• Issue 68 - March 2006

    01 March 2006

    Welcome to the March issue of the Shanville Monthly. March, of course, means World Book Day, and I've outlined all the media interviews that I've done for WBD this year, as well as included details of the single signing event I'm doing to promote it. I thought I'd be doing more events and publicity in the UK around the big day, but the UK organisers of WBD didn't seem overly interested in maximising their use of me, so c'est la vie!! I'll just have to save it for my tours in May and October, when I'll be out promoting books 3 and 4 of "The Demonata"!!!! The organiser in Ireland, on the other hand, is a lovely lady called Loretta McEvoy, and she worked very hard to stir up press interest and organise lots of interviews here, so Irish fans will be seeing and hearing a lot of me over the first few days of the month!! Aside from World Book Day, in this issue of the Shanville Monthly you can find out the name of Book 4 of "The Demonata", learn more about my upcoming World Book Day chat room event, enter a follow-up comepetion to last month's, and more!!! So, I'll leave you to peruse the news at your lesiure, and meet up with you again at the bottom to say toodle-pip!!!!


    My new short novel, written especially for World Book Day, called Koyasan, is on sale in book shops in the UK and Ireland NOW!!! The price is £1 in the UK or €1.50 in Ireland. You can buy it through Amazon UK if you prefer (or if you live outside the UK and Ireland) at: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/000722138X/shanville I'm really proud of Koyasan. It's a short book, so it doesn't have the same kind of impact as my full-length novels, but I think it tells its story very well, and it's possibly more charming and warm than most of my longer tales. Hey, for a pound or one euro fifty cents, you can't go wrong!!

    I've been doing a lot of media interviews in Ireland in the build-up to WBD. I started by doing the Tubridy show on RTE radio 1 in Ireland on Monday, February 13th, and gave quite a long interview, covering a lot of ground, including my writing origins, comics, and my art collection. The show was temporarily available online, and while it was, super-fan Karen K transcribed it, typing out the full interview!!! So, if you missed the live interview, you can now read it on Secret Shanville by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html

    On Wednesday, March 1st, I will be appearing on TWO shows on Irish TV. First I'll be on News2day - which is part of The Den, on Network 2 - at 5.20pm. It's a very short interview, maybe only a minute or two, so don't blink or you'll miss it!!!!! Later, at 7.00pm, over on RTE 1, I'll be on Nationwide. This was a really fun interview, shot both in my local school and inside my house, so it should be a good one -- they even took shots of me cooking!!! That's the first time anyone's caught me in action in my kitchen!!! If you live in Ireland, miss it at your peril!!!!!!

    Then, on World Book Day itself, on Thursday March 2nd, I will be on the Phil Cawley show between 2.00pm and 5.00pm on Irish national station, Today FM. You can listen to it on the radio if you live in Ireland, or else online from anywhere in the world by clicking here: http://todayfm.com/Sectional.asp?id=900

    On that same day, Thursday March 2nd, I'm doing an event at Borders, Islington, London. Although I advertised it last month as a school event, I've learnt that the store will also be letting members of the public come to it!!! So, if YOU live nearby, and can get the time off school, or persuade a relative or friend to come along on your behalf, get in touch with the store NOW to (a) find out the time of the event, and (b) to make sure you can come!!!! You can find the store contact details by clicking here: http://www.bordersstores.com/stores/store_pg.jsp?storeID=505 Sorry about the late notice for this one, but I literally only foudn out myself a couple of days ago!

    Finally, I gave a long interview to The Evening Herald. The piece is meant to be a 3-page spread (!!!!) and is due to appear on Saturday March 4th. So, if you live in Ireland, watch out for it!!!!


    Although World Book Day isn't celebrated in every country around the world, I've decided to do a special live Shanville event that night, which all of you will be able to participate in!!! Basically, at 6.00pm UK time, on Thursday, March 2nd, (NOT 9.00pm, as quoted last month!!) I will be conducting a LIVE chat room event, in which you'll be able to interact with me and ask me all the questions you want!!! I will stay online for at least an hour (probably longer, until about 7.30pm), and reveal as much as I can in the time possible!! The URL of the chat room will be:


    You can go to the room and register now if you wish to use a particular name, and even post there in advance of the event! I've no idea if this is going to work or not. If too many people log on and crash the board, or if spammers make it a misery to continue, I'll switch the action to my Message Board at http://pub41.ezboard.com/bdarrenshanmessageboard I'll create a special Chat forum on the board in advance, but not make it accessible until and unless I have to retreat from the Chat room. So, if you try to access the Chat room on March 2nd, and can't find it, go to my message board instead.

    I did an event like this several years ago, when my web site was young and I had far fewer Shansters than now. I'm interested to see how it goes now that I have thousands of interested web fans instead of a few hundred!!! Could be great -- or it could be pure chaos!!! We'll find out soon ...


    I finally undertook and completed the monumental task of updating and re-organising the Reviews section on my Vampires site. This was something I'd been meaning to do for several years -- oh well, better late than never!!! I provided all the critical reviews of the books in "The Saga of Darren Shan" series that I could find. There aren't many of the last two books -- primarily because most of the reviews available online come from the States, and books 11 and 12 haven't been released there yet!!! I'm sure I have other reviews from papers and magazines sitting in my archives somewhere -- I'll try to root them down and add them to the site later. But, for now, this is as complete a critical picture as I was able to paint. So, if you want to find out what the critics have to say about my books, click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/reviews/index.html

    If I come across other reviews later, I'll add them to the site -- or if any of you spot reviews which I've missed, please let me know! It's been fun to read back over the reviews, most of which I haven't looked at in 4 or 5 years. I've included all reviews, both good and bad, but thankfully there aren't too many of the latter!!! N.B. For those who haven't finished the series, I would advise against reading reviews of books that you have not read yet -- many of the reviews of the later books contain serious spoilers!!!!!!!!


    After months of playing it coy, I can now reveal that the title for Book 4 of "The Demonata" will be ...


    Yup, it's as simple as that! The book is named after the main character. It's the title I had for the book since before I began the very first draft, and though I've thought of changing it to something more dramatic during the course of re-writing and editing the book, in the end I decided to stick with my first instinct. As unimaginative as the title might seem, I actually think it suits the book perfectly, and I think fans will think so too when they read it. This is a bit different to the other books in the series, with a feel all of its own. It's set in simpler times, when the world was younger, when people knew less, when we lived more in tune with nature. The deceptively simple title reflects that. So, while it's possibly the plainest of all the titles I've come up with, it's also one of my favourites!!!! (Tunnels of Blood is, for my money, the best title I've come up with to date!)

    The blurb on the back cover of a book is known properly as cover copy. Here's what will be on the back of "Bec". The wording might change very slightly between now and the final copy, but probably not MUCH.

    I'm almost through the door when something breathes behind me, "Beccccc..."
    I turn. I can't see anything but I know I'm not alone. I want to call for help
    but I can't. Then, in a blur, claws dart out of the darkness... a twisted face...
    fiery eyes... rows of teeth... the demon grabs me!

    As a baby, Bec fought for her life. As a trainee priestess, she fights to fit in
    to a tribe that needs her skills but fears her powers. And when the demons come,
    the fight becomes a war.

    Bec's magic is weak and untrained, until she meets the druid Drust. Under his
    leadership, Bec and a small band of warriors embark on a long journey
    through hostile lands to confront the Demonata at their source.

    But the final conflict demands a sacrifice too horrific to contemplate...



    I've added more items to Secret Shanville this month. First, there's the third "Slawter" update, revealing how I came up with the title of the book. I've also added a transcript of my recent interview on the Ryan Tubridy radio show. Plus I've included links to 3 short video clips of me discussing a few of my vampire books!!! Click on the link above for all of these exclusives and a whole lot more!


    I've started the first draft of Book 9 of "The Demonata"!!! It won't be published in the UK until May 2009, but I like to be far ahead of the publication schedule of my books. That's why I was able to bring my demon series out so swiftly after the end of "The Saga of Darren Shan" -- I'd already been working on it a year or two before the "Saga" finished! You can follow my day-to-day work on my Blog at http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/ Obviously I can't reveal much of what I'm writing in my entries (I don't want to spoil any surprises!), but you can find out how many pages I've done on any given day, and whether I'm happy with it ot not. You can find out loads of other stuff on my Blog too. It's become an important part of my daily life. In fact, I only missed posting an entry on two days last month!!


    Went to Ennis on Saturday, February 25th, for an event at the Ennis Book Shop. I went to Ennis several times early in my career, but hadn't been for 3 or 4 years. A big crowd turned up, which was nice -- especially nice to see some old faces who'd been there 4 and 5 years ago when I first came to town!! It's always cool to see teenagers who've been reading the books for a few years and have grown up with them -- gives me a sense of actually being a part of their lives. I read out my "Koyasan" extract (I'm really enjoying reading that out! I might work it in as a semi-regular feature to my events even after World Book Day), answered questions, then got busy signing. I was there for over 2 hours.

    This session was particularly enjoyable because, since I didn't have a "real" new book out, I was asked to sign a good variety of books. Usually, when I'm touring to promote a particular book -- e.g. "Sons of Destiny" or "Demon Thief" -- most of the people in the crowd will bring that book up to be signed. While I always happily sign whichever books of mine fans bring (I see that as a vital part of my job, and I still get a buzz out of it), there's no denying that signing 70 or 80 copies of the same book can get a bit tiring after a while!!! I try to change the message that I put into the book as much as possible, but there are only so many variations of a title that anyone can come up with!!! (When writing a message in a book, I normally like to make reference to the title, e.g. "Lord Loss has his eye on YOU!" or "Time to find out what DesTiny has in store!") The perfect scenario for me is when I get a good mix, i.e. one fan coming up with books 1 and 4 of "The Saga", the next coming up with book 9 of "The Saga" and "Lord Loss", etc. Today I got that mix, so the time passed very quickly.

    I left the shop a very happy chappy. As well as the strong, mixed turn-out, the staff there are lovely, and really made me feel welcome. Hopefully it won't be so long before my next event there!!

    THE 2006 TOURS!

    MARCH -- UK

    Thursday 2nd -- morning school event at Borders, Islington, London. Contact store for further details if you're interested in coming: http://www.bordersstores.com/stores/store_pg.jsp?storeID=505

    MAY -- UK

    Friday 19th -- all day -- school events and public signing at The Children's Bookshop, Pinner, 1 Red Lion Parade, Pinner Middlesex HA5 3JD. Tel: 020 8866 9116.
    Saturday 20th -- 2.00pm -- public event at Kingston Reading Festival, Kingston, London. Click here for info about the event: http://www.kingston.ac.uk/krf/2006/Events/darren%20shan.htm and click here for information about how to book tickets: http://www.kingston.ac.uk/krf/2006/booking.htm
    Sunday 21st -- 5.30-6.30pm -- public event at Brighton Festival, Main Hall, Old Market, Hove, Brighton. http://www.brighton-festival.org.uk/
    Monday 22nd -- 1.30-3.00pm -- school event arranged by Sonia Benster's Children's Bookshop, Huddersfield.
    Monday 22nd -- 6.00-8.00pm -- public book group event at Sonia Benster's Children's Bookshop, Huddersfield.
    Tuesday 23rd -- 10.30-11.30a.m. -- school event (and maybe a public signing) at Waterstones, 93 Albion Street, Leeds.
    Wednesday 24th -- all day -- Scottish Book Trust tour, details to be confirmed.
    Thursday 25th -- all day -- Scottish Book Trust tour, details to be confirmed.
    Friday 26th -- all day -- Scottish Book Trust tour, details to be confirmed.
    Wednesday 31st -- time TBC -- Hay Festival, Hay-On-Wye, Wales. http://www.hayfestival.com/2005/faq.asp

    I will be adding a few more events around this time -- further updates to follow in later issues of the Shanville Monthly.

    AUGUST -- UK

    Edinburgh Book Festival -- dates and times to be confirmed.


    The winners of the February Shanville Monthly competition are:


    Andrew McEwen.
    George Green.
    Nate Brown.
    Richard Foskett.
    Rhiannon Mohabir.


    Margraet Walker, Seattle.

    There were only 6 correct entries!!!!! That was the smallest number of entrants I ever had -- but then again, this was the most difficult competition I ever posed, so I knew the numbers would be small. Still, I thought there'd be more than 6!!! Oh well, the winners won't be moaning!!!!! And as for the rest of you, it just goes to show -- you should always enter a competition, because sometimes the odds of winning are far greater than you might have thought possible!!!!!!!


    The competition last month was based on reviews I had written for the book, "The Ultimate Teen Book Guide". I think some of you who wanted to enter had trouble finding a copy of the book, especially since Amazon didn't get their copies in stock until later in the month. So, for your sakes, I've decided to offer another competition!! (N.B. This competition IS NOT open to the six people who entered and won the last competition!!)

    "The Ultimate Teen Book Guide" features reviews of 700+ books, including reviews of SIX BOOKS written by ME. (i.e. reviews I have written of six of my favourite books by other authors.) For this follow-up competition, I'm offering a signed copy of the UK edition of "Sons of Destiny", book 12 (the final book!!) of "The Saga of Darren Shan", to THREE lucky winners!!! And the contest is open to fans all over the world!! To be in with a chance of winning a copy, you'll first have to get your hands on a copy of the "Ultimate Teen Book Guide" -- if you can't find it in a shop near you, or if you live outside the UK, you can order one from Amazon UK by clicking on this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0713673303/shanville Then, to enter, you have to do the following:

    1) Answer this question: "What six books did I review in the Ultimate Teen Book Guide?!?

    2) Send your entry to: [email protected]

    (3) Put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX when you send your e-mail!!! I won't accept your entry if you don't! And make sure you INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS in the body of the e-mail, as well as the answer -- and don't forget to add the name of your country!!!! This is so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win!

    (4) Closing date is midnight, Greenwich Mean Time, Sunday, March 26th, 2006.

    (5) This competition is open to everybody (except the six people who won last month's competition!), unless you work for one of my publishers or are one of my relations!!

    (6) Only one entry per household -- if you send in more than one entry, ALL of your entries will be rejected! If more than one person in a house wants to enter, you'll need to make a joint entry and include all of your names in a single e-mail.

    (7) The draw for the winners will be made on Monday, March 28th. It will be a completely random draw, made by Darren Shan personally (I use an online number generator to pick the winners). I will notify the winners by e-mail, and will post their names (but not their addresses) on the Shanville Message Board and in the April issue of the Shanville Monthly. I will try to send the prizes to the winners before the end of the month.

    (8) Information submitted by entrants WILL NOT be shared by me with any other individual or company! I'll keep your details on my PC, then delete the info once the competition ends.

    (10) My decision will be final -- no arguing with the referee!!!!!


    That's it for March! I hope to do lots of writing this month. If all goes according to plan, I'll finish the first draft of Book 9 of "The Demonata", leaving me with just the final book to complete!! Away from work, I have my brother's stag party (bachelor party) to look forward to, and I'll be meeting up with my Taiwanese agent, Emily, in London, which is always nice. I'll be back here on April 1st (no joke!!) with the next issue of the Shanville Monthly. Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x