• Issue 126 - January 2011

    01 January 2011



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the January issue of the Shanville Monthly!! It's the start of a new year, and hopefully the next twelve months will be just as busy and exciting for us as the last twelve! As usual, I have plenty to report on this month, not least of which is the release of Hell's Horizon in the USA! I also recorded a victory in a book covers war... one of my American covers has officially been declared a work of art... my UK publishers have launched the first ever official Darren Shan Facebook page... I've made a few Best Of lists for 2010... and more! Oh, and there's my 2010 round-up too!! Let's not dawdle -- on with the news!!!!!



    Hell’s Horizon, the second book in The City Trilogy, my series for older readers, goes on sale in the USA on January 5th. It should be available in all good book shops across the country. If you don’t see it on the shelf, please feel free to ask a member of staff to order a copy for you. Alternatively you can buy it online from either Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hells-Horizon-City-Darren-Shan/dp/0446551732/ref=pd_sim_b_4 or Barnes & Noble: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Hells-Horizon/Darren-Shan/e/9780446551731/pwb=1&


    The trade paperback edition of Procession of the Dead, the first book of The City Trilogy, also goes on sale on the same date. This features an exclusive interview with me, as well as a reading guide, so if you didn’t buy the hardback, now is the perfect time to check out what I get up to in my darker fictional moments!! Again, the book should be available in all good book stores, or you can buy it from Amazon here: http://www.amazon.com/Procession-Dead-City-Darren-Shan/dp/0446551767/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 Or from Barnes & Noble here: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Procession-of-the-Dead/Darren-Shan/e/9780446551762/?itm=3&USRI=procession+of+the+dead


    If you've never read any of my adult fiction, and want to know what critics have said about my books for older readers before you buy, you can check out lots of reviews on my web site here: http://www.darrenshan.com/reviews/




    Birth Of A Killer WON the hotly contested Mr Ripleys Covers War in December with 51% of the vote! Hurrah!!! It was neck and neck most of the way—in fact, I trailed for much of the time, only taking the lead and consolidating it near the end when I started hitting up all of my contacts through my various online channels!! Many thanks to everyone who voted!! To check out the final tallies, click here: http://mrripleysenchantedbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/mr-ripleys-book-cover-wars-final-2010.html

    50 BOOKS/50 COVERS



    And speaking of covers, I had some very exciting news from the States last month!! The American cover for Procession of the Dead has been chosen from a long list of more than 800 books as one of the 50 Best Covers to have been released in 2009!!! The choice was made by the judges of AIGA, and the chosen covers were mounted as an exhibition in New York in December. It is due to travel across the country in 2011. To learn more about the competition and to see the other covers, click on the following link: http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/5050-recent You can also click on this link for more background info and gallery details: http://aiga.org/content.cfm/exhibit-fifty-fifty-2009

    I’d like to pass on my personal congratulations to the Grand Central Publishing team for doing such an amazing job on the book. I’m delighted that their innovative efforts have been recognised and rewarded!! For a bit more info about how the cover was produced, click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/covers/design/procession-of-the-dead-usa-cover-shoot/




    Although I have a personal facebook account which I just use for family and actual friends whom I know in person, I’ve never established a Darren Shan Facebook account — I felt that MySpace covered all those bases. But the recent overhaul of MySpace seems to have turned off lots of people — I know it’s certainly turned off me!!! So it’s nice and apt that my UK publishers, HarperCollins, have launched an official Darren Shan Facebook page! While I don’t currently have any direct input into the page, it’s something that I might get more involved with further down the road, escecially if MySpace continues down its slippery slope of alienating its long-term users!!! So if you want to sign up now and beat the rush, head on over to the following Facebook page and join a community of Shansters which already runs more than 15,000 strong!!!! http://www.facebook.com/darrenshanofficial


    And the added good news for those of you who can't get enough of Facebook is that my American publishers are also in the process of creating a Facebook page for my books, so soon you'll have two official pages to drool over!! More info about that as and when the page goes live.




    The phrase “Cirque Du Freak” has cropped up again in a recent article which had nothing to do with my books — or, indeed any kind of books! In fact, this probably ranks as the weirdest use of the phrase yet, as it crops up in a economics piece all about a recent American tax deal!!!! Yep, folks, it’s official — “Cirque Du Freak” has entered the world of high finance!!!! You can check it out here: http://hotair.com/archives/2010/12/08/gallup-you-know-that-tax-deal-is-pretty-darned-popular/




    I released two new books for teen readers in 2010, and I'm pleased to report that both have made it onto a few critics' Best Of list for the past twelve months. In no particular order, here are the nods which they have thus far picked up.


    Birth of a Killer was chosen as the Best Fantasy Book of 2010 on the Emotionally Fourteen website. You can check it out, along with all their other picks for the year that was, by clicking here: http://www.emotionallyfourteen.com/2010/12/e14-awards-2010.html


    On the Peters Bookselling Servivces site, Birth of a Killer has been shortlisted for their overall children's book of the year award. You can check what their review had to say about it by clicking on the following link, while the outright winner will be announced on their site sometime in January, once their readers have voted on their final choice. http://www.peters-books.co.uk/LC_20101222x.htm


    In the USA, The Thin Executioner was chosen as one of the ten books of the year on web site, The Loft, by their Teen Advisory Board. I was particularly pleased by this one, since as I've stated before several times, Thin is my own personal favourite out of all my books! You can see the full list by clicking here: http://www.epl.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2043:teen-advisory-boards-favorite-books-of-2010&catid=101:2010-2011-booklists&Itemid=444


    Finally, Empire of Books picked Birth of a Killer as one of their top ten books of 2010 -- they placed it in the #5 spot. You can see the rest of their top ten list here: http://empire-of-books.blogspot.com/2010/12/empire-of-books-top-10-books-of-2010.html



    Fellow author, Sarwat Chadda, posted an interesting (and flattering) piece about me on his blog last month, holding me up as a positive example for would-be authors. There's also a fun photo of me "getting to grips" with him in my own inimitable fashion!! You can check it out here: http://sarwatchadda.blogspot.com/2010/12/so-darren-why-dont-your-vampires.html


    While I must admit to not having read any of Sarwat's novels yet, I've come across a number of hugely positive reviews of his books recently, so I plan to check him out in the very near future, and any of you looking for a good read early in 2011 might want to do the same...




    The winners of the Shanville Monthly December competition were:

    UK & Ireland—Adam McHugh, Dublin.

    USA—Lindsay Talley, Alabama.

    Rest of World—Lee Marion Lepik, Estonia.

    Many congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone who entered — if your name didn't come out of the hat on this occasion, better luck next time!!!



    2010 ROUND-UP


    Here's my brief rundown of everything major that happened in the world of Darren Shan in the year that was 2010.


    January 2010 marked the tenth anniversary of the first ever release of Cirque Du Freak -- a decade of terror and still going strong! Also that month, I was listed as the 69th bestselleing author in the UK of the previous decade, something which still ranks as one of my proudest achievements! In February I revealed the titles for all four of the Mr Crepsley books. In March, City of the Snakes went on sale in the UK and Ireland -- the third and last of my City trilogy, it remains one of my all-time favourite books (though Thin Executioner is my absolutely fave!). I went on tour to Dubai and Hong Kong in March -- the Dubai events, in particular, were massive, although the Hong Kong school events were pretty mega too! The DVD and Blu-Ray editions of the Cirque Du Freak movie went on sale in March -- for those who missed my many statements about it first time round, YES, I did like the movie!! Very different to the books, I know, but it had a nice, freaky style of its own which I enjoyed.


    The Thin Executioner went on sale in the UK and Ireland at the end of April, and I went on tour to promote it. The new-look Darren Shan web site went live and everyone nodded seriously in approval! I found out in April that I had made the Top 50 list of bestselling authors in the UK in 2009 -- nice!!! I clocked in at #48. April was also the month when I first started to use Twitter. I was very dubious about it to begin with, but to my surprise I found I enjoyed it, and I've been tweeting regularly ever since! In America, the last of The Demonata books, Hell's Heroes, went on sale in May, while Procession of the Dead came out in shops Stateside in June -- how's that for a double whammy?!? I found out in May that I was the most-borrowed Irish author in libraries in Ireland in 2009 -- a mind-blowing achievement!!! I also celebrated another #1 children's bestseller in Ireland when The Thin Executioner went all the way to the top spot there! On a sad personal note, my Grandad, John Barry, passed away on May 23rd, casting a dark cloud over the rest of the year for me.


    July marked the 10th birthday of the Shanville Monthly -- hurrah!! I remarked that month that I'd noticed the spreading use of the phrase "Cirque Du Freak" in the media, something which has been happening more regularly ever since! In August The Thin Executioner made its USA debut. I made my 11th appearance in a row at the Edinburgh Book Festival. And at the end of September, Birth of a Killer went on sale in the UK and USA at the same time, hopefully putting to an end forevermore the wait for my new books which American Shansters had to previously endure! I also added my long-in-the-works Writing Tips to my site in September, listing all of the advice for young authors that I could think of -- you can check it out here: http://www.darrenshan.com/writing-tips/


    In October I went on tour in the UK and Ireland to promote the release of Birth Of A Killer. I did a Twinterview with Waterstones later that month, my first ever Twinterview. In November I hit the States for my last major tour of the year, and terrorised and strangled scores of fans up and down the East Coast!! There was a fiercely-fought auction to earn the right to get a direct mention in one of my books -- the winning bid was close to £1000!!. Anthony Horowitz's collection of short stories, More Bloody Horowitz, came out, featuring a short story callefd "The Man Who Killed Darren Shan"!!!! I moved back into my house late in November, having been out of it for more than a year while it was being extended and renovated -- the last month of the year was mostly taken up with knocking it into shape!! I did a very unusual event in Limerick in December, when I read out "The Night Before Christmas" to an all-ages group at the Hunt Museum in Limerick! And I ended the year with a promise to Australian fans to do a few events in Oz when I go there on holiday in April 2011 -- more details about that will appear in the February or March issue of the Shanville Monthly! On another sad personal note, my grand-aunt Martha died on December 18th -- as with my Grandad, she'll be sorely missed by me and all who knew her.


    And that's it for January!! Phew -- that was a lengthy enough start to the New Year!!!! I hope that the rest of this year's entry aren't as long as this one!! I'm going to enjoy a relaxing start to 2011, before launching myself back into work in the middle of the month. I'm going to be doing quite a lot of travelling during the first half of this year, but I'm determined to squeeze in plenty of writing too!!! There are a few different projects that I'm working on, some or all of which I will be making mention of over the coming month. But for now, all I'll do is wish you all a Happy New Year, and I hope it's a great and memorable year for each and every freakily fabulous one of you!!!! All my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x


    Follow Darren Shan on MySpace and Twitter and on his Blog. He also has a YouTube page.