• Issue 36 - July 2003

    01 July 2003

    Welcome to the July issue of the Shanville Monthly! I'm back home after my travels in June, trying to settle back down to a regular writing routine -- but it ain't easy!!! Anyway, there's quite a lot to report on this month, so without any further ado ...


    Heads up, all London-based Shansters! I'm going to be appearing at the fabulous Kids' Night In event in Waterstones Picadilly on Saturday July 5th. Unfortunately, because I wasn't sure whether or not I was going to be there until very recently, I'm not going to be part of the panel events, but I WILL be around to sign autographs afterwards.

    The format is: 2 events, one at 11.00, and the other at 14.00. At the first event, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Ardagh and Eoin Colfer will be talking and taking questions for an hour or so. Then they'll be signing autographs, which is when I'll be joining them, probably about 12.00 or so. If you want to come to the event, you need to book tickets fromWaterstones Picadilly by phoning them at: 02078512400 (assuming there are any left!). If you just want to come and get your Darren Shan books signed by me, it will probably be OK to turn up at 12.00 and join the queue, without any ticket (but that's not definite, so don't blame me if you can't get in!!!) If it's a case that there's a big queue, and you bring your Darren Shan books to have signed, you'll probably have to wait until the end, in order to keep the queue moving quickly -- so please be prepared to stand back and wait until the people who are there for the Warchild event have all left (which should probably be around 13.00). But if you do come, I will sign your books, even if I have to hang around until after the official signing!

    The afternoon session belongs to the ladies, specifically Annie Dalton and Jacqueline Wilson. I might be there to sign autographs with them after their session, but don't count on it -- if you want to be absolutely certain of catching me, my advice is to come to the earlier one!


    The schedule and full details of the Edinburgh Book Festival are now online at http://programme.edbookfest.co.uk/ You can see who's going to be there, what they'll be doing, and order tickets NOW!!! For details of the 4 events which I'll be part of, and to book early, click on the following link: http://programme.edbookfest.co.uk/people/person-132 This week, I wrote the material I'll be performing -- I think I can guarantee quite a few laughs!! (Especially when I go into Karaoke mode on Sunday!!!!!!!!!) Next month I'll publish my full itinerary and give details of how YOU can be part of the show!!!


    I had an absolutely BRILLIANT time in Japan and South Korea on my trip there in June! First, Japan:
    I arrived on Thursday, June 12th, and almost immediately gave a TV interview to a children's morning programme called Ohasta. I gave lots of interviews to newspapers and magazines on Friday. On Saturday I turned up at the theatre where my events were. It had been transformed into the World Of Darren Shan, with lots of photos of me, beautiful artwork on the walls, blood-coloured orange juice, quizzes for people to play, and so on. I got there at 8.00 on Saturday morning. Even though the first event wasn`t scheduled until 09.30, a huge crowd was already waiting -- the first fans had arrived at 03.30 in the morning!!!!! I did 4 events each day. Each event started with spooky music, a light show, and me making my entrance through a coffin on stage! I answered questions from the audience at all events, and there was a quiz where fans could win prizes. At some there was a draw for people to come up and meet me on stage, to have their photo taken with me. At the end of each day's events, I did an extra special show, where, with the help of Shogakukan (my publishers) staff and volunteers from the audience, I acted out a scene from Cirque Du Freak. I played the part of Mr Tall -- and all my lines were in Japanese!!! I had to practise very hard to master the lines -- I hope I didn't make too many mistakes!! Also, at the end of all the events, I met everyone who'd come, shook their hand, and gave them a personally signed business card which I'd made esepcially for the events. Lots of people were also able to take photos with me, though at a few of the events this couldn't happen, because of time and space limitations.
    Nearly 2000 (yes, two thousand!!) fans came over the two days, and quite a lot came to more than one event -- a few even came to all 8!!!!!!! I had a wonderful, magical time - it really was special for me, and I hope it was for everone else who came too. After the last event, I did a TV interview for a programme called (I think) Book Review Weekly which goes out on NHK. I was so excited after all of the events that I spoke really, really fast -- I couldn't slow down!!! Many, MANY thanks to everyone who came and made it such a memorable occasion for me. I said at the time that I thought of you more as friends than fans, and that was the truth! There are 3 pages of photos from the events on the Shogakukan site, at: http://www.shogakukan.co.jp/darren/news/news23_01.html I'll be adding some photos of my own within the next month or so, hopefully!
    (By the way, for people interested in sales figures, with the release of book 8, the amount of copies of my books sold in Japan now stands at an incredible 2.5 million -- yes, TWO AND A HALF MILLION!!!! -- copies!!!!!! And they're all hardbacks -- the paperback edition hasn't been released there yet! My head starts to spin every time I think about that!!!!!!!!)
    I went on a short tour of the north of Honshu (the main island in Japan) on Monday until Wednesday, visiting Aomori, Oirase, and OsoreZan -- the "Mountain of Dread" where the souls of the dead pause on their way to heaven or hell!! -- among other places. It really is beautiful countryside up there!!! On Thursday I flew out of Tokyo. I was sad to leave, and wished I could have stayed longer. But not to worry -- I'll definitely be back!!!!!
    On Thursday I arrived in Seoul, in South Korea. I gave 4 interviews to the 4 biggest newspapers in South Korea, and did two school events (my first school events in Asia!). The kids were VERY enthusiastic and friendly! The classes weren't that different to classrooms back in England and Ireland. I wasn't sure what to expect beforehand, but I had a great time when I got there -- in fact, the kids were crowding me so much at the end of each event, it was hard to leave!!!! I did a bookstore event on Saturday, and there was a great turn-out for it, far more than I'd anticipated! I hope everyone who came had as much fun as I did!!!! And then, on Sunday, I returned back home, where normal service was swiftly resumed.
    N.B.: Unfortunately, because of various difficulties, I had to postpone my trip to the United States of America. However, it's not all bad news for my American Shansters! One of the reasons I chose to postpone is so that I can do a longer, better tour next year! The plan is for me to come over in April, 2004, probably for a couple of weeks. So you've plenty of time to try and organize an event if you want me to come to YOUR town!!! See the FAQ section on Shanville (in the Shanography section) for details of how to go about this. Please note, there's no point writing to me personally asking me to come to your school, library or local store -- things don't work that way!


    [email protected]
    Another competition!! Two competitions in a row? I must be going soft in my old age!! Anyway, when I was in Japan last month, I picked up some promotional posters and art cards for Book 8. The posters are beautiful (though they're all folded up, which means there will be probably be fold marks running down the middle of them), and the art cards are smaller replicas. To win a signed copy of both a poster and art card, just send your FULL NAME AND ADDRESS (don't forget to say what country you're from!) to [email protected] And please put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX of your e-mail when sending it to me. Closing date is midnight (Greenwich Mean Time), Sunday, July 13th. I'll pick out 10 (ten) entrants at random on Monday, July 14th, and send the prizes to them through the post. Only 1 (one) entry per person -- anyone sending more than one entry will be barred from the competition! Entries will be accepted from ALL countries. Except for in Japan, these posters are pretty much impossible to come by, so I think this is one of my cooler competitions! May the luck of the vampires be with you!!!!
    The winners of the June competition were: Alex Hudson - UK * Brittany Nicole Johns - USA * Daniel Barr - UK * Jonathan Rosenthal - USA * Jordan Fitzwilliam - UK * Leo Buckley - UK * Meta Silvyani - Indonesia * Milica Pavkovic - Serbia & Montenegro * Ruth Roden - UK * Wout Mannaerts - Belgium.


    The War Child anthology, Kids Night In, published by Harper Collins (the self-same good folk who publish my books too!) is ON SALE NOW!!!! WarChild are a charity organisation who work in war zones, helping out children who are suffering as a result of war. 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, Michael Morpurgo, Annie Dalton, 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! My story (inspired by my trip to Japan last year) is called "Hagurosan". To read it, and all the other wonderful stories, buy Kids' Night In, either at your local store, or through Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007157983/qid=1056994800/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_0_1/202-1567906-4868644 (p.s. the WarChild web site is http://www.warchild.org.uk/ )


    You can find lots of cool Darren Shan fan art by talented Spanish Shanster, Helena Bermejo Piquero, by clicking on the following link: http://www.kamapon.com/Darren/indexverdad.htm
    I've added photos from the Taiwanese launch party for Book 1 to my site, at: http://www.darrenshan.com/shanography/photostaiwan.html They're some of the most unusual pics on the entire site!! I've also added a LOT of photos from the launch of Book 8 in the UK, which was held at Simon Drake's House Of Magic -- a really fun night, with lots of spooks and thrills!! You can access the first of three sets at: http://www.darrenshan.com/shanography/photos8launch1.html
    Both sets of photos date back to last year. Sorry about not putting them up sooner -- I just didn't quite get round to them until now!!!


    My Japanese publishers have put up two beautiful Wallpaper images on their site at http://www.shogakukan.co.jp/darren/wallpaper/index.html You can't actually download the images, but you can save them to your PC, to the Windows folder, as a Bitmap image. Then, when you click on properties on your main screen, you should be able to use either of them as Wallpaper.


    I received a lot of fans' letters from my American publishers this month, some of which dated back to February!!!!!! So if you're living in the States, and sent me a letter some months ago, and haven't yet had a reply -- don't worry! I've answered all of the letters now, and they should be finding their ways into people's homes within the next couple of weeks. Sorry about the long delay, but I really have no control over when publishers forward fan mail to me.

    And, in case anyone was wondering -- yes, I do respond personally to letters. So far I've been able to respond to all the letters I receive, and plan to continue (unless it gets to a stage where I'm getting dozens of letters every day, of course!!). The only exceptions are when people don't include their address, or scribble it down so that I can't read it!!! Lots of fans in America only include their address on the envelope, not the actual letter, which is usually OK -- except for when the envelope goes missing!!! (It's happened to a guy named Matt Munsinger in the latest batch! Matt, if you see this, e-mail me your address!!!!!)


    You can read a new American review of book 5, Trials of Death, on the Wigglefish site, by clicking on the following link: http://www.wigglefish.com/stories/0001_0005_0001.cfm?id=1258
    I've updated the Shanville USA home page, adding the new Book 6:The Vampire Prince cover, plus some info about it. I've also added the revised release date for Book 6 -- the good news is that it will now be on sale in September, not October!! (And, if it ships early, like it normally does, in some places it might even be on sale in August!) The paperback of Book 4, Vampire Mountain, also goes on sale at the same time. The link for the home page is: http://www.darrenshan.com/us_site/ushome/ushome-00main.html Or you can just go to http://www.darrenshan.com and click on the USA link.


    Another plug for the newly updated photos page!!! You can see all you could ever wish to see of Darren Shan (and various others!) by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/shanography/photos8launch1.html


    And that's it for this month! It's my 31st birthday on July 2nd. Last year, to celebrate turning 30, I did a parachute jump. This year I'm doing something even more daring than that -- I'm going to the theatre to see The Rocky Horror Show, and I'm going to sit in the front row!!!!!!!! If I survive that, I reckon I can survive anything!!!! Until next month, all the bloody best -- and remember: "It's just a jump to the left ... and then a step to the ri-i-i-i-i-ight ..." Darren Shan x x x