Author Terry Brooks often makes young people the heroes of his whimsical tales. So it must have been a pleasant surprise when a group of high school students from his old stomping ground showed up at a book signing in October.
Brooks was quite happy, in fact, that he then agreed to lead a Zoom session with these students and their classmates a month later.
All in all, it turned into an enriching experience for everyone in Kelly Schaefer’s literary genre studies class at Rock Falls High School, who had just finished reading, analyzing and critiquing the Brooks’ 1997 novel “Running With the Demon”.
Indeed, it’s been 25 years since Brooks first wrote about the fictional Hopewell, a stand-in from his hometown of Sterling.
In “Demon”, teenage Nest Freemark’s inquisitive nature takes her deep into the woods of Sinnissippi Park – where, alongside a roving Knight of the Word, she confronts the evil residing in an ancient oak tree. She learns both the truth about her birth and her destiny.
Senior members of Schaefer’s class — Raul Garcia-Fernandez, Savanna Wood-Kendrick, Ariana Diaz and Makenna Arickz — attended Brooks’ book signing Oct. 11 at the Anderson Bookstore in Naperville.
It was Brooks’ first book tour in years. As the 78-year-old writer explained on his website blog, personal health issues and a desire to finish his latest novel, ‘Daughter of Darkness’, had kept him at home in the North West. of the Pacific.
He blogged about his journey, writing, in part, about how good it was to meet his loyal readers: “It was so good to meet them and talk with them once again. It made me feel like those three years didn’t matter that much, that the love I’ve been blessed to receive from those who truly care about my work hasn’t diminished. There were stories to share everywhere we went.
It turned out that some of those stories were shared with Schaefer’s class. Brooks has agreed to conduct a video session with the students on November 10.
“He told them about his writing career and what his life was like growing up in the Sauk Valley area,” Schaefer said. “The students enjoyed talking to him and having the opportunity to directly ask questions and comment on ‘Running with the Devil’. ”
It also seems that the students made a good impression. Schaefer said Brooks had expressed a desire to have video sessions with future classes.
About “Running with the Demon”
A dark fantasy novel set in modern times, it tells the story of 14-year-old Nest Freemark, who seems to have inherited magical powers from her grandmother. She is aided by a tree-like creature named Pick, a wolf-like creature named Wraith, a barn owl named Daniel, and a weary traveler named John Ross. It is the first story in the Word and Void trilogy, which serves as a prequel to the epic fantasy series Shannara.
The following books are “A Knight of the Word”, in which Nest, now a student and athlete, encourages Ross during her crisis of faith, and “Angel Fire East”, when Nest, her career as an Olympic runner behind her, has a confrontation. finale with the demons that have long terrorized his family and Hopewell.