• Issue 90 - January 2008

    01 January 2008


    Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the yuletide festivities and aren't feeling too glum now that you're back at school or work or whatever!!! I had an enjoyable, quiet Christmas in Ireland, then a busier time in London, culminating in a memorable New Year's Eve party that left me with a nicely sore head (the reason I'm doing the first Shanville Monthly of 2008 on the 2nd instead of on the 1st!!!). It might only be the second day of the new year, but there's already plenty of news to report, as well as a roundup of all the 2007 news (for those of you who can't be bothered trawling back through the monthly issues), as well as a couple of Top 10 lists!!!! Start as you mean to go on -- that's my motto!!!!!!!


    In the UK, the Daily Telegraph are featuring Cirque Du Freak as their Family Book Club choice in January 2008. The way the Book Club works is that they choose a book at the start of the month, then members of the Club - parents and children - read it and discuss it with each other over the coming month. They can also write in with their responses, and a selection of submissions are printed at the end of the month. For more info about the Book Club, click here: DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOK CLUB

    I'm not sure of the actual date when the Book Club will appear in the paper, so I'd appreciate it if regular readers of the Telegraph would let me know when they spot it, so that I can inform other fans!!


    Last month I revealed the title of Book 7 of The Demonata -- for those of you with short memories, or if you missed it, it's Death's Shadow. This month I'm delighted to be able to unleash the first cover for the book on you -- how's that for a Double Whammy!!! You can find the cover for the UK/Ireland edition of Death's Shadow in Secret Shanville, by clicking here: SECRET SHANVILLE

    This is one of my favourite covers yet, a truly gruesome, demonic concoction!! I'm sure there will be a lot of debate about who it is during the months leading up to the book's publication (it hits stores in the UK and Ireland in the first week of May 2008). All I'll say is, look VERY closely and you might pick up one or two telltale clues ...


    As many of you already know, I am releasing a book for older readers in March 2008 in the UK and Ireland, under the name of D. B. Shan. The book is called Procession Of The Dead. I recently gave an interview as D. B. Shan, in which I talked about the book. It appeared in The Bookseller on December 13th 2007, but you can read it on my site by visiting the Secret Shanville section. This is the first ever interview with me where I'm talking as D. B. Shan, so you could say it's an historic moment!!! The interviewer was Alison Flood. Click here for it: SECRET SHANVILLE GATEWAY

    It's going to be a bit strange, juggling two different writing careers. Of course I did that at the very start of my career (Procession was previously published, in a different version, as Ayuamarca in 1999, and a sequel followed in 2000), but since the adult books didn't fare very well, it was never an issue. This time I'm hoping they meet with more success, and if they do, it might complicate things for me -- but in a good way, I hope!!! For the most part I'm going to try and keep the two identities separate. My D. B. Shan books are intended for older readers, i.e. teenagers and adults. I'm sure some younger readers will read them regardless, the same way that I read Stephen King books when I was 10 or 11, but I'm not going to actively promote the books on this web site -- I'll be setting up a D. B. Shan site over the next month or two, which will exist independently of this one. At the same time, I don't want to completely ignore my new, alternative career, as to a certain extent it will intertwine with my Darren Shan existence. I'll make occasional reference to it (as I'm doing now), if there's a good reason for doing so, e.g. if I'm going to be doing a public signing, or when the web site goes live. But for the most part I'll be keeping the two apart. That's the plan anyway!!!


    I'm delighted to announce that two more countries have signed up to publish the books in The Demonata series. The new countries to come on board are Indonesia and Thailand. Indonesia will also be publishing Koyasan, a short novel I wrote for World Book Day in 2006. I'll add covers of the books to the site once they're published. My Demonata series is now published in 15 countries, in 10 different languages. (The Saga is available in 35 countries, in 28 languages.)


    The UK/Ireland paperback edition of Blood Beast, Book 5 of The Demonata, is on sale NOW!!! It features a fabulous glow-in-the-dark cover, and at £5.99 (less in most shops) it's demonically great value for money!! You should be able to find it in a book shop near you, or else you can order it online from Amazon by clicking here: BLOOD BEAST ON AMAZON


    I forgot to mention last month that the Japanese edition of my short book, Koyasan went on sale on December 15th. The book also features a new translation of my other Japan-inspired short story, Hagurosan, as well as notes written exclusively for the book, describing how the stories came into being, and also how a trip to Osorezan helped me plot a chunk of The Demonata series. If you live in Japan, you should be able to find the book in any good book store, or else you can order it online through Amazon Japan by clicking here: KOYASAN JAPAN


    Blood Beast, Book 6 of The Demonata, goes on sale in Taiwan in January. You can check out the cool cover for it in the latest Darren Shan Taiwan newsletter by clicking here: TAIWAN NEWSLETTER


    Imagine all of my books have been turned into movies, but that all of the characters are Lego pieces. Now imagine what the trailers for those movies like look like. Now imagine no more -- because those trailers exist!!! Some Hungarian fans have made movie-style trailers for all of my vampire books and the first three of my demon books (they're working their way through the series, so the others will probably appear in due time) -- but using Lego pieces for all the characters and sets!!! The short trailers are very well put together and a lot of fun, so check them out!!! Of course, it's my duty to note that all of the movie rights to my books are owned by Universal Sudios, so I can't officially approve any fan endeavours like this. It may well be that Universal's lawyers take a dim view of such proceedings and try to have the clips removed. But lawyers are killjoys!!! Off the record, I think these trailers are great, and a perfect example of how the internet allows fans to play around in a fun, harmless way with books that they love. Click here for the clips, and my advice is to watch them in order: LEGO DARREN SHAN TRAILERS


    I'll be adding my April tour details for Hungary some time during the next couple of months, as well as details of my May tour of the UK. (I'll be doing quite a few events in London and within the M25 this time round!!) So keep an eye on the Shanville Monthly in February and March!! But before that I'm doing a one-off event at a London school in January. I'll be at St Michaels School in Bermondsey, London on Thursday January 17th.


    Shanta has left the building!!! Yes, folks, Mr Claus has departed Shanville for another year, to get some well-earned rest. I hope you caught him while he was in residence towards the end of 2007, and that you enjoyed the little tweaks I made to it. But if you missed it, worry not -- he'll be back again a week or so before Christmas at the following link: SHANTA CLAUS.


    I had a very good response to the December competition on the Shanville Monthly, with entries for every country except China and Korea. The winners are:

    Canada -- Melissa Reid; Haley McKay.
    Czech Republic -- Tereza Fenclova.
    Finland -- Markus Mombasa.
    Germany -- Janine Hesse.
    Netherlands -- Dayan van der Luijt; Michelle Standlander.
    Sweden -- David Johansson.
    Taiwan/Hong Kong -- Chun Fung Wong.
    Thailand -- Amal Dua.
    UK -- Dale & Hannah Evans; Helen Smith; Sarah McGovern; Joshua Bedford; Carrie-Anne Allen; Scott Daniel Hill.
    USA -- Hannah Levine; Akiyo Nishimiya.

    Thanks to everyone who took part, congratulations to all the winners, and better luck next time to those who didn't win on this occasion!! If you're one of the winners, please be patient -- as I said last month, I won't be posting out the prizes until after January 5th, so it will probably be the middle of the month (maybe even later, depending on which part of the world you're in) before your prize arrives.

    2007 ROUNDUP

    2007 was another busy year for me. Because I hadn't done much global touring in 2006, I had a lot to make up for in 2007, and the year passed in a whirl of seemingly never-ending events!! Luckily, knowing it was going to be that way, I spent four of the first five months at home in Ireland, working flat-out, and finished the first drafts of a four-book mini-series that I hope to release in 2010 or 2011 -- there might be some more info about those in 2008, though I suspect it will be 2009 before I start seriously talking about them in public.

    Romania became the 33rd country to buy the rights to my Vampire books -- Transylvania being the spiritual home of all things vampiric, I was particularly chuffed about this one! I did one-off events in Derby and London (at the Festival Hall) in February, to keep my hand in. Allies of the Night was shortlisted for the I Love This Book award. Demon Thief was nominated for the Irish Children's Book of the Year. It also picked up nominations for the Doncaster Book Award, and Lancashire Children's Book of the Year award in the UK. Lord Loss was nominated for the Leeds Children's Book award. Slawter was nominated for the Staffordshire Children's Book award. And Blood Beast was nominated for the first ever Nickelodeon Kids' Choice award. I didn't win any of the awards I was up for (boo!!!) but it was a delightful surprise to receive so many nominations in the first place.

    Croatia became the 34th country to convert to the ways of Darren Shan. The Demonata books also spread to other countries during 2007, as did Koyasan, the short book I wrote for World Book Day in 2006. I did another one-off event in March, close to home this time, then hit the road in April, when I went on a massive tour of the United States. I started on the West Coast and finished on the East, covering quite a lot of the States in between. It was long and exhausting, but great fun too, and extremely well organised.

    May 8th marked the 10 year anniversary of when I first started to write Cirque Du Freak. Hard to believe a decade has come and gone since I first started to wonder what would happen if a boy met a vampire at a circus ... May 2007 was also when I first revealed that I would be re-publishing my adult books as D.B. Shan, starting in March 2008 with Procession of the Dead.

    In June, Blood Beast was released in the UK and Ireland, and it became my first ever #1 Children's Bestseller in the UK -- a proud moment for me! It was also the #5 bestselling hardback in the UK in the week of its release, including adult books -- a mind-blowing achievement! I went on a long, gruelling, but hugely enjoyable tour of Ireland and the UK in June, meeting more fans in more places than ever before. Blood Beast was chosen as one the Top 160 Books for Boys by the UK government.

    In July, the Shanville Monthly celebrated its 7th birthday, and I celebrated my 35th birthday -- we're both getting old!!! Turkey became the 35th country to buy the Saga. (NOT the 36th, as I mistakenly noted in the July issue of the SM -- whoops!!!) I toured in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong in July. I planned to take things easy at the end of it, but then my Dad had a minor heart attack, and had to go to hospital for major heart surgery!!! Everything went smoothly and he's back to his normal self now (you'd never know by looking at him that he'd had a triple bypass!!), but the end of July and first few weeks of August were a horrible time for me.

    I did two events at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August (my 8th year in a row there!), one with Mark Walden, one by myself. As usual, the Festival was one of my highlights of the year -- I just love it!!! I was chosen as Limerick Person of the Month by local paper The Limerick Leader -- it's always nice to get recognition on your home turf!!

    I went on another tour of the UK in late September and the first week of October. And then I went on a last-minute tour to Canada late in October. My fifth and final major tour of the year -- hurrah!!! While I love touring, I think I did a bit too much of it in 2007 -- I was exhausted by the end, and it limited the amount of writing that I could do. So it may well be that I never tour on quite this sort of scale again. I still plan to do a lot of touring, and all over the world, just not quite so much, in quite so many places, in any calendar year. I'm getting too old to tour incessantly!!!

    We kept the title of Book 6 of The Demonata a complete mystery all the way through the year, until the end of September, when I revealed it at the Bath Festival. (For those who might have missed it, it's called Demon Apocalypse.) It quickly became a fan favourite, and although it only got to #3 on the bestseller chart in the UK, it sold more in its first week than any of my Demonata books have done -- this demonic baby of a series is just getting bigger and bigger!!!

    I took things easier in November and December, went on a holiday to Orlando, took in some soccer matches, theatre and plays, spent a lot of time at home, did some editing. Then, at the end of the year, I revealed that the title of Book 7 of The Demonata would be Death's Shadow, and that filming of the Cirque Du Freak movie was scheduled to begin in February 2008 -- not a bad little way to wrap up the year!!!!!!!!


    Since it's the time of year when people love to display their Top 10 lists, I thought I'd get in on the act and let you know my ten favourite movies of all time, as well as my thirteen favourite albums (I couldn't whittle it down to just ten!). I'll do a list for books some other time, but at the moment I'm in London, and I don't have access to my list of books I've read over the years!! So, arranged alphabetically, here are the films:


    And, alphabetically by band, here are the albums:

    THE BEATLES - Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    THE BEATLES - The Beatles [white album]
    DAVID BOWIE - Ziggy Stardust
    THE GO-BETWEENS - Tallulah
    THE KINKS - The Village Green Preservation Society
    PIXIES - Doolittle
    PIXIES - Trompe Le Monde
    LOU REED & JOHN CALE - Songs For Drella
    THE SMITHS - The Queen Is Dead
    U2 - The Joshua Tree
    THE WHO - Tommy
    NEIL YOUNG - After The Gold Rush


    And that's it for January. I'm going to be bouncing between London and Limerick a lot over the next couple of months (as well as a few other places). I plan to do some more editing, and then launch myself into one new book or another -- I have a few ideas, but I'm not yet sure which one I'm going to go with first!! In the meantime I'll be keeping you all up to date with how the books are doing, what happening with the movie, etc., starting with the February issue of the Shanville Monthly. Until then, take care and DO try to stick to those New Year's Resolutions that you've made!!!!!!! :-) All my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x