• Issue 48 - July 2004

    01 July 2004

    Welcome to the July issue of the Shanville Monthly! It's my birthday this month (I'll be 32!!), but I'm not much of a birthday sort of person, so I won't be celebrating! I'm not a misery guts about it -- it's just not something that bothers me much, unless it's an extra special occasion (such as my 30th, a couple of years ago, which I marked by doing a parachute jump!). But I DO have a nice, long, varied issue of the Shanville Monthly to hit you with -- so let that be my present to you, in honour of the "great occasion"!!!! :-) Now, let's start with the bad news ...


    Alas, for most of you, there IS no big announcement!!!! :-( I know I said last month that I would finally be revealing how many books there are going to be in the Saga, but after a lengthy discussion with my agent, I've had to put this information on hold for the time being! Basically, he hasn't had a chance to tell all my various publishers around the world yet, and we don't want them hearing second-hand. HOWEVER, if you live in the U.K. or Ireland, and have managed to get your hands on Book 11 (or ordered it over the internet if you live in another country), then you can check out the book 11 forum on my message board -- http://p090.ezboard.com/bdarrenshanmessageboard -- where the answer is exclusively revealed, along with my reasons for ending at that specific number, PLUS the name of the book which I will be releasing when the Saga ends!!!!! And, yes, I know it's not fair for the rest of you -- but I'm afraid that's life!!! I've been told to keep quiet, so quiet I must keep!!!! All I can say is, try not to think about it too much ... enjoy the books as and when they come out in your country ... relish the sensation of not knowing how long the ride is going to be ... and wait and see what happens!!!!!!!


    Book 11, Lord of the Shadows, was released in the U.K. and Ireland last month, has been my quickest selling book to date, and is also proving to be one of the most popular with the fans! General consensus among those who've read it is that it's one of the best books of the series -- if not THE best!!!!! The book spent a month in the top 5 (five) of the Amazon UK children's bestsellers chart, and was at #2 for most of that time!
    In the U.K. it has spent the last four weeks in the Nielsen's Top 10 bestseller chart, climbing as high as the #7 position, currently resting at the #9 spot. (Most other times of the year, based on the numbers it has sold, it would have made the top 5, maybe even the top 3 -- but there are a lot of high-selling children's titles around at the moment!!!) You can check out the chart by clicking on the following link: http://www.booktrack.co.uk/?pid=79
    In Ireland, the book has spent the past 3 weeks at #2 in the children's bestseller list. This is the first of my books since Trials Of Death not to get to #1 in the Irish charts (though there's still time -- it might reach the top yet!!!). This isn't because it's selling less than the others -- it's been "relegated" to second position solely because of the runaway success of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, which has been both the children's AND adult's bestseller for most of June. The link for the Irish chart is: http://www.irishreader.com/Features/Bests.htm
    If you live in the U.K. or Ireland, you should now be able to buy book 11 in any good book shop, but just in case you can't find it, or prefer to buy on the web, the link for Amazon U.K. is: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/000715920X/shanville


    The results are in!!! The 5 winners of the June Shanville Monthly competition, chosen at random from all the correct entries (book 10 got to #2 in the Japanese bestseller chart), are, in the order their names were drawn:

    Daniel Gornig -- Germany.
    Richard Heaven -- U.K.
    Anna Leung -- China.
    Jackie Behrens -- U.S.A.
    Kurumi Saito -- New Zealand (but originally from Japan).

    It was nice to see such a global spread of winners -- 5 different countries, 4 different continents!!! And I'm pleased that there was a Japanese winner in there -- so at least one of the winners will be able to actually read the book!!! Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone else who entered -- better luck next time!!


    "Roll up!! Roll up!! Roll up for the Destiny tour ...."

    Yes, folks, after what seems like ages, I'm doing a major tour of the U.K. and Ireland in October to promote the release of Book 12, Sons Of Destiny. This is going to be the biggest tour I've done here so far, with lots of public events, to give as many of you a chance to meet me as we can squeeze in!!! Here are the places and dates for the U.K. part of the tour (Irish info to follow later).

    Please note: SCHOOL EVENT means the event is in the day time, probably at a library or some other venue, and only students from selected schools will be allowed to come. SCHOOL EVENTS are being organized by librarians or book sellers, so if you live close to one of the areas where I'm going to be, it might be possible for you to organize a visit for a group from YOUR school!! The first thing you have to do is tell a teacher about it and ask if they're interested in arranging a visit. If they say yes, you or your teacher (or both!) should write to the library or book shop which will be organizing the event (or drop in to speak to them in person), and ask them what the set-up is, if there's space for you, how many of you can come, etc. You have the power to arrange a visit to see me -- so use it!!!

    All dates and venues are tentative and subject to change or updates. I'll add more details as and when they become available. Please be aware that the people in the stores and libraries might not be able to answer questions or accept bookings until closer the time of the event (I suggest waiting until August at the earliest before trying to contact them.)

    Saturday, October 2nd -- The Children's Bookshop, 1 Red Lion Parade, Bridge St, Pinner, Middlesex HA5 3JD. Tel: 020 8866 9116. (This is a public event, but will probably be held in a local venue other than the store.)
    Sunday, October 3rd -- The Word festival, at the Polka Theatre in Wimbledon, London.
    Monday, October 4th -- 10.30a.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT arranged by Ottakar's Bookshop, 6-6a Exchange Centre, High St Putney, London SW15 1TW. Tel: 020 8780 2401.
    Monday, October 4th -- 6.30p.m. -- public event at Ottakar's Bookshop, 6-6a Exchange Centre, High St Putney, London SW15 1TW. Tel: 020 8780 2401.
    Tuesday, October 5th -- 10.30a.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT arranged by Ottakars, 71 High St, Guildford. Contact Clare Gambell for further details.
    Tuesday, October 5th -- 4.30p.m. -- Lion & Unicorn Bookshop, 19 King Street, Richmond, Surrey,TW9 1ND. Tel: 020 8940 0483.
    Wednesday, October 6th -- 1.30p.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT at Cramlington Community High School, Highburn, Cramlington, Northumberland NE23 6BN. Contact Eileen Armstrong for further details.
    Wednesday, October 6th -- 4.30p.m. -- Waterstones, 104 Grey Street, Newcastle NE1 6JG.
    Thursday, October 7th -- 10.30a.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT arranged by Borders Books & Music, Unit 1b, Peel Retail Park, Great Portwood St, Stockport Cheshire SK1 2HH.
    Thursday, October 7th -- 4.30p.m. -- Waterstones, Deansgate.
    Friday, October 8th -- 1.30p.m. -- Ottakars, 50-52 The Precinct, Coventry CV1 1DX. Contact: Jenni Hope.
    Saturday, October 9th -- 12.45p.m. -- Cheltenham Book Festival.
    Monday, October 11th -- 10.00a.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT arranged by Ottakar’s, 12 Boscawen Street, Truro, Cornwall
    TR1 2QU. Tel: 01872 225765.
    Monday, October 11th -- 12.00p.m. -- signing in Ottakar’s, 12 Boscawen Street, Truro, Cornwall TR1 2QU. Tel: 01872 225765.
    Monday, October 11th -- 7.00p.m. -- In Other Words, 64 Mutley Plain, Plymouth, Devon PL4 6LF. Tel: 01752 663889.
    Tuesday, October 12th -- 10.30a.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT in Birmingham -- details TBC.
    Wednesday, October 13th -- SCHOOL EVENT in Solihull -- details TBC.
    Wednesday, October 13th -- 4.30p.m. -- WHSmiths, public signing, 29 Union Street, Birmingham B2 4LR. Tel: (0121) 631 3303.
    Thursday, October 14th -- 10.30a.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT arranged by Ottakars, 72 Midsummer Place, Milton Keynes, MK9 3GA. tel: 01908 395384.
    Thursday, October 14th -- 12.30p.m. -- public signing at Ottakars, 72 Midsummer Place, Milton Keynes, MK9 3GA. tel: 01908 395384.
    Thursday, October 14th -- 6.30p.m. -- Party-type celebrity signing in Heffers, Grafton Arcade, Cambridge.
    Friday, October 15th -- I will appearing at a Waterstones store in London (possibly Waterstones Picadilly) -- details TBC.

    Then there's a break in the UK leg of the tour. I plan to do my Irish events the following week (as I said above, I'll let you know the details once they are confirmed). Then, in the run-up to Halloween, I head back to the UK for the following events.

    Thursday, October 28th -- 4.00p.m. -- Borders Books and Music, 98 Buchanan Street, Glasgow, G1 3HA. tel: 0141 222 7700.
    Thursday, October 28th -- 6.30p.m. -- Glowworm Books, Unit 3&4, Bishopsgate Business Park, 189a West Main Street, Broxburn EH52 5LH. Tel: 01506 857570. (This event is being arranged by Glowworm books, but will probably be held in a different venue. Contact store for further details closer the time.)
    Friday, October 29th -- 10.30a.m. -- SCHOOL EVENT in The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh, arranged by Glowworm Books (see above).
    Friday, October 29th -- 4.00p.m. -- Waterstone’s 128, Princes St, West End, Edinburgh EH2 4AD.
    Saturday, October 30th -- 2.00p.m. -- The Whitby Book Shop, in Whitby.

    Whitby, as I'm sure many of you know, is where Dracula landed in the original Dracula book by Bram Stoker!! A suitable place for a half-vampire to end his tour, non?!?

    And that will be that!! As I say, more updates and confirmations to follow during the course of the summer, so make sure you check back a bit later in the year for a final itinerary!!!!!!


    Extra! Extra! Read all about it!!!!! The latest addition to my ever-evolving and eternally excellent Taiwanese web site is the Darren Shan Newspaper!!!!! Even if you can't read it, it's fun to check it out! So hold the presses and click on the following link immediately!! http://www.crown.com.tw/darrenshan/dspaper.htm There's also an actual "hard" copy of the newspaper, printed on a double-sided sheet of paper -- but I'm pretty sure that's only available in Taiwan!!


    Found out recently that there are bootleg (illegal) copies of my books on sale in Iran, translated into Arabian!!!! Haven't seen one yet, though I'd LOVE to get my hands on a copy!! Watch out for them if any of you are ever over in that neck of the woods ...

    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 in April and May. 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 (and who missed this section last month!) -- 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.)


    Bit of a strange one, this!!!

    A few weeks ago, a Shanster by the name of Toni Anne Palermo e-mailed me, asking if I'd ever heard of an Irish punk band called Flogging Molly, or seen their album, "Drunken Lullabies". The reason? Well, in the American edition of Book 3, Tunnels of Blood, there's a small picture at the start of every chapter, of a man's back as he walks down an alley -- and that very same picture is on the cover of the "Drunken Lullabies" album!!!!!!!

    Obviously, I was very interested in this, and made some enquiries of my publishers. Basically, the artist who worked on that book has left the company, so we'll never know the full story, but they think he simply used an image from a stockpile (there are companies which collect all sorts of photos and images, which they then sell on to clients), and that the band, purely by chance, happened to pick the same image.

    Coincidence? Or the work of Des Tiny?!? I'll leave it to you to decide ...


    Although I don't approve of published fan fiction, I know some of you lot like to read stories about your favourite characters, written by fans. I've recently been informed of a fan fic site with lots of stories based upon my books. So, if you want to check them out, the link is: http://www.fanfiction.net/list.php?categoryid=1693 Please note that I didn't write any of these stories ... I assume no responsibility for their contents ... they're all 100% illegal ... and that by going to the site and reading the stories, you risk being arrested and imprisoned by the Copyright Police for a period of no less than 3 years!!!!! (OK -- I made that last bit up!!!!) Happy reading!!!


    For those of you who like to know what I get up to in my spare time ... I was in Orlando, Florida from June 6th-13th, on holiday with Lady Bas of the Busty Wilds, and 4 of my cousins (Ronan, Lorcan, Kealan and Tiernan). Had a great time, taking in loads of roller-coasters and fabulously designed rides. Was especially impressed with the two Universal parks -- Universal Studios, and Islands of Adventure. These places are cutting edge!! I'd never experienced anything like the Terminator 2 or SpiderMan 3D shows!!!!! If the chance ever arises for you to go there, my advice is to grab it with both hands, and go for 2 weeks if you can -- I wish I'd had more time!!! One piece of advice though -- don't bother with Disney's Magic Kingdom. I don't care how famous it is -- the park is utter rubbish, too small, packed solid with people, with nary a decent ride in site! Don't waste your time!!!!!!


    Here's the second half of my blog(of sorts) of my tour of the States in April and May. Last time round, I'd just got to Reno and was planning to hit the roulette wheels in search of a nice big juicy jackpot ...
    Well, I had a big win -- $875!!! But by the time I left, I'd lost most of it again!! So no Hawaii escape for me this time!!!! Actually had a spot of bother getting out of Reno -- vampaneze gremlins messed about with my itinerary and misdirected me, meaning I missed my flight out and had to stay in Reno another night!! (That's why I lost so much money -- I would have got out about $200 to the good otherwise!!) Finally made it to Tucson a bit late on Friday may 7th. Missed the library event I was supposed to go to, but luckily I was able to go to the school which was meant to come and see me there, and I saw some of those who had come to the library at a later event -- so no harm done!!!

    From Tucson I flew to Phoenix, where I did a couple of Saturday events -- quite good tournouts for a Saturday, and I was well looked after by Lynne Johnson and her chauffeur Terry!! Then it was on to Minneapolis. The flight went smoothly, and we set down in time -- but when I got off the plane, I learnt that a huge storm had just hit - tornadoes and everything! - and if we'd been just a few minutes later, our plane would have been diverted!!! It was quite weird, going from the blue sky of Phoenix to the thundery black sky of Minneapolis! I was a bit nervous driving to my hotel - I could hear the weather reports on the radio, and the storm was hitting areas all around us - but the luck of the vampires was on my side and we drove right through the middle of the storm without being hit -- well, except by a few hailstones!!!

    More school events on Monday, then I flew on to Chicago. I was meant to do an evening event in Schaumburg. When I arrived at the airport in Minneapolis, I was told that the flight would be 40 minutes or so late, but that was fine -- I would still be in time for the event. I boarded the plane, we taxied out to the runway ... then stayed there for 3 hours!!!!! Finally we returned to an airport bay, and I had to transfer on to another flight, eventually arriving in Chicago 5 hours later than planned!!!!! My apologies to everyone who turned out to see me in Schaumburg. This was the first event in 4 and a half years that I missed because of a delayed flight -- so I guess it just wasn't your lucky night!!!!

    Back to normal business on Tuesday, when I did a fabulously fun couple of events at Skokie Public Library. The librarians (special thanks to Linda and Ashley!) had gone to a terrific amount of effort, and made the event a real blast for me! They put on a freakishly fab lunch too, with loads of cool Halloween props, and even a specially created spider-adorned cake!!!

    I did a couple of more events on Tuesday (one boy travelled 3 hours to come to one of them!!), then got a good night's sleep and turned up at the Chicago International Charter School in West Belden on Wednesday morning, where they put on a play of the first Cirque Du Freak book!!! It was great -- a large cast on a stage, well written and directed, with make-up and props! LOADS of fun for me, and a pleasant change -- normally, when I got to a school, I'm the one expected to do the entertaining, but here I was able to sit back and simply enjoy the show!!!! And they treated me to a scrumdiddlyumptious lunch too!!!
    I had one of my biggest evening turn-outs on Wednesday, May 12 at Anderson's Bookstore in Downer's Grove, Illinois. The store was absolutely PACKED!!! One girl had flown in from Florida, specifically to come to see me!!!!! By the time I'd signed everyone's books, and all the stock in the store, I was signing for 3 hours after my event!!!!!! (It always makes me smile, when I'm in a school, store or library, and after about 15 or 20 minutes somebody asks if I have a sore hand!!) My apologies to Tracey for making her get home late!!!!! :-)

    On Thursday, after an event in a high school, I had to rush to the airport and fly on to New York, where I had a night event in Barnes & Noble on 240 East 86th St. This was my first time doing an event in New York, and I was a bit nervous that nobody would turn up -- but, to my delight, there was a HUGE crowd!! Had a very enjoyable event there, then went out for dinner with a few of my publishers, then met up with fellow Irish children's author Eoin Colfer for a few drinks!!! I know Eoin quite well, and it's always nice to run into a fellow writer when you're on the road. We downed a few pints, moaned about our publicists a lot (only joking, Jennifer!!!), and plotted the overthrow of Harry Potter -- we came up with the idea to top all ideas, though when my head had cleared the next morning, I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was!!!!!!

    Friday was extraordinarily busy, even by my hectic standards -- 5 events in total!!! I had a morning trip to my publishers, to sign books for members of staff. Then a long drive out to Tuxedo Park, another long drive to Greenwich in Connecticut, then an even longer drive to Elizabeth in New Jersey! Enjoyed all the events, and had good turn-outs too.

    On Saturday I caught the train up to Albany. It's a lovely ride north along the Hudson river -- beautiful scenery. Had a very big crowd for my event in Albany -- because of space limitations, and because the people there had already formed a line and were reluctant to lose their place, I just did signings at this event! Then drove on to Manchester. A very scenic spot, and the store - North Shire Bookstore - is amazing, though unfortunately not many people turned up to see me, which was a pity.

    Sunday -- the final day!!! Got the train back down to NY, where I was met once more by the Gallic Jessica Abbots. Did two events, one in a bookstore, the last one in a library, and had good turn-outs for each, especially at the library, where I think I had my biggest Sunday crowd (Sundays are normally the quietest days). Good to end on a high!!! Straight after the event, I said farewell to Jessica, was driven out to JFK, and then ... HOME!!!!!!

    I have to say, honestly, I had a great time on this tour!! Yes, I was busier than a bee most of the time, but that's how I like it when I'm touring! It was well organized, I met loads of great fans, hopefully made some new ones, was treated like royalty by all the librarians, booksellers and teachers I met, and signed (and sold!) THOUSANDS of books!!! The fact that the new book hit the New York Times Top 10 Children's Bestsellers chart while I was there was the icing on the cake -- though it would still have been fab without the chart success!!

    My publishers (Little,Brown) are talking about inviting me back again in October 2005, probably around the time of Halloween. So if anybody wants to sign me up, the petitioning starts here!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    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. Details of the full programme are now on line, and you can order tickets too. The web site address is: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk Looking forward to seeing you there!!!!

    DEJA VU 1!

    It's Double Deja Vu time again!!! First up, I've added lots of new photos -- and I do mean LOTS!!! -- to my web site. Some of these go back to September 2003!!! (there's even one of me in Edinburgh last August -- can you find it, Leah?!?) There are pics of me and my good Lady Bas in Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, Vietnam and many other regions! You can see me flying about in a helicopter, relaxing in hammock, diving off the top of a VERY tall building, and jumping out of a plane!!! Plus there are some more sedate pics of me on tour in Bangkok and Taiwan! Enjoy!!!!! Oh, the link to get to them is http://www.darrenshan.com/shanography/photosentry04.html

    DEJA VU 2!

    Secondly, I've added quite a lot of new cover images to the site in the past month. You can check out the cover for the U.K. edition of Book 12, Sons Of Destiny, by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/uk_site/home/uk-home12sons.html and I've added the cover for the third U.K. collection, Vampire War, at the following link: http://www.darrenshan.com/uk_site/home/uk-home789vwar.html Vampire War collects books 7, 8 and 9 together, for the price of 2 books (a sheer bargain!!). But before you rush down to the shops to buy it, take note -- it doesn't go on sale until February 2005!!!!! Sorry that the scans of these aren't of very good quality -- I'll add cleaner versions closer to the time of the books' release.
    You can check out the cover for the Taiwanese version of Book 9, Killers of the Dawn, by clicking on the following link: http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/shancovers/book09/taiwan.html As with all the Taiwanese covers, it's freakishly FABULOUS!!!! And, finally, you can find the book 10, The Lake Of Souls, covers from Germany and the Netherlands by clicking on the following link: http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/shancovers/book10.html


    I've had quite a lot of e-mails and letters from Canadian fans recently, wanting to know when books 5 onwards are being released in Canada. Well, the news ain't good, Shansters!!! My publishers seem to have stalled at book 4, and don't look to be planning to release #5 any time in the near future!!! Now, that MIGHT change, since book 7 has been so successful in America, but if you want to try and hurry the process along, my advice is to write to my Canadian publishers, tell them how much you like my books, and politely ask them to carry on printing!!!! The address to write to is: Children's Department, Scholastic Canada Ltd, 175 Hillmount Road, Markham, Ontario L6C 1Z7. Good luck!!!!


    And that, my friendily fiendish Shansters, is that for July!!! I guess most of you will be breaking up from school for your holidays soon (if you haven't already). I hope you all have a terrific summer, get into lots of adventures, go swimming, sunbathing, exploring ancient temples in lands far away ... whatever it is that you like to do in summer time!! Me? I'll be stuck at home most of the next few months, writing the first draft of a new book!! Oh well, I guess I'll just have to take my summer hols late this year!!! Until next month, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x