allow the vegetation to come back. I'm confused!!

ANSWER: You have never seen the strip of desolate ground between D'Hara and the Midlands because there has never been a scene that has taken place on that spot. We know there was a boundary there and that now it’s gone. What purpose would it serve for me to write a scene to show this strip of formerly dead land? It would add nothing to the story. I only put scenes in the books because those scenes are necessary to tell the story

Debt of Bones took place roughly 40 years before WFR. The boundary went up in DOB, it did not come down then.

QUESTION: Trelane: You've talked about your admiration for Ayn Rand. I was wondering which is your favorite fiction and non-fiction book of hers?

ANSWER: My favorite book of Ayn Rand's is Romantic Manifesto. I really like her non-fiction work because it is so uplifting to see intellectual clarity. Romantic Manifesto is a profoundly penetrating look at the philosophy of art and man's need for both. Her work is so consistently powerful, though, that anything you read will be hugely worthwhile.

Q: Rico Len:The world has moved on since Darken Rahl was such a threat, and the days when Westland and the Midlands and D'Hara were separated by boundaries, and the new world was separated by it's own boundary from the old world. I know there are a lot of people that read the books that would like to go back to that time period where Ebinissia nor Renwold were in ruins, and Anderith still had it's Dominie Dirch to protect it, and when Aydindril wasn't a ghost town. You've gotten a lot of the readers depressed by the oppression of the Order. I for one would like to know when we'll at least be able to see some hope for the good of the world, because while Richard and Kahlan are having small victories here and there, Jagang is still winning the war. I think a lot of people would like to see the tides change and see things start to get restored back to right. I know of many who would like to see the Boxes of Orden be put back into play but this time by Richard and finally be done with Jagang and people like him. I know that as of the last time I heard, you were only contracted for two more books. I love this series, not only for the story, but also for what it has taught me, but like all good things, it must end. I know that doesn't necessarily signal the end of the series in two books time, but are you able to say whether or not the worst has past and that Richard and Kahlan will actually start making some real progress towards doing away with the Order? Lately there's been only a little to smile about in the series; the world has the feel that it has already fallen to the Order. There has been only a silver lining to smile at; that a few small amounts of people have seen the truth of the corruption of the Order and have embraced life. While this is wonderful, it's going to be a sad state of affairs if everyone in the world is going to have to experience such an epiphany before the Order can be overthrown, because can such a thing actually happen? Your world is a very good mirror of our own and as the term mirror indicates here in our world we still have people ruling others through tyranny or through the illusion of morality. The problem is evident, what is the solution? I know you can't/won't answer these questions directly, but I'd like to hear your comments on what I have stated and asked in the most direct manner you can without spoiling what is to come in the SoT series, or doing anything else that could get you in trouble with your publishers, etc. One last time I'd like to say that I love your story and I love what you have taught me, and I look forward to learning more about the sword that is truth.Answer: Rico Len,The world has moved on since Darken Rahl was such a threat...The World in this series very much mirrors the great struggle in our own world. The two sides of the issue can be summed up by the belief of the Order: You must sacrifice yourself to the greater good of mankind, and by Richard's belief: Your Life is yours alone, rise up and live it. The idea of sacrifice to a greater good (Such as socialism and statism) is gaining the upper hand in our world. This is a very dark and dangerous threat. With each passing day, the individual’s right to live his own life is viewed with greater disdain by those who lust for the unearned. Richards’s world is in no less peril. There is no certainty that Richard will triumph, that he and those who believe in his ideals will succeed, or that he will even survive. It is too soon to tell, and the darkest hours are yet to come. Our own world stands in no less jeopardy. If we continue to let slip our grasp of reality, we are lost, as will be Richard and Kahlan. But within this struggle is the uplifting story of the nobility of mankind. Through these characters we are presented with a view of life that stirs and inspires us.

QUESTION: BenIII: Does Mystar really know you? And did he really help you with your office. Not to sound disrespectful, but a few of us were wondering.
Answer: Yes, Mystar is a friend of mine (as is Zedd). Yes I saw him when I had just moved. He helped me put my office together so I could swiftly get back to work on NE. While we share many of the same views and think alike in a number of areas, he (rightfully) does not presume to speak for me. There are some areas where we don’t agree at all and don’t hold the same views. If I ever get the time I will straighten him out. (humor) Occasionally he calls (as does Zedd) to ask how I wish something to be answered or what I would like to say about a particular issue. There are times, because of our conversations on a topic, when he so clearly understands my views that he will go ahead and tell people how he knows I would answer. Mystar is scrupulously honest. If he tells you something, you can take it to the bank. Honesty, as you can tell from my novels, is something that is important to me.

Murry The Madman: As a considerable fan of this series, I must say this I like the books, even POC, which many did not. I like the philosophy, I have no problem with it. Nor did I think that you were trying to shove it down our throats. More so, down the other throats of the other characters in the book.
Just how did he get the collar off? Rachel said he found some things in the Wizards Keep to help him remove them. What things? I thought the Keep was cleaned out. But there's a consensus that the First Wizards Enclave was inaccessible to the Pristinley Ungifted?

Answer: The keep was "cleaned out?" The keep is a vast place, with thousands of rooms. There is no reason to even believe that, without the Sisters of the Dark able to go into the Keep to guide the search, that the pristinely ungifted men doing their bidding would even begin to know what was important to grab, “or” where the important rooms were, such as the First Wizard’s enclave. By the relatively small number of wagons taking away crated objects, it seemed fairly obvious that their haul was most likely pretty meager.

Question: <The_Gilder> QUESTION: How, if in any way, has your fan base been able to affect the way you write, or how you try to state your beliefs?

My answer is not in any way. Since I have millions of readers that suggests their happy. I wouldn't know how to tell a story to please anyone else, An author who tries to do that is lost and has no integrity.

Question: (Lupus) What are your views on the patriot act? Do you believe the government is getting to much power to monitor its citizens, or is it needed for the "protection" of the people?

Answer: Protect it's citizens from what? Terrorism? We can't even name the enemy, much less describe him. Terrorism is a tactic, not an enemy. It's like saying we are against poison gas chambers without having the courage to say we against Nazis. Unless you can name the philosophies and people dedicated to killing you. How can you possibly hope to fight it? No war has ever been won defensively. Killers must be hunted down and eliminated. Evil ideas must be countered with rational ideas. Most of the means employed to protect us, such as the sham of airline check ins are merely public relation stunts. We will never win this war until we get the guts to name our enemy, Islamic fundamentalist and stop negotiating with them.

Question: Mr. Goodkind, in a recent interview you professed your dislike for most of the world siding with Sadaam Hussein, and saying that it was wrong to stop him.
Although wouldn't you say that your 8th Rule, Deserve Victory, gives credibility to those who protested against the U.S.'s involvement in the liberation of the Iraqi people? Just as Richard told the Bandakar that he would not liberate them, they had to liberate themselves. Wouldn't you say this also applies to the Iraqi, who just sat back waited for higher powers to save them, or do you think it's a different situation?

Answer: This is not a valid application of the Eighth Rule. Think of the Eighth rule in this way: would you rather get an" A" on a test because you studied hard, or because you cheated?It doesn't apply to the people of Iraq. In the early 90s we told the Iraqi people that if they rose up to win their freedom, we would back them. We lied. As a result, hundreds of thousands of them were slaughtered. I doubt that any of us can really imagine what it's like to live in a place where if you are even suspected of speaking ill of the leaders then your children will be tortured before your eyes before they and the rest of your family are butchered.The rest of the world did not merely side with Sadaam Hussein. The people in countries such as France and Germany overwhelmingly stated in opinion polls that they hoped American's would be defeated (killed) and that Sadaam Hussein would be victorious over the US-led effort to free the Iraqi people- that Sadaam would continue to rule. This means, to continue to torture and slaughter his own people by the thousands. The people of the countries who were against us are free to go to their cemeteries and look at the rows upon rows of graves of Americans who died helping to defeat murderous dictators in those lands, and yet they do not grasp what they are seeing. We took no land from them except enough to bury our dead. They stand there, free of fear of torture and death, without comprehending or appreciating the price paid by others to defeat such evil. Please refer to page 425 of NAKED EMPIRE.

Question: Emma-When is your birthday?

I do not give out my birthday because I do not want to get gifts from people. I appreciate their sentiment, but want to leave it at that.

QUESTION: I was curious what your inspiration for Nicholas the Slide was. He is by far the creepiest character to date. Thanks.

Answer: Thank you - about the creepy part. All of my characters are there to help tell the story. It isn't like I have visions of creepy characters. I very deliberately invent them.

Question: Reading through this series I've noticed that you take the time to name many characters, even ones who only appear very briefly. I've also noticed certain characters who are mentioned several times, such as Richard's mother and Kahlan's mother seem to be deliberately not named (repeatedly called simply Richard's mom, Zedd's daughter, etc, instead of being named). I've noticed you put a lot of thought into naming your characters

Answer: Thank you for noticing that I put a lot of thought into my characters' names. Yes, you are correct in assuming that there is a purpose for my not naming certain characters.

Question: I was at one of your book signings in Dayton, Ohio. You said that these books are not meant to be read by children, but by adults. I don't understand why your books are not meant for children. I'm only 14 and I love your books. Your books are the only books I read, mainly because of the relationship between Richard and Kahlan. And partly because the way you use magic in your books. Your writing I can understand. So my question is why are your books meant for adults and not children?
Answer: This is an excellent question and I'm glad you asked it. My novels are based on stories that most anyone could appreciate. Young people, while they may not be able to articulate the reasoning behind certain events, can nevertheless appreciate the sense of life presented. There is plenty there for someone your age to read and enjoy. I've heard from 14 year-old readers, like you who in fact have a better grasp of the story than do people in their twenties.But there are still concepts involved that are beyond the complete understanding of young people. Think of how much more you understand than you did only a couple of years ago. Young people are still putting together the meaning of ever more abstract concepts. While you can certainly begin to grasp the meaning and implications of love between a couple such as Kahlan and Richard, you are simply not old enough to completely understand such a relationship.The magic that you enjoy reading about is fun in and of itself, but there are deeper meanings behind it. I use magic metaphorically -meaning that it's used to represent other things in our world. On the most simplistic level, magic is used as a metaphor for technology. The journey books used by the Sisters of the Light, for example, are metaphorically much like e-mail or other forms of communication. It's not the magic itself that's important, but what is done with it -it's the message sent that matters, not the means, just like when you get an important message. The older you get, the more you will come to understand the meanings behind the things in the books. Think of it this way: Imagine a seven-year-old listening to the audio of one of my books. They would be able to grasp the story, but do you really think that they would get everything that you, at fourteen, would understand? In the same way, as you get older you will come to understand more of the meaning involved in the stories.I've had people come up to me at book signings and tell me that they first read WIZARD'S FIRST RULE at fourteen, and then they re-read it when they were twenty and they could hardly believe how much they had missed when they were younger.This doesn't mean that they weren't smart enough, or that they didn't enjoy it the first time, it only means that it's natural to understand more about life as you get older.For this reason I say that the books are meant for adults, but that doesn't mean that younger people can’t also enjoy the story, and I've very pleased that you did.I think that, in some ways, young people are better able to grasp the goodness in the main characters. It seems that some adults miss this aspect of the stories because they become so tangled in irrelevant details. In this respect, it could be that you got more from the stories than many adults.

Question: TG, Even though you present many strong female figures in your series, some of the women in the book are described as relying on their sexuality for a means of power. For example, the Sisters of the Dark often use acts of sexuality in their rituals and acts of magic. Is there any reason why you chose to present female strength (in the case of SOME characters) within these sorts of sexually based definitions?

Answer: People do things for many different reasons and they go about getting what they want by different means. There are women in the story, just like in real life, who use sex to get what they want. My stories reflect many different characteristics of both genders, including how they sometimes use sex as a means to an end.

QUESTION: Annerinas: Will you, Mr. TG, actually ever go write a non-fiction book exploring fully your ideals and philosophy, getting it out of your system. So that it's not being presented in the next book at the expense of the actual story?

Translation: Will you please change that way you think and write, stop using your mind, stop being an individual and instead start writing books like every other hackneyed Tolkien clone on the fantasy shelves. Answer: NO
The Premise of this question and all that it entails is beneath contempt. To say that I view this notion with indignity hardly begins to cover it. What you are seeing with my novels is something unique. They are not like all the other fantasy books. A tiny group of fantasy fans happens to like things the way they are and only wants more of the same. These few do not under any circumstances; want anything to change or anything that requires thought. They want everything to stay static and simplistic. For these reasons (and others), these people do not like what I write and they never will. They even hate that my books exist, that I write things that dare to uplift and inspire.
Rather than simply reading and enjoying the many books available that they like, they spend their time railing against the one author who is different.
What I have done with my work has irrevocably changed the face of fantasy. In so doing I've raised the standards. I have not only injected thought into a tired empty genre, but, more importantly, I've transcended it showing what more it can be-and is so doing spread my readership to completely new groups who don’t like and wont ready typical fantasy. Agents and editors are screaming for more books like mine.
They can’t find any-for 3 reasons. One, copying innovation is an impossibility. Two, individually cannot be copied. They don’t grasp the essence of my work. What they end up with are authors who imitate some of the nonessential elements unique to my books, believing they must be the secret to success, much as my publishers at first believe that it was the red dragon that defined my work.
Why are editors trying to get more books like mine? Because any one of my backlist sells more copies in a month than most fantasy authors' books sell in their entire run. NAKED EMPIRE has been on the NY Times list for two months now. Far more importantly, I break genre lines and draw my ever growing sales from the much larger pool of general fiction readers who embrace my books
Typical fantasies saturate the core fantasy readers and can't grow beyond. Only a few have, like Tolkien which is why every fantasy book blurts out "The Next Tolkien!" It's a lie that only fantasy readers believe or care about. My novels are best sellers in over twenty countries, including countries like Japan where fantasy just doesn’t sell. In Australia alone, the sales of NAKED EMPIRE more than doubled over the previous book, a best seller itself.
An advertising campaign in England and Australia that appealed to general fiction readers, rather than strictly fantasy readers, along with enthusiastic word of mouth about the novel, are responsible. My true fans have chosen to think, to embrace all that life is.
They like that my books inspire them, uplift the, help them see the joy in life. Just today I received a letter that eloquently expressed a common sentiment:"I learned from the underlying messages in your books and even the messages that smacked me in the face.
I have been able to apply them to my life and they helped me a great deal. Rather strange, huh? Learning life lessons from a "fantasy book"? But then again, they are more than just "fantasy books." Mr. Goodkind, you write of beauty and majesty, and in the long run that gives me hope. So I guess the reason I'm writing you for the hope and to thank you for a message that breeds life, love,
and understanding. Thank you from the depths of my heart. Thank you for something so pure."(---Lizz from NY)
So, in essence, this question is asking me to give up bringing meaning to people's lives, give up what I love, give up using my mind, give up my success, give up my huge fan base, and give up being a singular author of unique books, and, instead, write books I don’t enjoy, becoming one of the faceless many who are all doing basically the same thing for a small group of fantasy fans who don't want anything original.
Are you beginning to grasp why this isn't ever going to happen?

Q: Twilight (the question Shota and Kahlan's child)Remember how Shota predicted Richard and Kahlan's first child would be a male confessor born with the power? Remember how she became pregnant to Richard because the chimes made her magical gift from Shota obsolete? Remember how she miss-carried that pregnancy and lost her child? Does this mean that the child miss-carried would have been the male confessor with the power and the next child has a chance of being a female confessor with or without the power? If not, and the next child born is to be a male confessor born with the power, will she order Richard to kill him just as previous confessor's ordered their mates because of previous behavioral history for male confessors? OR will he give the child a chance, because of Richard's feeling that magic is a tool, and it is in how the user uses it?

Answer Good question

Okay, here’s the story and exactly what’s going to happen in my future books... Do you really expect that I would give all that away? Then what fun would it be to read future books? Things will be revealed when and if I deem them relevant.

QUESTION: Mystar: Is it such that you are not only writing a story for yourself, but you are including the attributes and precepts that you steadfastly believe in and live by in your own life? And if so, what would be the best response to someone who simply reads your book and carelessly dismisses it as nonsensical and “unrealistic?

Answer: Absolutely, Read something else. Your life is yours a lone; rise up and live it. Or does that concept enrage you so much that you must try to smash my work, just as the Order lusted to smash Richards’s statue?

QUESTION: Mystar: I think what Ann and Nathan are fighting for isn't what Richard is fighting for, am I correct? And could you elaborate?

Kahlan made this very clear when she threw Ann's journey book in the fire. People who have an incomplete or partially flawed philosophy can still quite often make morally correct judgments, even if they are sometimes for all the wrong reasons. Richard believes in volition; Ann and Nathan do not. From this flawed foundation, Ann has built a philosophy aimed at the impossible, insuring that destiny is fulfilled.
The mere act of attempting such a thing is inconsistent with her belief. To act is to express doubt; to express doubt is to admit the concept invalid.

Question: Would you be against someone making and selling, with your consent of course, of reproductions of items in your books? Mostly the statues of Life and Sprit, and the Sword of Truth.

Answer: Let me be very clear about this. The rights to such things are copyrighted. Those rights are very important in relation to other rights, which are potentially extremely valuable. For example, selling the rights to a movie may hinge on the producer also being able to get clean rights to related things, such as the sword. If I were to give permission to someone to produce the sword, say, then it would cause grave problems with the rights because I'd released portions of those rights and could therefore lose all claim to my own creations. Such damage to the rights could mean losing a deal to make one of my books into a movie. Therefore, I do not, under any cirumstances, give anyone any permission to produce anything from my work. It is not permitted. Never, Not at all, Ever.This same restriction extends to such things as using my characters and world in role playing games or fan fiction. When someone uses my characters for role playing games or to write fan fiction, they are stealing that which they do not own or have the right to use. It is against the law. It is theft, plain and simple, and I absolutely do not want anyone doing it. Period.You may ask, “What’s the harm in a fan using my characters and writing a fan story, or creating a role playing game that other fans enjoy using?” Here's the harm: courts have ruled that if an author does not go after these instances of theft and stop them, then it could later be ruled that by not doing anything to stop it the author was giving tacit approval.In order to protect my own nghts, my own property, my own creation, I must in the strongest possible terms deny anyone permission to use my creations for any reason whatsoever. If they do, I will have to take action to put a stop to it. Courts have ruled that companies such as Yahoo are liable for copyright infringements on their sites and they too would be put in jeopardy. A lot of people could get in a lot of trouble.Besides the legal issues, it’s just plain morally outrageous. A fan may think that they're flattering me by taking one of my characters and inventing a story for them, or a game. They are not. It's a horrifying feeling to see a character that I've created abused in this way. Besides it being illegal, imagine my horror to discover someone writing a story about Kahlan falling in love with someone new and leaving Richard. I doubt you can imagine how enraged I would be by such a thing.Please, respect the characters and world we all love so much and let me tell the stories. If you don’t, lightning awaits you down that path. There is plenty more story to tell. Please let me tell the story so we can all enjoy it
Streen> Mr. Goodkind, you answered a question by concluding that those who believe your latest books are too preachy are out to "destroy life, not enjoy it." Did you not have similar messages in the first four books, just not as expanded upon? What could have marked such a dramatic change between the fourth and fifth books?

Answer: I completely disagree that there was dramatic change between the 4th and 5th book. This is simply not so. My philosophy has always been consistent, although Richard has evolved to understand more of the world. As he grows, intellectually, I had him handling ever more difficult issues.
There is also a transition throughout the series as I learn to write better. WFR was the first thing I wrote. As I wrote more, I learned to integrate ever more complex concepts into the stories. I could never have written FotF or NE back in the beginning for two reasons.
First, I wasn't good enough as a writer to accomplish such complex tasks. Secondly, I would not have been able to get them published before I was a best seller. After FotF was a huge success, of course, they were quite pleased with it.
I write the same kinds of stories now that I did in the beginning, except they more directly involve the issues in our own world.

QUESTION: KZ the Seeker:
You know... I was wondering something about the Boxes of Orden... Couldn’t Richard use the boxes of Orden and become ruler of all, in order to stop the war?

Richard can't reliably his own gift; much less use it with the profound skill and knowledge necessary to accomplish such a thing. Darken Rahl was a master of his gift and even with the tools and knowledge at hand he still studied years just to be able to put the boxes in play.
Richard memorized the Book of Counted Shadows, but he doesnt even know what most of the words mean, much less how to invoke the specific magic or draw the required complex spells. We are not even touching on a great number of other problems, not the least of which is that doing such a thing runs counter to everything Richard believes.

Question: Your books have strong political, social, and philosophical issues. You have expressed your distaste for the state of politics from both parties. So who do you believe to be doing the most harm and the most good for the country?

Answer: The most harm? Pick one, anyone. The most good? Pretty slim pickings.

Question: If Owen in NE thought he was poisoning Kahlan and Richard why did he only have the one vial of antidote? Was Kahlan just supposed to die? Or is there a logical explanation?

Answer: One vial of poison for two people would mean that they each drank half. One vial of antidote would mean that they would each have half. It was clearly stated how time sensitive the poison was. In the beginning half the antidote would have been enough for someone drinking half the poison. Since Richard drank all the poison, he needed all the antidote.

Question: It seems to me that you have hinted at meditation and Taoism in a few parts of your series, like when Richard "connects" with Kahlan to bring her mind back from the Underworld in WFR, or when he learns to heal. I was wondering about these "inner self" moments and if you were metaphorically speaking of certain "spiritual" beliefs that you hold.

Answer: No.

Question: Did Richard Fix the "magic" in totw?

Answer: What would you think so? Simply put, No. He stopped the plague and sealed the Temple.

Thank you Terry for providing such a wonderfully clear and consistent view of the universe that clearly demonstrates the failures of the current philosophical culture of the Western World. Your use of logic and scientific method to determine reality is very refreshing and has solidified my own view points that I was continually forced to question as a result of peer pressure.
Question 1:
From your writings it is clear that you believe in soul mates and from what I gather from your interviews you have found your soul mate in your life as well. What I would like to ask of you is if you could share some of your experience and how it happened to you.
Anything that you wouldn't find to personal would be very helpful to people like me that have always known that I am searching for my Kahlan (at least Kahlan as since I first read WFR in 1994!). As an objectivist I have found it very hard to find others that can accept the concept that there is universal truth, and doubly hard to find women that are not either very intimidated by the concept, or afraid of it and what it might mean to their lives, or even more common, who not only disagree but are disgusted with anyone that would dare believe in objectivism.   Any information/ideas that you can provide on this subject would help greatly for those of us that have been searching a very long time.Any information/ideas that you can provide on this subject would help greatly for those of us that have been searching a very long time.Answer: Question 1Well, they do exist. The person who developed Objectivism was after all a woman, but I can sympathize with how hard it is in this age of anti-reason to find a woman who shares the same genuine and rational love of life-especially when schools breed such contempt for the nobility of man.
I think the tasks may be even tougher for women looking for such men. Public schools are more and more devoted to crushing children’s ability to think rationally.
Boys are three times as likely to be diagnosed with any of the alphabet soup of disorders and "treated" with powerful drugs that are derivatives of cocaine. Children, boys especially, are being turned into zombies for the crime of being human, of being children, of being inquisitive about the world around them. I shudder to think of the rank upon rank of young minds destroyed by these draconian drugs. If you want to be truly horrified at what is being done to the minds of children, read THE LANGUAGE POLICE by Diane Ravitch.
Children, boys especially are under the constant assault for being male and turned into androgynous robots, unable to think for themselves. One has only to look at TV commercials to see the corrosive effect of this evil philosophy; men are almost always portrayed to be, at the least, lazy, stupid, pathetic losers, and at worst, beneath contempt. It's a window into the rotting soul of a culture.
I heard somewhere of a service where Objectivist could meet like-minded people, but I don’t recall where it was that I saw this. Perhaps an on-line search might be of some use in finding this or other Objectivist groups where you could meet other committed to reason. You could join some organizations or clubs where you would get a chance to meet intelligent, fascinating people. If nothing else, it would at least be worth, your time, intellectually. The Ayn Rand Institute might have lectures, classes, or programs in your area. Don't forget, though, that many thinking people understand and value reason, and share the principles of Objectivism without having ever heard of Ayn Rand or studying philosophy. My wife and I both were like this. I wish you the best of luck. Don't ever settle for less. I can tell you that finding your Kahlan is worth the effort.

Geminiman Question 2:
More of a suggestion: A friend and I were talking about your books the other night and we agreed that the codicil to the Wizard's First Rule should be: "People are lazy. Given the opportunity they will stop thinking as soon as possible." As a result, while the philosophy that you present is very wonderful and for those of us that enjoy continually thinking, there is a large portion of the population that stops as far as you go and only accepts your view for the extreme things such as murder and rape. Have you considered giving more main stream examples now that you have clearly gotten the proof of objectivism and disproof of relativism out.
An example would be trespass. A friend of mine (another one) was asking me why I was so upset that someone was trespassing on a part of my land that I don't use and couldn't see them trespassing on. I applied the same principles that you do to murder and rape to trespass. What shocked me was that the person has read your books, and "believes in objectivism" but it never occurred to them that it applies in everything, not simply the extreme theoretical. So the question is, is there a reason why you do not directly apply objectivism in the same manner as you do the extremes (e.g. clearly with Richard speaking for you)? Or if no reason, please consider it, because now that you have established yourself, I would like to see someone stand up and dare to apply logic and reason to things that really affect the average everyday person in the specific instead of the abstract
I know it's dangerous but someone has to speak up and you have earned the respect of a large population of people.

Answer: Reason applies to everything in life. Reason integrates everything that exists. Reason is the foundation of everything I write about. I'm a bit confused by this question because I apply the exact same principles to the small things Richard does-right down to how he walks through the woods-as I do to the extreme examples of conflict. Perhaps, because the dramatic issues involving the central themes are intended to dominate the story, these stand out more in your mind. I assure you, reason is at the core of everything Richard does-and everything he will do.

Question: I have wondered what you think of Unions (labor). In SotF the Guilds were sort of taken advantage of, forced to take on unskilled labor. In FotF the Guilds were bad guys, taking a large chunk of the workers pay (union dues?) just so they could have a job etc.

Answer: I believe in individual accomplishment. How many successful books have you ever read that were written by a committee?

Question: I enjoy free speech, and think it should be protected, but where is the line between free speech and spiritual support of villains?
For example, were the Nazi propagandists exercising free speech, or being a party to murder?
Another example would be the Islamic clerics who promote suicide
bombings. Are they just saying what they think, or are they violating people's rights, or both?
And if their right is to be protected, what about someone who gives orders, and manages things, like a general?
I have trouble resolving the apparent conflict between free-speech, and non-material support of murder.

Answer: The Bill of Rights says: "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…This does not give people the right to infringe on the rights of another. For example, you can’t break into a house and haul someone out of bed to tell them your political views. Freedom of speech does not mean that someone can hire an assassin and tell them to kill you and have that order protected under freedom of speech.But it also means that someone who has views that are abhorrent to us can't be silenced simply because we don't agree. You have no obligation, however, to provide them a venue to say what they want. They have no right to demand the means to express their views. Freedom of speech also means that you have the right not to listen to them or to support them.People have the right to say that they are happy about a murder, or express a belief that the U. S. is immoral and unjust.The counter to evil ideas is reason. This is the very nature of the struggle in my series. The Imperial Order has evil ideas. Richard's means of fighting back is with better ideas.
Question Rico Len: What is the difference between a Wizard of the First, second and third order?

Answer: ANSWER: #1) Level of knowledge, training, and inherent ability.

Question: <Gertie> Mr.Goodkind, it appears to me that women are inherently weaker in every aspect in your book. For example, sorceresses are much weaker than wizards. Men are responsible for creating the women with incredible powers ie. confessors. Do you put men in a superior intentionally?

Answer: Allow me to unravel the flaws in your question. Strength is a subjective ability. Ask a man facing an angry mord-sith to put your theory to the test. Ask a poweful man touched by a confessor. Ask any big powerful man whose life has been ruled by a small woman with no weapons but a sharp tongue.
I treat characters realistically. All the women I know are strong in one way or another. Women in my books are strong characters. Strength is not a test, in which you can best an opponent in every facet of life. You can not measure and rank strength in the artificial manner you suggest. True interaction of realistic characters must not be some phony, populist, politically correct notion of equality. “Power” as you express it is merely a tool. A reasoning mind is the true mark of heroism and leadership. Thought is responsible for innovation, creativity, and accomplishment. A person’s soul is their conscience and free will, not the size of a particular sword they are able to swing. Ability is only a tool of the mind.

Question<RichardVeysey> Mr. Goodkind, have you ever thought of going into politics? I think if we had a president who thought like you, the world would be a much better place

Answer: Thank you, but I couldn't take the pay cut. Besides I wouldn't then be able to have the fun of writing books. Seriously though, I think that giving people stories, which they can come to grasp important aspects of life is very valuable. Through such stories people understand issues in life more clearly. That is the true goal and most noble aspect of a good novel - it presents worthwhile values. Rational ideas are what we

<elid_jones> QUESTION: i know a main theme of the story is individual choice. Volition. I try to live as though free will exists, but I am wondering: if causality is real, if all particles’ paths are pre-determined, how can choice exist? I am not trying to equate humans to computers; I am trying to figure out the difference.

Answer: since you are being sincere in this question and it is important, I won't try to give you an incomplete answer in such a brief forum, it would not be fair to you. Instead, if you sincerely want to understand the issue, I strongly suggest you read Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology by Ayn Rand.

QUESTION: Rico Len: How is it that a Wizard with both sides of the gift wasn't or isn't necessarily a war Wizard?

Answer: What does one have to do with the other? The term "war wizard" refers to a wizard’s innate abilities. The gift in each person is different. For example, Nathan was born a prophet. A war wizard has the fit in many areas, rather than limited ability- that is the root of the concept.

QUESTION: Mendo: Will he be kind enough to clear up the major time discrepancy with Friedrich traveling from Aydindril to Hartland and then all the way back to the mountains separating D'Hara and the Midlands in less time than it took Zedd and Adie to be carried in the back of a wagon from Aydindril to those same mountains separating D'Hara and the Midlands in less time than it took Zedd and Adie to be carried in the back of a wagon from Aydindril to those same mountains, go for a few days listening to the children being tortured, and then identify items for a few days (because there isn't any way they could have survived in the conditions for more than a week or so)? Or, at the very least, mention why Zedd never thought about the fact that the Sisters would have had to be using magic to keep him alive long enough for this all to have happened? It's seriously bugging me how time is screwed up in NE

Answer: Friedrich was on an urgent mission with instructions to go as fast as he could. He had a powerful team with great stamina pulling an empty wagon. The wagon train full of crates containing delicate and dangerous items being hauled by the sisters of the dark could not make a swift journey by any means.

QUESTION: Kcer Morgan: You know how Zedd and Zdie get captured and put the rada'han around their necks? well, i always thought Adie used her gift to see, since she is blind and all, and that the rada'han prevented the gifted from using their gift unless they were granted permission by the one controlling the rada'han.
now on page 372 of the hardback I'm reading they are led towards Jagang. The passage that struck me was this one:

Answer: Adie is blind.
Blind people put their other sense to better use. Don't you suppose that Adie, with her acute sense of smell and dying of thirst, could smell the water nearby? Or that she heard it slosh in the bucket when it was dropped in that place or someone else took a drink? I think you give Adie too little credit.

QUESTION: Nathan: How could Jennsen see the Lightning... as she was ungifted?

In both PILLARS and NAKED EMPIRE, because the concept is complex, I went to great lengths explaining all this, so I'll just refer you back to those two books for the complete explanation. Briefly, to the gifted, in their world, magic is a metaphysical reality.
That's the way magic in the series functions- not as a primacy of consciousness directed event (as in almost all other fantasy) but as a metaphysical reality, meaning, it's an existent which follows the laws of its identity (primacy of identity).
To Jennsen, it is not real (it has no identity, therefore no laws of identity)-it does not exist. There are times when magic (not an existent within her perception) alters the world in a way that Jennsen would have to see.
For example, if someone with the gift used a magic red went to move a rock, Jennsen wouldn’t see the magic of the red wind, but, because of the rock is a metaphysical reality to her, she would see (because of the laws of identity of her sense of vision) that the rock was moved.
There are other aspects to it as well, such as being able to see certain other things dealing with the underworld-because she is still subject to death and the power associated with it.
There is a fundamental problem with answering questions such as this, and that is that magic does not exist--its made up for a story. Because magic not a metaphysical reality, if one analyses it enough, all magic in stories will break down and be unworkable. It isn't real.
The important point that some people are completely missing is that magic in my books is made up for a reason. It's created to help illustrate important human themes. It is those themes around which the story revolves. My novels are not stories about magic; they are stories about people and the choices they make. The magic is just there to help dramatize that story.
Magic isn't real. At some point in trying to explain it, everyone will fail because it does not and could not exist. It's just a story. With all my reasoning ability, I try to make the magic realistic enough to be sound and to be metaphorically valid in getting across important concepts and values.
Get it through your head--magic it isn’t real. Read the story for what it is, stories about human beings being tested by life and living up to the challenge. People embracing life.

Question: QUESTION: hi again. I was wondering if you think a small amount of taxes is a good thing. I think I remember Richard deciding that everyone should pay a small tax to pay for the defense of the empire, which seems to contrast with the objectivist view.

Answer: citizens should all pay for the defense of their life from foreign and domestic threats. Funds for government services, for example the courts, should be collected from those who use them. All welfare should come from those who volunteer their own money, not the money of others, not the victims of theft (the tax payer).

Men should not be required, at gunpoint, to "sacrifice" for other men. If you are told, at gunpoint, to give a group some of you property so then can have it for their own use and you are required to work for them for no compensation that is called slavery. The present system of taxation, forced work for no payment, is not thing but dressed up slavery. Yet another example of sacrifice for the greater good - the greater good meaning some gang who wants and claims title to the product of you sweat.

fyrechiken> Terry, I have also wondered if the books were meant as a sort of "primer prophecy" like "the adventures of bonnie day" to inspire people in our own society.
Answer: that is my most noble goal and the most good that can come from my books.

Question: Drakin: What inspires you and gives the ideas and characters for your books?Answer: Inspiration is the sum total of your intellect applied to a consciously directed goal.Closing comments from Terry

Thank you all for coming to this chat. It has been both an honor and a pleasure to be here. You have my sincere gratitude for making a place in your lives for my books. Thank you for letting me tell you stories about Richard and Kahlan and all the rest of the characters who have come to mean so much to us all.

Live Questions and Answers on, September 20, 2003.

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