• Issue 24 - July 2002

    01 July 2002

    Welcome to the July issue of the Shanville Monthly! With this 24th issue, the Monthly celebrates 2 years in business -- let's hope there are many more still to come! It's also MY birthday this month -- I hit the big 3-0!!! I plan to mark the occasion by doing a parachute jump, so hopefully the luck of the vampires will be with me!!!!!!! I spent much of June in Japan and Korea, following Ireland's progress in the World Cup. I also did a couple of events in Japan while I was there -- more about that, and all the other recent news, in a little while. To start with though, let's have a look at the latest Shanville book to hit the stands ...


    Book 7 of the Saga of Darren Shan, Hunters of the Dusk, officially goes on sale this month in the UK and Ireland, but it was shipped ahead of schedule and actually appeared in many bookshops early in June! It entered the Irish bestseller charts at number 3, then moved up to number 2 the following week. It entered the UK bestseller charts at number 34. Check out the News forum on the Shanville Message Board for further updates on how it's doing in the UK and Ireland -- you can also discuss the book with other Shansters in the new Book 7 forum I've created.


    My first 3 books have been sold to Serbia, Bosnia and Montenegro, to be published in the Serbian language. This brings the number of countries where my books are being sold to 25!!! (and that's not including countries where the UK edition is on sale as a foreign import.) You can check them all out by going to the Shanville covers page. It really is an incredible feeling for me to see my books travel so widely and find favour in so many different countries, with such a variety of readers. In fact, sometimes it's hard to believe -- I can still remember the time (not so long ago!) when I was struggling to make a breakthrough and wondering if anybody would ever be interested in the stories I had to tell. Now here I am, at the centre of a worldwide web of fantastic freakiness, making friends through my books with people all around the globe. Unreal!!!!!!!!


    I've been in touch with the people at HarperCollins, and they say all the posters should be shipped by July 3rd. This means everyone who completed and submitted the questionnaire in May should have their poster by July 10th at the very latest. If your poster hasn't arrived by then, you should e-mail the people at Collins at [email protected] and politely ask when you can expect to receive your poster. (There's no point writing to me -- I wasn't involved directly with this promotion, so I have no control over it.)


    As I said above, I was in Japan and Korea for the World Cup in June. I had a wonderful time, and I also managed to fit in some events in Tokyo while I was there, at the Asahi Yashoten bookshop in Ikebukuro. You can find photos of this event (spread over 2 pages) on my Japanese web site, at http://www.shogakukan.co.jp/darr...ews15.html You'll also be able to read an account of the event -- if you can read Japanese!!! For those who can't, here's my own version:
    This was wild! My first 5 books have a print run of 1.2 million copies in Japan, so they're VERY popular! I did interviews with 5 major newspapers on Friday June 7th (including the country's top 3 selling papers), then did 2 events in a huge book store in the Ikebukuro part of Tokyo on Sunday. The first event was due to start at 13.00. I arrived at 11.30 to find hundreds of people already there. I had my photo taken with most of the people present ahead of the event, then was introduced by a famous Japanese swimming star/movie actress (she won a silver medal at the last Olympics). I gave a short speech, then shook hands with 300 fans and gave them each a copy of the new book (book 5) which they'd paid for in advance -- a few hundred more had turned up in the morning looking for tickets to the event, but the people organising the event had to be very strict because of space and time limitations! Most of them hung around and watched from the back of the crowd. (Awwwww!!!) The fans were extremely emotional -- some wept when they met me, many trembled, lots gasped and squealed. MANY photos were taken!! At the end of the event I had to leave behind a police cordon, as fans were trying to push up close for last-minute photos! Then, an hour later, I did a second event, again for 300 people. It was a strange, wonderful, thrilling experience -- and it was great to see a writer being treated like a pop star or football player!!!! I was very tired by the end of the day, but deliriously happy too. Roll on my next trip East!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    I'll be back in Edinburgh for the annual Book Festival in August -- this is my third year in a row! I had a great time there in 2000 and 2001, and I can't wait to return! You can check out the full list of events, and find out how to book tickets, by going to the official festival web site at: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/programme/children.asp
    My first event is on Monday, August 12, at 10.30. I'll be performing "The Song Of Darren Shan", covering books 4, 5, 6 and 7!! This is a follow-up to last year's events, where I treated audience members to verses 1, 2 and 3. Basically, it's the plots of the books set to rhyme.
    Later on Monday, August 12, at 14.30, I'm taking part in another event, organised by the NCH, where I'll be talking about one of my favourite childhood books -- there will be other authors at this event, also talking about their favourite books.
    On Tuesday, August 13, at 13.30, I'm going to be focusing on the first 3 books, and will be performing (with some help from audience members!!) a brand new mini-play, based on the plots of the first 3 books!! (I meant to do the events in reverse order -- i.e. talk about the first 3 books on Monday, and the other books on Tuesday, but because of a printing mistake, I'm now doing them in the order listed above.) At the events, I'll also be taking questions from the crowd, and I'll be wrapping up each event (except the NCH event) with a reading of an extract from Book 8 of the Saga (a different extract at both events). It should be lots of fun -- if you're in the area and have the means to be there, miss me at your peril!!!!!!
    HELP WANTED!!! Those who came to the previous shows know that I like to involve audience members as much as possible, and get volunteers up from the crowd to help me out. This year, to give Shanville users an advantage over everybody else, I'm going to offer you the chance to volunteer early! On Monday and Tuesday, I'm going to be at the entrance to the Author's tent (normally in one of the corners of the square) a half hour before the event begins (i.e. 10.00 on Monday, and 13.00 on Tuesday). If you want to participate in the play or song, come along at the stated time and I'll pick my volunteers from among those who turn up -- we'll also do a bit of rehearsal beforehand!


    If any teachers are interested in using Cirque Du Freak as a classroom text (or if any of you students would like your teacher to use the book in class), you might want to check out the Collins Education web site at this address: http://www.collinseducation.com/...nloads.asp It features a classroom plan drawn up by an enthusiatic bunch of teachers at Park Hill Junior School, and may be used or adapted by any teachers who wish to incorporate it into their curriculum.


    It's been a while since we had a competition here -- time to rectify matters!! As well as the recent release of Book 7 in the UK and Ireland, Books 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 have been re-released, with new covers to match those of books 6 and 7. (You can check out the new covers by going to the covers page on Shanville.) This month, I'm offering 3 readers the chance to win a signed set of all 7 books!!! All you have to do to be in with a chance is e-mail your full name and address to [email protected] The closing date is midnight, Sunday, July 21st. I'll draw 3 winners at random after that, and send signed copies of the first 7 Darren Shan books to each of them. NB: This competition is open to readers in all countries; please put YOUR FULL NAME in the SUBJECT BOX of your e-mail when entering; only one entry per person -- people making multiple entries will be disqualified; your details will not be shared with any companies or individuals, or held on record -- all entries will be deleted once the competition is over; the names of the winners (but obviously not their addresses!) will be published on the Shanville Message Board and in the August issue of the Shanville Monthly. May the luck of the vampires be with you!!!!!!!


    Although most of the new-look Shanville is in place now, work is still progressing on certains parts of it -- such as the Monthly Archive, which is currently incomplete. Hopefully everything should be sorted out by the end of this month. When the site's in full working order, I'll start adding some new elements, such as fresh readers' letter and art, though I probably won't be adding too many extras in the near future -- I just don't have the time these days to write new stories. That doesn't mean I won't be adding the occasional bonus feature -- they just won't be as regular as they were in the past, and won't accompany the launch of each new book.

    DEJÁ VU!

    Remember Gavner Purl's strange boxer shorts in book 4, and the last thing he said to Darren in the tunnels near the end of book 5? If you go to the EXTRAS section in Shanville UK and check out the Vampire Mountain bonus story entitled An Affair Of The Night you'll gain a clearer insight into why he was wearing those shorts and what that last sentence of his really meant ...


    And that's it! I hope all of you in the UK and Ireland (and those of you living abroad who order in the UK editions) rush out and track down a copy of Hunters Of Dusk this month -- and more importantly, I hope you all enjoy it!! I'll be back at the start of August to post the next issue of the Shanville Monthly. Until then, all the bloody best, Darren (I can't believe I'm 30!!!!!!!) Shan x x x