• Issue 29 - December 2002

    01 December 2002

    Welcome to the Christmas edition of the Shanville Monthly!! Some VERY exciting news this month, about the books and a meeting with a famous couple at a certain 10 Downing Street ... There's also news of the launch party for book 8, and a cool Christmas competition!!!! So what are you waiting for?!? Hop on board the Shan news-sleigh quick and follow the reindeer with the blood-red nose for news!!!!!!!


    Book 8, Allies of the Night, was released in the U.K. and Ireland last month, and has been selling hotly ever since. In Ireland it entered the charts straight at number 1, where it stayed for 3 weeks in a row, before dropping to the second spot in the last week of November! That's the strongest any of my books have performed in the Irish charts -- a sign that the Shansters are taking over!!!! It's also been selling very strongly in the U.K., although it hasn't enjoyed the same sort of chart action there -- the U.K. chart includes children's annuals and other festive fare, so it's tricky for "normal" novels to make an impact at this time of year! Oh well -- I'll be back in February, when the path will be clearer, and we'll see then how Killers gets on ...


    My name's Darren Shan, and this is my report of my trip to number 10 Downing Street in London, where I met with the Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair. It was a very exciting night. Lots of famous writers were there. I got to meet loads of them, including Eoin Colfer, Anthony Horowitz, Terry Pratchett, Jacqueline Wilson, Philip Ardagh, David Almond, Celia Rees, Diana Wynne Jones, Nick Butterworth, Michael Morpurgo, Debbi Gliori, Quentin Blake, Brian Jacques, Colin McNaughton, , Louise Rennison, Mick Inkpen, Roger McGough, Martin Waddell, Jez All-brow (I can't spell his name! he writes about a duck who can fix stuff) and a whole lot more whose names I've forgot. I did write all the names down on a piece of paper so that I could remember them for this report, but Mrs Blair's baby, Leo, had an accident on the carpet, and she snatched the paper from me and used it to clean up the mess. I hope I don't get a bad grade because of that!!!!
    Anyway, like I was saying, I went to 10 Downing Street on Monday the second of December. I had to be there for 6.30 p.m. at night. I had a bit of trouble getting in, because I sometimes use a different name (Darren O'Shaughnessy) and they weren't sure which name they had me down under. But eventually I got in (I'd like to see them try to keep me out!!!) and after walking through the police scanner (I wonder if they could see my guts on it?) I knocked on the door of number 10 and was let in.
    It's HUGE inside! It's like Dr Who's Tardis, small on the outside, but enormous inside. After walking up lots of stairs, where paintings of old dead prime ministers were stuck on the walls, I joined all the famous writers in a big room. Waiters went around with glasses of wine, orange juice and water, and small snack-type things they called canny-peas. I wasn't too fond of the canny-peas -- they had sue-shi, and salmon on little bits of bread, and stuff like that. No fish-fingers or burgers!! I know Tony Blair has to be careful with the country's money, but I think he could have got in some better grub for us. Philip Ardagh had the right idea -- he sneaked in a takeaway from McDonald's inside his big bushy beard!!! (He didn't let me have any of it though, the big old greedy-guts!)
    I spent most of the time talking with the famous writers. I learnt lots of interesting things. Like: Anthony Horowitz HATES award ceremonies!! Celia Rees is going to New Zealand to do research for her new books!!! (That's the sort of job I wouldn't mind when I grow up!) And Eoin Colfer plans to write 206 Artemis Fowl books!!!!! (Actually, I think he might have been kidding me about that!) Also, Terry Pratchett said he wanted to use my name in one of his books -- but I told him I'd punch him in the nose if he did!!!!!!!!!!!
    I met Mrs Blair pretty early on (when there was that accident with Leo). I met Tony Blair later. He gave a speech about how great it was to see so many famous British writers. I was standing with Eoin Colfer, and we're both Irish. When I met Tony after he'd gave his speech, I said to him, "This is Eoin Colfer and I'm Darren Shan, and we're the Irish contingent." He looked pretty pleased to see a couple of blokes from Ireland. I suppose it's nice for him to see some new faces every now and then.
    There was lots more talking and eating and drinking after the Blairs left to put Leo to bed. The wine went pretty quickly, I can tell you! Them writers are a hard-drinking bunch!!!! When it was over, most of them went over the road to drink in a pub called the Red Lion. Not me. I was tired, and I had school the next morning, so I went home and wrote this report instead. And then I went to bed.
    The end.


    My name's Darren Shan and this is a report of my book launch for my book called ...
    *AHEM!!* OK, that's enough of the schoolboy-style!! Back to normal!
    HarperCollins celebrated the release of Allies of the Night with a book launch on Tuesday, November 12th. We held it at Simon Drake's House of Magic, a REALLY cool place in Kennington in London. The staff dress up as vampires and ghouls, everything's covered in cobwebs, the design is gothic, there's a haunted cellar -- a half-vampire's idea of Paradise! Lots of journalists and book-sellers came, along with members of my family and friends. A couple of young actors from the Harry Potter films also popped along -- Tom Felton and Matt Lewis, who play Draco Malfoy and Neville Longbottom in the movies!!! (They're big fans of mine!) You can check out photos from the party by clcking on either of the following links: http://www.achuka.co.uk/news.htm or http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/pictures/galleries/newsid_2465000/2465525.stm . I'll add more photos from the party to the site as soon as I can. I meant to have them up for this month, but didn't have time. Maybe in January!!! By the way, the link to Simon Drake's website is: http://www.houseofmagic.co.uk


    Although my 2002 tours have come to an end, I'm going to be doing 1 final public signing event this year in the Children's Bookshop in Pinner -- full address: The Children's Bookshop, 1 Red Lion Parade, Bridge Street, Pinner, Middlesex. (Nearest tube station -- Pinner) I'll be signing books in the store on Thursday, December 19th, from 3.00 p.m. until 5.30 p.m. (N.B. I was originally meant to appear on Sunday, December 15th, but I've had to change the date -- sorry!!!!) If you want more details, or if you can't come but wish to order some books, the phone number of the store is 02088669116. So if you want a signed copy of a Darren Shan book for Christmas, and you live in London or nearby, this is your last chance of 2002!!!!!!


    November was the month for great revelations!! Although I hoped to keep them under wraps a while longer, the titles of books 11 and 12 have now entered the public gallery! To find out what they're called, go to the U.K. part of Shanville, where you'll find the titles along with release dates. (N.B. most of the release dates have yet to be confirmed -- they may change! Keep checking back for updated information.)


    To promote sales of Book 8, postcards were distributed throughout cinemas in the U.K. in November. One was a copy of the cover to book 5, the other the cover to book 6. There were very small black-and-white images of all 8 books on the backs of the postcards. I'm offering 35 sets of these postcards (that's one of each card) as prizes this month, in the following manner: 10 pairs will go to readers in the U.K., 10 to readers in Ireland (either North or South), and 15 to readers in other parts of the world.
    To enter, all you have to do is send your full name and postal address to [email protected] But PLEASE NOTE: you MUST put your name in the SUBJECT BOX when sending your e-mail, as well as the COUNTRY YOU ARE FROM!!!! So, if you're Joe Bloggs from Mozambique, you should put Joe Bloggs - Mozambique in the subject box. Only one entry per person -- if you try to send multiple entries, you'll be disqualified. The closing date for sending entries is midnight GMT, Wednesday, December 11. (I know that's a bit shorter than usual, but I want to try to get these to people before Christmas.) The winners will be picked at random from all the correctly submitted entries -- 10 from readers in the U.K., 10 from readers in Ireland, and 15 from readers elsewhere in the world. Each winner will receive 2 postcards, one of each design.
    May the luck of the vampires be with you!!!!!!!!


    Fancy some Darren Shan wallpaper for your PC? Well, now you can download some super-cool images from the official Taiwan Darren Shan web site by clicking on this link: http://www.crown.com.tw/darrenshan/dnld.htm The files are zipped, and have to be unzipped before you can add them to your computer. There are probably different ways to do this. What I did was: (i)Clicked on the size of the image I wanted, ie 800*600, (ii)Saved it to a folder on my PC (iii)Unzipped it by clicking on the icon in the folder (iv)Saved it as a Bitmap image, which allowed me to right click on the main PC screen, go into Background, and select it. Good luck!!


    Probably my favourite of all the short stories I've written for the Shanville Extras is "Shanta Claus". I only put this festive story up at Christmas, and take it down again early in the New Year. It's set shortly after the events of book 3, Tunnels Of Blood, and it takes a very tongue-in-cheek look at some of the characters from the first 3 books. I'll be uploading the story around about December 19th (maybe a bit sooner, maybe a bit later!), and I'll be taking it off again in early January. I highly recommend you check it out by clicking on the following link a bit closer to Christmas: http://www.darrenshan.com/uk_site/extras/uk-extras08.html Or else you can just go to either the U.K. or U.S.A. site, go to the Extras section, and use the link there.


    And that's it for 2002! I hope you all have a bloody brilliant Christmas and a ghoulishly great New Year! I'll be going away on holiday shortly before Christmas (to Jordan, where I hope to learn how to dive!). I'll post the first 2003 edition of the Shanville Monthly when I get back. Until then, take care of yourselves, try not to eat too much over the holidays, and enjoy yourselves! All the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x