• RTE.ie | 05 November 2008 | Brendan Cole

    My real name is Darren O'Shaughnessy and I published my first couple of books for adults under that name name. When I wrote a book for younger readers I decided to use something different. One of my nicknames growing up was 'Shan', and it sounded nice and catchy so I decided to go for that!

    I was a 'fanboy' myself when I was younger. I loved going to comic conventions, queuing up for hours and meeting my heroes and that sort of thing. I know exactly where the fans are coming from and it's a very important thing for me.

    Writing always has to be about the characters. I don't care what genre you work in - whether it's fantasy, horror, or romance. I like horror because it lets you explore extreme reactions.

    I'm not interested in packing my books with wall to wall gore - although there are very bloody scenes with people getting killed and ripped apart. It's always there for a reason; exploring how these things impact on the characters.

    I will write 10 pages a day five - even six or seven - days a week if I'm working on a book and I'm particularly involved in it but I work quite strangely and juggle several books around at the same time; one might be ready to be published in a few months but the other might not be ready for three of four years.

    It sounds very forbidding for younger writers and it can be off-putting but when you do it [writing] you gradually become capable of doing more and more. There are no real tricks of short-cuts, but you do learn it intuitively.

    Very few people would recognise me walking down the street. I live in a very small village in Limerick and everyone knows me there. I'm the local writer but if I wasn't that, I'd be the local something else.

    I've stayed out of the movie [the first 'Darren Shan' film is due early next year]. I'm a big movie fan and I've read lots of books about movie-making - most writers who get involved in the movie-making process come away feeling fairly very bitter about it.

    As a writer you have complete control over what you do. If you enter the Hollywood system, you're a very small cog in a very big machine. Although they did invite me to go over to the set, I just decided against it.

    You have a choice: unless you actively chase the fame as a writer, it won't chase you.

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