• Issue 93 - April 2008

    01 April 2008


    Awesome April alohas, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed Easter and didn't overbloat on too many chocolate eggs!! I had a busy month, taking in birthday parties, concerts, shows, football matches, a trip to Krakow, and even a bit of work along the way! April will be a quieter month for me on the travel front (until my tour starts near the end of the month). I'm at home for most it, and hope to get plenty of editing done -- as well as doing some prep work on a new series of books which I've been playing around with for the last few years, and which I might now -- finally!! -- be ready to start. Because I don't write formulaic books, I never have a clear idea of what the long-term future will bring -- i.e. I simply have no idea what sort of stories I'm going to be drawn to in 5 or 10 years time. I know I make the writing process look simple, bringing out 2 or 3 books a year, always on time, always ahead of my publishers so that I have the next book ready before they even know that they want it ... but that apparent ease of writing is the result of a LOT of work and thinking that fans never see or in most cases even know about. If these new ideas develop the way I hope they will, I could be at the start of a new, long, fast-paced, twist-packed adventure like The Saga or The Demonata. But at the moment it's too early to tell. I've been crashing ideas and plotlines off of each other for the last 2 or 3 years, and recently I've been thinking about the story more and more (to the point where it's almost become an obsession) -- but I still don't know if it's going to suck me in and shoot me off in new, currently unthinkable directions. I'll only find that out over the coming weeks, months and years. Even if it does work out, and this becomes a fully blown series, the first book probably won't see print until 2012 or later -- so it's a LONG way off!!! Still, if it's going to start, this is where it looks like starting, and April 2008 may very well be the month when Darren Shan's next BIG project was born ...

    In the meantime, I've plenty in the present to occupy me too!! April will see a brand new book released in the UK and Ireland, and Book 6 of The Demonata will finally hit my thrill-starved fans in the States (hurrah!!!!). There are new covers to ooh and ahh over. Some movie updates. More tour news, including details for my events in Hungary and another Irish date in the middle of May. And there's still a chance to bid to get YOUR name featured in an upcoming Darren Shan book -- but you'll have to be fast, and prepared to spend a LOT of money!!! With new interviews, a podcast and more, this is one of the fullest issue of the Shanville Monthly in quite a while! So what are you waiting for -- dig right in!!!!!!


    Although Death's Shadow, Book 7 of The Demonata, isn't officially released in the UK and Ireland until May 5th, it will probably appear in most shops towards the end of April, so look out for it!!! The book will definitely be available at all of the events on my tour, even those before May 5th (barring any accidents!). The seventh demon book is a fast-paced, brutal little number, which launches the story arc which will carry us all the way to the finish in book 10. I'm very pleased with it, and I suspect most fans will be too. As well as driving the current storyline forward, it also features some revealing insights into the birth and early life of Beranabus, one of my own favourite characters from the series. Miss it at your peril!!!!!

    If you rather buy online, you will be able to order Death's Shadow from Amazon, once it becomes available, by clicking on the following link: BUY DEATH'S SHADOW FROM AMAZON UK.


    I have added a plot outline, and my notes, for Death's Shadow, book 7 of The Demonata, to my site. The notes cover a lot of ground, putting the book in context of the others, outlining when I started work on it, and also commenting on the overall structure of the series -- which, for the first time, should become clear to those of you prepared to do a bit of lateral thinking!!!! The notes are currently available in Secret Shanville, so click here to enter (you'll need to join if you haven't already): http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html

    Please note, I STRONGLY do not recommend that you read the outline and notes until you have read book 6, Demon Apocalypse, as they contain lots of plot spoilers for that book!!!!


    Although it's not officially on sale in the USA until May 1st, Demon Apocalypse, Book 6 of The Demonata, should be on sale in most shops sometime during April (probably early in the month in many places). This book was a huge hit in the UK and Ireland when it was released late in 2007 -- many fans claimed it as their favourite in the series so far. It features LOTS of action, some mind-numbing twists, and a truly apocalytpic finale. To find out what all the fuss was about, keep searching the shelves of your local book shops throughout April, or ask your local librarian to order in a copy of the book. And remember -- if you're ever looking for a book and your local shop doesn't stock it, they will normally gladly order a copy for you if you ask politely.

    If you prefer to buy online, you will be able to get the book through Amazon or Barnes & Noble (once it becomes available) by clicking on either of the following links:





    As I write this on the afternoon of April 1st, there are less than 32 hours left before the Authors For Autism Research auction ends, at 23.00 UK time on Wednesday April 2nd. Bidding has been phenomenal -- the high bid currently stands at £770!!!! Which means if you want to try and get YOUR name (or the name of someone you know) into Book 8 of The Demonata, you'll have to bid quickly and bid HIGH!!!! For more info about the auction, read on ...

    A common request from fans is that I use their name in one of my books. While I usually have to turn down such requests, I'm delighted to be able to offer one lucky winner the chance to have their name featured in an upcoming book of mine!!! Charity organisation Autism Speaks has set up an auction on ebay, in which many authors are giving fans the chance to buy a place in one of their future books. I was honoured to be approached by them, and had no hesitation in agreeing to take part. I'm in the process of pinning down the fine details and working out which book the winner's name will appear in, but I'm hoping it will be in Book 8 of The Demonata -- if not, it will be in Book 9. Alternatively I'll give the winner the chance to have their name appear in Hell's Horizon (my second D B Shan book) if they prefer. I'll send out an email about this to all of you guys later in March, confirming the details and reminding you of when the auction is due to go live. In the meantime, you can check out the auction line-up by clicking on this link:


    The auction will run from March 23rd to April 2nd. This will be a unique opportunity for one lucky winner to have their name immortalised in a Darren Shan book forever -- and I'll give their character a nice, gruesome death scene, so the winner will be able to boast proudly of being killed off by Darren Shan!!!!! All proceeds from the auction will go to Autism Speaks, a charity which seeks to help research the causes of autism. You can find out more about the great work they do by clicking here:



    Filming of the Cirque Du Freak movie, which started in New Orleans on February 19th, is going well from the reports which have been trickling through. More actors have been added, including Frankie Faison as Rhamus Twobellies, Kristen Schaal as Gertha Teeth, and Jonathan Nosan as Hans Hands. You can check out the full cast list to date by going to the movie's IMDB page, by CLICKING HERE. And, for those who are wondering, the character named Rebecca is going to be Darren's love interest in the movie -- meaning there won't be any character named Debbie Hemlock in the film.

    Because they changed Darren's girlfriend so much from the way she is described in the novels, they decided to make her a completely new character altogether. Debbie could still feature in a later movie, if sequels are made -- but she won't be in this one. Am I disappointed about that? Yes, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. But, as I've said all along, when you sign away the movie rights to your novels, you have to be prepared to let the adaptors do whatever they want with the stories. Debbie will always exist in the books, exactly the way I described her when I penned Tunnels of Blood several years ago. But the movie is its own beast. The film-makers aren't trying to exactly replicate the novels on screen, and that doesn't bother me -- I think a lot of adaptations over the years have failed because the movies have stuck too closely to the material in the novels from which they derived. I don't know if this adaptation will work or not -- that's something nobody can tell for certain until the finished film is released -- but I'm perfectly happy for it to be different. I know lots of fans don't think that way, and are craving a faithful adaptation, but I can tell you all here and now, that ain't gonna happen, and it was never on the agenda -- the books have been posied for a complete re-working ever since the movie folk first got interested. If it helps, don't think of the Cirque Du Freak film as a movie OF the books -- think of it as a movie INSPIRED BY them.

    I probably won't be able to provide a lot of insights from this point on into how things are going on set. The makers very kindly invited me out to New Orleans to watch some of the film being shot. But as much as I would have loved to see them bring the Cirque Du Freak to life, my diary is bulging right now and the timing for a visit just wasn't right. So I've had to say no to the offer, which means I'll have to wait, along with the rest of you, to find out what Hollywood is making of the freaktastic circus ...


    You can read a new interview with me, which appeared in the College Tribune newspaper in Ireland, by clicking on the following link: http://www.darrenshan.com/facts/interviews.html

    There will also be an interview with me in the Irish Independent on Saturday, April 5th. The Independent usually posts its interviews online at http://www.independent.ie/ so you should be able to find it there on or after the 5th, no matter where you live in the world (though I can't guarantee that!!).


    I recently wrote an introduction to the classic book, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which has been re-released by Puffin in the UK and Ireland. They recorded me reading out my introduction, as well as answering questions about the book, and reading out a short extract from it. The intro lasts about 5 minutes, the answers 6 minutes, the extract about 3. I always find it strange listening to myself when I've been recorded speaking -- that voice doesn't sound like the voice inside my head when I'm speaking to myself!!! But if you want to hear me waxing lyrical about one of my favourite books, and failing miserably to mimic an American accent (I'm absolutely RUBBISH at accents!!), then you can download and listen to the Puffin podcast, which you can find by clicking on the following link:


    If you haven't read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, I strongly recommend it -- it's a true classic. Look out for the book in your local stores, or you can order it from Amazon by clicking here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Adventur.../shanville


    I've added new covers for Japan and Romania in the Vampires part of the website. Click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/covers/index.html

    I've also added new covers for Hungary, the Netherlands and Norway in the Demons section: http://www.darrenshan.com/demons/covers/index.html

    Finally, although the Death's Shadow cover has been available for a few months, I've now added three earlier artist's drafts to my site, so that you can trace the evolution of the cover from start to finish. It's an intriguing look into the growth of a cover, from a very strong first draft to the finished, touched-up, final work. You can find all the drafts in Secret Shanville (you'll need to become a Shanster if you haven't joined the club already) by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html


    I'm coming on tour to Hungary late in April. I'm going to be doing events on April 25th, 26th and 27th. Here are more details:

    Friday, April 25

    16.00 to 18.00 -- meeting fans and signing books in a book shop in Kecskemét.

    Saturday, April 26

    10.00 to 11.00 -- interview with the chief editor of Móra on stage at the premises of Budapest Book Festival (I will be answering the collected questions of Hungarian fans).

    11.00 to 14.00 -- meeting fans and signing books at the stand of Móra at the Budapest Book Festival.

    15.00 to 17.00 -- meeting fans and signing books at Libri bookshop in Arena Plaza.

    17.00 to 19.00 -- meeting fans and signing books at Alexandra bookshop in Arena Plaza.

    Sunday, April 27

    10.00 to 12.00 -- meeting fans and signing books at the stand of Móra at the Budapest Book Festival.

    For more information, please visit the web site of my Hungarian publishers, Móra, by clicking here: http://www.mora.hu/


    Here are the latest, updated details for my tour of the UK in April and May (as well as details of two events in Ireland, one in the middle of May, the other at the start of June). Public events are normally ticketed, so you should contact the venue in advance to be certain of your place. Public signings are open to everyone -- you just have to turn up and queue. I always advise getting to my signings a bit early, as they tend to last quite a long time, and those near the back often have a long wait!!! I'll almost always spend at least an hour signing at a store, but often much longer -- I never leave until I've signed for everyone.



    Tuesday 29 11.00am

    School event at Emanuel School, Battersea Rise, Wandsworth, London SW11.
    Tuesday 29 1.30pm School event at Eaton House Prep School, Clapham Common North, London.
    Tuesday 29 5.00pm PUBLIC event at Bexley Central Library, Townley Road, Bexleyheath, Kent DA6 7HJ. This is a ticketed event, so you will need to contact Paul Fisher to arrange for tickets if you are interested in attending. Phone: 02088367451. email: [email protected]

    Wednesday 30 1.45pm School event at Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Nackington Road, Canterbury, Kent.
    Wednesday 30 6.30pm PUBLIC event at Waterstones, 20-21 St Margaret’s Street, Canterbury CT1 2TH.



    Thursday 1 4.30pm PUBLICsigning at Borders, N1 Shopping Centre, Parkfield Street, Islington N1 OPS.

    Friday 2 10.00am School event at St Columba’s College, King Harry Lane, St Albans AL3 4AW.
    Friday 2 2.15pm School event at Astley Cooper School, St Agnells Lane, HP2 7HL. There will also be a PUBLIC signing afterwards. For more information contact Karl Vadaszffy. email: [email protected]
    Friday 2 6.30pm PUBLIC event organised by FCBG, at Leighton Park School, Shinfield Road, Reading RG2 7ED. This is a ticketed event. Contact Sarah Stuffins at the FCBG by visiting their web site: http://www.btinternet.com/~martin.kromer/

    Saturday 3 10.30am PUBLIC event at All Saints Church, Lovelace Road, London SE21 8JY. This is being arranged by The Bookshop, 1d Calton Avenue, Dulwich SE21. Please contact the store for more details. phone: 0208 693 2808.
    Saturday 3 3.00pm PUBLIC signing at WHSmith, The Bentall Centre, Kingston Upon Thames, KT1 1EU.

    Sunday 4 12.00pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, Bluewater West Shopping Centre, Greenhithe, Kent DA9.

    Monday 5 2.00pm PUBLIC signing at Borders, Thamesdown Dr, Swindon SN25 4AN.

    Tuesday 6 9.00am School event at Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School, Butterfly Lane, Elstree, Herts.
    Tuesday 6 1.00pm School event at Bushey Hall School, London Road, Bushey, Herts.
    Tuesday 6 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Borders, 210 High St, Waterfield Retail Park Walk, Watford WD17 2EU.

    Wednesday 7 2.00pm School event at The Mall School, 185 Hampton Road, Twickenham.
    Wednesday 7 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 77 High Street, Staines TW18 4PQ.

    Thursday 8 10.30am School event at The Judd School, Brook Street, Tonbridge.
    Thursday 8 1.30pm School event at Skinners School, St Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.
    Thursday 8 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 32-40 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.

    Friday 9 9.30am School event at Caterham School, Harestone Valley Road, Caterham, Surrey.
    Friday 9 2.30pm School event at More House School, Moons Hill, Frensham, Farnham, Surrey.
    Friday 9 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 11 Lion & Lamb Yard, Farnham, Surrey GU9 7LL.

    Saturday 10 1.00pm PUBLIC event at Polka Theatre, 240 The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1SB. This is a ticketed event. Please contact the Polka Theatre for more details. web site: http://www.polkatheatre.com/ phone: 020 8543 4888. email: [email protected]

    Saturday 17 2.00pm PUBLIC signing at Easons, Athlone Town Shopping Centre, Athlone, IRELAND. [Please note, this event is NOT, as previously listed, going to be in the Golden Island Shopping Centre -- it will be held in the NEW Easons store in Athlone Town Shopping Centre.] phone: 0906484377

    Wednesday 28 2.00pm

    PUBLIC event for Young Readers UK Festival, Centre for the Child, Central Library, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham. For more details, please see their web site: http://www.birmingham.gov.uk/youngreaders.bcc or email Gena Gaynor: [email protected]

    Thursday 29 Time TBC PUBLIC event at Hay-On-Wye Festival. Details TBC. web site: http://www.hayfestival.com/wales/



    Sunday 1 11.00am PUBLIC event at Listowel Festival, Kerry, IRELAND. web site: http://www.writersweek.ie/



    Date TBC TBC PUBLIC event at the Edinburgh Book Festival. This will be my 9th appearance in a row at the Festival! More details to follow closer to August.



    Saturday 13 TBC PUBLIC event at Books In The Park, Marlay Park, Dublin, Ireland.


    I will be coming to the USA on tour again in October/November 2008. The tour is still in its very early planning stages, so please don't contact me about it yet. I will post more information, including contact details for my publisher, sometime within the next few months, giving everyone the chance to "pitch" for a Darren Shan visit. So please keep watching the Shanville Monthly for updates.


    And that's it for April. As I said above, I hope to be busy plotting and scheming at my desk this month. But I also have to prepare for my upcoming tours -- as usual, at events where I'm speaking, I'll be doing a mix of old and new extracts, and answering all the questions we can squeeze in. Even though I'll have all that going on, don't worry -- I'll be back here near the start of May with all the latest news. Until then, take care of yourselves, and I hope you enjoy the new book!!! All my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x