• Issue 57 - April 2005

    01 April 2005

    Hi everyone, and welcome to the April issue of the Shanville Monthly! It's a bit early this month, because I'm heading off on tour to Taiwan before the end of March (see further down) and I wanted to post this before I went. I've lots of news and updates for you this month. First of all -- I updated the details for my events in Taiwan during March, so make sure you check out the Global Tour section if you're thinking of coming to any of my events there!! Plus, I've added a public signing event when I come to Wexford!! And I have dates and times for my August trip to Edinburgh! Also, if you're interesting in trying to get me to come to YOUR town when I hit America in October, be aware that my American publisher has started putting the tour details together, so if you can act quickly, you should!!! Click on THIS LINK for tips and advice.
    Apart from the tour info, I have news of the release of Book 9 in America, and quite a lot of news about the upcoming release of Lord Loss -- and some of the L.L. news is VERY exciting!!!!! I'm also finally revealing the name of my new, demon-related series!! There's a Junior Mastermind update, lots of new covers to check out, and more!! So quit dawdling here at the top, get stuck in, and I'll see you again when I sign off at the bottom!!!!!!


    Watch out!!! Although the official release date in the U.S.A. for book 9, Killers of the Dawn, is May 11th, usually my books come out a month early in the States -- so it will probably (NOT definitely!!) start turning up in shops some time in April!!! Killers is one of my personal favourites out of the series, and was greeted ecstatically by fans in other countries when it was released -- although it's also one of the saddest books I've written, so there were tears as well as cheers!!!! I hope all of my American fans enjoy it as much as other global Shansters have!!!!
    Now for the absolutely BRILLIANT news!! Remember I said in the January issue of the Shanville Monthly that I might have some very exciting news for my American fans soon? Well, here it is!!!!! My American publishers are going to release my latest book, Lord Loss in ... OCTOBER 2005!!!!! Yes, that's right -- THIS YEAR!!! They didn't want fans to have to wait until the end of The Saga to read Lord Loss, which is why they've decided to release it before The Saga finishes. So, Book 9 of The Saga (or Cirque Du Freak, as the series is known in the States) will be released as planned in April/May. Then Book 10, The Lake Of Souls, will be released in September -- to be followed, just one month later, by Lord Loss!!!!!!

    I was delighted when I heard this news -- it means the States will be releasing the books from my new series only a few months after they're released in the U.K. It also means that, this year, American Shansters will be getting THREE new Darren Shan books -- and in 2006, you might be getting as many as FOUR!!!!! (The final 2 books of The Saga, and the next 2 books of my demon series!!) Exciting times to be an American (Cirque Du) Freak!!!!!!!!! So, let's all give three huge cheers for my American publishers, Little Brown -- Hip! Hip! Hooray!!!!!!!
    The only down side of all this is that the next couple of years are going to be quite expensive if you're a Shanster who wants all of my books!!!! My advice is to either start saving now ... ask for them for birthday and Christmas presents ... or make sure your local library will be getting my books in, and pre-order them NOW!!!!!
    By the way, for those who like to pre-order their own copies in LOTS of time, you can now pre-order the American version of Lord Loss from Amazon by clicking on this link: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0316114995/qid=1111435449/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/102-3929027-7932944 For more info about Lord Loss and my new series, see below!!!.


    A lot of people want to know if Lord Loss is a one-off book or the first of a series. Well, the answer is -- it's both!!! When I first wrote Lord Loss, it was meant to be a one-off book about a boy who has an especially nasty encounter with a demon. I wrote the first draft a few years ago, while I was still working on The Saga Of Darren Shan (I actually wrote the first draft not long after I finished the first draft of Book 9 of The Saga. I loved the fast pace of the 9th book, and wanted to write a book which was similarly speedy -- Lord Loss was the result!) Since I knew I couldn't release it until The Saga was finished, I set it aside for a couple of years. During that time, I had ideas for some more books about demons. Originally I wasn't going to link them together, but as things developed, I found them joining up of their own accord, and suddenly it became a massive, ambitious series of demon-based novels!!!!

    There will be AT LEAST six novels in the new series. They are completely unrelated to The Saga of Darren Shan -- i.e. there are no vampires, Mr Des Tiny, etc. The format will be a bit different to my vampire books. They won't all focus on the same main character, and a couple of the later books are set before the events of Lord Loss. The first 6 books are designed to stand alone, so although they do tie up and link together as the series develops, you can also read each one as a single, self-contained story. (Except 5 and 6, which are two halves of the same storyline.) Each book is fast-paced and action-packed, and although they will include a mix of styles and genres, there will always be quite a strong horror element to them. And the name of the series will be ... THE DEMONATA!!!!!
    We've already sold or are in the process of selling Lord Loss to several countries, so in certain parts of the world the book will be coming out very soon after its U.K. release date. More info will follow as and when it becomes available ...


    Of course, the BIG question most Shansters will be asking themselves right now is -- are these new books going to be any good?!?!? I know it can be hard, if you're a fan, moving from one series to another, abandoning a whole set of characters and story-lines for a completely new set. Will The Demonata carry the same kick that The Saga of Darren Shan had? Will the characters be as interesting, the plots as twisting, the shocks as shocking?!? Obviously, that's something each fan will have to decide for themselves when (IF!!!!) they read the books. But, in the meantime, here are a couple of letters from fans who managed to get hold of advance, proof copies of Lord Loss. (i.e. they bought them on Ebay!!!!!)
    Stephen Kenneally -- "my ebay copy of Lord Loss just arrived, and I finished it last night. What can I say -- it was amazing! I thought from the preview that Grubbs's "voice" would be very immature, but after the "incident", he seems to become far older -- which is a good thing, for me at least! I also absolutely loved your descriptions - Vein and Artery (especially Artery) absolutely made my flesh crawl (and not with cockroaches!). Also, the conversatons and character descriptions were much more complete and "real" than in the Saga, in my opinion. Meera's flirtatious lines and Grubbs's responses had me in stitches (reading "I've spilled milk on my T-shirt" I just couldn't stop laughing), while Lord Loss's conversations gave me quite an insight into his character. Grubbs's magical powers were interesting - Dervish says that magic has to be learnt by all except "true" magicians. If Grubbs was one, surely he (Dervish) would know? I can understand him performing one magical act (dog-flap) under great stress, but directed, focused use suggests an innate power ... Finally, the poem on the first page was great -- it really gave an insight into the nature of Lord Loss, and managed to be vaguely disturbing with its choice of adjectives (lush?). I hope there'll be a sequel -- I'm guessing there will, due to all the loose ends left open. Can't wait (but I have to!). Anyway, thanks for drawing me into your horrific worlds once more -- the Saga will always have a special place in my heart, but Lord Loss looks like it might soon join it there!"
    Marion Stevenson -- "My 12 year old daughter and myself have just finished reading Lord Loss, which we bought as a proof from ebay (don't worry, we will also buy the "official" one, when it comes out, as the artwork is always so good). Couldn't pass up the chance to read it early though! We both really enjoyed the book -- it is particularly dark and nasty and a cracking good read, plus the ending was, as in all your books, a total surprise. My daughter has now taken to noticing the cycle of the moon and I am half considering pulling a similar trick to Dervish's one on Grubbs!! She had better hope she doesn't "change" though, as I am total rubbish at both chess and fighting! I read the Observer piece on you a little while ago but didn't really get where the journalist was coming from. Speaking as a parent, I am delighted to have my daughter reading well written and interesting books, regardless of the subject matter. I think considering the state of the real world today, it is pretty ridiculous to fret because your kids are reading books about vampires and demons! I don't understand why anyone would want to encourage their kids to read and then want to censor their choice of books. At the end of the day a little scaring never harmed anyone! I understand that Lord Loss is the first in a series, but have no idea if the same characters are to feature throughout. I can't help but wonder what inspires your choice of character names, as they seem to get increasingly more bizarre!! I fear for any children you may ever have on this count. Anyway,that's more than enough from me. I eagerly look forward to your next offering."


    Lord Loss is shaping up to be my biggest book yet in the U.K. and Ireland. It's my first hardback release here, of course, but that's not the only reason why we expect it to be bigger than any of individual Saga books. Fan demand is greater than ever -- my fan base in the U.K. (based on actual sales of books) has almost doubled in the last year!!! Booksellers are eager to stock the new book and promote it!!!!! (The hardest part of publishing is actually trying to convince shop managers to put your books in their shelves!) Advance word from people who've read the proofs has been glowing (see above)!!!!!! My publishers are planning a big campaign, with lots of advertising and promotions. If all goes according to plan, this summer will divide up neatly between 3 major blockbuster books. May will be the month of leprechauns (the new Artemis Fowl book comes out), July will be the month of wizards (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince). And sandwiched neatly between them both, June will hopefully be the month of DEMONS!!!!
    As part of the promotions in the U.K. there will be a limited edition, leather-bound version of Lord Loss on sale!!! I'm not sure which shops it will be available in, but Amazon are currently listing it (although, of course, it's not on sale at the moment!) at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007209843/shanville The price of the special edition will be £25. I'll confirm, closer to June, whether or not Amazon actually will be selling it -- and, if not, where you will be able to buy it. But be warned -- this will be a VERY limited edition, and probably quite difficult to come by!!!

    Amazon are also listing a Lord Loss poster at http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007734034/shanville Again, at the moment I think there's no guarantee that you will actually be able to buy this from Amazon in June, but I'll keep you all posted!!!!!
    For those who don't give a hoot about special editions, and who just want to pre-order a regular copy through Amazon, the link is http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0007193211/shanville They're offering it for the bargain price of £9.09!!!!! (retail price is £12.99)


    The BBC still haven't settled on an exact date to show the final of Junior Mastermind (on which one of the finalists will be answering questions about my books as their specialist subject -- see the March issue of the Shanville Monthly) but the date currently being mentioned is Saturday, May 21st. As soon as this is confirmed or changed, I'll let you all know!!!


    I've been catching up with a LOT of fan-mail recently, and have ploughed through most of my backlog! In March, I finally answered the last of the fan-mail from my January trip to Japan!! And a lot more besides!!!! I'm feeling very pleased with myself at the moment for answering so much mail and clearing my desk space, but I'll be away from home for most of April, so no doubt there'll be another mountain of mail waiting for me when I get back!!!!! For anyone who has sent or is planning to send a letter to me -- I DO answer all mail personally, like it says on the Contact page, but it can take quite a long time. You might be lucky and receive a reply from me within a month, but usually it's closer to 2 months, sometimes even longer!! So, please, BE PATIENT!!!!!!!!


    You can read a recent review/synopsis of Book 1 of the series by clicking on this link: http://www.crowgrrl.com/reviews/031305perch.htm Crowgrrl (cool name!!) has also reviewed book 2 in a later site update, and might be reviewing more soon ...


    This one made me chuckle when it was sent to me -- although it took me a minute or two to figure out why it had been forwarded to me in the first place!!! Click on this link: http://www.blood.co.uk/pdfdocs/donor_spr2005.pdf Then scroll down to page 14 and have a look at the photo!!!!!! (It's a PDF file, so it might take a minute or so to load properly if you're not on broadband.)

    The Darren Shan touring show continues across the globe in 2005!! See below for the list as it currently stands. N.B. dates, venues and times are subject to change -- please keep checking back for updates.

    Here are the details, as they currently stand, for my short tour in Taiwan in April. I'm not sure when all the interviews will appear -- you'll have to keep watching out for them!!

    April 1: Taipei
    10.00-11.00: CtiTV news interview.
    11.00-12.00: FTV news interview.
    14.00-16.00: Newspaper interviews.
    16.30-18.00: "CtiTV Bookshop" interview.
    19.00-20.00: "AzioTV" interview.

    April 2: Taipei
    13.30-15.30: "Kingstone Bookstore" autograph meeting.
    17.00-18.30: "FNAC Bookstore" autograph meeting.
    22.00-24.00: "Eslite Bookstore" autograph meeting.

    April 3: Taizhong + Kaoxiong
    14.00-16.00: Taizhong "Eslite Booksore" autograph meeting.

    April 4: Taipei
    10.00~12.00: “China Times Weekly” interview.
    13.30~15.00: "NEXT Magazine" interview.
    15.30~16.00: “COSMOPOLITAN Magazine” interview.

    As you can see, it's an action-packed tour! My publishers have squeezed in as many interviews and events as is humanly (or even vampishly!) possible!!! I'm really excited about it!!!!!! If you want to find out more information, check out my Taiwanese publishers' Darren Shan site at http://www.crown.com.tw/darrenshan/index.htm

    Donner Bookshop -- Rotterdam, Lijnbaan 150. tel: 010 4132070. web site: http://www.donner.nl e-mail: [email protected] -- Sunday April 10th, 2.00p.m. -- signing session. Entry is free, but Donner would like you to reserve your place in advance. For more info, click here: http://www.donner.nl/domains/default/pages/content.asp?content=10830000000206_0_10000000001651 People who come will also have the possibility of winning a dinner date for later that day -- with ME!!!!

    Friday, April 15th -- 2 events at the Wexford Book Festival -- 10.00 and 13.00.
    *NEW* Friday, April 15th -- public signing at the Wexford Book Shop, Main Street, Wexford -- 16.00.
    The Book Festival events will be in a theatre that holds more than 500 people. It's on during school time, so you'll either have to organise a class trip with your teacher, or bunk off school!! If you want to try to organise a class trip, ask your teacher. If s/he agrees, they can contact the organisers at: [email protected] You can book individual tickets through the organizers too -- but check with your parents and school first to make sure you can get the time off!!!!!! There is also a web site for the festival: http://www.wexfordbook.com

    Thursday, April 21st -- arrive Budapest.
    Friday, April 22nd -- fly to Debrecen for events that day.
    Saturday, April 23rd -- Budapest International Book Fair, Budapest Congress Centre. 10:00 – interviews, dedication. 17:00 – dedication in Mammut Libri Book Palace.
    Sunday, April 24th – Budapest International Book Fair, Budapest Congress Centre. 10:00 – dedication.

    I will be doing two events at the Edinburgh Book Festival this year, on Friday August 19th at 5.00p.m. and Saturday August 20th at 1.30p.m.. (These dates and times are subject to final confirmation and MIGHT change.) More details, and ticket information, to follow later in the year.

    Details to follow. Click on THIS LINK for tips about how to arrange a Darren Shan visit!!


    I'm planning to update the entire Shanville web site over the next couple of months. In league with my design team, Xeropoint, 'll be giving it a facelift, designing a new home page, creating a new set of links, re-structuring things, creating a new navigational bar, and more!! It's the first real overhaul of the site that I've done in a couple of years. I'm talking with Xeropoint about adding some Flash sounds and animations later, though changes like that probably won't be made until later this year. We're going to have the new-look site in place by the end of May (just in time for the launch of Lord Loss). So if you try to access the site during the next couple of months, and get an error message, or discover a missing link -- DON'T PANIC!!! We're not anticipating a lot of down-time or problems -- but, of course, things aren't always as simple as they seem, so we might run into a bit of trouble during the change-over!!! Anyway, everything should be fine, brand-new and sparkling by the start of June .......


    Time to re-visit the COVERS section again!!!! I've added several new covers to the site, including: the Italian cover of Book 1 -- the first new book 1 cover for a few years!!! http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/shancovers/book1.html

    the upcoming British hardback editon of book 1!!http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/shancovers/otherukcovers.html

    the American ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) of books 1 to 5, plus an unused American book 5 cover! I've also included some fascinating information about the covers, especially the first book!!! http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/shancovers/othercovers.html

    and the Taiwanese and Dutch book 12 covers!!! http://www.darrenshan.com/gallery/shancovers/book12.html


    And that's it for April! I'll be away for much of the coming month. As well as all the events listed above, I have to go to a stag party in Brussels (the day before my event in Rotterdam -- so I could have a very sore head that Sunday!!!), and a wedding in Portugal!!!! Needless to say, I won't be doing much writing this month, or answering much fan mail!!!! But I plan to get stuck into the first draft of a new book as soon as I'm back at the start of May -- and that's when I'll be catching up with my fan mail too!!! *shudders* Until then, try not to get caught out on April Fools Day, and all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x