Terry Brooks and Anthony Heald

Anthony Heald

Anthony Heald acted in plays throughout high school and college, and spent 15 years working in regional theater before settling in New York. He quickly established himself there by playing Tom in a 1980 Off-Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie, and two years later made his Broadway debut alongside Holly Hunter in Beth Henley’s The Wake of Jamey Foster. His performances in Anything Goes and Love! Valour! Compassion! earned him Tony Award nominations, and he was recognized with an Obie Award for his work in the productions of The Foreigner, Digby, Henry V and Quartemaine’s Terms. In film, he has appeared in Silkwood, Outrageous Fortune, and in Silence of the Lambs, with minor roles in The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, Kiss of Death, Searching for Bobby Fischer, Postcards from the Edge, 8MM, Proof of Life, Red Dragon, and Accepted. His over sixty audiobooks to date include Where the Red Fern Grows, The Pelican Brief, Jurassic Park, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, (which was a Clint Eastwood movie), The Great Gatsby, and many others. He currently resides in Ashland, Oregon with his family, where he is a member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival acting company. Our interview at http://AudiobooksToday.blogspot.com 

Terry BrooksTerry Brooks is the bestselling author of dozens of fantasy and SF novels, such as The Heritage of Shannara, Landover, The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, and the Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace. His latest is The Fall of Shannara: The Black Elfstone, read on audio by Simon Vance. He lives in Hawaii.
TOWER REVIEW: What had you written prior to “The Sword of Shannara,” and what was your reaction to the book’s success?
TERRY BROOKS: Prior to that, I wrote a bunch of junk. It was all experimentation with different forms of fiction, but it was necessary to spend time with it in order to get to a place where I could write the Shannara books.
TR: Were you precocious or shy, growing up?
TB: I was a shy, introverted kid, but I was good in school and liked books. I liked to use my imagination to create scenarios and characters. The kids in the neighborhood would get together to act out stories. I always tell people I was doing role playing before they invented the term.
TR: I know just what you mean. Outside, pretending, instead of watching television. So how do you explain our fascination with the magical, the mystical, and the mysterious?
TB: I think we all read to escape from stress. A few hours with a book, and everything looks different. We are somehow renewed. Fantasy is attractive for any number of reasons. It is the oldest and most familiar form of storytelling. I suppose I could argue that fantasy, with magic and monsters and strange lands, gives us a sense of empowerment we lack in our normal lives. It is no exaggeration to say that we are increasingly made to feel small and vulnerable, dwarfed by government, corporations, technology, and so on. In fantasy, that’s the traditional role of heroes, but somehow they persevere and come through. I think that gives us a reassurance we need.
TR: Regarding The Phantom Menace, did George Lucas just hand you his screenplay and give you free rein to develop the characters within certain guidelines, or did he discuss the novelization with you as you wrote it?
TB: I met with Lucas on the Phantom Menace project at Skywalker Ranch to find out what it was going to be like to work with the LucasBooks people. I admit to some concerns. My experience writing an adaptation to HOOK some years earlier was not a good one. But George was very good about agreeing to allow me to write the book the way I wanted, and to comment on it later. He allowed me to change things from the movie script, including dialogue, and I think that was in part because he understands that books do not work the same way as movies. It is a different experience. He wanted me to consider writing the book more from Anakin’s point of view. That was not hard to arrange. Thus we ended up with additional material in the book that could be more easily worked in there than it could have in the movie. It made a perfect compliment to the movie, rather than just a rehash of it.
TR: Any thoughts on series vs. stand alone novels?
TB: Well, if readers like what they find on their first journey in, they want to go back. The trick for the writer, of course, is not to make the multiple book form seem artificial. There is a certain amount of pressure on writers to just keep doing the same thing because it sold last time, so should sell this time. This is not a good way for a writer to go. It is one of the reasons I only do a certain amount of stories in a world before going away to write something else. It keeps me fresh and interested. On the other hand, now and then a single fantasy novel is sufficient to do what is needed. I think of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “Mists of Avalon,” for example. That book was complete all on its own, although she chose to write one or two sequels. I think it depends on the material.
(Note: Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is read on audio by Alexander Adams, a pseudonym for Grover Gardner.) 


THE DROWNING POOL by Ross MacDonald: When a millionaire matriarch is found floating face down in the family pool, the prime suspects are her good-for-nothing son and his wife, who stand to inherit, as well as a questionable chauffeur and a tycoon of a company trying to get the woman’s property for the oil under it. Private Investigator Lew Archer takes this case in the Los Angeles suburbs and encounters a moral wasteland of corporate greed and family hatred—and sufficient motive for a dozen murders.


Oprah and Jack Black News

Jack Black

A Wrinkle in Time includes a new essay that explores the science behind the fantasy. Rediscover one of the most beloved children’s books of all time by Madeleine L’Engle. Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a “tesseract,” which, if you didn’t know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg’s father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father? Oprah will star in the movie version. Oprah plays Mrs. Which, the most powerful of the three Mrs. Ws, who are celestial beings accompanying Meg Murry, her brother and friend on their journey to save Murry’s father. She gets to wear fabulous costumes. Meanwhile, Jack Black, of School of Rock fame, narrates the new audiobook Minecraft: The Island. Author Max Brooks is new to young adult fiction, having previously written World War Z.

Oprah A wrinkle in time

Classic Scifi

Jack Vance

Jack Vance Audiobook: he had been granted eternal life—but now he was living on borrowed time. Gavin Waylock had waited seven years for the scandal surrounding his former immortal self to be forgotten and had kept his identity concealed so that he could once again join the ranks of those who lived forever. He had been exceedingly careful about hiding his past. Then he met the Jacynth. She was a beautiful nineteen-year-old, and Gavin wanted her. But he recognized that a wisdom far beyond her years marked her as one who knew too much about him to live. As far as she was concerned, death was a mere inconvenience. But once the Jacynth came back, Gavin Waylock’s life would be an everlasting hell. . .

“Narrator Kevin Kenerly sets a commanding tone of this visionary morality tale…On audio for the first time, the novel illuminates thoughts on race and class in the unique way only science fiction can pull off, and Kenerly’s naturally strong and charming voice is aided by his gift for wry engagement, his subtle yet enthusiastic steering of the story arc, and his effortless creation of both male and female characters. What makes this book special is how it reveals the universal truths of human nature, ending with a befitting twist. Kenerly is the perfect pilot for the ride.”Audiobooks Today

Light Roast or Dark?

coffee news

In the movie JAVA HEAT there is blatant product placement for Coke. In the scene shown, an innocent man is being interviewed in Java (the island), and he lifts his Coke three times to sip. All that’s missing is an “Ahhhhh…” By contrast, coffee is much better for you, health wise. So says Dr Bob Arnot in the new audiobook (which he narrates) THE COFFEE LOVERS DIET. He is a former medical correspondent for NBC, and got interested in researching coffee after getting up early every day to appear on camera with the benefit of the second most consumed beverage (after water.) Some surprises: Storing in fridge not recommended; light roast healthier than dark; high altitude equatorial better tasting and health (Kenya/Colombia/Ethiopia. Light roast also great for losing weight.) The coffee diet book includes recipes for paring with food. Other findings: Fine coffee is like fine wine. The region and production methods vary, and affect taste and quality. The roasting affects micronutrient levels. Good light roast beans ground just prior to drinking are ten times as healthy than buying dark roast pre ground…so long as the donuts are avoided. The science of coffee is a big part of the book, including studies his team conducted. BTW, baristas were once asked which coffee tastes best among pre ground in grocery stores, and answered Newman’s Own medium roast. Paul Newman product profits go to charity, too. A win/win. Books and coffee? Match made in heaven.


Emoji Movie

Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?



Raymond Carver was a master storyteller, and a new audiobook contains many of his early stories, showing his development as a writer. They are classic character studies, with simple plots like some of Hemingway’s first stories were. The depth of observation is evident in both the exposition and dialogue, but only for readers or listeners paying attention. Subtle nuances in reaction are telling, and so what is not said becomes as important as what is. Today, of course, pop fiction is about fast actions and one-liners told by two dimensional characters. Little meaning, more explosives. (Otherwise readers get bored.) Yet this a trained response. We have been deadened to violence, and so don’t understand what literature is trying to do: to explain by illustration the motivations of individuals. The best stories are those which keep you thinking, and which don’t end with a cliche “bang.” The goal of literary writers is to write something that hasn’t been written before. To present a slice of life dilemma, not necessarily with an answer. Often just stating the problem or situation is enough, but in a unique way as the point of view pulls away, as in the movie Five Easy Pieces, or the Ray Bradbury story “I See You Never.” Carver is funny at times, and there are uncomfortable moments too. Not gratuitous, but driven by who the character is: an unflinching view. One cannot blame the author for being honest. (Or at least one shouldn’t.) The only thing that detracts from enjoyment today is in the dialogue. The overuse of the word “said.” Some pages or minutes contain over a dozen repetitions of it. (“Yes, of course,” she said. “Really?” he said. “Oh yes,” she said.) Never “he replied” or “she responded.” Said is better than “he growled,” as any writing teacher will tell you, but one doesn’t have to use it as often as he does. At least, writing today, one doesn’t. (Carver died in 1988.) The more modern approach is to use it only when the reader may be unclear who is speaking. (“Yes, of course, she said. “Really?” “Oh yes.”) Reminded me of listening to the dialogue of college students, in order to get that dialogue right: “He was like, ‘why did you do that,’ and she was like ‘Why not?’ and I mean, like, how can they, like, talk like that?” SAID vs LIKE. Sticks out, and takes you out of your suspension of, like, disbelief…he said. No one should be quiet if they have something to say. Some quotes on this include, “Read first, then think, then speak.” Or, “We don’t see things as they are, we see things as WE are.”

 Now step up to the microphone…see “About.”


Tinker Dabble Doodle TRY

Tinker Dabble Doodle Try

Tinker Dabble Doodle Try is about unfocusing your mind to achieve goals, certainly a contrarian approach. Culture tells us to be razor focused, Linked In, and concentrated on our busy schedules. But the mind is not a muscle, and doesn’t need endless reps at the gym. It needs down time, day dreaming, and awareness of our inner world in order to avoid the traps of obsession, burnout, and anxious tension that lead to depression and lost attention span. The author cites Jeff Bazos of Amazon as someone who uses seemingly contradictory methods to find solutions. He is, quote, “Both demanding and playful, both rigorous and relaxed, both focused and open at the same time.” Mark Cuban is the same way. One’s drive to succeed should not be blind or cruel, the author says. To be more productive, you need to pay more attention to things outside the box of your To-Do list. You must be willing to change, and to realize that cognitive dissonance is a tyrant that reinforces what we did in the past (or purchased in the past) by making us believe it is best (when it is not.) The ideal is to learn from mistakes: others and your own. The truth can only set you free to grow. Dr. Srini Pillay (who narrates the book on audio) is a Harvard trained psychiatrist and brain imaging researcher. Recommended for anyone stuck in a rut, and seeking a more profound purpose and joy in life by employing imagination. 

tech news


Serena Williams VS Roger Federer

Serena Williams

No, Roger Federer didn’t make a statement like John McEnroe did. He doesn’t have a new book out to promo, either. But John’s statement has people imagining Serena playing top male tennis players…what would be the score, in this case? Does it matter? There was once a “battle of the sexes” in tennis, so it might be interesting to try it again. Serena and Roger would be a great matchup. Would the players consider it? Should they? Am not a big sports fan, although I do play and follow tennis, so am wondering if fans think this is a publicity stunt. John narrates his new audiobook BUT SERIOUSLY…out the same week as his statements. Perhaps we take the statements of celebs (and sports itself) too seriously?


Processed with Rookie