In Memory of Terry Goodkind

This is going to be a sad, personal, not really writing related post. If you’re not into that, I’m sorry. Please skip this week’s article, and we’ll be back to the regular types of posts next week.

But if you have a moment, I just wanted to take some time to memorialize author Terry Goodkind, who passed away of normal causes on September 17th, 2020 at the ripe old age of 72.

It has taken me an entire day to even stop feeling the pain of his passing the second I think of him. I started and stopped this post so many times in my head, each time ending in racking sobs. When I found out, I was in total shock. My husband thought one of my parents was dead by the look on my face. They weren’t, thankfully. Yet someone I loved dearly, a man I’d never met, but to whom I looked up to and cherished had passed.

No, I never got a chance to meet Terry Goodkind in person. He was a private man, and rarely did book signings, and even then, only ever did them close to home. His fans, however, are no less raving for his work. Fiercely loyal, we have always protected the author. As members of the First File, we are the steel against steel so that he might be the magic against magic. Private though he was, Mr. Goodkind loved his fans, and we loved him in return.

As for my journey into his worlds, I was put off by traditional High Fantasy novels like Game of Thrones and A Wheel of Time. A cousin of mine had been reading several novels in the Sword of Truth series and suggested I pick up Terry’s first book, Wizard’s First Rule. Having just moved from Hawaii where I had spent the first 23 years of my life to cold, distant Wyoming, I didn’t have many friends, so I devoured the series hungrily. Greedily I tore through twelve novels, as they took me away from my loneliness and consumed me in turn.

Mr. Goodkind got into publishing because he was writing the right things, at the right time. He sold the very first novel he had ever written, in 1994. In his own words, Terry says,

My story is unusual in that I was never rejected. I submitted WIZARD’S FIRST RULE, the first thing I had ever written, to the best agent in the country, he loved the book and wanted to represent me, he submitted the book to three publishers, they all wanted it, and it was finally sold at auction ten weeks after I had finished the book. This story is an example of why you can’t really use one author’s experience as a guide. Good books get published via many different routes. I believe that a good book will almost always find a way to publication.

-Terry Goodkind

Terry’s books, his worlds… they were so full of emotion. Each and every character he introduced you to was so well-rounded and real that when anything good or bad happened to them, the emotion you felt reading his words made you raw. I longed to write the way he did, and in truth, started writing my first real book in 2015 because of his influence.

Life has caught up with me here in Wyoming, and I am busier than ever. There are still several books that he has written that I haven’t read yet. I intend to reread his books, and finish them all in due time. But after that? He will never write another book again. I will never read his words for the first time in shock, in awe, in happiness and in sadness.

I am still in shock. I am still very raw after his passing. Terry Goodkind lived a good long life. He spent that life doing what he loved, which was writing novels and racing fast cars. He gave us many, many books in that time.

In remembrance of Terry Goodkind, I want to leave you with one quote that cannot possibly encompass everything his books mean to me, but might give you a reason you want to give them a try.

Your life is yours, and yours alone. Rise up and live it.

-Terry Goodkind

Terry Goodkind, may you rest in peace.

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