• Issue 33 - April 2003

    01 April 2003

    No, it's no April Fool's joke -- welcome to the April issue of the Shanville Monthly!! I had a quiet March, though I did a couple of local events in Limerick, at the Gaelscoil in Newcastlewest, and in Eason's in Limerick (where I was signing for ages!!). I also addressed the annual A.G.M. of the Schools Libraries Association in Dublin -- a bit different to my usual events! I've been doing lots of writing recently, both on the Saga and on a couple of other projects, so if I've seemed a bit quieter than usual on the message board, please forgive me! I've also been busy answering lots of fan mail -- it's getting to the stage where I might have to hire someone to help me deal with it!!! The way things currently stand, I still answer all letters personally, but I reply to very few e-mails -- I simply don't have the time. (Plus, the answers to most of the queries sent to me by e-mail can be found on Shanville already!) So if you've sent me an e-mail any time recently, yes I've read it, but please don't be offended if I don't respond!!! Anyway, enough prittle prattle -- on with the news!


    Book 9, Killers of the Dawn, was Number 1 in a recent Bookseller Children's Heatseekers chart in the U.K.!! The Bookseller is the leading bookselling industry magazine. Their charts are compiled by Booktrack (the compilers of the UK's official bestselling charts). The Heatseekers Top 10 is published regularly in The Bookseller with all other charted bestsellers. It's a sort of alternative bestseller chart, listing titles which don't often make it into the official bestseller lists (like books from new authors, or from long-running series).


    You can download lots of new wallpaper images for your PC from my Taiwanese web site, by clicking on this link: http://www.crown.com.tw/darrenshan/main.htm You then have to click one of the links near the bottom of the menu on the left hand side (you'll have to hunt around for it unless you can read Taiwanese!). Download the images you like (they don't take very long). Then unzip them. Then save them to your Windows folder as a bitmap file -- which lets you set them as wallpaper later. (At least, that's how I did it!!) Complicated, but worth fiddling about with until you get it right -- there's some really cool stuff here!!!


    I've added lots of new covers to my web site recently. Click on the following link and then surf around: http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/gallery1.html Included over the last month or so were the following covers: The Lake Of Souls (U.K. Book 10), Vampire Blood (the U.K. collection of books 1, 2 and 3), Taiwan Book 4, Japan Book 7, the new Chinese collections of the first 6 books, several new German editions, and more. I've also added a new section: Other Covers. This is for covers from collections, audio cassettes, and old covers which have been replaced (like the first 5 U.K. covers, and the original French cover of book 1). Now you can find EVERY Darren Shan cover there's ever been!!! And of course I'll continue to add new covers as and when I receive them from my publishers.


    My American publishers, LittleBrown, have created a Darren Shan fun ePostcard. To check it out, click on this link: http://www.cuttingrichmedia.com/postcard/cirquedufreak.html If you want to, you can send this to your friends -- especially if they've never read any of my books and you think they might be curious!!!


    Check out the following Detroit News article -- it mostly concerns the writer, Mil Millington, but there's a piece about me in it!! http://www.detnews.com/2003/metro/0303/16/a02-109573.htm

    U.S.A. SITE

    I've updated the Shanville U.S.A. home page, and also the U.S.A shop. Find it by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/us_site/ushome/ushome-00main.html
    Book 5, Trials Of Death, doesn't go on offical release in America until May, but it will be shipping from the warehouse in April, so it should be appearing in lots of book shops within the next few weeks! I know lots of you have been waiting impatiently for this one -- but the wait is almost over! (I hope you think it's been worth it when you read the book!!) Many American readers want to know why the books aren't released faster in the States, and often ask me to speed them up -- I'm afraid the shedule is decided by my publishers, not me, so there's nothing I can do about it!! All I will say is that the American schedule is the same as the original British schedule -- a new book every 6 months -- so I don't think you're being too hard done by, even if it sometimes feels that way!!!!!!


    While I won't be doing many book events in the U.K. and Ireland this year (see a rare exception lower down!), I'm going to be covering more of the globe than ever a bit later in the year. In June I'm taking off on a MASSIVE tour of six (yes, 6!!) different countries, one after the other. Japan will be first up, from June 12 to June 19. After that, in approximate order, I'll be going to Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, China and finishing up with a few events on the West Coast of the good ole U.S. of A.!!!!! Final dates, locations, etc. haven't been finalised yet, so please don't e-mail me about them -- I'll only be going where my publishers send me, so there's no point asking me to drop in on your local school, library or book shop! (But if you want to write to my publishers to make a request, feel free!! Just don't ask me for their addresses -- you'll have to find that one out yourselves!!!!!) As I learn more about where I'll be and when, I'll add the details to the Shanville Message Board News forum ( http://pub41.ezboard.com/fdarrenshanmessageboardfrm9 ) and to future issues of the Shanville Monthly.
    And the touring doesn't stop there! Later in the year, in October, I plan to travel to Australia and New Zealand, partly for a long holiday, but also to do some promotional work. Again, I'll add more details to the News Forum and Shanville Monthly as and when they're confirmed.
    On the home front, I can confirm that I will definitely be attending the Edinburgh Book Festival again this year, and will be appearing in 4 very different events! I'm doing a solo event at 10.30 on Saturday August 9th, followed by a panel event at 17.30 that afternoon with Garth Nix and Theresa Breslin, where we'll be talking about fantasy books. On Sunday August 10th, I'll be doing another solo event at 11.30, and an event with Annie Dalton (and possibly that wild woman of intrigue, Lady Bas of the Busty Wilds!) at 17.30 to talk about the superb WarChild anthology, Kids Night In (see further down for more info about that). I'll be performing "The Song of Darren Shan, verses 7 to 9" at one of my solo events. (It's the plot of the books set to rhyme! I did the first 3 books/verses two years ago, and 4 to 6 last year, so it's become something of an Edinburgh institution by now!) For the second event, I'm going to be trying something entirely new -- a Darren Shan Christmas play!!! Basically, it's going to be a dramatised, altered version of the "Shanta Claus" story which I post on Shanville each Xmas. A Yuletide play in the middle of summer?!? It could only happen in the freaky world of Darren Shan!!!!!!


    I haven't written very many short stories over the last few years, apart from those you can find in the Shanville Extras. But all of a sudden I have two stories coming out in two wildly different collections within the next few months.
    First up, one which won't really be of interest to people who aren't familiar with the brilliant comics writer, Alan Moore. He's the guy who wrote Watchmen, Miracleman, Saga of the Swamp Thing, From Hell, etc. In my opinion he's one of the best writers ever, a definite personal hero of mine. His best work is absolutely amazing! He turns 50 in November, and to celebrate, a bunch of comics writers and artists have contributed stories, essays, artwork and a whole lot more to a collection called "Alan Moore: Portrait Of An Extraordinary Gentleman". To my great delight and honour, I was also asked to contribute, so I came up with a light-hearted story about a 10 year old Alan Moore, which will be appearing in it. In short, it follows young Alan around on his 10th birthday, and sows lots of pretend seeds for the ideas behind most of the comics and stories he was to write later in his life. For people who've read a lot of Alan Moore stuff, it should be lots of fun, spotting all the in-jokes -- but for those who know nothing at all about him, it might produce nothing more than a blank stare and a "huh?!?" Still, if you want to check my story out, the book is being released in May, and should be available in all good comics shops. Or else you can order it from the Page 45 comics shop in Nottingham by going to their web site at http://www.page45.couk.com/P45main.html
    In July you'll be able to read a new short story by me in the WarChild anthology, Kids Night In, published by Harper Collins (the self-same good folk who publish my books too!). WarChild are a charity organisation who work in war zones, helping out children who are suffering as a result of war. (They'll be going into Iraq soon, so try and help clear up some of the mess left behind by those evil goons of global menace, George "Bonnie" Bush and Tony "lap dog Clyde" Blair -- if only I'd punched him in the nose when I had the chance!!!) To help raise funds, their prettiest staff member, Helen Basini (aka Lady Bas of the Busty Wilds!!) has put together a short story collection which is simply staggering! There are brand new stories by Jacqueline Wilson, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, Brian Jacques, Philip Ardagh, and a whole, WHOLE lot more!! In fact, the full list of contributors reads like a Who's Who of modern children's authors! Their biggest coup, however, was grabbing yours truly! (And yes, my tongue IS in my cheek!!!) I proved so hard to atract, that in the end Miss Basini resorted to hounding me in my personal life, and even set herself up as my girlfriend to convince me to give her a story!!!! The story I finally came up with is called "Hagurosan". I got the idea while climbing a holy mountain in Japan last year. It's very different to the Saga, slow and thoughtful, with not an action scene in sight! But it's a story I'm very proud of, and I recommend the collection to all readers of my books -- you'll not only be getting a book full of the best short children's stories of 2003, but you'll be helping save children's lives too. (p.s. the WarChild web site is http://www.warchild.org.uk/ )


    I'm going to promote those wonderful cover pages again (since I spent so much time in the last week uploading them and re-designing a lot of the pages!). To see the many wild and wonderful Darren Shan covers from countries all around the globe, click here, NOW!!!! http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/gallery1.html


    And that's it for April! I should be very busy writing for the next couple of months (I'm trying to clear things ahead of my trip around the globe), so I'll probably be keeping a low profile on Shanville, and answering precious few e-mails. But I will be reading, and I will be watching -- from deep within the shadows of the night!!!! Until next month, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x