• Issue 8 - March 2001

    01 March 2001

    No time for greetings!! In case you didn't get the e-mail I sent out earlier in February, please note that my main e-mail address has changed to [email protected] The old address ([email protected]) NO LONGER WORKS. If you sent any mail to that address any time after February 7, I most probably didn't get it. Sorry about the abrupt switch, but it was unforeseen -- I transferred Shanville to a new web server in February, and one of the unexpected side-effects was that it wouldn't accept "mail" as an e-mail address! All my other addresses (register@darrenshan, art@darrenshan, etc.) are still the same as before. Also, apologies to those who received "Test" messages from me this month -- but I had to test my e-mail service, to make sure everything was working.
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    Phew -- now that we've cleared that up, let me say Howdy, and welcome to the March issue of the Shanville Monthly. It's been a technologically jam-packed month for me (as well as transferring the site, I also got a new computer), one I'm glad to see the back of -- modern machines and computer services are great, but they can drive you crazy when they're not working the way you want them to!!! Anyway, I've plenty to tell you about, so let's get cracking ...
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    At last -- the official Darren Shan Message Board is up and running!!! I've been meaning to add one of these for ages, but I thought it would be a big, complicated job. Imagine my surprise when I went searching on the web, and discovered it was as simple to put in place as ABC! You can get to the Shanville Message Board from my main home page or any of the sub-site home pages, by clicking on the button that says (surprise, surprise) Message Board!!!
    For those who haven't used Message Boards before: they're just a very simple way of posting messages for other people to read and (if they wish) reply to. When you go to the Message Board, you'll find a form at the bottom, asking for your name, e-mail address, the subject matter of your message, and a box to enter your text (there are other boxes underneath, but you can ignore these). Write what you want, then hit the Post It button, and hey presto! your message will be posted to the site. To read any message on the Board, click on the link and you'll be directed to the text, which you can reply to if you wish.
    NB: Although there's a box for your e-mail address, you DON'T have to include it. If you enter your e-mail address, other people will be able to send e-mails to you; if you don't enter it, they can reply to you only on the Board. Including an e-mail address is a good idea if you're looking for pen-pals (or should I say web-pals?!?), but it might result in SPAM mail (people sending you e-mails that you don't want). My advice, if you wish to include an e-mail address, is not to use your main address, but to create one on Hotmail or Yahoo (or some other server), which you can then use only for Message Board entries -- that way, if people annoy you by sending loads of e-mails, you can simply stop using that address.
    So: what should you write about? Basically, anything you wish! The Message Board is YOUR domain, to do with as you please. You can simply talk about the books and what you like or dislike about them, or list your favourite characters; you can ask questions of other readers (or me!), or answer somebody else's; you might like to hazard a guess as to what's going to happen in future books in the Saga, or launch in-depth discussions of the first few books; you can chat about your favourite bands, TV shows or other writers -- ANYTHING!! You can visit the Board daily, once a week, once a month -- whenever suits you best. But the more you visit, and the more active a role you play -- by posting messages or replying to others -- the more interesting the Board will be for everyone. Though I'll be monitoring the messages (removing any rude ones!), and making occasional replies (my name will always appear in RED -- if my name appears, and it isn't red, somebody's pretending to be me!), this is one area of Shanville I can't really influence. It's up to you lot to make this work!
    Let the debates commence!!!!!!!
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    Still time to vote if you haven't already! Cirque Du Freak is one of five books which have been shortlisted for the WHSmith Children's Book of the Year award. You can learn more by clicking on this link, or copying it and pasting it into your URL: http://www.whsmith.co.uk/whs/Go.asp?Menu=Books&pagedef=/books/prodlists/show.htm&data=smithschildrensshort
    Readers decide the winner -- you can vote for your favourite book through the WHSmith web page, or by picking up a voting form in any WHSmith store. The closing date for entries is March 6th. As an incentive, WHSmith are going to reward one lucky voter with a year's supply of books -- 52 books, one for each week of the year!
    There are several categories, but if you only want to vote in the children's award section, that's fine. The link to learn more about voting is: http://www.whsmith.co.uk/whs/Go.asp?Menu=Books&pagedef=/books/awards/show_whsbook.htm&data=whsbook2
    (PS If you can't get the above links to work, you can access the awards page through the main WHSmith site, at http://www.whsmith.co.uk/ )
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    Although Vampire Mountain doesn't hit the stores until June 4, book proofs will be sent out to journalists and booksellers long before then, and I'm giving 5 lucky Shansters the chance to be among the very first people to read the fourth Shan adventure!! Book proofs are mostly the same as the finished book, except the cover won't be the same, there will be some small differences in the text, and there might be typing errors.
    To win a copy of the proofs of Vampire Mountain, write a poem and send it to [email protected] The poem must be in some way related to my books or the characters in them, but apart from that you're free to experiment.
    The competition will finish at midnight (G.M.T.) on Sunday March 4th -- so if you haven't entered yet, you'll have to act swiftly! I'll wade through the entries after that, pick my 5 personal favourites, then contact the winners for their addresses. The winning poems will be posted on the April issue of the Shanville Monthly, and I may print some of the others in later issues. You can enter as many times as you like, but I won't award more than one book to any single person.
    I have the proof copies waiting to ship out -- so the winners should get an advance copy of Vampire Mountain sometime around the middle of March. Best of bloody luck!!!
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    I'll be holding a draw for all registered Shansters at the end of March. Everybody who's registered -- or who registers before then -- will be entered. I'll pick 3 names at random. The winners will get a proof copy of Vampire Mountain -- PLUS (big drum roll, please!) a proof copy of Book 5 of the Saga, Trials Of Death!!!!!!! Because Book 5 is coming out earlier than scheduled (see February's issue of the Shanville Monthly), the proofs are also coming out earlier. This is your chance to read Trials Of Death almost half a year before it hits the shops! (But be warned: Trials ends on a huge cliffhanger, so those who read the proof copies in April will have a long, nail-biting wait until February 2002 to find out how the story finishes!) If you haven't registered already, this is the time to do so!! And a quick reminder -- I don't pass your details on to anybody else; registered Shansters won't receive any junk mail, only direct e-mails from yours truly.
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    As many of you already know, my books are being translated and released in many countries around the world. To let you know exactly where they'll be coming out, what they'll be called in the various countries, and what the covers are like, I've added a new page to Shanville -- COVERS. So far, I've only been able to add the covers for France, Germany and the U.S.A. -- because they're all I've received -- but I've listed all the countries, and I'll be adding new covers as and when I get them. There's a COVERS button on the main Shanville home page, as well as on the sub-site home pages.
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    My German publishers have launched their own Darren Shan web site, at: http://www.darrenshan.de This has been online for a few months, but there wasn't much on it until recently. All that changed this month: they've added a fabulously spooky start-up page, lots of info for German-reading Shansters, and -- coolest of all -- a few great wallpaper images, which you can download and use as wallpaper on your computer! (I'm using their main MidnightCircus image as wallpaper at the moment, and it looks great!) The images come zipped, so you have to unzip them once you download them (and save the file in windows). If you're having trouble doing this, try asking your parents or teachers for help (assuming they know more about computers than you do -- which, of course, many won't!!!).
    One little aside: I came across a German web article recently, which discusses the German launch of Cirque Du Freak. As you'll see when you visit the site, the boy on the cover (their idea of what Darren Shan looks like) has odd, blue-ish hair -- from what I could gather from my translation of the article, the publishers think lots of teens are going to be dyeing their hair blue if the book proves as popular as they hope it will be! So if you visit Germany over the next year or two, and notice loads of blue-haired teens -- you'll know why!!!!
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    Cirque Du Freak hits America in April, and the publishers (Little,Brown) have some very ambitious plans to promote it. As outlined in the February 5 edition of the Publishers Weekly (many thanks to dedicated Shanster, John McLay, for sending me a copy!), their marketing campaign includes:
    * Print advertising in The New York Times Book Review, People¨, Sports Illustrated for Kids¨, Tzine, Blast, Marvel, Wizard, Spawn, and WWF.
    * Regional movie theater advertising in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.
    * National print publicity campaign.
    * Web marketing -- "Find Madam Octa on the Web" contest.
    * 12-copy floor display with special wraparound riser and tray of free rubber spiders.
    * Cirque Du Freak T-shirts for buyers who order displays.
    * Full-color Cirque Du Freak bookmarks.
    * And more!!!
    It all sounds very promising! To keep up with all the American Shan news, check out the children's section of the TimeWarner's book site, at: http://www.twbookmark.com/children/index.html
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    A new, fairly long interview I gave to the web site, http://www.whatamigoingtoread.com is available online now, at: http://www.whatamigoingtoread.com/interview_with_darren_shan.asp I talk a little bit about e-books in this interview, and how I see them growing -- a fave topic of mine!
    There's also a great review of Cirque Du Freak on the site at: http://www.whatamigoingtoread.com/books/book_review22989.htm
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    I'm in Eason's in Limerick at 10.30 on Wednesday February 28. I'm spending World Book Day (Thursday March 1st) in Manchester, at Long Site Library -- I'll be there from 10.00-10.45 and from 13.45-14.30. I'm doing some events in Ireland the following week, in Dublin on Wednesday 7th and Thursday 8th (visiting four libraries: Charleville, Raheeny, Ringsend and Pembroke), and in O'Mahony's in Limerick on Friday March 9th (from 10.00 to 13.00).
    Looking further ahead: I'm going to the Historical Themeparc Archeon (http://www.archeon.nl) in the Netherlands on April 7/8 for an exciting-looking Fantasy Fair. Apparently they're creating a "Vampire Lair" where I'll be eating ... er, I mean meeting the public! Sounds scrumptious! As far as I'm aware, Cirque Du Freak is being released in the Netherlands in March.
    And the date for my appearance at the Edinburgh Festival this year has been switched from Thursday August 16 to Sunday August 19. I'm also probably going to be doing an event there on Monday August 17.
    If you want to keep abreast of my future movements -- REGISTER.
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    I've made some slight changes to the main Shanville home page, adding buttons for the MESSAGE BOARD, COVERS (see above) and LINKS just beneath the Shanville logo. I've also re-vamped the Shanville Shop -- instead of a long list of recommended books, movies, CDs and comics, I'm now going to be promoting 3 different books and movies each month, saying a little bit about why I like them, and including thumbnail pics of the covers. I think there was simply too much information for people to digest, the way it was, and also some of the links were falling out of date. ALSO: I'll be adding a copy of the Trials Of Death cover to the site sometime this month -- I'll post a message to the Message Board when it goes online.
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    Q & A

    We haven't had any Q & A for a few months -- time to rectify the situation! The following letter was sent by Tamsin Linehan-McCaldin recently:
    I'm 12 years old and I love your books. I have read all three and am looking forward to reading Vampire Mountain (when it comes out). I have a few simple questions to ask and I hope you will take time to read and answer them. 1) When Darren in the books gets turned into a vampire, Mr Crepsley puts some of his blood into Darren. So, why didn't Darren (and all the other vampires) catch AIDS? 2) In Tunnels Of Blood how could Debbie think that Evra was Darren's brother when he had already said he was a friend? 3) Do Darren and Mr Crepsley ever get to like each other? 4) Do we find out more about the Little People in the next book? 5) Do the vampaneze ever find out about (censored!)'s death? (and just one more.) 6) How do you pronounce Mr Tall's first name?
    OK, so you might not be able to answer all those questions, but please try to anwer what you can and reply. I am one of the only people in my year at school to read your books, but I am persuading lots more of them to give them a go. All my friends think it's really strange that I read books about vampires, but I love them. I am also reading them to my six year old brother (Hamish) who isn't a bit scared and just loves the gory bits.
    My answers: 1) You only get AIDS from a blood transfer if the person giving the blood already has AIDS -- if he hasn't, it's perfectly safe. 2) Debbie thought Evra was Darren's brother BEFORE they met -- so even though Darren said he was looking for a present for a friend, she didn't pick up on that, and stuck with her original assumption -- that Darren and Evra were brothers. 3) Keep on reading the books to find out! 4) Yes! We learn exactly who -- and what! -- the Little People are in Vampire Mountain. 5) Yes -- though perhaps not in the way that you might think! 6) "Hibernius" is pronounced: "High"-"bur"(to rhyme with "fur")-"knee"-"us".
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    That's all for this issue! I'm doing quite a lot of travelling at the start of March, so I'll be away from my computer for most of the first fortnight. See you all again at the start of April, when I'll be running the winning entries from the poetry competition! All the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x
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