• Issue 11 - June 2001

    01 June 2001
    Hi !!

    Welcome to the June issue of the Shanville Monthly. Vampire Mountain finally hits the stores in the UK and Ireland this month -- HURRAH!!! I've added lots of new stuff to Shanville to coincide with the release of Book 4, which you can read about below. There's also a brand new competition, with proof copies of Trials Of Death as prizes, news of my travels, and more. So, without any further lingering, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's my great pleasure to invite you along on a long, bloody trip to --
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    Yes, I know it's been a (relatively) long wait, but Book 4 of The Saga Of Darren Shan is finally here! The official release date is Monday June 4th, but I think it's in some shops already (it's been sighted in Limerick, at least!) -- so keep your eyes peeled for it! And if you don't see it in your local shop next week -- ASK FOR IT!!! Never underestimate the power of a direct query! Bookstores exist to supply customers' demands -- but if you don't tell 'em what you want, they can't be expected to guess! Even if your local booksellers haven't ordered copies of Vampire Mountain for the store, they can order one especially for you -- if you ASK!
    Advance word about Vampire Mountain (from those who've read the proofs) has been very positive (check out the Amazon reviews by clicking on this link - http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007114419/shanville - then write one of your own when you've read it!). The next 3 books are more fantasy/adventure stories than horror tales, but there are plenty of grisly encounters and bloodshed, which seems to have appealed to those who've read Book 4!!! Books 4, 5 and 6 are part of one big story line, which has been split into 3 parts, which means Books 4 and 5 end on cliffhangers. As an avid reader of comics, I love big cliffhangers which leave me panting for the next instalment, so I got a big kick out of writing the books this way -- hope you do too! And remember: there will be just a 4 month wait between Books 4 and 5, and between 5 and 6 -- so you won't have to wait too long to find out how the story finishes!
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    To celebrate the launch of Vampire Mountain, I've added a lot of new material to Shanville, so if you haven't surfed the site in a while, this is a good time to do so! For your pleasure, we, the fine freaks of Shanville, are pleased to present:
    * EXTRAS: A brand new story! exclusive to Shanville!! all about Gavner Purl!!! But be warned -- it's a weepy love story, so you'd better have a hankie (or a sick bag!) ready when you read it!!!!! Also new to the Extras section -- the original home page for Shanville! This is what the home page for Shanville looked like when the site first went online in March 2000 (how many of you can remember that?!?). As you'll see if you check it out, my web design skills were very primitive back then! But I'm not ashamed -- it was the first time I'd put a web site together, and I had no training, so the rough edges were only natural. I thought I'd lost this page forever, but I found it by chance when I switched to a new web host server a couple of months ago. It gave me a big laugh when I saw it again! (Note: most of the links on this page don't work any more -- but they did back then!)
    * ART: Lots of great new drawings by very talented Shansters. New pics of Darren, Mr Crepsley, Evra, and various other characters. I'm always looking for new art - I love seeing how different readers interpret the books - so if you like to draw, and fancy a crack at Darren, Mr C, Gavner Purl, Mr Tiny, or anybody else from the books, have a go, then send your efforts in, and I'll do my best to upload them (full details of how to send art to me are available on the Art page).
    * LETTERS: I've added some new letters to the site, in the Vampire Mountain section, and will be adding more as and when I get them.
    * INTERVIEWS: There's also a large new interview/article which I added recently, dating back to my first trip to Birmingham earlier this year.
    * SHOP: Finally, you can now pre-order Books 5 and 6 - Trials Of Death and The Vampire Prince - through Amazon. I've added the links to the Shanville Shop.
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    A brand new competition for Shanville UK readers! I have 3 proof copies of Book 5, Trials Of Death, to give away (proof copies are what we send to journalists and booksellers months before the book is released; they have different covers, there might be typing errors, and there are some very minor differences to the finished book). To be in with a chance of winning one of these rare proof copies, answer the following question (but you'll need to read Book 4 first!):
    In Vampire Mountain, Darren meets the quartermaster of Vampire Mountain, who was once Mr Crepsley's teacher; WHAT IS THE QUARTERMASTER'S NAME???
    The competition will run until midnight, Saturday June 30th, so you've a whole month to buy and read Vampire Mountain, to find out the answer. (The reason I'm setting a question based around V M is that there's no point winning and reading a copy of Book 5 if you haven't read Book 4!) Send your answers to: [email protected]
    Please note: only one entry per person; make sure you include your name; the winners will be picked at random from the list of correct entries, and will be notified by me via e-mail; this competition is not open to readers in America. Best of bloody luck!!
    PS Make sure you check out the On The Road section further down -- there's news of another competition being run by a bookshop in Pinner, in which you can win signed copies of my first 5 books!!!
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    The winners of last month's audio tape competition where Alex Duffy of Cheshire, and Robert Kelleher of Limerick (he's actually a neighbour of mine, but I only found that out when he sent me his address after I'd contacted him with the news that he was a winner!!!). They each won an audio tape collection of Cirque Du Freak, The Vampire's Assistant and Tunnels Of Blood (if you weren't one of the lucky winners, you can buy these spine-tingling tapes from your local shop, or via Amazon on the Shanville SHOP). The correct answer was: Alan Cumming narrates the books on tape.
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    If you live in America or Canada, there's still time to enter the great Find Madam Octa competition being run by Little,Brown (closing date: June 15th). Prizes include signed copies of Cirque Du Freak, exclusive T-shirts, rubber spiders, and more. It's a fun competition: entrants have to visit a number of web sites and find different colored "Madam Octas". For all the details and rules, visit the Time Warner site. Please note: this competition is only open to USA and Canada residents.
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    A proof copy of the American version of The Vampire's Assistant was offered on the auction site, ebay, recently. Although the auction is over, a copy of the book cover remains, which you can check out if you want an early glimpse of what it will look like. The link is: http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=1429247344
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    I've added quite a lot of new American reviews of Cirque Du Freak to Shanville USA. You can access them by clicking on this link: http://www.darrenshan.com/usshan9.htm Also, there was a brief mention of Cirque Du Freak in an article about Idaho's largest children's book store recently. You can read it by clicking here: http://www.mtexpress.com/2001/01-04-25/01-04-25readallaboutit.htm
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    On the international front, the rights to Cirque Du Freak have been bought by a publisher in Czechoslovakia. To see a list of other "freak-bitten" countries (and what the various covers look like), check out the COVERS page on Shanville.
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    I made some very enjoyable trips to schools and libraries in May. Early in the month, I was in Croom (in Limerick); later, I was in the Birmingham region. I had a great time everywhere - many thanks to all the teachers, librarians and children who helped make it such fun, in Birmingham, Gorsemore and Halesowen - but I must make special mention of my evening in the Halesowen Theatre on Tuesday May 22nd: this was a public, night event, and I was a bit worried about it in advance (I didn't think many people would turn up!), but there was a great turn-out and it went splendidly. A huge, freakish "Thank you!" to everyone who tore themselves away from their TVs, computers and homework to come see me that night -- and to Ros Bartlett and co. for doing such a great job setting it up!
    I'm doing more events in June, almost all of which are pre-booked, I'm afraid (i.e. they're not open to the general public). I'll be at the Royal High School in Edinburgh on Monday June 4th; Waterstones in Newcastle on Tuesday; Waterstones in Leeds on Wednesday; a few schools in Sutton on Thursday (organised by the Kendrakes Book Store); and the Children's Book Shop in Pinner in Middlesex on Friday June 8th. In Pinner, I will be signing books in the shop after school, at 15.30 (3.30 pm), for anyone who wants to come along. (I'm not sure what time I'll be there until, but I imagine 16.00 or so). You can learn more about this event (and maybe win signed copies of my first 5 books!!!) by checking out the shops's following web page: http://members.tripod.co.uk/ChildrensBookshop/
    At the Waterstones stores in Newcastle and Leeds, and Kendrakes in Sutton, it might be possible for you to leave in books for me to sign, or to pay for copies of Vampire Mountain in advance, which I can sign for you while I'm there -- but I'm not sure of this, so please check with members of staff in these stores for more details if you're interested.
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    Q & A

    It's been a while since we had a Q&A section in an issue of the Monthly -- time to rectify that! The following questions were sent to me by Jessica G., in Switzerland, who wished to write an article about me in her school magazine. I'll be running some more Q&A from other Shansters in the near future.
    1) Where does your inspiration come from? A lot of my ideas come from movies and books I saw/read when I was younger — especially horror! I always loved horror and used to stay up late whenever I could, catching vampire and monster flicks!
    2) Does it annoy you to have a blue rat inside your head? That’s Sam Grest — not me! [this questions refers to the Sam Grest short stories on Shanville -- see EXTRAS]
    3) Do you write with blood and a quill, or a computer? A computer — much less messy!
    4) Do you prefer writing for adults or children? I like flicking between the two. I know most writers concentrate on one particular area, but I find I learn things about writing for adults when I work on children’s books, and vice versa. If I preferred one to the other, I’d stick to it!
    5) What do you think of "stereotype" vampires? There’s nothing wrong with the vampire stereotype, but there have been so many books and movies, I just didn’t see any point in having my vampires behave like “ordinary” vamps — which is why I gave them a bit of a different spin.
    6) What are you afraid of? Questions like this! Actually, I was always quite scared of spiders, although I haven’t been since I wrote Cirque Du Freak and confronted that fear! I’m also a bit nervous of snakes …
    7) Have you ever scared yourself with something you've written? No. Very few books – either my own or anybody else’s – scare me.
    8) You're very accessible to your fans, through the website and email. What advantages and problems are there in being so easy to contact? The advantages are that I’m in touch with the people who matter (those who buy and read the books), and I get important feedback from them -- I quickly learn what they like and don’t like. It’s also a lot of fun! The main problem is that as the popularity of the books and web site (hopefully!) grows, I’ll probably have more and more people e-mailing me, and eventually I might have to cut off that avenue of communication -- if I’m spending all my time reading and answering e-mails, I won’t have time to write!
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    That's it for June. I hope you all rush out and buy Vampire Mountain over the next week or so -- and tell your friends to buy it too!! More importantly, I hope you enjoy it!!! Remember -- you can write a review of it (or my other books) on Amazon, or discuss it with fellow Shansters on the Darren Shan Message Board. I'll be back in July, when I should have some early reactions to Vampire Mountain to report! Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x
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