• The Guardian | 13 August 2012 | Yasmin Sulaiman

    Horror writer Darren Shan launched his new young adult series of zombie books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival yesterday, on a stage cluttered with models of bloody, limbless bodies donated by the Edinburgh Dungeon.


    The first book in the series, Zom-B, will be released at the end of September. There will be 12 instalments altogether, with a new book released every three months. The second book will be titled Zom-B Underground.


    In the past, Shan has written about demons and vampires but never before about zombies. And unlike his previous books, such as the hugely successful Demonata series and The Saga of Darren Shan, Zom-B will be one long story that carries on from book to book rather than separate storylines.


    It will focus on B Smith, a teenager whose father is racist and abusive, in a world threatened by a zombie attack. Shan says it was inspired by the fear and paranoia prevalent in society after 9/11 and 7/7. "We all have to take responsibility for our own lives or we'll turn into zombies and monsters worse than any in a book," he told the crowd.


    He also revealed that his favourite villain in Zom-B is a human rather than a monster: "I think humans are the scariest of monsters. There's a character in this series who will hopefully make your flesh crawl."


    Shan read several passages from the first and second books at the event, and promised plenty of twists and turns as the story carries on. When asked about the high death rate of characters in his books, he responded in typically realistic fashion: "In real life, there are no protected heroes."


    He was also asked why the film adaptation of his Vampire Blood trilogy was so different from the books. He replied: "I take the Stephen King approach: sell the rights and hope for the best."


    Shan is also releasing a new book for adults at the end of August, Lady of the Shades, which he said "is not a tie-in with Fifty Shades of Grey."

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