• Issue 85 - August 2007

    01 August 2007


    Welcome to the August edition of the Shanville Monthly!!! The last month has been very topsy-turvy for me. I spent most of it on tour in the Far East, where I had a great time (you can read about that below). Then, when I returned, I planned to spend a week in England, go to a cousin's wedding, then finally come home to Limerick. But on Monday, July 23rd, my father had a mild heart attack and my plans changed. I flew home to Ireland the next day, visited with him every day while we waited to find out what was wrong, then went up to Dublin when it was discovered a couple of the valves in his heart were blocked and he'd need a heart bypass operation. So much for a nice, gentle homecoming!!!!! :-)

    Luckily the operation was done quickly, and seems to have been a great success. My Dad's in fine shape now, recovering nicely, and the drama appears to have come to an end, leaving me free to relax a little and get on with work!!! Thanks to everyone who sent me messages or comments of support during this incredibly stressful week -- you guys made a difficult time a bit easier for me, and for that I'm honestly grateful.

    But enough of my personal life -- let's get back to the normal type of news!!! I had a VERY exciting bit of news towards the end of July, regarding a high-profile award that I've been nominated for ... I've added lots of new reviews and interviews to the site ... I'm running the competition which I promised last month (to celebrate the 7th anniversary of the Shanville Monthly) ... the New York Times are tipping me to fill the gap that the Harry Potter books have left behind!!! (Yeah ... right!!!!!!!) And there's more!!!! So let's put all thoughts of heart attacks and other bad things behind us, and plough ahead with our first piece of kid-friendly news ...



    Blood Beast has been shortlisted for the first ever UK Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award!!!! This is a huge honour -- there are only 4 books on the shortlist, and the other 3 are all women!!!! Holly Black ("Spiderwick Chronicles"), Jacqueline Wilson and J K Rowling. The award is voted for entirely by fans, so I suspect Miss Rowling will walk away with it by a LONG mile!! But it's amazing to even be nominated for such a high-profile award -- I'm still grinning with delight to get the nod!!! This is the most prestigious award I've ever been shortlisted for, and even if I don't win (and, being realistic, as I said above, I think the Harry Potter book is a shoo-in), I'm delighted to have made the final four. You can find out all about the awards, which also include movies, bands, songs, video games, etc, by clicking on the following link. It also provides details on how to vote, so I hope you lot give me your backing -- we're outweighed vastly by the armies of Potterites, people, but if we have to go down, we can at least go down fighting ... or, rather, voting!!!!!!!!


    For anyone in the UK and Ireland who hasn't yet read it, you can buy Blood Beast in just about any book shop, but if you prefer to buy online, you can also get it through Amazon.co.uk. Just click on the following link -- AMAZON UK - BLOOD BEAST


    If you'd like the chance to win the exclusive t-shirt I'm wearing in the picture above, along with signed copies of Blood Beast, you'll need to enter the August competition!!! You can find full details in the Secret Shanville part of my web site -- if you haven't already become a Shanster, you will need to register before you can access it. The link for Secret Shanville is:



    As most of you probably know, we're keeping the title of Book 6 of The Demonata a secret until just before its official launch date. Because Book 5 ended on a HUGE cliffhanger, we wanted to maintain as much mystery as possible about Book 6!!! But I can at last reveal the DATE on which I'll be making the title known to the general public -- it will be Saturday, September 29th, when I appear at the Bath Festival of Children's Literature. I'll reveal the title on my web site shortly after that, but those at the festival will be the first in the world to learn what it is!!!! I have to say, the Festival features an AMAZING line-up, and I'd recommend it to anyone who can get there -- on the Saturday that I'm appearing, Eoin Colfer, Neil Gaiman and lots of others are there, and EVERY day features a similarly amazing crew of writers!! I imagine tickets will go pretty fast, so if you're interested in going to any of the events, I suggest you head on over to the Festival's web site and book ASAP!!! You can find full details of all the authors and events, and how to book for them, by clicking here:




    The fantastic Waterstones HAVE YOU GOT THE GUTS FOR DARREN SHAN? competition is still running -- the closing date is September 5th. All 10 challenges can now be viewed and undertaken, and you can also view the entries of many, MANY fans who have already proved their true worth!!!! If you haven't checked out the competition yet, read on for more info ...

    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 are 10 challenges in all, and they involve holding a spider, acting out your favourite scene from Blood Beast, and more!!! 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 fun, 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, hippest 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 by clicking on the following link :



    There was a brief but flattering mention of my books in an article about the Harry Potter books in the New York Times in July -- thanks, Lila, for alerting me about it!!!! You can check it out by clicking on the following link: NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE

    There's good news for my fans in Australia and New Zealand -- Blood Beast, the fifth book of The Demonata, went on sale Down Under on August 1st -- hurrah!!!! A more affordable paperback version of Bec also went on sale on August 1st -- double hurrah!!!!!!! For more info, or to order them, click on the following link: http://www.harpercollins.com.au/ and enter my name in the SEARCH box which appears on the home page.


    Koyasan, the short book I wrote in 2006 for World Book Day, is being released in the Netherlands on August 19th, under the name of Het Mysterieuze Kerkhof. You can see the cover and read a bit about it (in Dutch) by clicking on the following link:


    For an early glimpse at the UK cover for Procession of the Dead -- that's the book for adults which I'm releasing next spring under the name of D B Shan -- visit Secret Shanville by clicking on the following link. Please note, this book will NOT be suitable for children. It features adult themes, brutal violence, swear words, sexual scenes and so on!!!!


    I've added the first batch of reviews of Blood Beast to my site. They're all mostly very positive -- phew!!! I particularly like the Waterstones piece, which is an extremely well written article. You can check them all out by clicking here: BLOOD BEAST REVIEWS

    I've also added a couple of new reviews for Bec and Slawter, so make sure you have a look at those too!!


    I've added several new Darren Shan interviews to my web site, all from 2007. Most are lengthy and informative, although like many interviews, they don't always get their facts completely right!!! But for the most part they're pretty accurate, and certainly interesting to read if you're curious about my life and writing career. To check them out, click on the following link:



    My July tours of Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong were fast and furious -- just the way I like it!!! I'd been to Japan (three times) and Taiwan (two times) before, and it was lovely to meet some old faces -- some fans had been to EVERY event or signing of mine in their country!!! But most of the fans were meeting me for the first time, which was also pleasing -- it's nice to know my books are reaching a fresh audience. As a writer, you always want to hold onto your long-term fans, but also attract new readers with every passing book and year. From the variety of fans I met on this tour, I seem to be doing that!!!

    My events in Japan and Taiwan weren't as jam-packed as they were on previous visits. School holidays and exams meant that many fans were unable to attend, so numbers were down on last time at most venues. Some parents, friends and relatives came for a few of those who couldn't make it in person, but I know many others were disappointed not to be able to meet me or get their book signed. Alas, that's one of the problems of touring. We try to pick the best dates possible when I tour, when the maximum number of fans can come to see me, and overall I think we do a pretty good job -- but occasionally events conspire against us. For a number of reasons, this was the only time of year that I could tour in the Far East, so it was either come at a not-great time for fans, or not come at all!!!!!

    Having said that, the turnouts were VERY respectable at most venues ... I got enormous crowds in a couple of places ... and I had a great time for the most part. In a way, it was nice not to be as rushed as I have been before -- I was able to sign a lengthy message for everyone, pose for photos, answer questions, and spend a bit of time with the fans who came. It was a case of Bad News for those who couldn't come -- but Good News for those who could!!!! Thanks to every who made the effort to come and see me, and special thanks to everyone who gave me a present and/or a letter. I WILL respond to all of your letters (assuming you included an address!!) but it's going to take me quite a while, so please be patient!!

    I visted Hong Kong for the first time at the end of the tour. I wasn't sure what to expect, whether I'd get big crowds or not, but to my delight I got great turn-outs at all of my events -- I was even greeted at the airport by a couple of fans who'd managed to find out which plane I was arriving on!!!! The biggest event was at the Book Festival, where I gave a talk and answered questions, then signed books for LOADS of keen fans for over three hours!!! But my other signings were all very well attended too. I even got to visit a school there, which was fascinating! I definitely hope to return to Hong Kong at some stage, maybe even in the near future!! Keep an eye on the Shanville Monthly for updates ...

    Overall, my Blood Beast tour was my longest ever -- it was spread out over almost two months, across Ireland, England, Wales, Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. (I even signed books at Waterstones in Edinburgh in Scotland too!!!!) I must have signed several thousand copies of the book by the end!!!! It was exhausating but great fun, and while I probably won't embark on such a mammoth tour again any time soon, I don't regret a bit of it!! You can read a full account of my tours in my BLOG or on the blog on my MYSPACE PAGE. Just scroll down through the older entries and you'll be able to follow my entire voyage from Day One back in early June to The End in late July!!! Thanks to everyone who helped set the tours up (especially Maiko and Emily for the Far East legs), and to everyone who turned up to see me. I'm always amazed by how dedicated you guys are, and I'll do my best to keep touring in the years to come, so that as many of you as possible have the opportunity to get your books signed.



    I'm doing two events in Edinburgh 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 section or two 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 have 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

    Please note: at my solo event on Thursday we're going to be operating a ticket system for the signing afterwards. Last year many people started leaving about 10 or 15 minutes before the end of the event, in order to get to the front of the signing line. I don't blame them for wanting to avoid a long wait (it's something I've done myself occasionally!!), but I had lots of complaints from fans afterwards, saying it made it hard for them to concentrate and enjoy the end of the talk. So this year we're going to be handing out tickets at the end of the event. If you don't have a ticket, you won't be able to join the line until everyone with a ticket has had their books signed. This also means you won't be able to send a parent or friend to line up for you while you're in the event!!!! I don't like having to do this, but it's the only way to avoid the distractions of last year. My advice is to come early, so that you can sit close to the front -- then you'll be among the first to leave, get a ticket and join the line. Failing that, if you end up far back in the line, I suggest you leave it and go for a walk ... get a drink or something to eat ... relax and soak up the festival sights and sounds ... maybe do a bit of reading ... then come back and check on the status of the line after an hour or thereabouts, and re-join it if it's not too long. I'll sign until I get to the end of the line, no matter how long it takes, so I'll probably be there at least two hours, maybe more.


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

    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


    PUBLIC event at the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature. http://www.bathkidslitfest.co.uk/


    And that's it for August! I plan to spend the coming month editing -- I have a lot of work to catch up on after my two months on the road!! I'm also doing the Edinburgh Festival for a few days, of course, but most of the month will be spent editing various books of The Demonata. On top of that I have a literal MOUNTAIN of fan mail to answer!!! It's going to take me a LONG time to respond to everyone who's written to me over the last few months, but rest assured, if you sent me a letter any time since May, you WILL get a reply within the next month or so, even if it means I have to spend my nights answering mail instead of sleeping!!!!! I'll be back here in September to try and take your minds off school and autum by bringing you up to date with all the latest news! Until then, take care and enjoy the last of the summer!!!! All my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x