• Issue 15 October 2001

    01 October 2001

    In response to the shocking, horrific events of September 11th in New York and Washington, I'd like to extend my genuine and sincerest condolences to everyone in America, especially those who may have lost friends or family in the brutal attacks. The last couple of weeks have been sickeningly unreal, even for those of us who don't live in America. My thoughts -- and the thoughts of everyone I know -- are with you.
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    u.s.a. bound

    With all that's happened recently, travelling by plane is a dangerous, nervous affair. But I believe it's important to carry on with life as normally as possible at times like these, and not give in to fear. So, as things currently stand, my trip to America in October/November is still going ahead as scheduled. I'll be flying over on October 25th and visiting San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago and Boston. I don't have a finalised itinerary yet, but one place were I will be is San Jose in California, at the Milligan News Company's Annual Open House, on Saturday October 27th. For more details, you can check out their web site at: http://www.milligannews.com/event.htm As soon as I know more about where and when I'll be appearing, I'll post the info on the American Message Board, and hopefully include it in next month's issue of the Shanville Monthly (which, like this one, will be hitting the web about a week before the end of the month). If you're interested in having me come to your school, check out the FAQ section on Shanville for tips on how to arrange an author visit.
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    trials of death

    Book 5 of The Saga Of Darren Shan goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on Monday, October 1st. Trials Of Death is a fast-paced, action-packed addition to the series, wherein Darren has to undertake five perilous tests to prove himself worthy of being part of the vampire clan. If he passes all five trials -- he lives. If he fails -- he dies! As well as following Darren through his trials, we also explore some more vampire history and customs; we find out who the mysterious Guardians of the Blood are; and we learn of a terrible threat to the entire vampire clan ... It's edgy, hair-raising, stomach-churning stuff, Shansters, with a cliffhanger ending which will leave you wincing with anticipation! I hope you like it. I think you will ...

    gory gimmick!

    To help promote sales of Trials Of Death, my UK publishers, HarperCollins, have come up with a suitably ghoulish promotional freebie -- bottles of fake blood!!! The bottles come in a neat little cardboard/plastic package, with the cover image of Book 5 printed on the backing. While not every shop will have the fake blood, we've sent out a huge amount of it, so most shops should have some. Different shops will be giving it away in different ways. In some, you'll get a bottle when you buy a copy of the book; in some you might have to enter a competition; in some, who might get one just by asking. So, when you go to buy Trials Of Death this month -- as I assume you all will! -- make sure you ask about the blood!!! With Halloween coming up, it's an especially good time to have a bottle of fake blood lying around!
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    To celebrate the release of Trials Of Death, I've added some new EXTRAS and ART to Shanville. In the EXTRAS section, there's a glossary telling you how to pronounce all the different names in my books; a page listing the various pseudonyms of characters in the translated versions of Cirque Du Freak; and a new, exclusive, darkly humorous short story! (It's a bit different to the usual stories I run, but I think it's an appropriate addition!) Also, I added a lengthy interview/article from the Irish Times to the site this month, which you might like to check out on the INTERVIEWS page. Finally, an article I wrote for the Times Educational Supplement (TES), about childhood memories, is due to appear in their Friday October 5th edition, in case anybody wants to buy it.
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    There was a lively, interesting response to last month's competition, where I asked readers to suggest names for Evra's snake. Quite a few of you proposed EVA or EVE, and several of you also offered variations along the lines of SLITHER or HISSY. Chris Shaw came up with NYOKA, BELINDA and TIMIN, all of which I really liked. Colin Harvey's SNARVEKY caught my eye, as did Fred Besant's CONSTRICTO, Jessica G.'s BRIANNA and CORINA, and Melody Shanahan-Kluth's PERIWINKLE. Names which were in the running, and which I only eliminated at the final hurdle, were THESSAL by Arun Chandler, SIVVIL by Grace Singleton, and SINALOAN by Tamsin Linehan-McCaldin. In the end, however, there could only be three winners, and the three I eventually plumped for were:
    SENOPELADI by Jessica G. TANDRA by Helen Chandler. VERSAPTINA by Toby Blackman.
    I'll send a signed copy of Trials Of Death to each of the winners, though it'll probably be the middle of October before I get a chance to post them on. Thanks to everyone who entered. There'll be another competition soon, so keep an eye out for it!
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    covers usa

    I added a new feature to the site this month. You know the way I put up copies of the various international covers of my books, so that you can compare and contrast them? Well, now you can also VOTE on them!!! It's very simple: go to either the UK COVERS or USA COVERS page (depending on where you live), have a look at all the different Cirque Du Freak covers, then use the voting form near the top of the page to vote for your favourite. You can also look at how everyone else has voted (you can do this whenever you want, not just when you vote), and leave a comment if you wish.
    Lots of people have voted already. The "home" covers are proving very popular: on the UK site, the UK cover has attracted most votes, and on the USA site, the American cover has been tops most of the time (although it's been overtaken recently!). Of the others, the Japanese cover seems to have hit all the right buttons with voters, while the Danish and NEW French covers are also going very strong. I'll add a similar voting page for The Vampire's Assistant when I have a few more covers to put on the site, and I'm also thinking of adding other voting boxes -- such as for favourite book, favourite character, etc. Let me know if you think it's a good idea!
    On the subject of covers: quite a few people have asked when I'm putting the cover of Book 6: The Vampire Prince on the site. I've checked with my publishers, and I'm afraid the bad news is that we won't be revealing it to the public until the book is released in February (although I will be taking it around with me to events where I'm appearing). Sorry, Shansters!!
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    BOOKS 7, 8 & 9 REVEALED!!

    Big news this month -- I finally unveiled the names of Books 7, 8 and 9 of the Saga!!! I also revealed their release dates in the UK and Ireland. To get the full rundown, go to the main Shanville UK home page, at http://www.darrenshan.com/uk.htm
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    October's going to be a VERY busy month for me! I'm in Swansea on Thursday October 11th, for the Wordplay festival in the Dylan Thomas Centre. I'm doing 2 events, one at 11.00am and another in the afternoon.
    I've lots of events planned for libraries in Ireland for October 15th to 23rd. On Monday 15th I'm in Wexford for a 2.00pm event.
    I'm in Dublin for the next three days. On Tuesday 16th I'm in Raheeny at 10.00am, Charleville Mall at 11.30am, and Donaghmeade at 2.00pm. On Wednesday 17th I'm in Clondalkin and Lucan, and on Thursday 18th I'm in Ballyroan and Castletymon (times to be confirmed).
    On Friday 19th and Monday 22nd I visit Clare. On Friday I'll be in Shannon at 10.30am, Develera Library in Ennis at 1.45pm, and Killaloe at 4.15pm (this is an open event, after school, so anybody can come). On Monday I'm in Ennistymon at 11.00am, Corofin at 2.00pm, and the Ennis Bookstore at 4.00pm (again, this is an open event, free to everyone).
    On Tuesday 23rd I'm in Limerick, in Dooradoyle at 10.30am and Adare at 1.30pm. After that, I'm off to America (fingers crossed).
    Except for the Killaloe and Ennis Bookstore sessions, I think all the Irish events will be schools events, where specific classes are invited in, so they won't be open to the general public (although I'm sure you'll be able to come if you arrange it with the library in advance -- call in to see them, or give them a buzz, if you're interested).
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    japanese news

    Recently, I've been getting loads of e-mails from readers in Japan, where Cirque Du Freak has been doing great business since its release. (There's also a really cool Japanese Darren Shan web site, which might explain how so many Japanese Shansters have heard of Shanville!) In case any of you don't know, Book 2:The Vampire's Assistant was released in Japan in September -- if you haven't tracked it down already, go buy it now!!!
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    And that's it for October. I hope all my UK/Ireland Shansters buy, devour and enjoy Trials Of Death -- just prepare yourself now for the HUGE cliffhanger at the finish, and steel yourself for the 4 month wait to find out how the Vampire Mountain storyline ends!!! Because of my trip to America near the end of October, the November Monthly will be appearing a bit earlier than usual (I'll be uploading it a week or so before the end of the month). Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x
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