• Issue 101 - December 2008

    01 December 2008


    Merry Christmas, everybody!! And welcome to a jam-packed, revelatory edition of the Shanville Monthly!!! Yes, revelatory, because in addition to the usual crop of news items, this issue features some major revelations, such as the title of Book 10 of The Demonata! And the cover of the UK edition of Dark Calling!! And a whole crop of brand new Saga covers!!! You can also find out which country has become the 38th to officially publish my books... you can find the names of the winners of last month's competition... Shanta Claus makes a welcome return to the web site... and there's a whole lot more!!! Without any further preamble, let's start off with the hot news that so many of you have been waiting eagerly for...


    The waiting is over! I can finally reveal the title of the 10th and last book in The Demonata. There have been all sorts of rumours about the name flying across the internet over the last few months, but all were unfounded. The actual name, which I'm happy to be able to reveal here exclusively, is...


    So there you have it!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. It's not among my VERY favourite titles, but it's one I'm pleased with, and one that I didn't have to hunt TOO hard for!! It reflects the content of the novel fairly accurately, which I always think is important. It doesn't contain any major clues to any of the plot twists (unlike, say, Sons of Destiny), but I think it indicates that this is going to be a far from happy, joyous little book!!! Strap yourselves in, folks -- I've saved the biggest battles and twists for the end, and in my honest personal opinion, I think this is probably the best book of the entire series!!!


    In May 2008 Waterstones in the UK we ran a great competition, asking fans to name and describe a demon which I would use in Book 9, Dark Calling. It was the first time I'd ever offered an opportunity like that, and they had a huge, enthusiastic response. The staff of Waterstones and HarperCollins narrowed the entrants down to a shortlist of 10 finalists. I then read through each of the final 10 entries and chose the winner myself. It was difficult to choose one, as they were all disgustingly delicious, but in the end I made my call. The winner's name was Tom Woodhead. Initially I was just going to feature the demon in the book, but I was so pleased with what Tom came up with, that when my editor started to discuss what we were going to put on the cover, I suggested we go with Tom's demon!!! She liked the idea, so that's what we did!! I'm not going to tell you what the demon is called yet -- you'll have to wait until you read the book to find out!!!

    You can read a bit more about the competition on a special Darren Shan page on the Waterstones web site by CLICKING HERE. You can also pre-order the book through the site, to ensure you receive your copy nice and early when the book is released!! The runners-up in the competition, and the names of their demons, were:

    Adam Beaumont -- Darmesser.

    Jaspreet Manoor -- Abnormula.

    Dennis Wisdom -- Scalefang.

    Josh Walker -- Grendulamb.

    Elizabeth Dunford -- Vaeloch.

    Claire Reeves -- Quietus.

    Jacob Baylis -- Intestine.

    Amanda Parker -- Tourniquet.

    Alessandro Luc Pozzolo -- Butterfang.


    I usually hide away new covers of my books in Secret Shanville ahead of their publication, but since I know not every single person reading this is a member of the Darren Shan online family, and because I want Tom's vile creation to be seen by as many people as possible, I'm going to break my own rules and stick it up here, in the Shanville Monthly! So, brace yourselves folks, for the world premiere of the UK and Irish cover of Dark Calling, based on an original description by Tom Woodhead, and then brought to life by the amazing artistic skills of regular series cover artists, Mel Grant. I think you'll agree with me when I say they make a most menacing and monstrous partnership!!!!



    Hoo boy!!! The new covers don't stop there, not by a long shot!!! A few months ago, my UK publishers, Harper Collins, decided it was time to re-vamp the look of The Saga of Darren Shan. As long-time fans know, the original editions of the first five books in the series had very different covers to the next seven -- after book 5 was released (in 2001, if memory serves me correctly), my publishers decided to give the series a new look, to make them stand out more on the shelves. They came up with the look which has served us well for the last seven-plus years, printed the rest of the series in that format and re-released the first five so that they all matched. Now, after seven years, the series is being re-branded and relaunched, with what I like to refer to as Third Generation (or 3G) covers!!!

    The new 3G covers are VERY different to the old ones. We've kept a few elements, such as the skull motif, but even those have been re-jigged and given a new breath of life. The covers are embossed, so they feel good as well as look cool. The colours have been coded so that each of the trilogies has its own colour, to bind the three books in that trilogy together. The spines have been coordinated, so if you buy all twelve books and line them on on your shelf at home, you can see one single design (along with some writing -- I'm not saying what it is!!) running across the spines, giving the impression that it's actually the spine of one huge book!!! And, most intriguingly of all, each cover features one or more of the characters from the series!!

    It was a BIG decision for us to put characters on the covers. In the past we chose not to feature any drawings of the characters on the covers in the UK. This was to give readers the freedom of imagining the characters looking however they wanted them to look. But with the manga and movie adaptations of Cirque Du Freak coming out in 2009, we decided it was time to change. Since there are going to be a couple of different versions of the characters available soon, we figured we might as well create another version on the cover of the books. It's important to note that the depictions are the artist's view of how the characters look -- they're not meant to be the definitive version!! Having said that, I think he's done an amazing job and come up with some real corkers. Among the characters featured, you can check out the likes of Mr Crepsley, Gavner Purl, Arra Sails, and, of course, a grinning Mr Tiny!!

    And the great news for fans in the UK and Ireland is that you'll be able to check them all out AT THE SAME TIME!! Because all 12 of the re-issued editions are being released together in February 2009!!!!!!! This is going to be a big deal -- they will be treated as new releases by most book stores, displayed prominently, and given a big push. There should be quite a bit of publicity about them, and who knows, I might even do one or two events to tie in with the re-release -- although I don't really like touring in February (it's cold!!!!), so I can't guarantee that!!

    The only bad news about the relaunch is that the price of each book has incread by a pound -- they're now £6.99 instead of £5.99. But the good news is that most book shops will be running a buy three for the price of two offer -- hurrah!!!!

    I've added pictures of all 12 of the new covers to my web site, so you can check them out and get an idea of what they look like by CLICKING HERE. The books look and feel a whole lot more impressive in the flesh than they look on the screen, but this will at least give you a very nice taste of what to expect!!!

    I assume that the old editions of the books will swiftly be phased out starting in February, so if you want to complete your collection, and prefer the old covers to the new ones, you'd better swoop fast and buy them swiftly, before you end up having to hunt them down on eBay and maybe having to pay over the odds for them!!!!


    I'm delighted to be able to report that the Portugese publishers, Casa Das Letras, have bought the rights to the first three books of The Saga of Darren Shan, and will start releasing them in Portugese in the near future. Portugal becomes the 38th country where my books are now officially on sale. They have been translated into 30 languages. By the way, my agent asked me to mention that the number of countries in which I state that my books are on sale DOES NOT include countries which sell existing editions of my books. e.g. exports of the UK and American editions are on sale in lots of different countries around the world, and books from other countries have also been exported (I have quite a few Belgian fans, for instance, who read the Dutch edition). The ACTUAL number of countries where my books can be bought is probably something like two hundred or thereabouts!!!!


    The 100th Shanville Monthly competition drew a very good response. I decided to offer 3 bonus prizes in each category, so in total there were 12 lucky winners instead of just 3!!! The runners-up each got a signed copy of the UK paperback edition of Death's Shadow -- the main winners got one also, on top of their other prizes. There were 146 valid entries for the Rest of the World comp, 232 for the UK/Ireland, and 194 for the USA. And the winners were ...

    Main winner -- Sander Jaecques, Belgium.
    Runners up -- Crystal Couvieu-MacLean, Canada.
    Allison Mills, China.
    Jordan Meli, Canada.

    Main winner -- Ben Robey, Preston.
    Runners up -- Sarah Butler, Preston.
    Thomas Rafferty, Bray, Ireland.
    Laura Williams, Middlesborough.

    Main Winner -- Forrest Norcott, Maine.
    Runners up -- Brian McNamara, New Jersey.
    Andy Buckley, Minnesota.
    Jennie Aguilar, California.

    I have sent all of the prizes out, except to the Main Winner in the USA -- I'm still waiting for my copies of the American book to come through, and as soon as they do, I'll post your prizes on to you, Forrest -- promise!!!! Thanks to everyone who entered, congratulations to the winners, and best of luck next time to those who didn't win this time round!!


    My novel for older teens and adults, Procession of the Dead, which I released as D B Shan, went on sale in the Netherlands in November, where it has been titled Een Stoet Van Doden, and it also went on sale in Japan. I'm going to be very interested to see what my Dutch and Japanese fans make of my foray into the world of adult literature, so please write in with your thoughts once you're read it!! The Dutch book features a VERY cool cover, which you can check out by going to the D B Shan web site by CLICKING HERE I have not yet seen the Japanese cover, but as soon as I do, I'll add it to the D B Shan site.


    There was a very nice piece about my October American tour in Publishers Weekly on November 6th. You can read a bit about what I got up to when I was on tour, and also check out some VERY cool photos, by clicking on the following link: CLICK HERE


    Jake T Austin, who stars in the Disney Channel TV show Wizards of Waverly Place was recently interviewed by Scholastic, who asked him what his favourite book was. His (very wise!!!) answer was -- Cirque Du Freak!!! You can watch a short clip of Jake talking about the book on the Scholastic site by CLICKING HERE.

    IBBY! IBBY!! IBBY!!! OI! OI!! OI!!!

    IBBY UK held an eBay auction last month to raise funds for a planned book world congress in 2012. Here's what they said about it:
    All proceeds from this auction go to the IBBY 2012 World Congress Fund. In 2012 we will be hosting a world congress for 1,000 teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, publishers and reading development agencies. IBBY seeks to promote access to books andreading for children all over the world and to promote international undestanding through children's books. Thank you for supporting us.

    I donated a signed set of 8 books to the auction. The books were numbers 5 through to 12 of The Saga of Darren Shan -- or the Cirque Du Freak series as it's known in some quarters! The books came from Canada, so they were quite rare. I signed each one. The winning bid was a very respectable £26. Sorry I couldn't let you all know about it in last month's issue of the Shanville Monthly, but I didn't find out in time. The auction is still live, with lots of other signed books, original artwork and other fab pieces up for grabs (but nothing more by me, I'm afraid). CLICK HERE to see what's still available.


    You can read a recent interview with me which I did with RTE in Ireland by clicking here: http://www.rte.ie/arts/2008/1105/darrenshan.html


    I was delighted to read a recent report from Hollywood saying that the Cirque Du Freak movie will be "green" -- it's one of 3 upcoming films that Universal are buying carbon offsetting for!! So we might not have a release date yet (sorry, folks, but the studio are still deciding the best time to release it -- I've had no word from them recently, but I'll be surprised if we see it before spring 2009), but at least those of us with an eye on the environment have cause to celebrate this month!!! You can read the whole article by CLICKING HERE.


    Yes, it's that time of the year when Shanta Claus makes an all-too-brief appearance on my web site!!! This humourous short story is set mostly after the events of Tunnels of Blood, but don't take it too seriously -- it's all just a bit of fun!! In previous years I've only put up the story for a week or so, a few days before Christmas, but I know lots of you have missed it in that short period. So this year I've decided to put it up for almost the whole month of December, though I'll probably remove it on the 27th or 28th. So if you've never read it before, or want to read it again, shoot on over and read it swiftly before it disappears for another 12 months!!! Although I sometimes add new bits to the story, I haven't been able to update it this year, so my aplogies to those of you who were hoping for some fresh material -- I'll try to add a little chapter to it next year instead!! To access the Shanta Claus story, CLICK HERE.


    And that's it for December! I hope you all have an absolutely fabulous Christmas and New Year's (even those of you who don't celebrate it), that you receive every present you wish for, that you don't mind too much if those wishes DON'T come true (especially in this recession-hit year!), and most importantly that you get to spend the yuletide with people you love and who love you in return. Barring all that, just read some of my books -- if you have a good Darren Shan book close to hand, who needs presents and love?!? :-) I've got a very exciting Xmas and New Year's Eve lined up, but I'll tell you all about those next month, when I return with the first 2009 issue of the Shanville Monthly. Until then, take care of yourselves, wrap up warmly, and enjoy yourselves immensely!!! All my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x