World Book Day 2012: Tee Morris

One Writer’s Inspiration
By Tee Morris

Looking back on my adolescence in Richmond, Virginia, my circle of friends appears less like a circle and resembles more of a globe. I kept with an eclectic company of people. Most of them, though, nurtured a shared love for music and science fiction. Two great tastes that, for whatever reason, seem linked even to this day. One of these eclectic friends, Roger, introduced me to my two things that set a course for me: Dungeons & Dragons, and Terry Brooks’ The Sword of Shannara. I’m sure that D&D is a gateway drug for many of us that write in this genre, and I still miss those afternoons embarking on the modest campaign. (And I’ll admit, I was the guy that was hoping to hook with the hot NPC dryiad. Every D&D outing needs that guy, and yeah….I was him…)

The nice thing about the works of Terry Brooks is they were far more portable than a Dungeons & Dragons campaign.

If D&D was my gateway into the Fantasy genre, then The Sword of Shannara was my multipass into a writing career. This book — along with my parents — nurtured my imagination, encouraged my creativity, and dared me to sit down and write. And write I did. The deeper Brooks’ works drew me in, the more I wrote; and by the time I reached James Madison University, writing was a refined skill that I applied in papers, presentations, and even in original one-act scripts. In 2006, around the time I was writing fiction for Dragon Moon Press and non-fiction for Wiley Publishing, I posed for a photograph with two of my major inspirations in writing: Alexandria McGrath (my 10th Grade English Teacher) and Terry Brooks. The significance of that moment didn’t really settle in until after I had bid Terry a “Bon voyage” on his return trip home. (He had just finished appearing as our first Guest of Honor at RavenCon in Richmond, VA.) One introduced me to an epic world of unending possibilities, and the other had told me to pursue this passion; and during RavenCon’s premiere, I spent quality time talking about writing with both of them.

Yeah. That took my breath away. Still does.

The Sword of Shannara is the first of what is now an epic saga from Terry Brooks, but that particular book will always hold a special place for me as it was the game-changer. Within its pages, I embarked on a journey that continues to this day. I consider myself most fortunate to be where I am today, and I have Terry Brooks and The Sword of Shannara to thank for it.

Tee Morris began his writing career (and his long-time friendship with The Dragon Page) with his 2002 historical epic fantasy, MOREVI The Chronicles of Rafe & Askana. In 2005 Tee took MOREVI into the then-unknown podosphere, making his novel the first book podcast in its entirety. That experience led to the founding of Podiobooks and collaborating with Evo Terra and Chuck Tomasi on Podcasting for Dummies. Phoenix Rising: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel marked Tee’s return to fiction, and earned him the 2011 Airship Award for Best Steampunk Literature and honors on Goodreads’ 2011 Choice Award for Best Science Fiction. Currently, Tee and his wife Pip Ballantine are producing the award-winning Tales from the Archives podcast while preparing for the launch of their next steampunk adventure, The Janus affair: A Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Novel. Both of them can also be heard on their podcast, The Shared Desk. Find out more at and