• Issue 91 - February 2008

    01 February 2008


    Shivery February salutations, everyone! The winter seems set to strike this part of the world with a vengeance this month, after what has been a mostly mild spell so far. Hopefully that won't interfere too much with my work -- I plan to get lots done before I head back ouot on the road in late April. I've been busy since Christmas, editing a number of different books, knocking them into shape. Death's Shadow, book 7 of The Demonata, is pretty much all done and dusted now, I'm delighted to say, and I'm working night and day (literally!) to ensure that all the books which follow it come out on time and in the best possible condition I can knock them into. I don't have a huge variety of news items to report this month, but there are some exciting cast updates regarding the Cirque Du Freak movie, news of a couple of welcome award nominations, and a few more odds and pieces. Oh, and there's also the not-so-small matter of the release of my first adult-aimed book, Procession of the Dead! Read on to learn more ...


    All is looking good on the Cirque Du Freak movie front -- they seem to be ready to proceed with filming as scheduled, starting in February. If you check in the IMDB web site, you'll see that a lot of crew members are now attached to the movie. The following actors have also been confirmed to take part in the film:

    Salma Hayek will be playing Truska, the bearded lady!!! I think Salma Hayek is one of the most beautiful women on the planet, and a top actress too, so I think she's an amazing addition. I think the role of Truska has been expanded for the movie, so hopefully we'll get to see lots of ... ahem ... beard action!!!!!

    Ken Watanabe will be playing Mr Tall. A Japanese actor, Ken Watanabe has also starred in a number of American movies in recent years, including The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, Memoirs of a Geisha and Letters From Iwo Jima.

    The following actors are rumoured to have signed up, but I have not been able to officially confirm the additions yet.

    Jane Krakowski is apparently going to be playing Corma Limbs -- yes, Mr Limbs has undergone a sex change and is now a woman!!! Jane Krakowski won a Tony award a few years ago, has starred in TV shows Ally McBeal and 30 Rock, and in many movies too. She was also in the recent London production of Guys And Dolls, opposite Ewan McGregor. I went to see the show twice, and she was by far the best actor in it. So I'm VERY excited about seeing her in this if the rumour turns out to be true!!!

    Patrick Fugit is perhaps lined up to be Evra Von, the Snakeboy. He has been in lots of movies and TV series, including a few episodes of ER.

    And Michael Cerveris seems set to play Mr. Tiny. He has featured in many films and TV shows, but is best known for his stage work. He starred in a hugely acclaimed version of Sweeney Todd on Broadway a few years ago -- I'd hoped to go see it at the time, but never managed to make it.

    I'll let you know once all of the above are confirmed or ruled out, but assuming they're all on the level, this is shaping up to be one hell of a great cast!! Things are looking promising, people!!


    To the best of my knowledge, Blood Beast goes on sale in the Netherlands on February 6th . I hope all my Dutch fans enjoy it as much as Shansters in the UK and America did!!


    In the UK, the Daily Telegraph featured 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. While it's now too late for you to take part in the book club, you can read an introduction to the book, an interview with me, and Reader Notes for the book, by clicking here: TELEGRAPH


    I'm thrilled to announce that Demon Apocalypse has been shortlisted for the Worcestershire Teen Book Award. It is one of 6 shortlisted books. The winner will be chosen in April. You can check out the full shortlist here: SHORTLIST


    In a very good months for award nominations, I'm delighted to be able to also announce that Blood Beast has been shortlisted for the Doncaster Book Award. It is one of 6 books which have been chosen for the shortlist. The winner will be announced on March 14th. You can find out what the other books are, and more about the award, by clicking here: SHORTLIST


    I've added the Taiwanese cover for Demon Apocalypse to my site. Click here: D6 TAIWAN

    And I've added the Japanese cover for Koyasan here: KOYASAN JAPAN

    Both covers are originals, designed by the artistic teams in Taiwan and Japan respectively.


    My best friend, Paul Kenny (also known as Pablo on my Message Boards) suffered a sad loss near the end of January, when his father, Sean, died suddenly and unexpectedly. I was very fond of Sean -- I've known him for about 20 years, as long as Pablo and I have been friends, and he was one of the nicest people I ever knew. He was always smiling and joking, even when he was laid up in hospital a couple of years ago and Bas and I visited him there. He's had some health problems over the years, but was in good shape overall. We saw him on Saturday before his death (he died on Sunday 27th) and he was joking and laughing as usual. He went out with Bas to see her new car, then demanded to know why I hadn't bought one for him too! He'd recently taken in a new puppy, a wild, scatterbrained thing. Every time I popped in, I'd say the puppy was wild and should be drowned. Yesterday I volunteered to take it down to the Shannon and drop it in (I was only joking, folks -- I'm a BIG dog lover!!!). Sean picked up the puppy and cuddled it, telling me he'd throw ME into the river if I tried to hurt his dog! And that was the last time I saw him, standing in his living room, cradling the puppy, laughing as he bid me goodbye. He'll be sorely missed.


    My first book for older readers, Procession of the Dead, officially goes on sale on March 3rd, but it will probably pop up in shops towards the end of February. A dark fantasy novel about a young man who wants to become a powerful gangster, it's very different in style and tone to my children's books, but is written in the same straightforward, pacy style. I've given a few interviews as D B Shan recently, and the topic of the book's age suitability has come up more than once. To be honest, I'm always reluctant to stick an age recommendation on a book. Each reader is different. There are 10 year olds to whom I'd happily recommend my Demonata books, and there are 13 years olds I'd advise to wait until they were older. It all depend on the individual reader. My D B Shan books are written with an adult audience in mind, so on the record I'd say they were for 15 or 16 year olds upwards. But that should be taken as a rough guide rather than an official certificate. If you're a parent with a 10 or 12 or 14 year old, and you're wondering if Procession of the Dead is appropriate, you'll need to judge the child in question rather than the novel. The book isn't much more violent than my Darren Shan novels, but it features bad language, some mild sex scenes, and a moral ambiguity which younger readers might find troubling -- the divisions between good and evil are explored, rather than laid out in stone, and some of the things that the main character does will make readers wince, and perhaps confuse younger readers who are less worldly. If your child or teenager is comfortable reading Stephen King, they'll be fine with this. But if you'd hesitate to give them one of King's books, I'd recommend exercising caution in this instance too.

    Anyway, for those of you who are old enough (or who decide you're old enough!!!) to read the book, it will hopefully be available in most book stores -- but in the adult section, not the children's!!! If you don't see it on the shelves of your local store, please do ask for it. Alternatively you can buy it from Amazon by clicking on the following link: BUY PROCESSION OF THE DEAD

    I will also be creating a web site for my D B Shan books. It should be going live midway through February. The URL when it's finalised will be http://www.dbshan.co.uk/ So watch out for it!!!


    And that's it for February. I hope to get more editing done this month, but I'll also be making a short trip to Prague to see Tottenham Hotspur play a UEFA cup game, and I'm going to Las Vegas with Bas on holiday, and Spurs are in the Carling Cup Final later in the month -- so I'm going to be busy with a lot of non-work-related stuff too!!!! But, regardless of the distractions, I'll be back here near the start of March to post the next issue of the Shanville Monthly. Come rain, sleet or snow, that's one thing you can rely on!!!! Until then, wrap up warm and take care, little Shansters!!! All my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x