• Issue 104 - March 2009

    01 March 2009


    Welcome to the March issue of the Shanville Monthly! I'm not sure what the weather's like in your part of the world, but here in Limerick the evenings are lengthening, the bitter chill has passed, and we've even been getting the occasional spot of sunshine -- nice!!! It was even nicer when Bas and I went to Barcelona for a weekend in February -- we were able to sit outside in just our T-shirts and eat one day, it was so warm!! But worry not, Shansters -- the weather never has much of an influence on my work, and I've been busy beavering away on a number of books, making sure I don't fall behind on either the Darren or D B Shan fronts!! I don't have a huge amount of news to report on this month, but there are some very exciting titbits, and quality is always more important that quantity!!! Let's start with the release of my latest work for older readers...


    My second D B Shan novel for adult readers, Hell's Horizon, goes on sale in the UK and Ireland the first week of March. This is the second book of The City trilogy, but it's not so much a sequel to the first book as an equal -- it's set at the same time as Procession of the Dead, and tells a completely different story. As such, it can be read independently of the first book, although I do recommend you read Procession first if you haven't already, as the two link up in a number of subtle ways.

    The book should be available in most book stores, although not in the same section as my Darren Shan books, so you might have to ask the staff to help you find it -- or you might even have to ask them to order it in for you if it isn't in stock. (Most book shops are happy to order in books for customers, so you should always feel free to ask if you can't find a book that you want on the shelves.) Alternatively, if you want to order the book from Amazon, CLICK HERE.

    Over on the D B Shan site (the home for info about all of my adult-orientated novels) I've added background notes about the writing of Hell's Horizon -- and it's a story almost as epic and twisting (and long!) as that of the actual novel!!! If you think that writing always comes easily to me, and that I simply spit out books as and when I please, this insight into the lengthy, sometimes torturous process will make you think again!!

    I've also added some Extras about Hell's Horizon, including a scan of my notes for the first draft of the book, and a few never-before-seen chapters from that early, rough draft!!! This is a chance for would-be writers to see the formative work of a published author -- and I think quite a few of you will be very surprised by just how unwieldy that first draft was!!

    In addition to all that, I've included Reviews of the original release of Hell's Horizon from back in 2000. There weren't a lot of reviews back then, but they were almost all extremely positive (except for the always-hard-to-please folk at Vector, although even they managed to drum up a bit of enthusiasm for this one!). It also includes my favourite review of any of my books, by the author Mark Morris in SFX -- it looks like the book is going to get a roasting when the review starts out, but then it turns into something unexpected midway through!!

    Just click on the Main Site link on the http://www.dbshan.co.uk site to access the new features, along with a whole lot more.


    I'm delighted -- and excited -- to be able to announce that that first Cirque Du Freak manga will be coming out simultaneously (i.e. at the same time) in the United States AND the United Kingdom in June 2009, near the start of the month!!! I think the manga is brilliant, a fast-moving, faithful but inventive adaptation of my vampire stories. I've had a blast reading through it (I've helped with the translation into English). The plan is to release a new volume every couple of months or thereabouts -- so The Vampire's Assistant will be coming out in August, and Tunnels of Blood in October.

    The manga should be available in any shop that sells manga, but you can also order it online -- if you live in the USA, CLICK HERE to pre-order from Amazon, or CLICK HERE to pre-order from Barnes & Noble -- if you live in the UK or Ireland, CLICK HERE to pre-order it from Amazon UK.

    I'm also delighted to be able to announce that my French publishers have bought the rights to the Saga of Darren Shan manga adaptation too, and should start publishing it at some point within the next year or so. They will also be republishing the books, and will hopefully print all 12 of The Saga novels, so these are very good days indeed for Shansters living in France!!!


    I'm pleased to be able to announce that Death's Shadow has been shortlisted for the Worcestershire Teen Book Award. It is one of six books on the final shortlist -- the winner will be chosen by pupils in Worcestershire in April. This is the second year in a row that one of my books has been shortlisted for this award, and the first time that Death's Shadow has ever received a nomination -- so the students in Worcestershire obviously have exceptionally good taste in books!!!! If you're reading this, and you live in the area and are involved in the award process, I trust I can rely on YOUR vote!!!!!


    Fans in Ireland who visit an Eason store from March 13th should look out for a new promotion called COME TO THE DARK SIDE. In an attempt to lure more readers to the wonderful world of horror, they're going to be strongly promoting horror books for the following two months, and part of their strategy is to lead the campaign with an utterly fabulous zombie poster which has been designed by the wonderful Mel Grant (the guy who creates the Demonata covers). My books are going to be featured in the promotion, so keep an eye out for it!!! Who knows -- if you ask nicely in your local Eason store, you might even be able to snag one of the posters when the promotion has ended...


    Some more photos from the Cirque Du Freak movie set have emerged, including some fascinating shots of the set itself. You can check them out by CLICKING HERE.

    Universal also posted an official photo last month of Salma Hayek in her role as Truska -- to see it, CLICK HERE. Some people in the media who haven't read the books were confused -- they know that Truska is a bearded lady, but in this shot she doesn't have a beard. Fans of the books, of course, will remember that Truska can grow her beard at will, and usually doesn't sport it when she's not on stage! I think Salma Hayek looks incredible in the photo -- I know lots of you have been debating whether all of the actors were accurately cast, but I don't think ANYONE can argue with this piece of spot-on casting!!!!!!

    For those who keep on asking , I still have not been told a release date for the movie. You can find all sorts of dates on IMDB and other web sites, but at the moment there is no way of knowing whether or not you can trust the information there, no matter how confidently they might promote it! As soon as Universal decide on a date, they will tell me and I will post the official release dates here. Until then, treat any "release date exclusives" with extreme suspicion!!!!


    HarperCollins have recently launched a new site, BOOK ARMY. The idea behind it is that people can join and create a list of all the books they have read, and rate each book from 1 to 5 stars (they can write reviews too, if they want). Other people can then check out those lists for recommendations. I've been busy creating a list of every book I've read since the age of 15 (no, I don't have an incredible memory -- I've been making a note of them over the years!!!). I still have a couple of years' worth of books to add, but it's already fairly complete, and I should finish off my list over the next week or two. If you want to check out my COMPLETE list of books read, to see what I like and don't like, then click on THIS LINK.

    If you get your friends to join, you can check out what all of them are reading, share tips, join book groups, etc. The site is still at Beta stage, which means they're ironing out the kinks, testing it, playing around with various features. That means it's a bit rough around the edges, but they've already improved it vastly over the last couple of weeks, and are continuing to work hard on it. My advice is to get in at this early stage -- by contributing now, you can help shape the Book Army site of the future!


    I'm doing an exciting event at my favourite football club, Tottenham Hotspur, in March!!! It's only open to selected schools in the local area of the club, which is why I'm not listing it here, but I'll give you a full report about it in the next issue of the Shanville Monthly!

    In May I will be touring in the UK and Norway -- both tours have almost been finalised now, so I hope to publish full details in the April issue of the Shanville Monthly.

    In July I will be doing an event at the West Cork Literary Festival -- I'll be confirming the date and details for that a bit later in the year.

    I expect to be doing some more touring in 2009, so keep checking future issues of the Shanville Monthly for updates!!


    One of my favourite bands, Fred, have been nominated for a best newcomer award in the Meteor Awards -- they're the Irish equivalent of the Brits or the Grammys. You can check out Fred on their MySpace page by CLICKING HERE FOR FRED (there's also one of their songs on my Profile page). If you like what you hear, and want to support them, you can go onto the Meteor Awards page and vote for them by CLICKING HERE TO VOTE -- you have until Friday 6th March to vote. Consider it your good deed for the month -- and a sign that you have incredibly great taste in music!!!!!


    And that's it for March. I've a quiet start to the month, but after the first week I expect to be extremely busy on the writing front -- I plan to do a first draft of a new book, and I'll probably have some editing to attend to as well. So it's head down and full steam ahead for me!!! I'll be back at the start of April with all the latest news and updates. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x