• The Sun | 08 October 2010 | Matt Bendoris

    PLEASE NOTE -- much of the following article is as fictional as any of my books! While I did discuss serial killers briefly during my interview with Mr Bendoris, I never mentioned Peter Tobin -- I had not even heard of his name until I read this article! I suspect the editor or interviewer wanted to make the interview easier for regular readers of The Sun to connect with, hence the twistings of the truth...


    HORROR author Darren Shan has spent years terrifying readers with his gory vampire books. But the writer - who has sold 18MILLION tomes worldwide - insists it's real-life serial killers like Peter Tobin that leave him chilled to the bone. And the bloodthirsty author of the hugely popular Cirque Du Freak saga - made into a Hollywood movie last year - believes nothing he pens will ever come close to the appalling crimes committed by the Scots triple-killer. The 64-year-old handyman is serving life for three brutal murders. He killed Polish student Angelika Kluk, 23, in Glasgow in 2006 and the remains of tragic Vicky Hamilton, 15, and Essex student Dinah McNicol, 18, were found buried in the garden of Tobin's former home in Margate, Kent.


    Darren, 38, says: "There is nothing scarier than real people doing really horrible things. Watching Tobin's crimes on the news leaves you chilled. It makes you very disheartened about society. I guess, as you get older, horror gets less fun. You start to think about what really happens when a child is snatched off the streets by one of these beasts. That's why I think horror is actually escapism from the real world. Sure, vampire and horror movies get a lot of bad press, saying they cause violence. But I don't think they do. They are about getting away from the true horrors of what people are prepared to do to one another."


    Born Darren O'Shaughnessy, he spent his early years in London before moving to his family's native Ireland when he was six. At the age of 14 he bought his first typewriter and he wrote his debut novel three years later. His big breakthrough came ten years ago with his first children's novel, Cirque Du Freak - in a series titled The Saga of Darren Shan. He still churns out three books a year and his young fans can't get enough of his blood and guts.


    Darren said: "The kids always ask me to put more gore in my books - they're a bloodthirsty lot. But they don't fully realise the consequences of the horror. I try to address that. I have all these over-the-top bloodthirsty themes, but I'm not interested in just grossing readers out. I want them to think about what happens next."


    The man who has spent his career writing about the supernatural is yet to have a real-life spooky experience of his own. He said: "I keep an open mind. I like to believe the world is a more interesting place if vampires do exist. But I'd rather meet a vampire than someone like Tobin."

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