• TEEN TITLES | 20 November 2000 | Kathryn Dunlop and Jessica Smith


    Darren's first book, Cirque Du Freak, was published by HarperCollins in January 2000. Spider-loving Darren (who shares the author's name) and his friend Steve are unable to resist the lure of the freak show that they see advertised, which is so weird that it can only be put on in the middle of the night. Are the wolf man, snake-boy, the world's fattest man, and a vampire and his performing tarantula worth the price that Darren has to pay -- recruitment as a half-vampire? The story is continued in The Vampire's Assistant, and there are another 22 in the pipeline.

    Kathryn Dunlop and Jessica Smith (Craigmount High) saw this brilliant new author at the Book Festival [in Edinburgh, and interviewed him].

    Q: So, does Edinburgh live up to your expectations?

    A: Yes, it's a wonderful place. I wasn't expecting to see the Castle, but it was beautiful and would be great for a vampire party!

    Q: I understand that this is your first children's book. Was it harder writing children's books or adult books?

    A: I found it a lot trickier to write children's books because you need to find the right tone of voice, and you also have to make sure that you don't talk down to your audience.

    Q: How many books does your film cover, and even though I have read both of your books, will I still have some surprises to come?

    A: The film will be combining the two books together, (for film update, see the december issue of the Shanville Monthly -- darren) and, yes, you will get some surprises because most films change the story a bit. If the film is not good, there is always the book to go back to.

    Q: Which author has inspired you the most and why?

    A: Stephen King, because he is wonderful and I also have always loved scary stories -- about vampires especially, which he does really well.

    Q: At the beginning of Cirque Du Freak you say that this story is true. If it is, what is it like being at your own funeral?

    A: I didn't have much of a view of it because I was six feet underground! It was a deadening experience!!

    Q: You have obviously been in a lot of interviews -- what question have you never been asked, but would like to be asked?

    A: "What would happen to your series if you died before it finished?" And my reply would be that it would go down with me [since I haven't told anybody how it finishes, or what happens in the later books that I haven't yet written].

    Q: How does you mum feel about having a vampire for a son?

    A: She loves it -- but she keeps her door locked at night!

    Q: If you were stuck on a desert island with one person, who would it be and what luxuries would you take?

    A: Stephen King [because he could keep me entertained with great stories], my widescreen TV, video recorder and DVD player [and lots of videos/DVDs].

    Q: I saw you on TV a couple of weeks ago [on Newsround] -- what was it like?

    A: It was really fun, I enjoyed it a lot -- I just hope I didn't look like a schmuck!!

    Q: I've heard a film may be getting made out of your books. Who would you like to play the characters in the film?

    A: I think the little boy from The Sixth Sense when he is a bit older would be a good Darren. I also think Christopher Walken could be a great Mr Crepsley.

    Q: I understand you enjoy films. If a remake of your favourite film was made and you were to play a part, what would it be and what part would you play?

    A: I have no time for remakes! I enjoy films a lot, but I like originals best.

    Q: The names for your characters are all very clever. How do you think them up?

    A: It's a true story, so they aren't made up!! [Actually, they come from different places, and in different ways.] "Mr Crepsley" came from "Mr Creepy", [which I twisted around a bit to make it sound more exotic.]

    Q: What is the strangest piece of mail you have ever received about your books?

    A: I once got an e-mail from a boy asking if he could become a vampire. He wanted me to put in a good word for him with Mr Crepsley!

    Q: What is your favourite book, and why?

    A: [One of my favourites is] Salem's Lot by Stephen King, as it is about vampires and it is very, VERY creepy.

    Q: What blood type do you prefer?

    A: O positive!! I like to experiment, though -- so what type are you two?!?

    Q: Where you were a child, was it your dream to become an author, or was it something else?

    A: I've always wanted to write. I also wanted to sing or act, but mostly to be an author. [Which is just as well, because I'm useless at singing and acting!!!]

    Q: What do you think of the Harry Potter books?

    A: I love them. J K Rowling sent me a signed copy of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, and it's my pride and joy!

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