• Issue 82 - May 2007

    01 May 2007


    Welcome to the May edition of the Shanville Monthly! I'm back from my April tour of the States. I had a great time when I was there ... every school I went to was welcoming ... I got very good turnouts at most of my public events ... I met thousands of fans and signed tens of thousands of books ... it was ace!!!! You can read all about the tour by scrolling down through the entries on my BLOG or through the blog on my MYSPACE PAGE. I had some technical difficulties when I was on the road -- some computers wouldn't allow me to access my blog or MySpace -- but I sorted out both sites when I returned, so if you missed anything while I was away, you can catch up on the reports now. I had lots of fun on my last couple of tours of the States, but what struck me this time was just how dedicated my fans over there are -- at almost every event I met people who'd driven for 2, 3 or 4 hours just to come and hear me talk!!! Some fans even drove for 7 or 8 hours, and one flew to one of my events with her father!!!! I met some hardcore fans on previous visits, but if this tour is anything to go by, the ranks of devoted Shansters are spreading like wildfire in the U.S. of A.!!!

    Being on the road for most of April, I haven't been able to add many updates or news items to my site recently, so this issue of the Shanville Monthly will be a bit sparser than most. But I've got a few nuggets of news to report ... there's a great competition to enter, celebrating a VERY special anniversary ... I've updated my U.K./Ireland June tour section ... oh, and there's news of an old book which I'm re-releasing in the U.K. next year!!!!! Read on for more ...


    January 2010 will mark the tenth anniversary of when "Cirque Du Freak" first saw print. But I started work on the book two and a half years before that, on May 8th, 1997 to be precise!!! That means on this coming Tuesday, May 8th, 2007 it will be TEN YEARS since the actual conception and birth of "Cirque Du Freak"!!!!!! Wow!!!! It's hard to believe I've reached such a milestone -- it only feels like a couple of years since I started! It's still all fresh in my mind, the way I got the idea sitting in a car ... starting it in the evenings, doing a chapter most days after I'd finished work on an adult book on which I was working ... reading the first few pages out to my young cousins (one of them's now a man of 18!!!) ... getting more and more sucked into the story ... deciding to give Mr Crepsley a pet tarantula instead of a pet rat (which is what he was originally going to have!!) ... choosing to make the Cirque Du Freak an independent, spectacular show in its own right, rather than a sideshow at an otherwise ordinary circus (which is how I first imagined it) ... etc, etc!!!!

    I was still living with my parents at the time, and although I'd sold the rights to one of my adult books, I hadn't made very much money, so I was still drawing unemployment benefits -- the grand sum of £25 per week!!!!! "Cirque Du Freak" turned my world upside down and changed my life completely. The last ten years have been an incredible, mind-blowing rush of an adventure. I've toured the world to promote my books ... visited countries I couldn't even dream of going to when I first wrote the book ... sold 10 million copies ... topped children's and adult's charts in various countries ... sold the film rights to Universal ... etc, etc!!!!

    I'd be lying if I said I woke up every day and thanked the gods for the good fortune that was "Cirque Du Freak", but I probably should!!!! If not for that little book about a boy who meets a vampire and reluctantly becomes his assistant, I might not be a professional writer today. I like to think I'd have made the breakthrough one way or another, that even if I hadn't become a huge success, I'd at least have been able to carve out a career for myself and make enough money to be able to afford to write full-time. But maybe I wouldn't have. Maybe I'd still be living with my parents, or working in a job I hated and writing part-time ... or maybe I wouldn't be writing at all!!!! Who knows?

    But, regardless of what might or might not have been, "Cirque Du Freak" DID come along and everything in my life since then has gleamed as if polished by the hand of delightful DesTiny!!! For me, May 8th will be CIRQUE DU FREAK DAY!!!! To celebrate, and to pay a small debt of thanks to YOU guys (without whom none of this would mean anything), I'm going to have a COMPETITION, and I'm going to put up some super-cool prizes!!!! To find out more, please visit SECRET SHANVILLE, where the rules, prizes and all the other info about the competition will be revealed. (You'll need to become a Secret Shanster if you haven't already joined.) But make sure you get there ASAP -- the closing date for the competiton will be (what else?!?) Tuesday May 8th!!!!!! (*** May 1st -- I haven't yet added the competition to the site -- I'll be adding it on Wednesday, May 2nd.)



    I'm delighted to hear that, in the UK, "Slawter" has been shortlisted for the Staffordshire Young Teen Fiction book award!!! It's one of 6 books on the shortlist, and the award will be voted on by teenagers in the Staffordshire area -- it's entirely decided by young teenagers -- the best kind of award in my opinion!!! I'm very flattered to be shortlisted, especially as I think this is "Slawter's" first award nomination!! You can see the full shortlist, and find out details of how to take part and vote if you live in the Staffordshire area, by clicking here: STAFFORDSHIRE AWARD

    U.S.A. -- NEW BOOKS!!!

    "Bec" (book 4 of "The Demonata") is on sale in America NOW!!!!! I should be available in a bookshop near you, so look out for it!!! If you prefer to buy online, you can buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble by clicking on either of the following links.

    "Bec" at Amazon: CLICK HERE

    "Bec" at B&N: CLICK HERE

    The paperback edition of "Lord of the Shadows" (book 11 of the "Cirque Du Freak" series) is also on sale now. Again, you can buy it in your local bookshop, or online by clicking on one of the following links:

    "Lord Of The Shadows" at Amazon: CLICK HERE

    "Lord Of The Shadows" at B&N: CLICK HERE


    I've added several new and glowing reviews of "Slawter" to my web site. "Slawter" has proven to be a fans' favourite and it seems the critics love it too!!! You can check out the reviews by clicking here: SLAWTER REVIEWS

    I've added my third and final set of "Blood Beast" notes to my site, providing some sneak snippets of what to expect in the book! You can find the notes in Secret Shanville (you'll have to become a Shanster if you haven't already) by clicking here: BLOOD BEAST NOTES


    As I stated in earlier issues of the Shanville Monthly, I'm doing an event at the Belltable Theatre in Limerick on Tuesday June 5th at 11.00a.m. This event has already SOLD OUT!!! But don't despair if you haven't managed to get a ticket yet -- because of the overwhelming demand, I'm going to be doing another event at the Belltable that day at 1.30pm. You can either book individual tickets (€10 for adults, €6 for children) or schools can book for groups (€4 per person). But my advice is to act quickly before this one sells out too!!! You can book by calling the following number: 061 319 866. The extra date hasn't been announced yet, so if the person who answers doesn't know about it, tell them where you heard about it, and ask them to take your details and call you back. The web page advertising the event can be found by clicking here: http://www.belltable.ie/darrenshan.html

    I'm VERY excited about my Belltable events. Of course, I get excited about ALL my events, but this one is particularly special for me. The Belltable is my local theatre in Limerick. Indeed, I think it's where I saw my first ever play! I've been to see shows there many times over the years, and still go along as often as I can -- I saw a brilliant version of "Under Milk Wood" by Dylan Thomas there most recently. I usually sit in the front row when I go (I love being close to the action!!) and I've often thought how cool it would be to actually be up on the stage instead of in the audience. Now, at last, I get to live that dream!!!! It's going to be a sweet moment for me, so I hope lots of you manage to make it along to share it with me ...


    Tuesday, 5th


    Schools/public event at the Belltable Theatre, Limerick. SOLD OUT!

    Tuesday, 5th

    Schools/public event at the Belltable Theatre, Limerick. Tickets: 10 euro for adults, 6 euro for children, 4 euro for school groups. Phone this number for tickets: 061 315871.
    Tuesday 5th 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Easons, O'Connell Street, Limerick.

    Wednesday 6th


    School events (2 sessions) at Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar.
    Wednesday 6th 4.30p.m.

    PUBLIC signing at Easons, 33 shop st, Galway.

    Thursday 7th


    School events (2 sessions) in Drogheda.
    Thursday 7th 4.00p.m. PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, Unit 12, Scotch Hall, Drogheda.
    Thursday 7th 8.30p.m. Dinner with media with booksellers -- YUM!!!!

    Friday 8th


    Schools event at Mill Theatre, Dundrum.
    Friday 8th 4.00p.m.

    PUBLIC signing at Easons, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre, Unit 45/46, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

    Saturday 9th 1.00p.m. Stock signing at Waterstone’s, 8 St Peter’s Street, St Albans, AL1 3LF. phone: 01727 834 966. This isn't an official public event, but if you contact the store, they will be able to get books signed for you. It might even be possible to come along and meet me, but you should speak to someone at the store first to check.

    Saturday 9th


    PUBLIC event at The Maltings Arts Theatre, St Albans. Tickets £4.50. Phone: 01727 844222. Web site: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/mat/

    Sunday 10th


    PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, Unit 72, Midsummer Place, Milton Keynes.

    Monday 11th


    School event at Bignold Middle School, Norwich.
    Monday 11th 3.00p.m. PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 11-17 Castle Street, NR2 1PB, Norwich.
    Monday 11th 7.00p.m. School/PUBLIC event at Broadland High School, Tunstead Rd, Hoveton, Norwich, NR12 8QN. This event is being coordinated by Norfolk Children's Book Centre. For more info, please visit their web site for contact details: http://www.ncbc.co.uk/NCBC/Home.html

    Tuesday 12th


    School event at Perse Prep School, Cambridge.
    Tuesday 12th 4.00p.m. PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 15-19 Buttermarket, Ipswich IP1 1BQ.
    Tuesday 12th 6.30p.m. PUBLIC event at Copleston High School (in the library), Copleston Road, Ipswich, IP4 5HD. This is being organised by the Federation of Children's Book Groups. See their web site for contact details if you wish to find out more: http://www.btinternet.com/~martin.kromer/

    Wednesday 13th


    School event at Sweyne Park School, Rayleigh, Essex.

    Wednesday 13th


    PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, The Royals Shopping Centre, High Street, Southend-on-Sea, SS1 1DQ. Phone: 01702 461 655.

    Thursday 14th


    School event in Crown Woods School, Greenwich, London.
    Thursday 14th AM School event in London.
    Thursday 14th 4.00p.m. Stock signing at a number of central London bookshops. Keep an eye on my blog -- once I've signed, I'll post the details there!!

    Friday 15th


    School event at Highgate School, London N6.
    Friday 15th 4.00p.m. PUBLIC signing at Children’s Bookshop, Fortis Green Road, Muswell Hill, London N10 3RY. Phone: 020 8444 5500.

    Saturday 16th


    PUBLIC event at Creative Writing on the Wirral.
    Saturday 16th 2.00pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 14-16 Bold Street, Liverpool L1 4DS.

    Sunday 17th


    PUBLIC signing at Borders, 34 Coliseum Way, Ellesmere Port, Merseyside CH65 9HD.

    Monday 18th 10.00a.m. School event at St David’s High School, Saltney.
    Monday 18th 4.00p.m. PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 14 Eastgate Row, Chester CH1 1LF.

    Tuesday 19th 10.00a.m. School events (2 sessions) arranged through Waterstones Aberystwyth.
    Tuesday 19th 4.00p.m. PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 27 Great Darkgate Street, Aberystwyth, Wales SY23 1DE.

    Wednesday 20th AM Schools event in Cardiff.
    Wednesday 20th 4.00p.m. PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 2a The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1WB.

    Thursday 21st


    Schools event at the Lyceum in Sheffield. (It holds 1000 people!!)
    Thursday 21st 4.00pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 27 Frenchgate Centre Interchange, Doncaster DN1 1LJ.

    Friday 22


    School event at Hull Collegiate, Tranby croft, Anlaby.


    I will be visiting Japan on tour from July 5th to 12th. I will be be doing public events in Tokyo and Kyoto, and I might also be doing one or two school events in the Kyoto region. I will then be doing events in Taiwan from July 13th to 17th. And I will be at the Hong Kong Book Fair from July 18th to 20th. There will be more info about these tours later -- so keep checking back!! If you are living in any of the above countries and would like to contact the publishers (Shogakukan in Japan or Crown in Hong Kong/Taiwan) directly for more information or to try and arrange an event, please see the LINKS page on my web site, which has details for all of them. (My Hong Kong visit is being arranged by my Taiwanese publishers.)


    I'll be doing a one-week-plus tour of the UK in late Spetember/early October -- more details will follow later in the year.


    PUBLIC event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

    Saturday 29th September

    time t.b.c.

    PUBLIC event at the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature.


    Many of you have enquired about my adult books over the years. I published two books for adults in the U.K. early in my career. The first, entitled "Ayuamarca", came out in February 1999. The second, "Hell's Horizon", was published in February 2000. Although each book could be read independently of the other, they were also the first two books of a trilogy, known simply as "The City Trilogy". The third book, "City of the Snakes", was never published. My publishers, Orion, didn't do very much to promote the books, and despite some favourable reviews, they didn't sell very many copies and have been out of print for the last few years. A few of you have managed to track down copies, and the series has attracted a very small but passionate following. Every once in a while I get a despairing email, asking to know when the third book is going to be released, or if there's any chance of the first two ever being reprinted. Until now I've had to reply negatively to all such queries, but at last there's light at the end of the tunnel!!!!

    HarperCollins will be publishing my adult trilogy in the U.K. starting in Spring 2008. I've renamed the first book -- it will now be released as "Procession of the Dead". I've also re-edited the book -- I've learnt a lot about the writing process in the 8 years since it first saw print, and I decided to put my learning to good use. I've set a standard with the Darren Shan books, and I wanted my adult books to match that standard. I haven't changed much about the story, but I've tightened it up a LOT, shortening it by about a third of its original length. It's now a much quicker, smoother read.

    The plan is to release "Hell's Horizon" in Spring 2009, then "City of the Snakes" in Spring 2010. I imagine I'll tighten up "Hell's Horizon" a few notches too, though I haven't looked at it since late 1999, so I won't know exactly how much work I'm going to have to do on it until I sit down with it later this year or in early 2008. Since "City of the Snakes" was never published, I can work on that one as freely as I like, and nobody will ever know the difference!!!! :-)

    I'll be revealing more details about the books a bit later in the year, starting with the name under which they'll be released. Originally they came out under my real name, Darren O'Shaughnessy, but I've decided to go with a different name this time round. It won't be Darren Shan (I want to make sure children don't accidentally pick up one of my adult books, mistaking it for a teen novel), but it will be fairly close to that name. I plan to make the name known in the near future -- maybe the June issue of the Shanville Monthly -- so keep tuning back for more info. In the meantime, content yourself with the knowledge that my adult books are on their way back, sharper, tighter, darker and bloodier than ever before. If you thought I'd explored the menacing, hidden niches of the night in great detail in my children's books ... welll, folks, you ain't seen nothin' yet!!!!!


    And that's it for May! I hope you're all as excited about the "Procession of the Dead" news as I am!!!!! My adult books are (DOH!!) intended for ADULTS. They DO contain material which I would class as unsuitable for children. I'm going to set up a separate web site for them, and not talk about them too much here once they come out. But I know I've got a lot of adult and older teenage fans, and I think many of you will want to check out "Procession" and its sequels, so until I get the new site started, I'll continue to post all the news about them here. As I said, I'll be revealing a bit more about the books in June (hopefully) which is also when I set out on tour in Ireland and the U.K. to promote the release of "Blood Beast". It's going to be a hectic time for me, so I'm going to spend most of May tucked up at home, writing hard. I'll be back here at the end of the month to unleash the June issue of the Shanville Monthly upon an unsuspecting world. Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x