• DROGHEDA INDEPENDENT | 13 June 2007 | Sean Callery

    DRAMATIC, eccentric and mystical are just some of the words used to describe the writings of Limerick author Darren Shan, who appeared in Waterstones book store in Scotch Hall last Thursday.However, these words could just as easily be used to characterise the persona of Shan himself.

    Darren was in Drogheda to promote the fifth book of his Demonata children’s series, entitled Blood Beast.

    He laughed and cajoled with fans as he signed copies of the new book and pulled ghoulish faces as he posed for photographs, perhaps trying to recreate some of the characters from his wonderfully creative novels.

    Darren Shan is the pen name of 35-year-old Darren O’Shaughnessy. He began writing at an early age and penned his first novel as the tender age of 17.

    He has written adult novels in the past, but has become famous for his children’s books.

    ‘I enjoy the children’s books more,’ he said as he signed a copy of Blood Beast for 12-year-old Keith Farrell from Brookville.

    ‘It’s a different challenge to writing adult books, but I enjoy it very much’.

    Darren has sold over 10 million copies of his books in 35 different countries and is in the enviable position of being able to make a living doing what he loves.

    ‘It’s what I’ve always wanted to do,’ he said. ‘It’s wonderful doing it for a living, but I would be doing it anyway even if I wasn’t being paid for it.’

    Darren has built up a huge supporter base across the world and hundreds of his Drogheda fans turned up at Waterstones to see the author for themselves.

    12-year-old Mark Carrigy certainly didn’t mind queuing to see his hero.

    ‘I’m a big fan and I’ve read all his books,’ he said excitedly as he inched closer to Shan. ‘They’re a sort of a mystery and you never know what’s going to happen next,’ he explained.

    Doireann Gordon from Monasterboice couldn’t wait to meet Shan. ‘His books are so exciting and make you want to read on and I’ve read them all,’ the 10-year-old said.

    Among the other fans at Waterstones on Thursday were sisters Alison and Lyndsay Ritchie, as well as Philip Smith and his dad Dermot.

    Shan was due to leave Waterstones at 5pm, but due to the size of the crowd he decided to stay on. An hour later he was still signing books and joking with as much vigour as ever.

    He had earlier appeared at a number of Drogheda primary schools and was due back in Dublin on Thursday evening before flying to London the next day. From there he will travel to Asia on the next leg of his world tour.

    ‘It’s fairly whirlwind,’ he remarked. ‘But this is the fun part of it for me. This is what I love doing.’

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