• Issue 136 - November 2011

    01 November 2011



    Hi, everyone, and welcome to the November issue of the Shanville Monthly!! The BIG news this month is that I can finally reveal the subject matter and titles of my new series of books for teens, as well as my next book for adults!! I've been cagily talking about these books on my blog and Twitter account for the last couple of years, so it's a relief to finally be able to discuss them openly! As well as those massive announcements, there's a report on my recent tour of the UK and Ireland, news about a major award nod for Ocean of Blood in Ireland (if you live in Ireland, I'm looking for YOUR vote!!!) and a major award win for the Ocean of Blood viral campaign in the UK, a competition, and a whole lot more! So what are you waiting for? Dive on in!!!!





    It was announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair that Simon & Schuster have bought the UK/Ireland/Australia/New Zealand rights to my next teen-aimed series, called Zom-B. Then on Halloween, we followed that up with the announcement that my American Publishers, LittleBrown, had bought the rights for the American market. There will be twelve books in total, and Simon & Schuster and LittleBrown will be releasing them at the same time at the rate of one every three months -- so I have a busy few years ahead of me!! The first one will come out in late September or early October 2012. The series is about zombies, and I don't really want to say too much else about it right now, except that the books are short and grisly, designed to read like a serial, i.e. most of them end on a cliffhanger which leads straight into the strat of the next book. I'll be revealing more information next year, closer to the release of the first book, although because this is a series full of twists and turns, don't expect me to give too much away!! You can read more about the Simon & Schuster deal here: http://www.simonandschuster.co.uk/admin_assets/1631_SS_Darren_Shan_press_release.pdf! And you can read about the LittleBrown deal here: http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/book-news/deals/article/49319-deals-week-of-october-31-2011.html


    I'm very excited about Zom-B! The books are fast-paced and grisly. It's a true horror series, probably my most spine-tingling to date! Those who have been following my blogs and tweets over the last few years will know that I have been working hard on this for a long time. I wrote the first Zom-B book three and a half years ago. I knew from the start that I wanted to write a series of short books which would be released swiftly -- it wasn't a commercial decision, just the method that would best serve this particular story. Very few writers would be brave or crazy enough to try to release a new book every three months, so I knew I had to give myself lots of time to get ahead of my publication schedule, to allow me to make sure that every book lived up to the high standards that I have always set myself. There won't be any rush job with these vicious little babies -- I've already written first drafts of all twelve of the books, so each book will have at least three years of hard graft behind it!!! Oh, and the books will also be illustrated!!! We’re still discussing the exact specifications of this, how many pictures we’re going to include in each book, whether they’ll be single panels or graphic-novel type pages, etc. Once I know more about how the illos are going to fit in, I'll let you guys know too.




    My other BIG announcement at the Frankfurt Book fair was the news that Orion have bought the rights to two new adult books from me. The first, due to come out in early September 2012, is called Lady of the Shades. I don't want to say too much about it, as it packs probably the most surprises of any of my books, but in a nutshell it's a thriller with a ghostly undercurrent. It's about a writer with a (literally) haunted past who moves to London to research a new book. He falls in love with one of the locals, but her situation is far more complicated than she leads him to believe, and every step that he takes leads him further into a world of nightmares, bloodshed and shades of the dead. Dark, suspenseful stuff, with several jaw-dropping twists that will hopefully blow your mind!! You can read more about the deal here: http://www.booktrade.info/index.php/showarticle/36508.


    Lady of the Shades goes back even further than the Zom-B series. I wrote the first draft more than ten years ago, but set it aside while concentrating on my children's books. The success of my vampire and demon books meant that I didn't have as much time on my hands as I would have liked. Something had to give if I was to write and edit each book to my satisfaction, while regularly going on tour to promote them. That something was my adult output. For several years I just didn't have time to focus on my adult career, so I set it to one side, until I felt ready to return to it and kick things off again. That process began a few years ago when HarperCollins asked to republish my original series for adults -- the City Trilogy. I went back and re-edited the books, and carried on from there, going back to a couple of my set-aside works, while also turning my thoughts to new material. I haven't rushed the process, which is why there has been a break between City of the Snakes and Lady of the Shades. But now that I'm firmly back in the saddle, I hope to fire ahead solidly on the adult front while keeping up my punishing children's schedule. It's a big ask, but I've always relished a challenge!!! The next few years are going to be a hectic, exciting time for me, and I hope you guys get as much of a buzz out of the new books as I've had writing them!!





    Palace of the Damned hit book shelves at the start of October and sold briskly. It entered the UK Children’s Bestseller Chart at #5 on the week ending October 1st, after just a couple of days of being on sale, and was #3 on the Children’s Hardback Chart. In Ireland it entered the children’s bestsellers chart at #4, rose to #3 in its second week, and #2 in its third week! In Canada it was listed at #8 on the Bestsellers chart of New Releases for the week ending October 27th! That was the overall chart, not just children’s — coolio!!! http://www.kelownacapnews.com/entertainment/132652838.html The response from fans has been brilliant -- the series seems to be getting more and more critically popular with the release of each book! I went on tour in the UK and Ireland to promote the release and had a fab time -- see my report below.




    I had another happy, busy tour at the end of September and start of October, around the UK and Ireland, to promote "Palace of the Damned", the third book in the Mr Crepsley series. (If you haven't bought a copy yet, head down to your local book store, or buy a copy online -- it's available both in its regualr hardback format and as an eBook.) Since it's impossible to cover all parts of the country on any one tour, I try to target specific areas each time I hit the road. This time the focus was largely on the south and southwest of England, since I hadn't been down that way in a couple of years. I started in Birmingham, and also took in Worcester, Bath and Bluewater, but for most of the time I was hugging that southerly British coastline.


    Because I tour so much here, and have a great publicity team backing me up and organising everything, my tours usually run like clockwork, and this was no exception. The time flew by, nicely packed with events, but not so overcrowded that I burnt out! We got to almost every venue in time, and on the few occasions we were late, it was just by a few minutes. The school events were fun, large crowds at each. I mixed up scenes that I read up -- I always like to vary my routine. My Lord Loss extract was in there, of course, but I also did my Cirque Du Freak scene (where the woman gets her hand bitten off by the world man) for the first time in a long while. The factory scene from Birth of a Killer was also a regular, plus I read out The Good Ship Tree at a few of my public events, an article I wrote for the Times Educational Supplement many years back -- you can find that in the EXTRAS part of my site if you're interested.


    In total I spoke to about 3,300 fans at the various school and public events. The signings averaged out at about 2 hours per venue. The longest was at Bluewater, where I signed for over 3 hours. I visited several places where I had been before and met some good old friends, but I also made it to some new places too -- I especially liked my trip by hovercraft to the Isle of Wight!! Thanks, as always, to the HarperCollins staff involved in arranging the events and escorting me safely around -- Mary, Sam, Tiffany, Laura and Geraldine (who was absent from one of my tours for the first time since Lord Loss, because she was off having a lovely little daughter -- but her presence was felt even though she wasn't there in person!!). Thanks also to every teacher, librarian and bookseller who helped us set up and run an event or signing -- you guys gave us a warm welcome everywhere we went. And, of course, extra special thanks to every student who sat quietly in an event and gave me their attention, and especially every fan who made to the effort to come to one of my public events or signings -- my tours couldn't happen without you guys, and I always do appreciate it when you come along and make time for me. I sometimes get asked during long signings if I'm bored of scribbling my signature yet, and honest answer is always a very firm NO -- how could I ever get bored of signing for the best fans in the world?!?


    Anyway, that will probably be it for my touring schedule until next year. I plan to devote the next few months to writing. I'll be returning to the Middle East next March, then touring the UK and Ireland again in late April or early May to promote Brothers to the Death -- I'll confirm dates and details for those tours closer the time, once they have been determined. Until then I'll probably be lying low and writing like a whirlwind. 2012 is going to be a busy year for me, with new works to look forward to on both the teen and adult front.


    There have been some very nice articles written about several of the events on my tour in the UK to promote the release of “Palace of the Damned”. First check out this report of the event I did with Charlie Higson in Bath—I think it captures the night perfectly! http://www.welovethisbook.com/news/shan-and-higsons-fright-night


    Then check out this item about a schools event I did in Gosport—it also includes a photo of me with a fabulous, life-sized statue of Artery which the staff and students made ahead of my visit! http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/local/east-hampshire/gosport_pupils_find_inspiration_from_their_horror_hero_1_3114996


    This one about Plymouth: http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/Best-selling-author-goes-school/story-13500327-detail/story.html


    This one about Writhlington: http://www.thisissomerset.co.uk/Master-teen-horror-brings-tales-school/story-13494481-detail/story.html


    This one from Downton in Salisbury: http://www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/9286572.Author_Shan_visits_Trafalgar/


    Another from Bath: http://www.thisisbath.co.uk/Children-s-literature-festival-record-breaker/story-13481894-detail/story.html


    One from Honiton: http://www.midweekherald.co.uk/news/what_a_scream_for_honiton_students_1_1088617


    And finally this one from my event in Tallaght: http://smdp.scoilnet.ie/blog/2011/10/13/meeting-darren-shan/





    I signed lots of copies of my books (primarily Palace of the Damned) at the stores that I visited on tour recently — you can find a list of those stores in the October issue of the Shanville Monthly. Some will probably still have signed copies in stock, in case you missed me while I was there. Alternatively you can buy signed copies of many of my books through Goldsboro Books — they have the latest in stock, along with a wide selection of my back catalogue, and they ship worldwide. Christmas is coming up fast, so if you want to get a signed Darren Shan book for a loved one, this is the place to try first!! http://www.goldsborobooks.com/search.php?q=darren+shan





    Irish fans, take note! Ocean Of Blood has been nominated for Children’s Book of the Year in the prestigious Irish Book Awards!!! The winners are voted for by the public and a chosen panel. So if you want to cast your vote for the Shanster, click on the following link and vote now — you can vote up until November 13th. This will be a real feather in my cap if I win (though the book is uip against some very stiff competition!), so please do take the time to vote for it. And please tell all your friends to vote too! :-) http://www.irishbookawards.ie/PublicVote.aspx





    Many congratulations to the HarperCollins marketing team who won the Book Marketing Society Children’s Marketing Campaign for the summer period, for their Ocean Of Blood online campaign. Looking to generate enough interest to fill a virtual lake with one million drops of virtual blood was a massive, imaginative undertaking, one that they pulled off with style and a lot of hard work, so I’m delighted that their achievement has been acknowledged by their industry peers. On their behalf, many thanks to everyone who entered and helped make the campaign such a memorable success. You guys are the BLOODY best!!!! You can read more about the award on the Bookseller site: http://www.thebookseller.com/news/ebury-and-hc-win-latest-bms-awards.html





    The exctiing news for anyone who entered the October Shanville Monthly Great Global Giveaway competition before the cut-off date (assuming they comlplied with all the rule) is that EVERYONE was a winner!! Yes, once again I was able to find a prize for every entrant for all of the countries — although I only just managed it in this instance, since I had my biggest number of entrants to date! I've managed to offload a huge number of surplus stock over the last few months. It's cost me a small fortune in postage, but I'd rather see the books go to a good home than just dump them!! I'm taking a break from the Global Giveaway for a couple of months, but I'll be returned with it again in the new years, so keep an eye out for the next one!!





    I recently contributed to the TeachingBooks.net site. If you click on the following link, you can find their page for me, which features a couple of clips of me reading out extracts from two of my books (Cirque Du Freak and Birth of a Killer) as well as a short clip explaining the origins of my name. You can play the last bit immediately, but for the other clips you will have to temporarily join their site if you are not already a member. http://www.teachingbooks.net/authoridsearch.cgi?id=1339





    UK & Ireland -- I always create a pair of T-shirts when I go on a tour of the UK and Ireland, with the cover of the latest book on them -- and as long-time fans know, I always keep one for myself, and give one away as a competition prize!! So the winner of this month's UK & Ireland competition will receive an exclusive T-shirt which I wore on my recent tour to promote Palace of the Damned -- it has the cover of the UK edition of the book on it, the date of the tour underneath, and I will personally sign it in silver. I will also send the winner a signed copy of the UK edition of Palace of the Damned.  And there will be four runner-up prizes -- each runner-up will received a signed copy of Palace of the Damned!


    REST OF THE WORLD -- Fans living in any country outside the UK & Ireland can enter this competition, and five winners will each receive a signed copy of the hardback UK edition of Palace of the Damned.


    Here are the entry links, along with the full terms and conditions. Make sure you read the General Terms BEFORE you submit your entry!!!!!



    1) If you live in the UK or Ireland, answer this question: "I am starting a new series of teen-aimed books in September/October 2012. What type of monsters will the books be about?"

    2) Send your entry to: [email protected]



    1) If you live anywhere else in the world apart from the UK, Ireland or the USA, answer this question: "I am starting a new series of teen-aimed books in September/October 2012. What type of monsters will the books be about?"

    2) Send your entry to: [email protected]




    3) You can only enter ONE of the competitions, depending on where you live. If you try to enter more than one, ALL of your entries will be disqualified.


    (4) Put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX when you send your e-mail. I will not accept your entry if you don't! And make sure you INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS in the body of the e-mail, as well as the answer -- and don't forget to add the name of your country. This is so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win!


    (5) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Sunday, November 13th, 2011.


    (6) This competition is open to everybody, unless you work for one of my publishers or are one of my relations.


    (7) Only one entry per household -- if you send in more than one entry, ALL of your entries will be rejected. If more than one person in a house wants to enter, you'll need to make a joint entry.


    (8) The draw for the winners will be made on or after Monday, November 14th, 2011. It will be a completely random draw, made by Darren Shan personally (I use an online number generator to pick the winners). I will try to notify the winners by e-mail, and will post their names on the Shanville Message Board and in the December issue of the Shanville Monthly.


    (9) Information submitted by entrants WILL NOT be shared by me with any other individual or company. I'll keep your details on my PC, then delete the info once the competition ends.


    (10) My decision will be final.


    And that's it for November!! I'm hard at work editing this month -- I'm doing my final edit of the last Mr Crepsley book, as well as close-to-final edits of the first few Zom-B books. I might even start the first draft of a new book for adults too -- though I'm still thinking about that one!! I'll be back here at the start of December for the Christmas issue of the Shanville Monthly. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x


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