• THE SUNDAY HERALD | 06 December 2005 | N/A

    DARREN SHAN knows a lot about sinister things. His last collection of books were all about vampires, and now his new series, "The Demonata", tackles demons. The master of teenage horror takes fresh on a journey to the dark side.In a fight between a demon and a vampire, who would win?

    A demon. Demons are creatures of magic. Physical strength is no asset when fighting a demon. Some humans (and, indeed, vampires) have magical abilities, which allow them to fight on a level playing field. But most are hopelessly inadequate in the face of a demon.


    Do you believe in such things?

    No comment!


    You've hinted that this new series, "The Demonata", will reveal "the origins of life and everything". Is it 42?

    Nope! I can't speak too much about the grander revelations of the series, especially as most of them won't become apparent until the last few books. All I'll say is, there's been a lot of discussion among scientists as to what existed before the Big Bang, and why it happened. Well, I intend to settle all such arguments.


    "Lord Loss", your new book, features a lot of chess. Are you a bit of a grand master yourself?

    Nope. I like chess, and I'm an OK player. But I play chess a bit like I write - I like to get stuck into the game without any grand plan and see how things develop. That works fine with my books, but on the chess boards, against a good player, it's not so neat.


    With "Lord Loss" did you deliberately set out to write some of the most shocking scenes ever found in teen literature?

    Not really. Those who've read my "Saga" books know that I don't shy away from violence and death. But nor do I revel in them. I deal with the consequences of violence, the grief and loss that comes when someone close to you dies.


    What would you count as your influences?

    Stephen King, Star Wars and a whole lot more. Writers are like sponges - we absorb everything we see and hear, then give ourselves a squeeze and wring our influences out in a different pattern.


    How would you describe your relationship with your fans?

    Great. And very close. I love being in close contact with my fans. I was a fan myself in my teens, and loved learning about my writing idols. Back then, there was no internet, so I never got to learn very much about Stephen King, Kurt Vonnegut, Clive Barker, Robert Cormier, and so on. They were shadowy beasts at best. Now, thanks to the web, that doesn't need to be the case.


    Has there been anything any of your fans have done that's taken you aback?

    I'm always amazed by their dedication. Some travel miles to see me. I've had people travel up to Edinburgh from London to come to one of my events.


    Is there going to be a Darren Shan film?

    The "Cirque Du Freak" rights have been bought by Universal, who plan to combine the first three books into a movie. They might then film four, five and six together, and so on. There's been interest shown in "The Demonata" too.


    What's the scariest film you've ever seen or book you've ever read?

    "Salem's Lot" had a big impact on me as a kid, and so did the book when I read it later.


    "Lord Loss" is out now on HarperCollins

    Copyright 2005 SMG Sunday Newspapers Ltd.

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