• Issue 69 - April 2006

    01 April 2006

    Did any of you get caught out by April Fools Day jokes?!? It's been years since anyone played one on me -- I have to say, I don't miss them!!! They can be fun if cleverly thought through, but from what I remember they were mostly just stupid -- "Hey, your laces are undone! Hah-hah -- no they're not!!!! April Fool!!!!!" *AHEM* Anyway ... let's crack on with the Shanville Monthly, shall we? Lots of news this month, including my highest ever placing in the UK book charts ... a couple of award nominations ... an upcoming appearance on the BBC show "Blue Peter" ... and a link between Darren Shan and the Oscars!!! You can also find the UK cover of Book 4 of "The Demonata", and I've updated my tour schedule, adding lots of new dates (both in the UK and Ireland) and confirming times, venues and how to buy tickets. And there's more!!!! It's a fairly full issue, so rather than waste any more time, I'm going to slip away and leave you to it!


    My short novel "Koyasan", published in the UK and Ireland for World Book Day, entered the Official UK Top 50 chart at Number 4 for the week ending March 4th!!! That's the OVERALL chart -- including adult books as well as children's! That's the highest placing any of my books have enjoyed in the UK. Of course, WBD books traditionally sell very well, because lots of children in the UK receive £1 book vouchers, which most use to buy one of the WBD titles. Still, it was great to see one of my books riding so high in the charts, and hopefully it helped introduce lots of new readers to my other novels!! The book stayed in the UK Top 10 for three weeks, and is currently at #22. In Ireland, the book entered the Children's Bestsellers Chart at #4 and has been at #3 for the past two weeks.

    For anyone interested in buying "Koyasan", especially if you live outside the UK or Ireland, here's some useful advice from seasoned Shan-fan Charlie Peterson:

    You shouldn't buy Darren's new book "Koyasan" from Amazon.co.uk. Shipping is about 7 pounds to the US. I would recommend to all people who do not live in the UK to buy the book from ebay where most of the books are only 1 pound and no fees besides shipping which is 1/3 the price of amazon's shipping fee.

    Sounds like wise advice to me!!! There are lots of copies of "Koyasan" for sale on ebay at the moment. The link for my books on ebay is: http://search.ebay.com/search/search.dll?cgiurl=http%3A%2F%2Fcgi.ebay.com%2Fws%2F&fkr=1&from=R8&satitle=darren+shan&category0=


    "Lord of the Shadows" -- book 11 of the "Cirque Du Freak" series -- goes on sale in America on May 10th. But my books normally hit bookshops in the States earlier than scheduled, often up to a month early, so it will probably start appearing on shelves in early April -- so watch out for it if you live Stateside!!!! If you prefer to order through the internet, you can buy the book through Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316156280/ref=pd_sim_b_5/002-0747559-4680006?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155 or through Barnes & Noble at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?z=y&pwb=1&ean=9780316156288

    Book 11 proved incredibly popular in other countries where it's already been released. Darren returns to his home town and the action switches back to the War of the Scars ... it draws all the surviving main characters back together, features a couple of truly shocking deaths ... and ends on a humongous cliffhanger, setting the scene for the 12th and final book!!!! Miss it at your peril!!!!!!!!!


    "Lord Loss" has been shortlisted for the Lancashire County Library Children's Book Of The Year. It's one of 10 books to be shortlisted from a longlist of 116 -- so it's done well to make it this far, even if it doesn't win!!! 24 judges will read the 10 books between now and May 26th, before picking a winner.

    "Lord Loss" has also been shortlisted for the Redbridge Teenage Book Award. The winner is voted for by children from a variety of schools. You can learn more about it here: http://www.redbridge.gov.uk/learning/rcba.cfm

    I think that's three award shortlists the book has made in the UK so far -- the most of any of my books!! It's strange -- I thought, given the bloodshed, that "Lord Loss" would be the most critically reviled of all my novels, yet it's turning out to be my most successful!!!!!


    I will be appearing on the UK CBBC show, Blue Peter, on Monday, April 24th! The show runs from 5.00-5.30pm. There will then be a live webchat with me directly after the show, at 5.30pm. So, no matter where you live in the world, you can log onto the Blue Peter web site and chat with me if you wish!!! I'm not sure what format the chat will take -- you can find out more details about it closer the time by checking out the Blue Peter website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/bluepeter/

    I'm very excited about this -- Blue Peter is one of the most successful and longest-running TV shows in England ever!! Those of you who read my Blog might remember that I was scheduled to appear on their web site back around the time of World Book Day, but it didn't work out. As I said then, I bore no grudges and would be only too pleased to accept an invitation to go on the show or its web site at any point in the future if asked. I'm relieved to see that the staff there didn't bear any grudges either!!!! :-)



    Lots of new stuff on Secret Shanville this month!!! First, Thursday, March 2nd, 2006, was World Book Day in the UK and 30 other countries around the world. To celebrate the day, I conducted a live chat room event, open to anyone who wanted to throw questions at me. There were lots of repeated questions, idle chit-chat between fans, and some spam. Super-fan JEFF went through the chat room after the event and whittled it down, deleting all the nonsense, reducing it to a simple question and answer format. I then went through Jeff's edit and re-jigged it, making sure all the questions and answers were in order. I think it makes for quite a neat interview in the end!! You can access it at Secret Shanville.

    There's another, official interview with me, this one from The Sunday Telegraph. It's a very nice piece, well written. I like the photos too, though they're quite small online -- they were much bigger in the paper itself. Look for it in Secret Shanville.

    You can also check out the UK cover for "Bec" -- book 4 of "The Demonata" -- months before it's available anywhere else! In fact, I've added two versions of it to the site!! The first is the initial rough painting for the cover, which I liked but thought could be improved upon. Artist Mel Grant played around with it a bit and came up with the final image, which I love!! As you'll see when you compare them on Secret Shanville, even though it's only been slightly altered, the change is dramatic!!! If you want to post comments about it, you can use the "Demon Thief" forum on the Shanville Message Board.

    Finally, I've added the fourth "Slawter" update, revealing why I use those arrows at the start of chapters in "The Demonata"!!! For the full lowdown, waste no more time, but make your way immediately to the hottest, coolest, most Shantastic page on the entire world wide web -- Secret Shanville!!!!!!!


    I've finished the first draft of Book 9 of "The Demonata"!!! It won't be published in the UK until June 2009, but I like to work far ahead of the publication schedule of my books. That's why I'm able to bring my books out so quickly! I'm now editing a new book, which MIGHT be the next book I release when "The Demonata" draws to its end in October 2009. You can follow my day-to-day work on it, and find out about everything else that I get up to, on my Blog at http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/


    I went to a school in Limerick called Scoil Carmel in March to record a short interview for a radio programme. RTE 2FM have run a scheme over the past few years, where they invite a group of Transition Year students (fourth year of secondary school, i.e. 15 or 16 year olds) from a certain school to record a one hour radio programme. The programme is researched, planned and presented by the students. This year over 300 schools competed for the honour of hosting the show -- and Scoil Carmel were among the handful of winners!! The girls wanted to interview me during the show, and I was happy to go along and give it a try. I was very impressed -- the studio had been professionally set up, and the interviewee was as polished and sure of herself as most journalists I've spoken to over the years. The other girls were fun too -- they were very excited to see me, and took loads of photos. It reminded me a bit of my trips to Japan and Taiwan, where most of my fans are girls! Hugging loads of teenage girls and posing for photos ... it's a hard life!!!!! Audio files and photos from past TY programmes are available at http://www.rte.ie/2fm/tyradio This year's programme is due to air on Sunday, May 7th. I'll provide a link to it next month.

    THE 2006 TOURS

    MAY -- Ireland/UK
    Wednesday 17th -- 11.00-12.30 -- Navan Arts Centre -- Schools event. Contact Mary Murphy, Ashbourne Library, Meath County Council Library Service, for more info. [email protected]
    Thursday 18th -- 10.00-11.00a.m. -- Hughes & Hughes, Unit 218 – 219, Omni Shopping Centre, Santry, Dublin 9. Tel: 01 862 3394. School event -- please contact the store if interested in coming.
    Thursday 18th -- 12.30p.m. -- Hughes & Hughes Junior, Top Floor, St Stephens Green Shopping Centre, Dublin 2. Tel: 01 478 8132. School event -- please contact the store if interested in coming.
    ***CANCELLED***Thursday 18th -- 3.00p.m. -- Hughes & Hughes, Pavilion II, Marine Road, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin. School/Public event.***CANCELLED***
    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 -- 2.00-3.00pm -- public event at Brighton Festival, Main Hall, Old Market, Hove, Brighton. Click here to book now: http://www.brightonfestival.org/index.asp?id=1908 or phone: +44 (0)1273 709709.
    Monday 22nd -- 10.30-11.30am -- school event at Woodkirk High Specialist Science School, Rein Road, Tingley, Wakefield.
    Monday 22nd -- 1.30-3.00pm -- school event arranged by Sonia Benster's Children's Bookshop, 37-39 Lidget Street, Huddersfield. Phone: 01484 658013.
    Monday 22nd -- 4.30-5.30pm -- public signing at Sonia Benster's Children's Bookshop, 37-39 Lidget Street, Huddersfield. Phone: 01484 658013.
    Monday 22nd -- 8.00pm -- public book group event at Rastrick High School, Brig House, arranged by Sonia Benster's Children's Bookshop, Huddersfield. Phone: 01484 658013.
    Tuesday 23rd -- 11.00a.m-12.30p.m. -- school event at Waterstones, 93 Albion Street, Leeds. Contact: [email protected]
    Tuesday 23rd -- 12.30-1.30p.m. -- public signing at Waterstones, 93 Albion Street, Leeds. Phone: 0113 244 4588.

    All of my following Scottish Events are being arranged by the Scottish Book Trust. For information about tickets, contact Catriona Scott, Scottish Book Trust, Sandeman House, Trunk's Close, 55 High Street, Edinburgh EH1 1SR. Tel: 01315240169. Email:

    [email protected]
    Wednesday 24th -- 10.00a.m. -- Montrose Town Hall, Melville Gardens, Montrose.
    Wednesday 24th -- 2.00p.m. -- Kirriemuir Town Hall, 28/30 Reform Street, Kirriemuir.
    Wednesday 24th -- 6.00p.m. -- Angus Chatterbooks, Venue TBC (probably Brechin).
    Thursday 25th -- 10.30a.m. -- Beach ballroom, Beach Promenade, Aberdeen.
    Thursday 25th -- 1.30p.m. -- Beach ballroom, Beach Promenade, Aberdeen.
    Friday 26th -- 10.30a.m. -- Elgin Library, Cooper Park, Elgin, Moray.
    Friday 26th -- 1.30p.m. -- Elgin Library, Cooper Park, Elgin, Moray.
    Saturday 27th -- 12.00-1.00pm -- public event at Waterstones, 2-6 Hill St, Richmond, Surrey TW10 6UA. Phone Rachel Benn: 0208 332 1600.
    Tuesday 30th -- 2.30-3.30p.m. -- event at Waterstones, 22 Sidney St, Cambridge CB2 3HG.
    Wednesday 31st -- evening: time TBC. -- Hay Festival, Hay-On-Wye, Wales. Ticket details will be available on their web site by the end of April: http://www.hayfestival.com/hayfestival/register.asp

    AUGUST -- Ireland/UK
    Saturday 12th -- 5.00p.m. -- public event at Kilkenny Arts Festival.
    Edinburgh Book Festival -- public event -- date and time to be confirmed.


    There were 11 entries for the March Shanville Monthly competition, and since I had some extra copies of "Sons of Destiny" knocking around, I decided to give a prize to EVERY entrant!!!! The 11 lucky winners were:

    Ela Fadli, California.
    Archie Ramsay, Angus.
    Nicky Parnell, Peterborough.
    Lorraine Surfleet, Scarborough.
    Sue Bone, Jersey.
    Kavin Kraye, California.
    Kate Pearce, Hounslow.
    Jaye Hunt, Illinois.
    Gill Corbitt, Middlesbrough.
    Thomas Reid, Angus.
    Alan Alvin, St Ives.

    The answer to the question was that the 6 books I reviewed for the Ultimate Teen Book Guide were:

    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
    The Machine-Gunners by Robert Westall
    The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut
    A Tale of Two cities by Charles Dickens
    The Belgariad by David Eddings
    Salem's Lot by Stephen King


    Rupert Degas, who does the audio CDs for "The Demonata" and "The Saga of Darren Shan", flew out to Hollywood for the Oscars ceremony in March! He was nominated in the Best Animated Short category -- he did all of the voices in the short film!! You can check out a clip from it here: http://www.nftsfilm-tv.ac.uk/index.php?module=Film&action=Film&film_id=109 Unfortunately he failed to win on the night, but it was still a fabulous achievement to be nominated!! To buy the absolutely superb CDs of my books that Rupert has done and is doing, visit the Shanville SHOPS at http://www.darrenshan.com/demons/shop/index.html and http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/shop/index.html


    "Cirque Du Freak" has been re-released in Finland in a paperback edition. You can check it out, along with all my other Finnish covers, here: http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/covers/countries/finland/finland.html


    And that's it for April! I've a fairly full month ahead of me -- my brother's getting married in Cyprus, I'm going on a stag do (bachelor party) to Amsterdam, and I've got quite a few other meetings and things lined up. I won't be getting much writing done this month!!! But that's OK -- I've allowed for that, and I'll make up for it over the summer. I'll be back next month to look forward to the late May/early June release of "Slawter" -- and to reveal some hugely exciting news about a promotional campaign that one of the major book chains will be running when it comes out!!! I'll also hopefully be celebrating the successful release of "Lord of the Shadows" in America, and should have plenty of other news to report too! Until then, watch out for those April Fools Day pranksters (some of the idiots strike late!!), and all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x