• Issue 38 - September 2003

    01 September 2003

    Summer's over ... it's back to school ... colder weather ... shorter evenings ... homework ... preparing for exams ... BOO!!! But, hey, it's not all doom and gloom!! At least you've got ME to cheer you up!!!!!!! So -- Welcome to the September issue of the Shanville Monthly! LOTS to report this month -- and plenty of BIG news too!!! In fact, it's kind of hard knowing what to kick off with! Oh well -- instead of standing around and thinking about it, let's jump right on in with something completely new and VERY exciting, to help you get over all those post-summer blues ...


    My U.K. publishers - HarperCollins - have hired an outside firm to create a limited edition web site (called a microsite) for the release of Book 10, The Lake Of Souls (which comes out early in October, although you might spot it in some shops THIS MONTH if it gets an early release, as my books often do!!). I don't have all the information to hand just yet, but the plan is to have it up and running by Thursday September 4th. (Might be later, depending on whether they encounter any last minute problems or not!!) It's due to run for 8 weeks -- until the end of October. The link, when it's working, will be http://www.darrenshan-lakeofsouls.com. I'll send out a follow-up e-mail when it's all online and has been checked for hiccups, to let you know that it's safe to enter.
    So -- what will be on this microsite?!? Well, as I said, I'm still waiting to see the final product and how precisely it works, but basically when you register you become a vampire and are given a unique vampire name (I've helped Collins come up with lots of wild and weird names!!). You also get a blood bank which you can increase by coming back to the site regularly (the person who builds up the biggest blood bank supplies will win a great prize!). On the site you can fish for the souls of the dead on the Lake Of Souls (!!!), learn some Darren Shan facts, download a shantastically fabulous screamsaver (like a screensaver, except it screams!!) and wallpaper. There will also be a few different competitions running, where you can win a complete (books 1-10) signed set of my books, as well as a Playstation 2!!!!
    This is something entirely new for me (and Collins!), so I'm eagerly waiting to see the results! Part of the plan is for you lot to get excited, spread the word, tell your friends about the game and the other microsite extras, and help get more people reading the books. Will it work? Who knows! But I guess we're about to find out!!!! Imaginative, ground-breaking promotions like these are part of the reason why there's been a longer gap between the release of books 9 and 10, and why there will be a similar gap between the next 2 books. The Saga has been selling very well here, but we want it to sell even better. To do that, we need more time between books to plan and execute campaigns like these. I hope you think it's proves worth the wait -- I'm sure you'll let me know quickly if you don't!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    I'm doing a PUBLIC EVENT at the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon in London on Saturday September 27th between 17.30 and 18.30. It's part of their excellent Word Festival -- some of the other authors appearing over the weekend inclue Philip Ardagh, Brian Jacques, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Morpurgo!!! Tickets are £4 each. You can find out more info on the Polka Theatre web site at http://www.polkatheatre.com/ including all the booking info. The phone number, if you want to enquire in person and book your tickets over the phone, is 020 8543 4888. The e-mail address is [email protected] Or you can book directly online at http://purchase.tickets.com/buy/TicketPurchase?agency=POLKA&organ_val=3211&schedule=list
    For the information of anyone coming -- at most of my events, where there's plenty of time, I'll happily sign ALL of your books. So if you have all 9 of my books at home, please feel free to bring them all along to get signed. Sometimes fans come along with only 1 or 2 books, and leave disappointed when they realize they could have got the whole lot signed!!! Every author's different, of course, but I ALWAYS sign every book I'm presented with -- I believe it's an author's duty, especially when fans go out of their way and give up their time to come see us!!!! -- except on very rare occasions when time is against me (e.g. if the venue has to shut at a certain time). I've no idea what the situation will be like at the Polka Theatre, or if I'll be signing against a deadline, but in all likelihood I'll have loads of time and be able to sign everybody's collection -- so grab a big bag and bring all those Shan books along!!!!!!!
    I'd hoped to do other events around the end of September and start of October, to coincide with the release of Book 10, but it looks like I won't be as active as I wished. I'm going away on hols (and to do some publicity work Down Under) in early October, and I have to finish the first draft of a new book before I leave. So time is precious!!! I do HOPE to do some signing sessions in various bookshops before I leave (there probably won't be time for school or library events, I'm afraid), and dates and times should be finalised within the next week or two. As soon as I have more info, I'll send out an e-mail to everybody in the UK and Ireland (those who've registered with Shanville, that is!!), letting you know where I'll be and when.


    There's been a lot of confusion about the release dates of the next few books in the U.K. and Ireland, with dates being chopped and changed a number of times recently. This is because I've been having lots of debates with my publishers, Harper Collins, about when to release them, taking a number of factors into account. We've now arrived at a final release schedule, which is as follows:
    October '03 - Book 10 - THE LAKE OF SOULS
    February '04 - Vampire Rites Trilogy (books 4-6)
    June '04 - Book 11 - LORD OF THE SHADOWS
    October '04 - Vampire War Trilogy (books 7-9)
    Feb '05 - Book 12 - SONS OF DESTINY
    June '05 - Vampire Destiny Trilogy (books 10-12)
    This means there will be 8 months between 10 and 11, and 11 and 12 (the same as between 9 and 10). I did try to get that shortened to 6 months, but Collins really want to do a lot of promotional work with the next 3 books, to nudge sales up as high as they can get them, and they need the extra time to build up their publicity push.
    Anyway, those are the final, revised dates -- so you can add them to your calendar now, safe in the knowledge that they won't be changed again.
    :LOL :LOL :LOL


    The eagle-eyed among you will have realized that in the section above, I revealed the titles of the next two trilogies!! Yes, we're finally able to make them public, so, just for the record (and to save you having to scroll back up the page!), here are all four again ...
    Vampire Blood.
    Vampire Rites.
    Vampire War.
    Vampire Destiny.
    By the way, the original trilogy titles (which were never actually printed -- they were just the way I liked to refer to them, so they aren't actually official) were: The Cirque Du Freak trilogy (since much of the action of the first 3 books revolved around the CDF). The Vampire Mountain trilogy. The Hunters Trilogy. The DesTiny trilogy. When we came to putting the trilogies together and releasing them, we decided we needed something punchier, hence the current titles!!!


    There's a competition currently running on the Newsround site at http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/win/newsid_3197000/3197335.stm where you can win signed copies of The Lake Of Souls!!!! I'd imagine this is only open to readers in the U.K. (and maybe Ireland) but check it out yourself if you want to be sure ...


    In the U.K. and Ireland, the collection of the first 3 books of The Saga Of Darren Shan - entitled Vampire Blood - is ON SALE NOW!!!! You can't miss it -- it's got a cool orange/red/black cover, and is nice and thick!!! If it's not in your local store, you can order it from Amazon by clicking here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007143745/shanville/026-3499276-2932450


    In the U.S.A., book 6, The Vampire Prince, is ON SALE NOW!!!! Many shops got it in last month, but it should be in EVERY SHOP now!! If you don't see it on the shelves n your local store -- ASK FOR IT!!!! Nay -- DEMAND IT!!!! Oh, and book 4, Vampire Mountain, also goes on sale in the States in paperback this month. If you don't want to get either book in your local store (or can't find it!), check out the Shanville SHOP at http://www.darrenshan.com/us_site/usshop/usshop.html where there are links to both Amazon and Barnes&Noble.


    I'm coming to Australia in early October and New Zealand late in October and early November, mostly for a holiday, but also to do some promotional work! I'm going to be doing loads of interviews (magazines, newspapers, radio -- you name it!!), store events and book signings (including a few events for the fabulous War Child anthology, Kids' Night In, which is being releaed there in October), and some schools visits. I'll post the final, revised itinerary in next month's Shanville Monthly, but here's the running order as it currently stands.
    Sydney: Saturday 11th October - 12.00-13.00 - Angus and Robertson, Shop 445, Westfield, Chatswood, NSW 2067
    14.00-15.00 - Borders Macquarie Centre, Herring Road, North Ryde, NSW 2113
    16.00 - 17.00 - Shearers Gordon, 790 Pacific Hwy, Gordon.
    Sunday 12th October - 11.00-12.00 - War Child event - Dymocks, George St, Lower Ground Floor, 424 George St, Sydney NSW 2000
    Maybe 1 or 2 other public events today -- places and times to be confirmed next month!!
    Melbourne: Monday 13th October, and Tuesday 14th October - Public and schools events to be confirmed next month!!
    Brisbane: -Wednesday 15th October - schools visits, arranged through The Book Garden.
    Friday 17th October - Evening War Child event - Avid Reader - time TBC next month!!
    New Zealand.
    Auckland: Friday 31st October (Halloween!!!) - some schools events in the day, arranged through Whitcoulls..
    16.00-17.00 - Event with John Graham Paperplus at his Remuera Store.
    19.30-???? - Halloween Event with Childrens Literature Foundation at Auckland College of Education.
    Saturday 1st November - event at Whitcoulls Botany Downs - times TBC!!
    Maybe an event at Takapuna PaperPlus - TBC next month!!
    Wellington: Friday November 7th - Schools event at Heretaunga College, arranged through Bookends Kapiti.
    Maybe an event at Dymocks - TBC next month.


    Had a brilliant time in Edinburgh, as usual!!! Only this year the weather was great too, which was an unexpected bonus!! A large turnout at both my solo events, which went fabulously well! The volunteers who helped me do the "Song of Darren Shan" on the first day and the "Christmas Play" on the second day were AMAZING!!!!! I was especially impressed with those who helped me sing the Christmas songs during the play -- considering the limited amount of time we had for rehearsals, they did an amazing job, and made it a lot of fun for me and everybody else!!!!! Actually, the singing didn't go too badly -- at least I wasn't booed off stage, and nobpdy threw rotten eggs or fruit!!!! Maybe I can still make it on to Top Of The Pops is I quit writing and devote all of my energy to singing ....
    Nah -- only joking!!!!!!
    I was signing for 2 hours after the first event, and an hour and a half after the second!! In fact, I was signing so long the first day that I had to be moved out of the signing tent, to finish the signing outdoors! Lucky the sun was out, or I'd have been in for a real soaking!!!!
    My panel events were great fun too -- a Fantasy discussion with Garth Nix and Theresa Breslin, then a War Child event with Annie Dalton and Garth Nix (a surprise guest on the day!). Panel events are often more a trial than a joy, but both of these went very smoothly. I enjoyed being part of them, and I'm pretty sure the crowd had a good time too! Excellent chairs (I mean the people who hosted the events, introduced us and asked the opening questions -- not the seats!!!) (though they were pretty nice too!!!) and loads of intelligent, thought-provoking queries from the audience. At both events I heard people saying afterwards that they wished the events had been longer!!!
    This was my fourth year at the Festival, and it just keeps getting better!! In fact the only down-point was when an over-officious door guard wouldn't let me in to see an Eoin Colfer event -- it was halfway through the event, and he said I'd disrupt proceedings!!!!! I tried telling him that I was a friend of Eoin's (which Iam) -- I even said "I'm Darren Shan", which is the first time I've ever used my name to try to get in somewhere!!! -- but he was having none of it!!!!!!! :-(
    Oh well -- a minot hiccup in what was otherwise a hugely enjoyable few days (and I spent the following week there too, though I went mostly to theatre and comedy shows after my own events). Thanks to everyone who came, especially those who asked questions, those who waited patiently to have their books signed, and -- the stars of the shows as far as I was concerned -- those who chipped in and got up with me on stage. Next year (assuming I make it back for my fifth year in a row), if you get there early to volunteer, IT COULD BE YOU!!!!!!


    Several of my books were up for sale on Ebay last month, including a signed set of books 1,2,3 & 4. My books often turn up on Ebay -- and sometimes signed, first editions, or proof copies!! If you're interested in bidding on any Darren Shan items, the link is: http://search.ebay.com/darren-shan
    The items on auction change all the time, so it pays to check quite regularly. By the way, I have nothing to do with any of these auctions, so I don't make any money from them -- I'm just letting you lot know about them because I figure some of you might be keen to bid!


    There's a cool Australian web site called YARA, full of book reviews from children and teens, with reviews of a few of my books (they're in the International Section, under D for Darren). The link is http://www.goldcreek.act.edu.au/yara


    I've added two new covers to the Gallery -- the Korean Book 4 cover, and the Brazilian Book 5 cover. I'm especially impressed with the Brazilian cover -- different to the other Book 5's, and eerily effective!!! You can check both out -- along with ALL the covers to ALL my books in ALL the countries where they've been released! -- by going to the following site: http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/index-glry.html


    And that's it for this month! Blimey -- after all that writing, I'm exhausted!! It's just turned midnight here, so I'm going to pack it in now and toddle off to bed. I usually check for spelling mistakes and errors a few times before posting, but I'm too tired now!!! So, if you spot any flaws in this issue of the Shanville Monthly -- tough!!!!!! :-) I'll be back next month for the last time until the New Year (although I might get somebody else to do the Monthly for me while I'm away, so don't despair!!). Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x