• Issue 84 - July 2007

    01 July 2007


    Welcome to the July edition of the Shanville Monthly -- and it's a month for birthdays!!! First of all the Shanville Monthly celebrates its SEVENTH birthday this month!! I'm still amazed that the Monthly has been going strong for such a long time. I thought, when I started, that I might run out of things to say after a few issues, or people would get bored and stop checking back, but here we are, seven years later, and it's still attracting tonnes of hits every month! I think it's a great way to stay in touch and keep you all updated on everything to do with my books, tours, etc -- and I'm delighted so many of YOU think the same way!!! I planned to run a competition this month, to celebrate the Monthly's birthday, but I have to head off to Japan for the start of my Far East tour, so the competition will have to wait until next month. But trust me -- it'll be worth waiting for!!!!

    It's also MY birthday this month!! I turn 35 on July 2nd. I don't pay a huge amount of attention to birthdays, except for milestones like 30, 40, 50, etc, so I don't normally do much for mine. But since I'm spending my birthday in Japan this year, I'll be having a very nice meal with Bas and my friend, Maiko, to mark the occasion, so for once I'm really looking forward to it!!!

    Right -- enough about birthdays!! Let's crack on with the news, starting with something that put a VERY big smile on my lips when I found out about it ...


    In the UK, Blood Beast -- book 5 of The Demonata -- went on sale on June 4th and quickly shot to the top of the Children's Bestsellers chart!!! It has been Number One for two weeks in a row, selling almost 70% more books than the #2 book in each week!!! In its first week, it was also #5 on the overall UK hardback fiction chart!!! This is the first time I've topped the chart in the UK, so it's a BIG milestone for me!!! I've topped the bestselling hardback chart in the UK before, but this is the first time I've shot all the way to the TOP of the top!!!! I've been waiting for this for seven and a half years!!! Of course chart success isn't that important in the grander scheme of things -- I've sold lots more books in the long run than many authors who've climbed higher than me in the charts in the short run -- but it's certainly a nice feeling to be able to say "I'm numero uno!!!" It's also great that I'm doing it after so much time -- my books have been selling well in the UK since the start, but they've been growing in popularity every year, and this shows that they're still picking up new fans while pleasing my more seasoned Shansters too. When will the Shan show finally start to slow down over here? Who knows!!!! At the moment it's still picking up steam, and that gives me a fantastic buzz!!

    Blood Beast also was the #1 bestselling children's book in Ireland in June, and it has been selling like hotcakes online too. It was the #1 children's bestseller on Play.com, and #3 on Amazon.co.uk (the top two spots on the Amazon site are held by the two different editions of "Harry Potter 7"). It remained in the overall Top 20 chart (including adult books) for more than a couple of weeks -- the highest position that I saw it reach was #11 -- and has been in the Children's Top 10 chart for a month.

    You can buy Blood Beast in just about any book shop in the UK and Ireland, but if you prefer to buy online, you can also get Blood Beast through Amazon.co.uk. Just click on the following link -- AMAZON UK - BLOOD BEAST


    As well as the the hardback of Blood Beast, the paperback edition of Bec is now also on sale in the UK and Ireland. It features a cool, creepy glow-in-the-dark cover -- possibly the spookiest yet in the series!!! You should be able to find the paperback version of Bec in any good bookstore. You can also order it online through Amazon UK by clicking here: AMAZON UK - BEC


    I think Blood Beast is on sale in Taiwan now -- if not, it will go on sale there early in July. It also goes on sale in Japan on July 5th. I hope my legions of Japanese and Taiwanese fans enjoy Blood Beast as much as fans in the UK have. Also, I'm coming to the Far East on tour in July (see below for more details), so some of you will be able to come and meet me and get your copies signed -- hurrah!!!



    There are two great Blood Beast-based competitions running in the UK (and the Waterstones challenge is also open to fans living in Ireland -- hurrah!!!). First up, in alphabetical order, Waterstones are running a challenge with the groovy tagline: HAVE YOU GOT THE GUTS FOR DARREN SHAN? In this competition, fans are being asked to undertake a series of Darren Shan-themed challenges, in order to prove that they have the guts to be a true Darren Shan fan!!!!

    By clicking on the link at the top or bottom of this section, you will be taken through to a specially created site where you can create your own profile page and take various challenges to prove your 'worth'. There will be 10 challenges in all, and they involve holding a spider, acting out your favourite scene from Blood Beast, and more!!! The 10 challenges won't all be revealed at once -- you'll have to keep going back to the site over the course of the competition to find out what the new challenges are. When you complete a challenge, you will have to provide proof by uploading a photo of yourself completing the challenge on your profile page. You can also e-mail a link to your friends so they can see too! (So you can have mini-competitions with your friends to see who completes the most challenges the quickest!!!)

    Every fan who completes five of the challenges will get a certificate "signed" by Darren Shan! (i.e. the signature will be a photocopy). And one lucky competitor will also win an Xbox 360!!!! It's a fantastic, highly original challenge, and there have already been loads of fantastic entries which you can check out on the site. Don't miss out on the coolest, funnest competition of the summer!!!!! You can find out more about the competition, including full rules and how to submit your entry, either by visiting your local Waterstones shop and picking up a leaflet, or clicking on the following link :



    WHSMITH is also running a Blood Beast competition. In this competition, you and a friend can get a limited edition poster with a facsimile of my signature, and you also have the opportunity to win a meeting with Darren Shan!!! To enter, you'll need to pay a visit to your local branch of WHSmith and pick up a FREE Blood Beast booklet (it features a chapter out of Lord Loss, to whet the appetites of those who haven't yet sampled the delirious delights of The Demonata!!). The booklet will provide you with a web link where you'll be able to submit your details and enter the competition.

    My publishers in the UK, HarperCollins, have created a movie-style trailer for Blood Beast, which they're using to generate interest in the book. It's pretty cool, featuring some text from the book, video images and nice, creepy music!! The video will be posted to a number of sites, including Google Video and YouTube. If you want to check it out, click on the following YouTube link. (The video quality isn't great on YouTube, but it's OK.) This is the first time we've done something like this, so it would be fab if you could leave a comment to let us know what you think. Also, if you could forward the link on to your friends, it would be much appreciated -- spread the love, people, spread the bloody love!!!!!



    I'm delighted to announce that the first 3 books of The Saga of Darren Shan have been bought by Tudem publishers in Turkey. The first book will be published later this year or in 2008. Turkey becomes the 36th country where my books are now legally on sale.


    You can read a recent interview with me (from the start of my "Blood Beast" tour in Ireland) in the online edition of The Limerick Leader by clicking on this link: LIMERICK LEADER


    You can read a new review of Bec by ever-avid Shan-fan Crowgrrl, on her world-famous Perch, by clicking here: http://www.crowgrrl.com/reviews/061007perch.htm


    My June Blood Beast tour of the UK and Ireland was a whopper of a tour!! The signings were bigger than ever, I met uncountable thousands of fans, signed mountains of books, battled on with a sore throat and blocked nose for much of the last week. (I'm not sure how my Lord Loss voice sounded in the latter third of the tour -- I usually do a pretty creepy impression of the demon master, but I suspect I didn't sound quite so menacing with two nostrils full of snot!!!!) It was hard work but VERY rewarding, especially when "Blood Beast" hit the top spot -- I felt like I was on a victory tour!!! It was especially nice to go to places where I hadn't been before, like Norwich, Ipswich and Cardiff, to find long lines of Shansters waiting patiently for me. It's always a pleasure to meet up with old friends (as I did in the likes of Muswell Hill, Milton Keynes and Doncaster), but there's a special thrill (and a certain sense of relief!) when you visit somewhere for the first time and receive a warm welcome. I think we got the mix of old and new venues just about perfect on this tour, and hopefully we'll be able to continue in that vein in the future.

    I enjoyed just about everywhere I went on the tour, but a few of the highlights which stick out for me include: the first day, in the Belltable in Limerick, when my parents and grandparents came to see me ... the especially massive lines in Liffey Valley and Ellesmere Port, where a literal tide of fans kept sweeping forward, seemingly without end ... the gigantic event in Sheffield's Lyceum theatre, where 600+ kids were packed in, and I had to sign like a manic robot both before and after my talk ... and my night-time event in Norwich, where everything clicked for me on stage and I felt like I had the world in the palm of my hand ...

    Like any tour, there were a couple of not-so-busy signing sessions (but far fewer of them than ever before!), but I quite like the less busy events -- I always hope for a huge turnout, but when I do a smaller session, it means I can spend more time chatting with the fans. I always feel a bit guilty when I have to "process" a line and move fans along quickly, so it's nice to be able to relax every so often on the road and spend a minute or two leisurely shooting the breeze with anyone who feels like chatting with me.

    The vast majority of the tour was GREAT!!! As I said above, we got brilliant turnouts almost everywhere -- I'm still amazed by how supportive you guys are, the way you wait so patiently and politely, the warmth you show to me when I'm on the road. I try to thank every fan at an event or signing for coming, and I'm sure that often sounds like a perfunctory thank you, as if I'm just saying it to be polite, but I really DO mean it. So, for everyone who came along to see me on this tour, I'll say it again, from the heart -- THANK YOU!!!!

    I'd also like to thank every bookseller, teacher, librarian and volunteer who helped out on the tour, who carted books to and from schools, libraries and other venues, who sat patiently for hours while I talked and signed, who organised all the kids and buses and lines, who fed me when I was hungry and went out of your way to help me when I was struggling with my cold. I wasn't always able to thank you all personally, but I know the hard work that goes into putting together a good event or signing, and I truly appreciate all of your efforts. You guys are the unsung heroes of the industry!!!!!

    Finally, I'd like to say a special big thank you to Geraldine, Mary, Emma and Catherine, who spent months putting the tour together, and skillfully escorted me while on the road, ferrying me safely from venue to venue, working tirelessly to ensure everything ran as smoothly as possible, overcoming all sorts of obstacles and potential pitfalls with the greatest of ease. You gals were the real heart of this tour, directing operations like a team of skilled conductors. It was a pleasure to be on tour with you all, and though I thanked you all along the way, I'd just like to say it again -- so, THANKS!!!!

    Right -- I think I've gushed enough for the time being!!! All that's left to be said is that I had a great time and I can't wait to do it all again (albeit on a slightly less frantic scale) in October when book 6 is released. But first I'm heading out East for the second leg of the Blood Beast tour, so while I have to say Sayonara to the UK and Ireland for now, it's a big Howdy, all!!! to Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong!!!!!! The Shan show continues apace ...



    My dates for the Edinburgh Book Festival have been revealed!! I'm doing two events this year. The first is a (hopefully!!!) fun duet with Mark Walden, author of the H.I.V.E. books. We're going to be talking about Heroes and Villains, inviting the audience to decide which they prefer -- dashing good heroes or evil-hearted villains! I'm going to be talking up the attributes of Heroes, and I suspect that makes me the underdog going in!!!! I'm not quite sure which heroes I'm going to focus on, or even what angles I'm going to come at the issue from -- but all will be revealed during the course of the event, which is on Wednesday August 15th at 5.00pm, in the ScottishPower Studio Theatre.

    On Thursday August 16th at 4.30pm I'm doing a more normal, solo event in the RBS Main Theatre. I'll be talking about my books, reading some extracts, answering questions from the audience, etc. I'm not 100% certain which extracts I'll read, but at the moment I'm thinking of reading a small bit from book 6 for the first time ever ...

    This will be my 8th year in a row at the Edinburgh Festival!!! I always look forward to it, and have often debuted material there -- there are even some things I only EVER read out in Edinburgh!!! I've had a great time every year that I've been there, and hopefully this year will be no different, so come along and join the fun if you can make it!!! You can book tickets for either event by going to the Edinburgh Book Festival web site at: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk


    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'm also doing a school event in the Kyoto region. To find out more information about the tour, please check out the Shogakukan web site by clicking on this link: http://www.shogakukan.co.jp/darren/


    This is the tentative plan for my Taiwan tour in July. Please see the Crown website for full, updated details closer to the time. Click here for more info: CROWN
    Saturday 14th 13.30 - 16.30 Signing session at Kingstone Bookstore, Taipei.
    Saturday 14th 18.30 - 20.30 Reading and signing session at Hess Bookstore, Taipei.

    Sunday 15th 13.00 - 15.00 Signing session at Kingstone Bookstore, Kaoshiung.
    Sunday 15th 19.00 - 21.30 Signing session at Fnac Bookstore, Taichung.


    This is the tentative plan for my Hong Kong tour in July. Please see the Crown website for full, updated details closer to the time. Click here for more info: CROWN
    Wednesday 18th 14.30 - 16.00 School visit.

    Thursday 19th 11.30 - 13.30 Seminar at Hong Kong Book Fair. BOOK FAIR WEB SITE
    Thursday 19th 14.00 - 15.00 Signing session at Hong Kong Book Fair. BOOK FAIR WEB SITE

    Friday 20th 13.00 - 15.00 Signing session at Hong Kong Book Centre. WEB SITE
    Friday 20th 15.30 - 18.00 Signing session at Crown Bookstore.


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

    Wednesday August 15th


    PUBLIC event with Mark Walden at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. "Heroes vs Villains." For more info, and to book tickets, click here: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk

    Thursday August 16th 4.30pm PUBLIC event at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. For more info, and to book tickets, click here: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk

    Saturday 29th September

    time t.b.c.

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


    And that's it for July! I'm going to be away for much of month, on tour in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong -- I'm REALLY looking forward to visiting Japan and Taiwan again and meeting up with some old friends and fans, and I'm fascinated to see what Hong Kong is like -- this will be my first visit there. I'll try to update my BLOG and the blog on my MYSPACE PAGE as regularly as possible while I'm away, but there will be days when it just isn't possible to get to a computer. Also, some public computers don't allow access to MySpace, and others don't let me post on my BlogDrive Blog!!! Oh well, I'll work around things as best I can!! I'll be back here in August to bring you up to date with all the latest news and tour reports. Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x