• Issue 107 - June 2009

    01 June 2009


    Welcome to the June issue of the Shanville Monthly!! Sorry this one is a few days late. I was away from my PC on the 1st, and then, just as I was about to start work on this on the 2nd, there was a power cut in the area where I live and I was without electricity for most of the day!!! Oh well -- better late than never!! This month sees the release of the Darren Shan manga in the USA and UK, and that's the lead story for this issue of the Monthly. It's closely followed by hugely positive news on the Dark Calling sales front in the UK. I was worried that the global recession might end up hurting my sales, but as you'll see when you read on, it actually seems to have had the opposite effect!! Traditionally, books have done well during hard times. Everyone knows that a book is great value for money. Even if you buy a brand new hardback, you'll pay a lot less than you will for a video game, or a trip to the movies. Books provide first-class entertainment at a knockdown price, and that's attractive at any time, but even more so when money is a bit tight!! Anyway, there's plenty of other news to report too, including an amusing account of my recent trip to Norway, where I had to face a demon even worse than Lord Loss -- the demon of alcoholic drink!!!!! For a full rundown of my battle with a hangover from hell, read on...


    The first Cirque Du Freak manga goes on sale in the USA and UK in June (it's due for release in the USA on June 9th, in the UK on June 16th -- but it has already started appearing in some stores!!), and I am SOOOOOO excited to be able to share it with English speaking readers at last!!! I'm absolutely delighted with the manga adaptation -- it's largely faithful to the book, but makes changes which help it work better in its new, visual format. I think the first book is very strong, but it gets even more impressive as the series develops, so make sure you keep coming back for more!!! And you won't have long to wait -- the volumes are scheduled to come out every two or three months!! The manga should be available in any shop in the USA or UK which stocks manga -- if you don't see it on the shelves, please ask a member of staff to either help you find it or order a copy for you. Alternatively, if you prefer to order online, click on any of the following links:

    To buy from Amazon UK -- CLICK HERE.

    To buy from Borders UK -- CLICK HERE.

    To buy from Amazon USA -- CLICK HERE.

    To buy from Barnes & Noble USA -- CLICK HERE.



    Dark Calling sold more copies in its first week of sale than any other book of mine has ever done in the UK -- hurrah!!! But, because of the continuing runaway success of the Twilight books, it only entered the UK children's bestseller chart at #5 -- boo!!!! It was a pity, especially having got to #1 in the last two summers, but I'd rather sell loads of book and chart lower down on a strong chart than sell less book and hit the top on a weak chart!! image

    On the Children's Hardback bestseller chart, Dark Calling was #2. And on the overall Hardback Fiction chart (i.e. every hardback fiction book on sale in the UK, including books for adults) it would have been #7 if they included children's books on that chart (but they don't!!).

    In its second week on the charts, Dark Calling sold almost as many books as in its first week (an important achievement -- many books sell briskly in their first week and then fizzle away dramatically!!) and retained its position at #5 on the children's bestsellers chart. In the overall Hardback Fiction chart (including adult books), it would have been #2 if children's books were included!!!

    Sales continued strongly through the rest of the month. In its third week it dropped one place on the children's chart to #6, and to #7 in its fourth week. In its fifth week it dug its heels in and held its #7 position.

    I wasn't sure what the reaction from fans to this book would be like, since it's very different in many ways to most of my other books, but so far it's been a brilliant response, fans enjoying the revelations and explanations, and working themselves up into a lather trying to predict how the story is going to end in the final book later this year!!! We've come a long way together over the course of the last nine books, but the most exciting news of all is -- I've gone and saved the best for last!!!!!

    You should be easily able to find copies of Dark Calling in your local shop if you want to buy it there, or else you can buy it through Amazon UK by CLICKING ON THS LINK.


    I signed copies of Dark Calling at all the book stores on my May tour (you can find a list of them in the May issue of the Shanville Monthly), so if you missed me on tour, you might still be able to buy some signed stock from a few of those shops if they haven't sold out yet. I also signed copies of the book at the Goldsboro Books shop after my tour -- they specialise in signed first edition books, and are happy to mail books just about anywhere in the world. If you're interested in picking up a copy, click on this link: http://www.goldsborobooks.com/ They might also have signed copies of my earlier books, so feel free to ask them if you're after any of those. Please note, I am not affiliated with the store in any way -- I'm just letting you guys know as a public service!!!


    As you'll know from the May issue of the Shanville Monthly, the Trade Paperback of Dark Calling (which was only available in some Irish stores and at airports) was withdrawn as soon as the typo at the back was noticed, and replaced with a corrected edition (which is still listed as being a First Edition inside -- so there are actually TWO "First Editions" of Dark Calling in this format!!). Because the book went on sale earlier than intended in certain stores, I was curious to know how many copies of the "true" first edition of the book were sold. My editor has checked, and while we can't provide an exact answer, we estimate that the number of Trade Paperback editions of Dark Calling with the typo at the end which were sold before the withdrawal was somewhere in the region of only 150 to 200!!!! That's even lower than I had imagined! So, like I said last month, if you managed to snag one of the misprinted paperback editions of the book, keep it in good condition, because it has now officially become the most collectible of any of my books ever -- eBay glory beckons for those lucky few of you who picked up an early copy!!!


    Just a quick reminder to Shansters in the States that Wolf Island, the 8th book of The Demonata, went on sale in May!! If you want to see what the howlingly cool cover looks like, CLICK HERE. You should be able to pick up Wolf Island in any good book shop -- but my Demonata books are often stacked in a separate section of the store in the States, so if you don't see it on the shelves, do please ask an assistant to help you find it!!! Or you can buy it online if you prefer.

    To buy Wolf Island from Amazon, CLICK HERE.

    To buy Wolf Island from Barnes & Noble, CLICK HERE.

    Or, if you want to buy it as a Kindle ebook, CLICK HERE.


    I came across a nice story about a retiring librarian called Jo Chinn, in the town of Sequim, in Washington State in America. The reason it caught my eye was because... well, read it and you'll find out!!!! To access the article, CLICK HERE.


    One of the extracts from my books which I read regularly at events is the scene from Lord Loss when Grubbs first encounters the demon master and his familiars. (In fact the only scene I've ever read more often is the Cirque Du Freak scene.) A fan called Christine filmed me doing the reading during my recent visit to Lillehammer in Norway, when I read it outdoors in a park -- it was one of my favourite readings ever, given the unusual location, the beautiful sun, and the reaction of the mostly adult crowd -- you can see that I have trouble stopping myself from laughing with demonic delight in some spots!! If you've never seen me live, and want to catch me in action doing one of my trademark readings, CLICK HERE to view the clip on YouTube -- it runs just short of 10 minutes.

    The next day, Christine also taped me doing a reading from the first book of a four-book series which will be released in the UK in October 2010. I've been doing this reading for a couple of years or so now, but have kept the subject of the books an official secret otherwise (although lots of fans have managed to find out about it regardless). I will be announcing the news officially in the September issue of the Shanville Monthly, but if you want to be one step ahead of the crowd, and to hear a key scene from the first book of the series, CLICK HERE -- the clip is almost 7 minutes long. PLEASE do not discuss the extract or the books anywhere online until September, as I want to keep talk about it to a minimum until then.


    And speaking of YouTube... I have a fan called Katie who lives in the Chicago area. I know that many of you claim to be my #1 fan, but Katie has more of a claim than most, given the support she's shown for my books over the last several years, and the lengths she's gone to to meet me when I've come to the States on tour -- she's definitely the only Shanster who can lay claim to fighting her way through a haunted house by my side!!! Anyway, Katie made the following bittersweet video for YouTube, telling much of the story of Bec. I recommend it for anyone who has read the book, though not for those who haven't. To access it, CLICK HERE.


    Below you can find details for my tour plans in 2009. School events are for invited schools only. Public events are open to anyone, but usually you need a ticket to enter, so please contact the shop or event managers in advance to ensure a seat if you're interested in coming -- events usually last up to an hour, and I always sign after an event. Public signings are open to anyone who comes along -- and I am always happy to sign as many books of mine as people choose to bring along with them. In addition to the dates listed below, I will also be touring in the UK again in October to promote Hell's Heroes -- more details to follow.


    Thursday 9 2.30pm Public event at the Maritime Hotel, BANTRY, county Cork, Ireland. Visit their web site for more info: http://www.westcorkliteraryfestival.ie/



    Date TBC TBC Public event at The EDINBURGH Book Festival. The date and time will be made public on June 11th. For more info, visit their web site: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/index.html



    Friday 23 TBC Two school events in LUND, Sweden. Part of the LiteraLund Book Festival. See their web site for more info: http://www.litteralund.se/
    Saturday 24 12.00pm Public event in LUND, Sweden. Part of the LiteraLund Book Festival. See their web site for more info: http://www.litteralund.se/


    I had a great time in Norway on my recent trip to the Lillehammer Book Festival, even better than I'd anticipated. I travelled over on Thursday, flying via Heathrow Terminal 5 for the first time (very swanky!! I was tempted to have breakfast in the Gordan Ramsay restaurant, but plumped for Giraffe instead). I was met at the Oslo airport by my Norwegian editor, Geir, who accompanied me to Lillehammer on the train. After I'd settled in at my hotel, I went for a meal with Geir and some other authors, including Jon Ewo , who was to by my on-stage host for the next couple of days. It was a nice night, good food, pleasant conversation, and a few beers too!! I was suprised by how bright it stayed -- "real" night never fell -- it stayed in a dusk-like state throughout the night. I got to bed a bit before 01:00, happy with the first impression the country and twon had made on me.

    On Friday I did a couple of interviews with Norwegian papers in the morning. Then I did my first event, for 200 school kids. Because the Norwegians speak such good English, I was able to do it all in my own language, which helped the event run very smoothly. I did my Cirque Du Freak scene, and got some children up out of the audience to act it out with me, and they did a great job. I went for some lunch afterwards, then had a little stroll around the town. Then, in the evening, I took part in an outdoors reading event in a park, where several authors read out extracts from their books. I was last on, and because one of the authors pulled out, I had more time than originally planned, so I did my Lord Loss extract and had a ball -- the sun was shining, the crowd of mostly adults was in good form, I'd had a nice beer while listening to the other authors -- it was great fun!!!! After that I went for dinner, then to a pub where lots of my publisher's authors were gathered. From there we went to a converted bank. There were lots of events going on inside, such as a band playing, and a poetry slam. I'd meant to go to a few of the events, then get an early night, but the weather was lovely and beer was being served up outside, so I ended up staying outdoors until midnight, then going in to a big room inside with a comfy couch. My original early night plan went out the window, and I ended up winding my way home about 03.30!!!! I wasn't drunk, but I'd certainly had a lot more to drink than was good for me!

    When I woke in the morning, I felt terrible!!! (Important note to younger readers -- the next time your parents or teachers are telling you about the ill-effects of alchol, and how you're better off if you never drink anything stronger than fizzy water -- LISTEN TO THEM!!!) I lay in bed for a couple of hours, getting up to shuffle around the room every so often to try and revive myself, drinking lots of water. At midday I went for a short walk in the park (one of the nuns in the convent where Bas's aunt lives loves Norway and has asked for me to bring her back some earth from there, and as poorly as I felt, I didn't want to disappoint her, so I forced myself to go in search of some nice soil!!). I felt a bit better when I got back, and headed over to the cinema where I was to do my last event, for a public audience. Once inside again, my head started pounding. Five minutes before I was due to start, I locked myself into a toilet cubicle for peace and quiet, to rest my head against the cool wall, and to take lots of deep breaths!!! I wasn't sure I'd be able to get through the event, but I decided to give it go. And, miracle of miracles, once I got up on the stage, I was fine!!!! I think it's the adrenalin rush that I get whenever I perform. I always get a buzz when you guys turn out to see me, and this was almost a full house. As soon as I saw all the fans out there, good feelings went shooting through my body and I went ahead and did my usual fun show, the only drawback being that I had to drink lots more water than usual, to keep myself hydrated!! At the end, I signed books for an hour and a half, even more grateful to my fans than I normally am, since without then, I'm sure I'd have suffered with my hangover for most of the day!!! That's only the second time in more than nine years that I've been in that situation (I'm usually very careful not to drink too much when out on tour), and it's hopefully going to be a long time again until the third!!!!!

    After the event, a lovely couple who work as part of the festival took me for lunch, then up to see the ski jumping slope in the hills above Lillehammer. We got a chair lift up, then walked back down. On our way back to the town, we called in to see their daughter and her family, so that I could have a look inside a real Norwegian house. You don't get that level of hospitality in many countries!!! I was driven back to the airport later, and spent the short flight home smiling at my memories of Norway and looking forward to my next visit there, which will hopefully be in the not too distant future. I plan to have a holiday there and see more of the country, including the fjords and Northern Lights -- only I won't drink quite as much next time!!!!!


    And that's it for June. I'll be busy at home through the coming summer -- I have lots of books to edit, and I'm hoping to do a first draft of a new book too. At the moment, the weather is delightful here in Limerick -- the sun is shining, rain is a distant memory, clouds are fluffy and light. It would be lovely to think that it will stay like that throughout the summer, but this being Ireland, that's highly unlikely!!!! Anyway, come sun, rain or hail, I won't be letting the weather interfere with my writing duties -- in my eyes, you guys always come first, and I work very hard to ensure that I can keep supplying you with top-class books loaded with gory thrills!!! I'll be back here at the start of July to celebrate the 9th birthday issue of the Shanville Monthly!! Expect balloons and lots of cake!!!! Until then, enjoy the weather if you can, and all my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x