• Issue 129 - April 2011

    01 April 2011



    Just a quick word before I begin the April issue of the Shanville Monthly. Like people all around the world, I was very upset when I heard about the earthquake in Japan in March, especially as the full extent of the tragedy began to be revealed over the coming days. I first travelled to Japan in 2002, for the World Cup, and fell in love with the country. I have been back several times since then, both for work and pleasure. It is a beautiful place to visit, and the people have always treated me very kindly. My heart goes out to everybody who has been affected, especially those who have lost loved ones or friends. I'm sure that the country will bounce back -- the Japanese people are some of the most resilient I have ever met. But at the same time I know, through speaking with my contacts out there, that these are very hard times for many of its citizens. My thoughts are with you all.




    After that sober start, it's business as normal now!! I think it's always important, at times like these, to try to move forward as swiftly as possible. We're always being knocked back by events in life, be they political catastrophes or natural tragedies. We have the ability to overcome just about any setback, and I think we're at our finest when we rise above whatever the world throws at us. Birth of a Killer was scheduled to be released in Japan on April 20th, and I was pleased when my publishers decided to push ahead with its release as planned. It was proof that despite all that had happened, they were determined to return the world to its normal axis as swiftly as they could, and that sort of fighting human spirit is what I try to celebrate in most of my books. Ultimately we're defined by how we respond to the blows and losses that life inflicts on us -- not by how much those blows and losses hurt.


    This is a jam-packed issue of the Shanville Monthly. So much to report -- I've had a hard time trying to figure out what you share with you first!! Let's not waste any more time, but jump straight in with all the latest news and updates, starting with the release on both side of the Atlantic ocean of...




    Ocean of Blood, the second book in The Saga of Larten Crepsley, goes on sale in the UK & Ireland the USA on April 28th. The second of the four Mr Crepsley books, this is one of the darkest books I’ve ever written, as Larten Crepsley’s life takes a grim turn at a very unfortunate time. The ending left ME shivering, and I hope it will do the same for fans too. If you thought you knew all there was to know about the character of Larten Crepsley, you thought wrong. In Ocean of Blood you will see a side of him you probably never even imagined, and it might just shake you to your core...


    The book should be available in all good book stores, but you can also order it online if you prefer, either from Amazon UK if you live in the UK or Ireland by CLICKING HERE, or from Amazon USA if you live in the States by CLICKING HERE. The book will also be available as an eBook (see the news item about that further down) but it is not currently appearing on either of the Amazon sites.


    My UK publishers, HarperCollins, have published a cool little video teaser trailer for Ocean Of Blood, to whet your appetitie ahead of the book’s release. You can check it out here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2nHvgVug8Gk If you like it, please share it with your friends and help spread the word!! If you don’t like it, keep quiet!!!!!!


    Also, I have added my book notes for Ocean Of Blood to my site. If you want to check them out early, before the book is released, CLICK HERE. I have been careful not to include any major spoilers, although if you’re someone who likes to know as little about a book as possible before they start reading, then you might want to wait until the book has come out, as my notes do hint at quite a lot of the plot lines. Book 2 is when Larten’s story REALLY starts to hot up, and I think the concluding chapters are some of my darkest and finest work to date!!!




    April will be a busy month for me on the book front all around the world! First, Allies of the Night, the eighth volume of the Manga adaptation of my Cirque Du Freak series goes on sale in the USA at the start of the month. (Well, it actually went on sale there on March 29th, but I forgot to flag that up in last month's issue of the SM!!!) It should be on sale in all stores where manga are sold, but if you don’t see it on the shelves, you can either ask a member of staff to order it in for you, or else buy it oneline through Amazon by CLICKING HERE. I’m not sure when it goes on sale in the UK and Ireland, but I’ll find out from my publisher and let you know as soon as I hear.


    Birth of a Killer goes on sale in Australia on April 1st, which nicely ties in with my visit there! I will actully be doing an event in Melbourne on the 1st, ahead of later events in Sudney and Adelaide -- see the Tour section further down for more info about all of those.


    Also on April 1st, The Thin Executioner goes on sale in Taiwan. I’ll be interested to see what my ever-loyal Taiwanese fans make of what is my own personal favourite novel out of all my books!! You can check out the cool Taiwanese cover for it here: http://www.darrenshan.com/covers/design/the-thin-executioner-taiwan/


    Then, on April 20th, Birth of a Killer goes on sale in Japan. Japan was the country where Shan-mania was at its highest when The Saga of Darren Shan was first published —t he books were massively popular there, and some of them even topped the general bestseller charts. It will be interesting to see if these new books capture imaginations there the way my original series about vampires did...





    I'm delighted to announce that I have agreed a deal with HarperCollins UK to release ALL of my children’s books as ebooks in the UK with immediate effect!! All of The Saga Of Darren Shan, The Demonata, The Thin Executioner and Birth Of A Killer went on sale on March 21st. Going forward, the rest of The Saga Of Larten Crepsley will be released in eBook format on the same day that the books are physically released. The books will be released for download on all eReaders, in all formats—eg. you can download them for your iPod Touch or iPad, your phone if it’s equipped for such downloads, your Kindle, your Sony Reader, or direct to your PC through a company like Waterstones, etc. Basically, you should be able to buy them through any site that offers eBooks for sale, and download them onto your choice of eReading machinery. (Fans in the USA, please note that my books are already available for sale as eBooks in the States.)


    As an added incentive to enter the electronic world of Darren Shan, all of the books (with the exception of Birth Of A Killer, which unfortunately has to go on sale at its full eBook rate) are available until April 4th at the incredible special rate of just £2.70 per book!!! After that, each book will revert to its regular rate, which I think will be in the region of £4.49.


    If you live in Ireland, things are a bit more complicated!!! Unfortunately, this offer won’t be available to readers in the Republic of Ireland, since Amazon UK do not distribute eBooks to Ireland -- Irish readers will need to buy the books on Amazon.com instead -- you can find a link to Amazon.com through the Kindle store on Amazon UK if you search for any of my books. Also, although my eBooks are not yet available on iBooks in Ireland, you CAN get the books on your phone, iPads, iTouch, desktops through the Kindle App. Sorry for the inconvenience!!


    I’m a huge fan of eBooks—I think they have the potential to change the world of reading for the better. To find out why, check out the blog I posted about this subject by CLICKING HERE. You can also view a short video which I posted about the news on my official YouTube page (which I don't update anywhere near as often as I should!) by CLICKING HERE.





    Good news for fans in the UK and Ireland who are looking to complete their Demonata collection but are maybe having trouble getting all 10 books of the series together. We are collecting the series into five volumes, two books per volume. This will make it easier and more cost-effective to buy the series. The individual books will, of course, remain in print as well—this is simply an alternative way of buying for those who choose to take advantage of it.


    Originally we were going to release the books every couple of months, but we’ve decided to instead make it a “Summer Of Shan” in the UK and Ireland, and release them over the course of the summer, slipped in between the releases of Ocean Of Blood and Palace Of The Damned!! Volume 1 will go on sale at the end of April, at the same time as Ocean of Blood. Volume 2 then goes on sale June 9th, Volume 3 on July 7th, Volume 4 on August 4th, and Volume 5 on September 1st, ahead of the release of Palace Of The Damned at the start of October—how’s that for a knockout 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 punch?!? In effect it means I’ll have a “new” book out in the UK and Ireland every month between April and October!!!


    You can check out the covers on my site by CLICKING HERE. You'll need to scroll down a bit, to the Demonata section, to find them, along with some of the earlier drafts, charting the evolution of their look. And if you’re not sure who the characters on each cover are, here’s the rundown in order from Volume 1 to 5 — Artery, young Dervish (in his punk phase), Lord Loss, Beranabus in his transformed state, and Grubbs also in his transformed state. I think they look cool as hell—I hope you guys like them too!!!





    I’ve added several new covers to my site, from the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway and Slovakia. To check them out, along with covers from every other country where my books are published, CLICK HERE.





    My Hungarian publishers have released a VERY cool trailer for Hell’s Horizon, which goes on sale in Hungary in April. Check it out by CLICKING HERE. The translation of the text is as follows: There is a city/ where you are only a puppet/ where Death is the beggining/ and the myths turn to reality./ City trilogy/ Face the Darkness!





    I was tickled to note a recent interview with Pat O’Kane, a guitarist in the Boston band, Like Waves. He clearly has great taste in books!!! http://danvers.patch.com/articles/local-pat-okane-is-making-waves If you fancy checking out their tunes (and I must say I liked what I heard) you can visit their MySpace page here: http://www.myspace.com/likewavesboston





    I recently gave an interview to a group of students who have put together and released a book called Footprints On The Moon in which the interview has been published. You can find out more about the book and order a copy if you so wish by contacting them through their web site: http://footprints-nlcs.webs.com/





    I was very pleased to find out that The Thin Executioner has made the longlist for the North Lanarkshire Catalyst Award 2011. I'll keep you all updated if it makes it any further when the shortlist is announced later in the year. You can find the full list of 22 nominees here: http://catalystnlc.wordpress.com/longlist2011/





    I am coming to Australia on a holiday in April, but I am squeezing in a few signings while I am there. Here's what we have lined up.


    Friday, April 1st -- Melbourne -- 4.30pm -- public event at Dymocks Camberwell, Shop 114, 793 Burke Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124.

    Monday, April 11th -- Sydney -- 3.30pm -- public event at The Children's Bookshop Beecroft, 6 Hannah Street, Beecroft, NSW 2119.

    Thursday, April 14th -- Adelaide -- 3.30pm -- an intimate, public event at Dymocks, 135 Rundle Mall, Adelaide.


    All are welcome at the events, but you should contact the store in advance to ensure you can attend, in case the events are ticketed. In Adelaide, that will definitely be the case -- fans will need an invite from the store in order to attend.




    IMPORTANT UPDATE -- April 30th -- due to a death in the family, I have had to POSTPONE the Irish section of my tour. The UK dates will not be affected. My apologies for this. We are planning to RESCHEDULE all of the Irish events for just after the UK leg of my tour -- except for those in Belfast, which we will try to do either later in the month, or else during my October tour. Below you can find the planed new dates. Please note that we will not be able to confirm these dates until Tuesday May 3rd at the earliest (until after the Bank Holiday, when everyone involved returns to work). As soon as I recevie confirmation, I will adjust the information in the May issue of the Shanville Monthly.


    I will be touring in Ireland and the UK in May to promote the release of Ocean of Blood, the second of the Mr Crepsley books. The tour will take place in two sections, the first coming at the start of the month, with a few extra dates added at the end of May. Here are all the details that we currently have to hand. More info will be added where appropriate over the coming couple of months. A public signing is open to anyone who wants to come. A schools event is for invited schools only. A public event is open to anyone who wishes to attend, but tickets normally need to be reserved in advance -- you should always contact the organiser in advance to make sure that you will be able to get a ticket. More details are available in the individual listings on the EVENTS part of my site. I am always happy to sign as many of my books as fans wish to bring along or buy on the day.


    30th April, Saturday -- POSTPONED UNTIL 14th MAY -- SEE BELOW

    10.00am -- public signing, O'Mahony's Tralee, Castle Street, Tralee, Co. Kerry.

    3.00pm -- public signing, The Crescent Bookshop, Crescent Shopping Centre, Dooradoyle, Limerick.

    1st May, Sunday -- POSTPONED UNTIL 15th MAY -- SEE BELOW

    12.30pm -- public signing, Waterstones Cork, 69 Patrick Street, Cork.

    2nd May, Monday -- POSTPONED UNTIL 10th MAY -- SEE BELOW

    11.00am -- public signing, Easons Newbridge, Unit 19/20 White Water Shopping Centre, Newbridge, County Kildare.

    2nd May, Monday -- POSTPONED UNTIL 11th MAY -- SEE BELOW

    3.00pm -- public signing, Easons Dundrum, 12-14 Dundrum Town, Dublin 16.


    11.00am -- multi-schools event, Black Box Theatre, Belfast.

    4.00pm -- public signing, Waterstones Belfast, 44-46 Fountain Street, Belfast BT1 5EE.

    4th May, Wednesday

    11.50am -- multi-schools events, Stratford High School,  Stratford-Upon-Avon. Part of the Stratford-Upon-Avon Literary Festival.

    4.30pm -- public signing, WH Smith Welwyn Garden City, 30 Howards centre, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6HA.

    5th May, Thursday

    10.30am -- multi-schools event, Norwich.

    6.00pm -- public event in Jarrolds Department Store, 1-11 London Street, Norwich NR2 1JF.

    6th May, Friday

    10.00am -- multi-schools event, Copleston High School, Ipswich.

    3.00pm -- public signing, Waterstones Ipswich, 15-19 Buttermarket, Iswich IP1 1BQ.

    6.00pm -- public event, Shire Hall, High Street, Chelmsford, arranged by Just Imagine book shop, New London Road, Chelmsford. For tickets, phone 01245 267748 or book online at justimaginestorycentre.co.uk

    7th May, Saturday

    10.30am -- public event, Attlee Room, Haileybury College, Hertford Heath, Hetrford SG13 7NU, arranged by Books @ Hoddesdon, 79 High Street, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire EN11 8TL - phone 01992 442290 or email [email protected] for tickets.

    8th May, Sunday

    11.00am -- public signing at Waterstones Bromley, 100 The Glades Shopping Centre, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1DJ.


    pm -- public signing, Easons Newbridge, Unit 19/20 White Water Shopping Centre, Newbridge, County Kildare.


    pm -- public signing, Easons Dundrum, 12-14 Dundrum Town, Dublin 16.


    10.00am -- public signing, O'Mahony's Tralee, Castle Street, Tralee, Co. Kerry.

    3.00pm -- public signing, The Crescent Bookshop, Crescent Shopping Centre, Dooradoyle, Limerick.


    12.30pm -- public signing, Waterstones Cork, 69 Patrick Street, Cork.

    29th May, Sunday

    6.00pm -- public signing at Waterstones Cardiff, 2A The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1WB.

    30th May, Monday

    11.00am -- public signing, Waterstones Swansea, The Old Carlton Cinema, 17 Oxford Street, Swansea SA1 3AG.

    4.00pm -- public event with Charlie Higson, Hay-On-Wye Literary Festival.

    31st May, Tuesday

    10.30am -- multi-schools event, Liberty Hall, Eden Quay, Dublin 1. Part of the Dublin Writers Festival. Any teachers interested in bringing groups of students should email [email protected]




    And that's it for April!! I'm off to Australia at the start of the month, for a holiday, my cousin Kevin's wedding, and a few rare Down Under events -- it should be a blast!!! I don't have much time to pause for breath when I get back, as I'll be launching almost straight into my Ocean of Blood Tour. So I'm pretty much on the road until mid-May! I won't be getting any writing down while I'm away, but rest assured that I've been very hard at work in the run-up to my travels -- if you want to learn a bit more about what I've been hammering away out, check out my Blog! I'll make sure I get the next issue of the Shanville Monthly out in time for the start of May, before I get totally sucked into my tour and forget about everything else!!! Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x





    I started this issue of the Shanville Monthly with a sad foreword, and I'm going to end it with a sad postscript. I was very sad to hear about Diana Wynne Jones passing on March 26th. As well as being one of the finest children’s authors of her time, she was a fascinating character. I was lucky to have met her several times over the years, though it had been a while since our paths had last crossed. She was always great company, a true fighter who had been dealt a lot of blows during her life, but who had gritted her teeth and struggled through them all. Even though Diana was far older than me, and had started out long before I did, her books had slipped out of favour for a while, but had come back into popularity around the time that my novels were first starting to build up a head of steam, so I always thought of her as one of my contemporaries—and I’m sure Diana thought that way too! She was always young in spirit, no matter how many years she clocked up!!


    My fondest memory of Diana comes from a meal we shared together at the Edinburgh Book Festival some years ago. (And I’ll have to apologise in advance for the swear word which this reminiscence includes, but there’s no way to avoid it!!) Lynne Reid Banks (another forthright, wonderful lady) was sitting with us and we had been talking about interfering editors, particularly American editors who tried to force their authors to Americanise their books. Now, personally I’ve never had a problem with that, as I’m perfectly happy for my novels to be tweaked in different countries if my editors think that the tweaking will help their readers connect more smoothly with my stories. But I know that a lot of other authors get quite worked-up about the issue, and Lynne was one of them. She tried to convince me to never let an editor change anything that I truly believed in, and not to give any ground to the Americans in particular—Lynne is VERY British, and I think she’s of the opinion that English writers should still be leading the world when it comes to English writing!! After a while I turned to Diana and asked her what she thought of editors who tried to make their authors change their books to suit an American audience. Diana was a lovely, sweet-looking woman — like a gentle granny that you might see in a TV show like Little House on the Prairie. She pursed her lips, thought silently and wisely for a moment, then said very politely, “Well, I’ll just piss on their graves!!!”


    I laughed loudly that night, and I still chuckle about it all these years later. Diana would have made a fine vampire — I think she might have been the perfect mate that poor Vancha March seemed to be searching for all his life!! The world is a far lesser place without her presence and I will genuinely miss her. At least we still have her books — but what a shame she couldn’t have lived for another hundred years to honour us with so many more…


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