• Issue 99 - October 2008

    01 October 2008


    Welcome to the October issue of the Shanville Monthly. Sorry this one's a bit early (again!!), but I'm heading off on tour, so it was now or never!!! Still, there's a LOT to report this month, so maybe it's just as well this has come a bit early -- with another week's worth of news, it might have turned into a monster!!!! There's so much news that I'm not going to waste any more time on my introduction -- just get dug in, and I'll pop back up again at the bottom to sign off!!!



    I reckon the people in werewolf movies have it easy. I mean, they can live ordinary lives for most of the month, and just lay low whenever there's a full moon!! As movie monsters go, werewolves are some of the easiest to get along with!!!! But what if you were dealing with werewolves who were always twisted, misshapen, savage beasts? And what if there were hundreds of them on the loose? On a very small island? And you were trapped in the middle of them? That would be a beast of a different matter entirely -- and it's a beast that has just been unleased on Shasters in the UK and Ireland!!!! Because, yes, folks...


    Well, OK, it might not be on sale in every shop if you read this before the start of October (the perils of having to go to press early with the Shanville Monthly!!). But it should be on sale in most places in the last week of September (it will definitely be available, bar acts of gods or demons, at all the shops where I will be signing), and everywhere by October 1st. So look out for it, and if you can't spot it on the shelves of you local bookstore, HOWL the place down!!!! Alternatively, you can always buy it onlin from Amazon UK instead, by clicking on the following link:


    Wolf Island continues the adventures and misfortunes of Grubbs Grady. He's come through a hell of a lot in the series so far, but just when you think things can't get any worse... they do!!! This is a vicious, explosive novel, in which Grubbs is forced to explore a new side of his personality, and adapt to a VERY dangerous new environment. Trust me -- if this one doesn't send a shiver down your spine, you probably need to check your pulse, because I think that will mean you're a zombie!!!!!!!


    To celebrate the release of my latest little monster, I've added my author notes about the book to my web site. I reveal some of the secrets behind the book, including when I wrote it, who some of the characters are based upon and named after, and more. The notes are probably best enjoyed AFTER you've read the book, but I'd tried not to give any major plot twists away, so if you're the impatient kind, you can go ahead and scan through them now. You can find the notes in Secret Shanville by clicking here (you'll need to join the Darren Shan club and become an official Shanster if you haven't already): http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html



    My UK publishers, HarperCollins, are planning a fun, intriguing internet campaign to promote Wolf Island. I don't want to give too much away, but it's going to give you the opportunity of trying to trick your friends into believing you've been kidnapped by demons!! The catchy title of the campaign is Scare A Mortal Portal!!!! There will also be some downloads available. I'm not directly involved in the campaign (I'm going to be too busy touring!!). To learn more about it, you'll need to register with the site which HC have set up for the campaign -- http://www.demonfreak.com/ I know lots of you have been wondering about the demonfreak page, ever since an ad for it was included in the back pages of Death's Shadow. Now, at last, the mystery can be revealed!!! The campaign won't go live until later in October, but if you visit the site now, you can register your details, which means you'll be sent an email letting you know when everything is up and running. Alternately, you can just keep checking back over the course of the month. I'm assuming fans all over the world will be able to access the site and fake their demonic kidnapping, so feel free to check it out no matter where you live!


    American Shansters also have a chance to celebrate this month, because October sees the release in the USA of Death's Shadow, book 7 of The Demonata!!! I know you guys hate having to wait longer than fans in the UK for my books, but hey, the good news is that means you get to savour the suspense a bit longer!!!! Whereas most of my British fans have read Death's Shadow by now, you still have the twists, shocks and fatalities to look forward to!! I think it's definitely worth the wait -- Death's Shadow is a three-act descent into chaos and terror, with all sorts of vile, vicious villains on the loose!!! It should be available in most stores from early or mid-October onwards, so keep your eyes peeled!! It's also worth noting that many stores in the states stack my Demonata books in a different section to my Cirque Du Freak books! If you can't find it, do please ask a member of staff -- and if they don't have it in stock, they'll probably be happy to order it in for you. If you prefer to buy online, you can buy it through either Amazon or Barnes&Noble by clicking on one of the following links (it says the release date is November 1, but I'm certain the book will be on sale through them earlier than that):



    I'm coming on tour to the States in October to promote the release of Death's Shadow. For a full list of dates and places where I'm going to be, check further down in this issue of the Shanville Monthly.


    For those American fans who are still unhappy about being behind the UK in The Demonata, you can at least take solace in the fact that you're going to be the first people in the world outside of Japan to get the Cirque Du Freak manga!!!! I announced the manga news in an earlier edition of the Shanville Monthly. Now I'm pleased to be able to report that the translated American adaptation of the Cirque Du Freak manga was sent to me during September. I read through it, editing pen close to hand in case I needed to make any changes. Thankfully, I rarely needed to put that pen to use. The translation is VERY good. The translator has captured the style of the book, not just translated literally from Japanese to English. I made a few small tweaks here and there, when I thought it was necessary (e.g. to make sure Mr Crepsley's speech patterns were JUST right), but for the most part I was just a happy reader.

    I think the manga works splendidly. That was my opinion when I was "reading" the Japanese version as it came out, and that opinion has been fortified now that I can properly read it. The artist has made changes, of course, to the structure and plot, but kept the feel and spirit of the story. And the changes are all positive changes, necessary to make the story work in a visual format. I believe in being honest about adaptations of my work. I will never give a dishonest opinion about a manga or movie adaptation of a Darren Shan book. If I like it, I'll say so. If I don't, I'll say that too.I love the Cirque Du Freak manga, so it gets a very definite two thumbs up from me!! And the REALLY exciting news about the series is that, as strong as the first book is, the later volumes are even better!!!!


    While we're on the subject of manga, the ninth volume, Killers of the Dawn, was released in Japan in September. I always felt the book was one of the most effective in the series, and the manga has more than done it justice. The artist, Takahiro Arai, is a young, exciting new artist, and this has been his first major series. He's been learning all the time, and as I said above, he keeps getting better over the course of the series. Killers sees him firing on all cylinders -- it's breath-taking stuff!!! If any of my Japanese fans want to buy volume 9 of the manga from Amazon.jp (fans in other countries can buy from them too, if you can figure out the system and don't mind paying the high international shipping costs), this is the link: Japan Manga 9 Or you can look it up on my Japanese publisher's site (and check out some of the characters, too!!) by clicking here: http://websunday.net/rensai/set_darren.html


    The Darren Shan family has grown once again, with Bulgaria becoming the 37th country in which my books are published!! Egmont publishers in Bulgaria will begin printing The Saga of Darren Shan within the next year. My books are now officially available in 37 countries around the world, in 30 languages. Coolio!!!

    Mon Dieu!!! I'm also delighted to be able to reveal some good news for my French fans after several years of no activity there. The rights to the first four books of The Saga of Darren Shan have been bought by Hachette Livre, and they will start publishing the series within the next year. The series didn't fare too healthily in France the first time round, for a number of reasons, one of which was that I don't think it was translated very effectively. Hopefully this time The Saga will be better treated by its new publishers, and all 12 books will eventually be published...


    There was a very nice review of Cirque Du Freak in The Herald Dispatch, in W. VA., in the USA, on August 28. This is how it started:

    With the end of the "Twilight" saga, I found myself craving another vampire series. I'd heard about the "Cirque du Freak" series from several people, and it came highly recommended. I picked up the first book of the 12-book series, "The Living Nightmare." I was definitely not disappointed.

    To read the rest of the review, click here: HERALD DISPATCH REVIEW


    I've added some new reviews, from the States, for Demon Apocalypse to my site. You can check them out by clicking here: Demon Apocalypse Reviews

    I've also added the first batch of reviews for Death's Shadow. If you want to know what the critics think of Book 7 of The Demonata, click here: Death's Shadow Reviews


    You can find full details for my UK tour below. But please note that in addition to all the events listed there, I will also be popping into the Forbidden Planet shop on Shaftesbury Avenue in London on Thursday October 2nd to sign stock of my D B Shan book, Procession of the Dead. This will just be a stock signing, not an actual event, but if any of you would like to get a signed, personalised D B Shan book, you can contact Forbidden Planet, ask them to arrange it for you, and either pick it up later or have them ship it to you (assuming they do shipping -- you'll need to check with them). Alternately, you MIGHT be able to meet me there in person if you happen to be in the store when I visit. I'm not tied to a definite time, but I'm probably going to be dropping in about 11.00. That's not definite -- it might be earlier, it might be later -- but that's my rough sort of aim. To contact the store, or to find out its exact address, click here: http://www.forbiddenplanet.com/WhereWeAre.html

    UPDATE -- 2nd October -- I went in to sign the stock today, only to find they hadn't brought me in to sign copies of Procession, but to sign lots of copies of Wolf Island and Death's Shadow, along with some of my back catalogue!! That's bad news for the D B Shan fans among you who were planning to buy a signed Procession from them -- but great news for Darren Shan fans who want a signed copy of the new book!!!!


    The itinerary is now complete, so feast your eyes, make your plans, bring lots of books, and prepare to have to wait in line for a long time in most instances!! In answer to two of the most asked questions, [a] I will happily sign as many books as you bring (unless I have to dash off to catch a plane, train or automobile, of course!!), and there's no way to tell how long a signing session will be -- since I'll always stay until I've signed for everyone, it can run up to 2 or 3 hours if there's a BIG crowd!!! But as a general rule of thumb, I'll almost always be at any given venue for at least an hour.



    Thursday 25 a.m. School event at Aquinas Drammar school, Belfast.
    Thursday 25 p.m. School event at Methodist College, Belfast.
    Thursday 25 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 44-46 Fountain Street, Belfast BT1 5EE.

    Friday 26 11.00am School event at UCI Cinema, Blanchardstown, arranged by Borders, Unit 4 Westend Retail Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15. contact the store if you are interested in booking places.
    Friday 26 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Borders, Unit 4 Westend Retail Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15.

    Saturday 27 11.00am PUBLIC signing at Easons, 40 Lower O'Connell Street, Dublin.
    Saturday 27 3.00pm PUBLIC signing at Easons, Unit G1, The Pavillion Shopping Center, Swords, Co. Dublin.

    Sunday 28 11.00am PUBLIC signing at Easons, Unit 45/46, Liffey Valley, Clondalkin, Dublin 22.
    Sunday 28 3.00pm PUBLIC signing at Easons, The Square, Tallaght Town Center, Tallaght, Dublin 24.

    Monday 29 11.00am Schools event at Triskell Arts Centre, Cork. For more details or to book places, email: [email protected]
    Monday 29 1.00pm Schools event at Triskell Arts Centre, Cork. For more details or to book places, email: [email protected]
    Monday 29 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, Patrick Street, Cork.

    Tuesday 30 am/pm Schools events at O'Mahony's Bookstore, O'Connell Street, Limerick. For more details, or to book places, email: [email protected]
    Tuesday 30 4.00pm PUBLIC signing at O'Mahony's Bookstore, O'Connell Street, Limerick. http://www.omahonys.ie/



    Wednesday 1 9.30am School event at Leon School and Sport College, Bletchley, Milton Keynes.
    Wednesday 1 1.15pm School event at Ousedale School, Olney, Bucks.
    Wednesday 1 6.30pm PUBLIC event at Waterstones, Midsummer Place, Milton Keynes. You will need a ticket to get into this event. For more details, contact Sara Dokham by phoning 01908395384.

    Friday 3 11.20am School event at Gresham's Senior School, Holt, Norfolk.
    Friday 3 2.00pm School event at Taverham High School, Norwich.
    Friday 3 6.30pm School event at Sprowston High School, Norwich. Although this is an after-school event for children of the school, it MIGHT be possible for others to get tickets to it as well. If interested, contact Marilyn Brocklehurst for more details by phoning 01263 761402.

    Saturday 4 10.00am PUBLIC signing at Borders, 146 LR Merchant's Hall, Chapelfield, Norwich, NR2 1SH.
    Saturday 4 3.00pm PUBLIC signing at Waterstones, 36 Butter Market, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1DW.

    Sunday 5 11.00am PUBLIC signing at Foyles, Royal Festival Hall, Southbank, London SE1 8XX. This is my local book store in London!! This is also the first ever public signing that I have done in central London! (I've done events, but never a straightforward signing session!) Come along to the buzzing, family-friendly Southbank with your parents and make a day of it! http://www.foyles.co.uk/index.asp?
    Sunday 5 4.00pm PUBLIC event at Stratford Circus, Theatre Square, Stratford, E15 1BX. Arranged by Newham Bookshop -- please contact the bookshop for more details. http://newhambooks.co.uk/

    Monday 6 4.00pm Tea with winners of Leeds City Libraries competition winners.
    Monday 6 6.30pm PUBLIC event at Leeds Art Gallery. For more details contact Debbie Moody by email: [email protected]

    Tuesday 7 9.00am School event at High Archal School, Sedgley, Dudley, West Midlands.
    Tuesday 7 1.45pm School event at Windsor School, Halesowen, West Midlands.
    Tuesday 7 7.00pm PUBLIC event at Earls High School, Halesowen, West Midlands. for more info, or to book tickets, contact Ros Bartlett. phone: 01384376292.

    Wednesday 8 9.55am School event at Brownhills Community Tech College, Walsall.
    Wednesday 8 5.00pm PUBLIC signing at Borders, Manchester Fort, Cheetham Hill Road, Manchester M8 8EP. please note, I am also doing a Q&A talk at 4.00pm here, but it is for invited members only -- please contact the store if you are interested in attending the talk.

    Thursday 9 9.30am School event at Barnsley Academy, Worsbrough, Barnsley.
    Thursday 9 1.15pm School event at Fir Vale School, Sheffield.
    Thursday 9 4.30pm PUBLIC signing at WHSmith, 45 High Street, Meadowhall Centre, Sheffield S9 1EN.

    Friday 10 10.30am Informal PUBLIC signing event at Waterstones, Doncaster. this will be on during school time, which is why it is listed as being informal, but if you can come, or persuade an adult to come on your behalf, it will be business as normal as far as I'm concerned!
    Friday 10 1.00pm Schools event at Doncaster Civic Theatre. For more details or to book places, contact Lyn Cooper on email: [email protected]
    Friday 10 5.00pm PUBLIC signing at Asda, Owlcotes Centre, Pudsey, LS 28 6AR. this is my first ever signing in an Asda store!! If you live in the area, or in nearby Leeds, come along -- don't miss history in the making!!!!!

    Saturday 11 11.00am PUBLIC signing at Borders, 9 Magdalen Street, Oxford OX1 3AD.
    Saturday 11 4.00pm PUBLIC event at Cheltenham Literature Festival, in Cheltenham College Junior School. http://cheltenhamfestivals.com/whats_on/literature_festival.html

    Sunday 12 2.00pm PUBLIC event at Ilkley Literature Festival. http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/user/index.php


    Here are the updated details for my upcoming tour of the USA in October 2008. Public events are normally open to everybody, although it's always a good idea to check with the store in advance, just in case there's a limit on numbers. I always sign at events, and am always happy to sign as many books as you buy at the store or bring from home.


    Monday 20 10.15ish I will be appearing on "Minnesota Monthly" on KARE TV, doing a live TV interview, at some point between 10.15 and 11.00. I will be for approx 4 or 5 minutes.
    Monday 20 1.45pm School event at Ramsey Junior High, Saint Paul, MN.
    Monday 20 7.00 pm PUBLIC event/signing at Red Balloon Book shop, 891 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105. http://www.redballoonbookshop.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp

    Tuesday 21 10.15am School event at Jefferson Community School, arranged by Wild Rumpus book shop, MN55410. http://www.wildrumpusbooks.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp
    Tuesday 21 1.00pm School event at Patrick Henry High School, arranged by Wild Rumpus book shop.

    Wednesday 22 09.00am Two School events at Liberty Middle School, Liberty, MO, arranged by Reading Reptile.
    Wednesday 22 1.00pm School event at South Valley Middle School, Liberty, Missouri, arranged by Reading Reptile.
    Wednesday 22 7.00pm PUBLIC event at Kansas City Llibrary, Plaza Branch, 4801 Main Street, Kansas City, MO 64112. arranged by Reading Reptilein Kansas City, KS. http://www.readingreptile.com/main/about.htm NB please ignore what it might say on their site about only being allowed to bring one book from home. You can bring as many books from home as you like, as you can at every event I ever do!!!!

    Thursday 23 12.00pm Two School events at Coppell Middle School West, Coppell, TX.
    Thursday 23 7.00pm PUBLIC event at Barnes & Noble, 2601 Preston Rd, Frisco, TX 75034.

    Friday 24 8.30am School event at Lamar Middle School, Austin, TX.
    Friday 24 10.00am School event at Hill Country Middle School, Austin, TX.
    Friday 24 2.00pm School event at O. Henry Middle School, Austin, TX.
    Friday 24 7.00pm PUBLIC event at a Haunted House, 815-A Brazos Street, #498, Austin, TX. arranged by BookPeople book shop, 603 N. Lamar, Austin, TX 78703. http://www.bookpeople.com/index.php

    Saturday 25 7.00pm PUBLIC event at Books & Books book shop, Coral Gables, 265 Aragon Ave, FL 33134. http://www.booksandbooks.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp

    Monday 27 10.00am School event arranged by Octavia book shop, 513 Octavia Street (corner of Laurel), New Orleans, LA 70115. http://www.octaviabooks.com/index.php
    Monday 27 1.00pm School event arranged by Octavia book shop, 513 Octavia Street (corner of Laurel), New Orleans, LA 70115. http://www.octaviabooks.com/index.php
    Monday 27 6.00pm PUBLIC event at Octavia book shop, 513 Octavia Street (corner of Laurel), New Orleans, LA 70115. http://www.octaviabooks.com/index.php

    Tuesday 28 10.00am Library event at Main Library, 219 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70112. This is an event for librarians and educators.

    Wednesday 29 a.m. School event at Phoenix Preparatory Academy, Phoenix, AZ, arranged by Phoenix Book Company, Phoenix, AZ. http://www.phoenixbookcompany.com/
    Wednesday 29 p.m. School event at Shepard Junior High School, Mesa, AZ, arranged by Phoenix Book Company, Phoenix, AZ. http://www.phoenixbookcompany.com/
    Wednesday 29 7.00pm PUBLIC event at Changing Hands book shop, 6428 S McClintock Dr, Tempe, AZ 85283. http://www.changinghands.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp

    Thursday 30 8.45am School event arranged by The Phoenix Book Company.
    Thursday 30 7.00pm PUBLIC event at The Tattered Cover book shop, Colfax Store, 2526 East Colfax Ave, Denver, CO. http://www.tatteredcover.com/NASApp/store/IndexJsp

    Friday 31 a.m. School events.



    Heh heh -- I love casually throwing in major news like this at the very end!! Yes, book 9 of The Demonata, which first hits the world in the UK and Ireland in May 2009, is called DARK CALLING. It's a title I'm especially pleased with, partly because it suits the book very well and has a few different meanings (which will become apparent when you read the book), but mostly because it's the most difficult time I've ever had coming up with a title!!!! Titles vary from book to book. Sometimes the name will come to me first, and I'll have it in place from the very beginning. Other times I'll come up with it during the writing process. And occasionally it will only come late in the day, when the book has been edited and is nearing the printing stage. In this instance the first working title was The Divine Horror. I was never happy with that, but at least it gave me something to call the book!! A year and a half later, I shortened it to Divine Horror, in case that would grab me any more, but it didn't. Nearly a year after that, I changed it to Eternity's Crux. I really liked that title, as it ties in very neatly with the storyline and hints at the sci-fi elements that play an important part in this book. But I suspected it was a title that other people wouldn't warm to, and as soon as it went to my editor, that was confirmed. The trouble was, we couldn't come up with anything else that both of us liked!!! It needed to be short and snappy, yet it also needed to relate to the plot. But book 9 has a very complicated plot!!! We bounced ideas back and forth. Some of the titles in the mix included Destiny's Eyes, Creatures of the Dark, Dark Matters. We both liked the "dark" theme, so I played with it a bit more and came up with titles such as Dark Eyes, Monsters of the Dark, and Call of the Dark. That last name struck a chord with me. I knew it wasn't quite right, but I sensed I was close. With the production team baying for a title (we literally came within 24 hours of the deadline!!!), I played around with Call of the Dark on my way to the theatre (I was going to see a play called Fat Girl), and came up with Dark Calling. I instantly knew the problem had been solved, and luckily my editor agreed straightaway as soon as I sent it to her. And so the title of book 9 came to be. I hope you like it as much as we do -- tough luck if you don't!!!!


    And that's it for October! I'm going to be out on tour for most of the coming five weeks. Hopefully I'll get to meet lots and LOTS of you, and sign many thousands of books!! I'll be bringing plenty of pens, and loads of my business cards too (I have a Darren Shan business card which I like to give away to fans at events -- a little extra from me to thank you for coming!), so with luck I'll bring enough to last -- judging the number I'll need can be a tricky business these days!!! Next month is the 100th issue of the Shanville Monthly!!!! It's hard to believe I've reached that landmark!! I'll be trying to mark the occasion with a couple of nice surprises -- and I wouldn't be at all surprised if one of those surprises turns out to be a competition!!! The November issue will be a bit late going live -- I suspect it will be at least the 2nd or 3rd before I can put it online, so please be patient. Until then, all my bloody best!!!! Darren Shan x x x