• Issue 73 - August 2006

    01 August 2006


    Welcome to the August edition of the Shanville Monthly. I spent a lot of July writing, and plan to do a bit more in August, before heading to the Edinburgh Festival in the middle of the month, for a week of books, theatre, comedy and music -- nice!! July was a tense month for me away from the writing front -- my Granny underwent a serious, life-or-death operation. Luckily everything has gone well and she's on the mend. You can follow the day-to-day drama of the month by scrolling back through the entries on my blog at http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/ As for happenings on the books front, well, there's a chance for you lot to quiz me for an exciting CD Rom that will be coming out in the UK and Ireland later in the year ... there's news of the release of book 3 of "The Demonata" in Japan ... I've written my first set of notes about "Bec", revealing some of the ways in which the book evolved (and also revealing quite a lot about my writing technique) ... there are updates about my October tour of the UK and Ireland (I'm getting to visit Northern Ireland, which I'm delighted about! I'd hoped to fit in a visit to Wales too, but alas it wasn't possible this time -- but I'll come soon, faithful Welsh fans of mine, I promise!!!!) ... and a whole lot more! So, if you can tear yourself away from the beach and all the joys of your summer holidays for five or ten minutes, dive on into the world of Darren Shan and find out what's new!!!!!!


    Heads up, UK and Irish Shansters!! Waterstones are running another cool promotion when "Bec" is released in October! If you buy "Bec" from a Waterstones store you will get a free CD Rom, packed with exciting and exclusive material about me and my books!!! One of the coolest features on the CD Rom will be video clips of me answering a series of questions. What makes it so special is that YOU will be setting the questions! We're inviting questions from fans between now and Monday August 14th. Once we've received them all, we'll pick out approximately 10 of the most interesting questions, which I'll answer in front of a video camera at the HarperCollins offices later in the months. The results will appear on the CD Rom in October.

    So get thinking if you want to quiz me about my books, my personal life, my writing habits ... anything!!! But take note -- you can only submit ONE question! If you send more than one, your entries will be rejected! Try to make your question original, precise and thought-provoking. Obvious, general questions, such as "Where do your ideas come from?" will be the first to be junked!!! We want to make this a unique, fan-propelled interview that will cover ground that most interviewers never quite get around to!! Once you've thought of the ONE question you would most like to ask me, e-mail your question to:

    [email protected]

    Please put DARREN SHAN QUESTION in the subject box when you send your e-mail. Don't forget, the closing date for acceptance of questions is Monday 14th August. Make sure you include your correct e-mail address, name and full address with your question. We will send a signed Darren Shan poster to each person whose question we use!! (If more than one fan asks the same question, we'll randomly choose the person to receive the prize.) Sorry, but only questions from fans in the UK and Ireland will be accepted and used on the CDRom.

    I've added several new covers to my site recently. In the Vampires section, I've added covers from Czechoslovakia, Finland, Indonesia, Israel (making a welcome comeback to the Darren Shan camp three years after the first book was published there!), Italy, Russia (where the first book has just debuted) and Thailand. You can find them, along with all the other covers of my books from 32 countries around the world, by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/covers/index.html

    In the Demons section, I've added new covers from Hungary, the Netherlands and the UK. You can find them here: http://www.darrenshan.com/demons/covers/index.html

    The "Slawter" microsite, on The Cartoon Network, is still up and running! The competition date has passed, so you won't be able to enter, though you can still take it to see if you get all the questions right! It also features information about the books and characters, and there's a neat little game called Demon Dodge. To access the site, click on the following link:


    AHOY, MATES!!!
    The pirate classic, "Treasure Island", has been released in a new edition by Bloomsbury publishers in the UK and Ireland. And why, I hear you ask, should I be informing you lot about that??? Well, because this edition features a special item that no other edition ever has -- an introduction by Darren Shan!!! It's a short piece, just a couple of pages saying why I like the book and why I recommend it. But the book also has some great facts about "Treasure Island" and Robert Louis Stevenson in the back, as well as lots of other cool info about other writers and books of his time. If you've never read the book before, this is the perfect opportunity to dive on in! And if you have read it, or even own a copy ... well, isn't it time to think about updating your edition?!?!? ;) You should be able to find the book in a shop near you (it features a bright blue cover, with a yellow palm tree, and it clearly states my name on the bottom of the front cover) or else you can order it through Amazon UK by clicking on this link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0747587477/026-8140752-9574053?v=glance&n=266239&v=glance


    The winners of the July Shanville Monthly competition were:

    1 - Gregory Creighton, UK.

    2 - Devin Orosz, Canada.
    3 - Jack Vincent, UK.
    4 - Kirsten Koseck, USA.
    5 - Venisa Patel, UK.

    6 - Jonathan Demastus, USA.
    7 - Jeff Stern, USA.
    8 - Robert Fisher, UK.
    9 - Ricky Murray, South Africa.
    10 - Chris Chamberlain, UK.

    I informed all the winners by e-mail, and shipped out the prizes towards the end of July. Thanks to everyone who entered. Regrets to those who didn't win -- better luck next time!!!!


    "Slawter", book 3 of "The Demonata", will go on sale in Japan in August. The cover hasn't been revealed yet, but I'll add it to my site as soon as it is. The Japanese covers are always gorgeous, stunningly designed and executed, and I'm sure "Slawter" will be no different!!! If you can read Japanese, you can find out more about the book, and the other books in the series, by visiting the official Japanese "Demonata" web site at http://www.shogakukan.co.jp/demonata/ I recommend a visit to the site even if you're not Japanese, as it features lots of cool artwork and other items which can be enjoyed regardless of the language barrier. You can buy the book through the Shogakukan web site when you visit, or else through Amazon Japan by clicking here: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/product/4092903235/249-3527722-5330718?v=glance&n=465392&s=books


    I've added some new reviews of "Lord Loss" and the first few British reviews of "Slawter" to my site. The reviews are surprisingly positive for the most part -- I'm amazed by how positively most critics have taken to "The Demonata"!!! Some are short, some are more substantial. You can find them all by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/demons/reviews/index.html

    I've also added some fresh, American reviews of "Lord of the Shadows" - released in the States recently - to the site at: http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/reviews/11/indx-11lord.html


    I've started adding my notes about the writing of "Bec" - book 4 of "The Demonata" - to my web site. Along with a very short plot summary (I don't want to give too much away at this early stage!), I've described the process leading up to the origins of the book, how I got some of the ideas, and what prompted me to take the seemingly strange step of writing a book set in Celtic Ireland!!! There will be more about the book over the next couple of months, but for now you can dig into the first revealing slice by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html

    THE 2006 TOURS

    Saturday 12th -- 2.00pm -- ticketed public event at Kilkenny Arts Festival. You can access the full programme, and book tickets, by going to the festival's web site at http://www.kilkennyarts.ie/ or by phoning 056 775 2175
    Monday 14th, 4.30pm -- ticketed public event at Edinburgh Book Festival. You can book tickets online by clicking on the WHAT'S ON link at http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/ or by phone: 0044(0)8453735888. Tickets are selling fast, so my advice is to book ASAP!!!!

    I am in the process of finalising my book tour of Ireland and the UK in October, to promote the release of "Bec", book 4 of "The Demonata". Everything is still in the planning stages, so details are a bit sketchy in places, but this is the line-up as it currently stands. Some of these events might be changed, and a few new events will hopefully be added, between now and October -- so check the next couple of issues of the Shanville Monthly for the revised, final schedule!!!! When an event says TICKETED, it means you need a ticket to attend. These are sometimes available at the door on the day of the event, but where possible, you should book them in advance. I'll list details about how to book for each event as soon as I find out.
    Saturday 7th -- special Irish launch event -- details TBC.
    Monday 9th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Bundoran, County Donegal.
    Monday 9th -- 1.30-3.00pm -- school event at Letterkenny, County Donegal.
    Tuesday 10th -- morning -- school events in Derry.
    Tuesday 10th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Easons, Foyleside Shopping Centre, Derry.
    Wednesday 11th -- 10.00am -- school event at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Belfast, County Antrim.
    Wednesday 11th -- 2.00pm -- school event at Corpus Christi College (boys), Belfast, County Antrim.
    Wednesday 11th -- 4.30-5.30pm -- public signing at Waterstones, 44-46, Fountain St, Belfast, County Antrim. phone: 028 9024 0159.
    Thursday 12th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Methodist College Belfast, County Antrim.
    Friday 13th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Bow Secondary School For Boys, London E3.
    Friday 13th -- 1.30-3.00pm -- school event at Ilford Central Library, Clements Rd, Ilford, Essex. I will be collecting my Redbridge Award (see the July issue of the Shanville Monthly) at this event, and meeting some of the children (with great taste in literature!!) who voted for the book.
    Friday 13th -- 4.30-5.30pm -- public signing at Newham Children's Books Centre, Newham bookshop, 745-747 Barking Rd, London E13 9ER. phone: 02085529993
    Saturday 14th -- 11.00am-12.00pm -- tea with prize winners of a National Library for the Blind competition, in the Kandinsky Hotel, Cheltenham -- more information to follow.
    Saturday 14th -- 12.45-1.45pm -- ticketed public event at the Cheltenham Book Festival. You can book online at: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/whats_on/event_detail.html?id=1062 or you can phone: 01242 227979
    Sunday 15th -- 5.30-6.30pm -- ticketed public event at the Ilkley Book Festival. http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/
    Monday 16th -- 10.00am -- school event(s) in Doncaster, arranged through Doncaster Library Services.
    Monday 16th -- 12.30-2.00pm -- public signing at Ottakars/Waterstones, 27 Frenchgate Centre Interchange, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 1SZ. phone: 01302 329142
    Monday 16th -- 4.00-5.30pm -- public signing at Borders Books, 1-5 Davygate, York, North Yorkshire YO1 8QR. phone: 01904 653300
    Tuesday 17th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Borders Books, 94-96 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 6NP. phone: 0113 242 4400
    Wednesday 18th -- morning -- school event at Shannon Library, County Clare. Time TBC.
    Wednesday 18th -- lunch -- school event at Ennis Library, County Clare. Time TBC.
    Wednesday 18th -- morning -- public signing at The Ennis Bookshop, County Clare. Time TBC.
    Thursday 19th -- 10.00am -- school event at Nenagh Library, County Tipperary.
    Thursday 19th -- 1.30 or 2.00pm -- school event at Excel Theatre, Tipperary, County Tipperary.
    Friday 20th -- morning -- school event at New Ross Library, County Wexford. Time TBC.
    Friday 20th -- afternoon -- school event at Wexford Library, County Wexford. Time TBC.
    Friday 20th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Hughes & Hughes, Redmond Square, Wexford.
    Saturday 21st -- 11.00am-1.00pm -- public signing at Hughes & Hughes, Omni Shopping Centre, Santry, Dublin 9.
    Saturday 21st -- 3.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Hughes & Hughes, Marine Road, Dun Laoighre, Dublin.
    Tuesday 24th -- 4.00pm -- public event/signing at Dooradoyle Library, Limerick.
    Wednesday 25th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Ottakars/Waterstones, 77 High St, Staines, Middlesex TW18 4PQ. phone: 01784 490404.
    Thursday 26th -- 11.00am-12.00pm -- public signing at The Lion & Unicorn, 19 King Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1ND.
    Thursday 26th -- 3.00-4.30pm -- public signing at Ottakars/Waterstones, 100 The Glades Shopping Centre, Bromley.
    Friday 27th -- 11.00am -- ticketed event at the Guildford Book Festival. http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/html/index.php
    Friday 27th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Waterstones, Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2AP. phone: 0118 958 1270
    Saturday 28th -- 11.00am-12.00pm -- public signing at Borders Books, MSU8, Bullring, Birmingham, West Midlands B5 4BE. Tel: 0121 616 1094.
    Saturday 28th -- 1.30pm -- ticketed public event at Stourbridge Town Hall, arranged by FCBG (the Federation of Children's Books Groups). http://www.btinternet.com/~martin.kromer/
    Sunday 29th -- 3.00-4.00pm -- public signing at Waterstones Bluewater, Wets Village, Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9SE. phone: 01322 624831
    Monday 30th -- 5.30pm -- ticketed public event at Waterstones Picadilly, London.


    Shanster Alex went to the Darren Shan Celebration event at the Boston library in July (see the July issue of the Shanville Monthly for details), and here's her report:

    I just wanted to let you know I attended the "Darren Shan Celebration Day" in Boston today. Personally, I had a wonderful time. I even got dressed up. Although it was a small crowd, consisting of three kids, our parents and two librarians, we still managed to have a good party. First, we did trivia questions from your books... Most of them were rather easy, but here and there were difficult ones. Then we had a bit of a book discussion, with topics ranging from favorite characters to favorite quotes and predictions for the 12th book (for the other two guys who hadn't read it yet.) I even read a segment aloud, the Cirque Du Freak show section with Jekkus and Cormac Limbs in "Lord of the Shadows". And then we got a few great prizes... I got the "Vampire in a Box" which was a box with fangs and blood. But I know you would've appreciated the "Instant Irish Accent Spray." At the end, my mum took a picture of where we met, but I wasn't able to download it. When I do, I'll send it to you. Thanks so much for alerting me, and the other two (who both heard about it through your website as well.) I had a really spectacular time!

    Sounds like it was lots of fun!!! A pity so few fans turned up, but I know from personal experience how difficult it is to draw a good crowd to something like this. I hope everyone there thanked the librarians -- they deserved a few prizes of their own for going to such an effort!!!! :D


    There was more Darren Shan-related activity on Ebay last month. A complete set of the 24 "Demonata" trading cards, which were available through Waterstones, sold for £41 -- more than $76!!!! You can check out the link here: http://cgi.ebay.com/DARREN-SHAN-TRADING-CARDS-COMPLETE-SET_W0QQitemZ250007904641QQihZ015QQcategoryZ219QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem The seller had a second set which he was offering for the same price, so they might still be available -- you can try contacting him/her through the ebay link if you're interested. I will be making the cards available through my web site at some stage, probably later this year, so that fans will be able to complete their sets, and those who weren't able to get any at the time of the promotion will be able to apply too. I haven't yet finalised the way this is going to work -- more information will appear in a future issue of the Shanville Monthly.


    And that's it for August! I'm off to New York for a few days at the start of the month, to attend a reading by 3 of my writing heroes, Stephen King, J K Rowling and John Irving!!! I've also got Edinburgh to look forward to, as I mentioned above, plus the start of the football (soccer) season!!!! So it's going to be a busy month for me! I'll be back at the start of September, to bring you up to date with all the latest news and wave merrily as you all march back to school -- heh! heh!!! Until then, enjoy the last month of the summer, have a great time on your hols if you're going away, or just sit back, relax at home, and wait for the cooler weather to return!!! All the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x