Plot Outline:

Grubbs Grady is an average kid. A bit bigger and slyer than a lot of boys his age (he loves to play evil, ingenious tricks on his sister), but nothing special. He leads an ordinary life, and expects it will always be that way. But when his parents and sister behave strangely ... and Grubbs decides to stick his nose in ... his entire world is thrown into chaos. He discovers that demons are real, and that terrible things can happen right in front of your eyes.

As Grubbs slowly and painfully tries to deal with his new situation, help appears in the form of a friendly, eccentric relative. Grubbs moves to the countryside to recover, and starts putting his life back together. But there are secrets to be uncovered and hard truths to learn, and Grubbs is about to find out that as crazy and deadly as the world now seems, life is about to get a whole lot worse!!!

"Lord Loss" is the first book of "The Demonata", a ten-book series which will take readers into new worlds and universes, all of them populated or threatened by demons. Fast-paced and bloody, horrific and fantastic, frightening and exciting. You might never look at the world in the same way again ...

Author Notes:

Lord Loss, the first book of my Demonata series, went on sale in the UK and Ireland (and Japan, where they had caught up with the British schedule, and Taiwan shortly after) on 6th June 2005. It got to #1 on the overall bestseller chart in Taiwan, was the #1 children's bestseller in Ireland for five weeks in a row, and got to #2 on the children's hardback chart in the UK (#7 on the overall children's chart).

How could I possibly follow an epic, international, multi-million selling series like "The Saga Of Darren Shan"?!? In retrospect the answer was simple -- by creating one of the fastest, hardest-hitting stories ever written for children! (These were in the days before YA was a common term, so The Demonata was classed as a children's series.) But it could have all been oh so different...

Originally I hadn't planned to write another series. I wrote the first draft of "Lord Loss" back in February 2001, and assumed it was a one-off book -- although "Lord Loss" would prove to be the entry point for readers into the world and ways of The Demonata, it was originally intended to be read (and still can be) as a single, stand-alone book. Like "Cirque Du Freak", I managed to squeeze all of my plot notes for it on to a single A4 sheet of paper, and that was what I worked from and built the book up out of. (Although I did put the names of the characters, and brief descriptions of them, on another sheet.)

I knew I couldn't release "Lord Loss" until "The Saga" was over, so I set it aside for a couple of years and focused on completing my vampire series. In May 2003, I returned to the book, did a second draft and got stuck into the editing process. I'd had some ideas for other books about demons during the intervening two years, but didn't think I could work a series out of them. I thought I'd simply do a few books which featured the character of Lord Loss, but were otherwise unrelated.

That changed utterly and completely over the next year and a half, as I was led on a bizarre and unorthodox chase through my imagination and an ever-expanding universe of demonic ideas. By the end of it, I was looking at a 10 book, tightly interconnected, non-linear, ultra-ambitious series about demons, magic, and the origins of life, the universe and everything -- but more about that later!

It starts viciously -- chapter 2 is probably the most shocking thing I've ever written in a children's book. There were two reasons why I chose to place this scene so early, and to make it so violent. First, I wanted to make it clear to readers from the beginning that we were in a world where the rules are different. There weren't many out-and-out villains in my vampire books. I tried to keep all of the characters as human as possible, and to explain their motives if they went off the rails and committed wicked acts. But the demons in these books are entirely without human emotions. They're monsters straight out of a nightmare. They don't play by our rules. They're cruel and destructive. I felt it was important to stress that at the start.

But I also started in such fast, brutal style because I didn't want to upset my readers too much! It might sound strange, but I really do think a lot about what I put in my books, and I try not to throw in gratuitous violence which will revolt more sensitive readers. Normally I'd have developed the relationships between Grubbs and his family, and given them several chapters together -- like the way I sketched in the details of Darren's home life in "Cirque Du Freak." But I didn't want readers to get too attached to these characters, because I knew that would make it more upsetting when they had their unfortunate run-in with Lord Loss. So, by not spending too much time on Grubbs' family, I hopefully lessened the blow of what happened to them.

"Lord Loss" actually started life several years before 2001 -- as a poem! I wrote the poem which appears at the front of the book in the early or mid 1990s, and it was supposed to be published in a book called "Quiet Moments", in January 1997, by International Society of Poets. There are certain money-making publishers who publish books with hundreds of poems in them, all by amateurs. They then sell the finished books to the people who contributed. It's a form of vanity publishing. I sent "Lord Loss" in out of curiosity, to see what the process would be like. I never bought a copy of the book, which I was a bit sad about now, until a very generous fan tracked down a copy of the book years later, to give to me as a present, only to discover that the Lord Loss poem hadn't been included! I guess they only bothered to print the poems of people who had agreed to buy a copy of the book. What a swizz!

Anyway, I wrote a lot of poetry in my teens, and even into my early 20s, but I quickly forgot most of them. (They were usually morbid, cynical rants -- the sort of stuff moody teenagers excel at.) But "Lord Loss" stuck with me. I often thought about the ghoulish character I'd created, and wondered if there was more of a story to him than I'd first thought. One day I was playing around with ideas for a werewolf story, and trying to find an original way to write about wolven shapeshifters. I recalled my poem about Lord Loss and wondered what would happen if I introduced demons into the mix -- and I was off!

The first chapter is called Rat Guts, and in it, the character of Grubbs wraps a mound of rodent's guts into his sister's towel, to play a nasty trick on her. Pretty twisted, I know. But in the first draft he played an even sicker joke on her! Here's the original opening to the book:

→I’d have to go back hundreds … thousands … maybe millions of years to locate the true origins of the madness, nightmares and desolation. But for me the terror starts with my sister screaming:

→“Grubbs — you bastard!”

Why was Gret so mad? Well, because he drew little vampire faces on her tampons! (She then tried to stuff them into his mouth to pay him back!) I thought it was an unexpected, novel way to kick things off, and it also served as a nice backwards nod to my vampire series, but my agent (quite rightly, I admit) called for its immediate removal and replacement. Sometimes we writers have to be protected from our wilder ideas...

I used the arrows at the of each chapter as a homage to one of my favourite authors, Kurt Vonnegeut. Similar arrows had appeared in a copy of one of his books that I'd read years before, so I thought it would be a nice way to acknowledge the influence that he'd had on me -- but I found out in later years that the arrows don't appear in most printings of the Vonnegut book!

If I'd known that Lord Loss was going to be the start of such a long and complex series, I might have thought twice about beginning it. The scale of the project might well have troubled and scared me, and perhaps I would have judged it too ambitious a jump. Proof that sometimes it's best not to look too far down the road, but just to focus on immediate goals.

Global Cover Variations

  • Book Cover Image Lord Loss - UK 2013
  • Book Cover Image Lord Loss (Hungary)
  • Book Cover Image Lord Loss (Ireland and UK CD)
  • Book Cover Image Lord Loss (Norway)
  • Book Cover Image Lord Loss (Slovakia)
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