• Issue 47 - June 2004

    01 June 2004

    Welcome to the June issue of the Shanville Monthly! We've got a BIG one for you this month, crammed full of various exciting news items and reports!!! I could give you a brief run-down of what's coming up, but why make a long newsletter even longer?!? Let's get straight down to business!!!!!


    April and May were hot times for me in the charts in several places around the world!! First of all, book 8, Allies of the Night, was the #1 bestselling book in Taiwan in April!!! That includes adult's as well as children's books!!! This was my first #1 in Taiwan, so I was absolutely delighted! The icing on the cake was that Book 7 was in the top 10 bestsellers at the same time!!
    In Japan, book 10, The Lake of Souls, made it to #2 in the bestseller charts!!!! As in Taiwan, that's the OVERALL chart -- adult's as well as childen's books!!!!
    In America, Book 7, Hunters of the Dusk, spent 3 weeks in the New York Times Top 10 children's bestsellers, climbing as high as the #7 spot!!!! This was my first time making the NYT chart since Book 1, and #7 is the highest I've got to date there, so it was very exciting news!!!!
    Finally, in the U.K., book 11, Lord of the Shadows, was released on Amazon UK about a week early, and has been the #2 children's bestseller on the Amazon chart since then!!! (Although as I write this, the chart hasn't been updated, so it's officially been stuck in 18th spot for the last 3 or 4 days!! But, trust me, it IS the current #2 bestseller!!!)

    BOOK 11 -- AT LAST!!!

    Book 11, Lord of the Shadows, goes on sale in the U.K. this month, although some shops in Ireland got it early, about a week before the end of May!!! (And no, it's not favouritism -- even though I'm Irish!! I have no control over when books are released from the HarperCollins warehouse!!!!) I've added a Book 11 forum to my message board, and judging by the early responses from those who've read the book, it looks like this could prove to be one of the most popular books in the entire series!!! Different stores in the UK are saying different things about when the book will go on sale -- some say May 31st, others June 7th!!! My advice is to keep bugging them until they cave in and hand a copy over!!!! But, if you don't want to wait an extra few days, or if you prefer buying through the internet, book 11 is NOW available to buy from Amazon UK by clicking on the following link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/000715920X/shanville


    Book 7, Hunters of the Dusk, is on sale in the States NOW!!! You should be able to buy it in your local book shop, but in case they don't have it in stock, or you prefer to buy over the internet, you can also get it from Barnes& Noble at: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=mHu1m7Jwg6&isbn=0316605964&itm=1 And you can buy it through Amazon at: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316605964/ref%3Dpd%5Fecc%5Frvi%5Ff/102-9879905-1014532


    I will be appearing at the seriously cool Hay On Wye Book Festival on Tuesday, June 1st, at 11.30a.m. To find out more info about the festival, and book tickets for the event, click on the following link: http://www.hayfestival.com/2004/programme.asp This is one of the VERY few events I'm doing in the U.K. around the release of book 11 (but don't worry -- I'll be doing LOTS when book 12 comes out in October!), so if you want to catch me in action before summer hits, this will probably be your only chance!! By the way, it says in the programme notes that I'll be talking about my "new" book -- book 10, Lake of Souls. This should, of course, be book 11, Lord of the Shadows! (Although I'll probably be talking more about the earlier books, since most people there won't have read book 11!!!) Sorry I didn't give advance warning about this last month -- to be honest, I forgot I was going to be going to it!!!!

    On the subject of saying sorry ... Many, MANY apologies to any of you in the U.K. and Ireland who received spam e-mails from my e-mail account recently!!! I changed the way I send out e-mails a couple of months ago, and this led to a number of problems with my mailing list. Being aware of the problems, most of the time I was able to stop spam from being sent. But when I sent out an e-mail to inform people of my appearance at Hay On Wye, I was on tour in the States, and after sending the e-mail, I had no access to a PC for a few days, so I was unable to stop the spamming!!! I have now arranged to have my e-mails delivered in an alternative fashion, so that everyone will get their e-mails "blind" (i.e. the only name which will appear on the e-mail will be yours). This should mean that nobody ever gets spam from me again -- fingers crossed!!!!


    My American publishers are giving away FREE Cirque Du Freak iron-on patches!! They're REALLY cool!!! To get one, all you have to do is fill in an easy form. Click here for the link to it: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=19176455420
    I assume the offer is only open to American (and maybe Canadian) readers, but if you live in a different country and want to try your luck, feel free to have a go -- they can only say no!!!!!

    U.S.A. -- SIGNED BOOKS!!!

    I signed LOADS of copies of my books (the American editions of books 1 to 7) at lots of stores in America while I was there on tour. So if you didn't manage to get to any of my events, but live in an area close to where I appearing, you will probably be able to find signed copies at the stores where I appeared. And for those who don't live anywhere near where I was -- fear not! Help is at hand!!! You can order signed copies from any of the following book shops:
    Anderson's Bookshop: http://www.andersonsbookshop.com
    M Is For Mystery - http://www.mformystery.com
    Dark Carnival - http://www.darkcarnival.com

    I signed a huge amount of stock at each store, so if you act quickly you SHOULD still be able to get some! My advice is to go to the web sites, find out what you can about shipping prices, then e-mail the stores directly to make sure you get signed copies, as opposed to copies which aren't signed! Good luck!!!! (p.s. you can probably order signed copies from these stores even if you don't live in America -- e-mail the stores for global rates.)


    Here are links to a couple of recent interviews which I've given: http://gottawritenetwork.com/darrenshan.html


    I'm afraid I had to cancel my events in Birmingham on Tuesday, May 25th. I'm REALLY sorry about this -- I've been to Birmingham several times, and have always enjoyed myself and been well treated by the fans! This was the first time in four and a half years of touring in the UK and Ireland that I had to cancel an event on such short notice. I apologize profusely to anyone who was looking forward to seeing me there! All I can say is that I definitely won't make a habit of doing this -- I think it's very unprofessional behaviour!!!!


    Attention all German Shansters!!! There is now a German-language Darren Shan message board (established and maintained by a fan). If you'd like to check it out, click on the following link: http://www.boardy.de/forumdisplay.php?forumid=101331


    I kept a blog (of sorts) of my tour of the States, which I'm going to replicate here in the Shanville Monthly. Because it's so long, I've decided to split it into two parts, one this month, the second half next month. So, let's kick off with Sunday, April 25th, and my arrival in San Diego ...
    I was travelling for almost 20 hours in all, from the time I left my flat in London to when I got to my hotel in San Diego! But it all went smoothly. Watched a couple of films on the plane from London to the States (including The Station Master - or Station Guard?? not sure of title!! - which was quirky and very enjoyable). Snoozed for a few hours. And read a nice thick chunk of War And Peace. (Since I'm doing so much travelling on this tour, I thought it would be a good time to tackle a nice thick classic!!)

    Went for a walk after I'd checked into my hotel (which is very nice, by the way -- built in 1926, though I'm staying in a new part of the building, in a suite!! Sweet!!!!). The hotel's in La Jolla, which is downtown San Diego. It stretches along the coast. Very pretty, rugged scenery -- lots of rocks, and the waves crashing in over them. There were loads of seagulls and other sea birds flying around. I was walking along the strand, and was going to head back to my hotel, but it was close to sunset, and I noticed a load of people gathered at the end of a pier. I thought they were just there to watch the sun go down, and decided to join them. It was only when I was almost upon the pier that I realized it was a nesting colony for seals!!!! So as well as sunset, I had families of seals settling down for the night!!!

    Most of the time I don't think I'm in a strange profession, or dwell at any great length on how much my life has changed over the last few years, with the success of the books. But tonight, strolling along the San Diego coastline, watching the sunset and seals, all because I wrote some stories which have found fans in places I never even dreamt of ... Well, sometimes there are moments when I realize just how lucky I am -- and just how weird (but wonderful!) my life has become. Dawn in Whitechapel with Lady Bas of the Busty Wilds -- sunset in La Jolla with slippery seals. All par for the course these days!!!!!!!
    *AHEM!!!* Got a bit flowery there, didn't it?!? All I can say is, it was a long flight, I was tired, the seals took me by complete surprise, and I came over all poetical!!! But don't worry -- I promise not to make a habit of it!!! Now, back to the tour ...
    No rest for the wicked!! I'm writing this 4 days into my US tour, and so far the pace has been blisteringly hot!! And that's literally as well as figuratively HOT -- San Diego has been suffering (or enjoying, depending on how you look at it!) a heatwave since I arrived!! So far my events have been fabulous. The school events have been really well organized, and I've met lots of keen fans, and hopefully converted some new ones to the cause! But it's the public events, after school hours, which have really taken me by surprise. I wasn't expecting huge crowds at the after-schools events, and was preparing myself to say a few words to the handful of hardcore fans who would hopefully turn up, then sign their books and get back to my hotel room nice and early, to watch TV and munch!!

    UH-UH!!!! To coin a showbiz term, I've been playing to packed houses every night!! There have been great crowds in every shop where I've been, and I've been signing after the events for at least an hour, sometimes as much as 2 hours!! One night I didn't get back to my hotel until nearly 10.30p.m.!!!

    It's been fun to return to some of the places where I came on my first publicity trip here (in October 2001), such as the fabulous Yellow Brick Road and Whale Of A Tale shops, in La Mesa and Irvine. It's nice to meet up with the owners and staff again, for a natter and catch-up (and sometimes a meal too!) -- it's like seeing old friends. Equally, it's good to go to new places too, to make new acquaintances -- especially when they've been as friendly and welcoming (and packed with Shansters!!) as they have been so far!! I honestly haven't had a bad event yet!

    The schools and libraries have been great too. Some of them have had loads of author visits before -- in others, I'm the first author they've ever had in!!! I've got to admit, I get an extra kick out of being the first author to visit a library or school!! It's fun to break new ground and go where no writer has gone before! You can sense the extra air of excitement in the air, almost a sense of disbelief, and bewilderment -- "Is this REALLY an author? Has he REALLY come to OUR school?!?" Sometimes, at places like these, somebody will put up a hand and ask, with genuine puzzlement, "Why did you come HERE and not some other school or library?" I usually just a make a joke out of it, and shrug the question off -- but really, the answer is, because HERE is lots more fun!!!!

    I don't really think it's fair to single out individual events for special mention, since they've all been so much fun, but, nevertheless, I'm going to!!!! I'm not saying the following 2 schools were better than other of the others I've been to -- they simply stick out in my mind more, for the reasons mentioned.

    1) Vista Grande Elementary School, in Tierrasanta. The kids, teachers and librarians here (hi, Lore!!), went to a HUGE effort to transform the library into a place of freaky mayhem! They created posters and displays, and there were spiders everywhere, including a giant inflatable spider!! As soon as I pulled up in the parking lot (there was a space reserved for me, saying "Vampire Parking Only!!) I had a feeling that this one would be extra-special -- and I was right!!!!

    2) Wagenheim Middle School, San Diego. This was a dinner event, squeezed in between a couple of other events. I was told I was going to have dinner with some students from the school. I thought there would be maybe 10 or 15 kids there, and that we'd have a meal and chat about the books around the table. Instead, when I turned up, 100 kids were waiting!!!! I sat at the head table, with a taco in one hand and a microphone in the other, and in between mouthful of tacos, I answered questions from the kids!! It was very strange to begin with, but loads of fun once I got used to it! Then many of the kids came to a signing session in their local Barnes & Noble afterwards (that's the one where I was signing until 10.00p.m. or thereabouts!).

    *ANOTHER INTERRUPTION!!* When talking about what happened on a tour this sprawling and involved, it's not possible to describe what went on at every school, library and book store -- not without creating a long, boring, snooze-worthy list!!!!! That's why I picked out just a couple of the events from each week's schedule -- to give a taste of what the tour was like. Just because I don't mention certain events DOESN'T mean I didn't enjoy them -- there just isn't room or time enough to include them all!!!
    10 days in and the tour is still going hot!!! I had another mammoth signing session on Friday, April 30th, at DePortola Middle School in Tierrasanta. My media escort, Rebecca (a real trooper!!) then drove me to the airport, where I caught a plane to San Jose for another event. From there it was on to San Francisco for a couple of night. Had a less busy day on Saturday than the rest of the week, though still met quite a few fans in Oakland Library and at Cody's Bookstore in Berekeley. I came to Cody's on my previous visit to the States (in October 2001) and met one of their more elderly members of staff, a really great guy called Melvin, who was as avid a Shanster as any 12 year old!!!! I was really looking forward to seeing him again, but sadly I learnt that he'd passed on to Vampire Paradise last year. :-( But Melvin -- even in death, I'm absolutely certain you'll be triumphant!!!!!

    Squeezed in a couple of trips to the cinema while I was in San Francisco (as well as to a great little diner called Mel's Drive In -- damn fine burgers, and lovely malt shakes!!!). Saw the remake of The Ladykillers, which was quite good, and Godsend, which had a few good scare moments but was otherwise fairly rubbish. Darren Shan -- author, half-vampire, and movie critic too!!!!! On Sunday I went up to Napa. Did a signing in Rafael where only 2 people turned up (my only real disappointment so far), but to be honest I wasn't too bothered -- after signing so many books earlier in the week, I was glad of the rest!!! Went on a wine-tasting tour later in the day (guided by the wonderful Suzanne Fox -- an A1 librarian and Shanster!!), and had a truly scrumptious meal with some teachers that night (cheers, Gregg and Roberta!!!).

    On Monday and Tuesday it was business as normal, and yet more massive signing sessions!!! I was signing for 2 hours on Monday at Silverado Middle School in Napa, then 3 hours on Tuesday at American Canyon Middle School!!!! And I did bookstore events after each school session too!!! Yes, it's true -- I'm a signing freak sensation!!!!!!! Flew to Reno on Tuesday night, and signed books for librarians and teachers on Wednesday morning at the IRA (Independent Readers Association) convention. After that -- some free time!!! Yes, I have most of Wednesday and Thursday off!! Time to hit the casinos of Reno and chance my luck at the roulette wheel!!! If I win big, the rest of the tour might be cancelled -- I'll use the winnings to fly off to Hawaii for a well-deserved two-month vacation!!!!!! :-)
    To find out if I won, and to learn of my unexpected extra night in Reno, my brush with tornadoes and thunderstorms, and a whole lot more, tune in next month ... same Shan time ... same Shan station!!!!!


    For those who like to plan far ahead ... I'm due to appear at the Edinburgh Book Festival on Saturday and Sunday, the 21st and 22nd of August, at 11.30 and 10.00 respectively. It will be June (at the earliest) before anyone is able to book tickets for the Festival. As soon as I know the complete details, contact number and e-mail address, prices, etc, I will post the news here. (Yes, I know this is just a repeat message from the last 2 months, but hey! give me a break!! do you know how busy I am?!?!?!)

    DEJA VU!

    For lots of old interviews with me, click on the following link: http://www.darrenshan.com/uk_site/interviews/ukintv01-list.html It's been a long time since I checked on these links, so some of them might not work any more. So don't be too surprised if you find dead links!!! (Memo to self: I must get Pablo to go through the older sections of the site one day and get him to update them ...)


    Ah-hah!!! you thought I'd forgotten, didn't you?!? About my promise last month to include a competition this month!!!! No, don't worry -- I just decided to put it right down here at the end, so that only TRULY dedicated Shansters, who read the Monthly all the way down, would find out about it!!! OK, here's what I have for you, and how to go about winning ...
    Up for grabs are 5 (five) personally signed copies of the fabulously freaky Japanese Darren Shan Fan Book!!!! This came out in Japan earlier this year. It features several of the short stories which I wrote for the Extras section of Shanville -- but all of them have been translated into Japanese (naturally!). Everything else in the book is in Japanese too!!! But don't worry -- it's still great fun, even if you can't read Japanese! It's packed full of photos of me (most of them taken in London and Ireland) -- you can see where I grew up, the house where I live now, even play a game of sorts: "Where's Darren?!?" (That's near the back of the book -- oh, and I should explain that you need to "read" the book backwards if you live in the Western world!!!) There are also several stunningly gorgeous illustrations by the cover artist of my Japanese books, Tomoko Taguchi. All in all, a lovely, exclusive little package! And unless you live in Japan, almost impossible to get hold of!!! (Although you CAN order copies from Amazon.co.jp -- there's a link in one of the previous Shanville Monthlies.)
    So, here's how YOU could be one of the winners!!! All you have to do is answer the following, easy-peasy question: what number did book 10, The Lake Of Souls, get to in the Japanese bestseller chart? When you think you have the answer, send it in an e-mail to me at:
    [email protected]
    PUT YOUR NAME IN THE SUBJECT BOX WHEN YOU SEND YOUR E-MAIL!!! (I won't accept your entry if you don't!) and, underneath your answer, INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS -- and don't forget to add the name of your country!!!! (Again, if you don't do this, your entry will be rejected!) This is so that I can easily send the book to you if you win! Closing date is midnight, GMT, Monday, June 21st.
    Now, for the rules: (1) This competition is open to everybody, anywhere in the world, unless you work for one of my publishers or are one of my relations!! (2) Only one entry per person/household -- if you send in more than one entry, ALL of your entries will be rejected! (3) Like I said above, closing date is midnight, GMT, Monday, June 21st. (4) The draw will be made on Tuesday, June 22nd; I will try to notify the winners by e-mail, will post their names (but not their addressess, obviously!) on the Shanville Message Board and in the July issue of the Shanville Monthly, and will send out the books later that week. (5) Information submitted by entrants WILL NOT be shared by me with anybody else! I'll keep your details on my PC, then delete the info once the competition ends.
    May the luck of the vampires be with you!!!!


    And that, my hideously horrific horde of Shansters, is that for June!!! Those of you with keen memories might recall that I said I'd be revealing how many books there will be in the Saga of Darren Shan in an issue of the Shanville Monthly during the first half of 2004! Well, I'm afraid I was a month out in my timing -- but next month, in the July issue, I will finally be making the big announcement!!!! Some of you know it already -- but I hope you'll keep it quiet from the general public until after next month! So, until the fateful and revelatory July issue of the Monthly, I shall take my leave of you!!!! All the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x