• Issue 143 - June 2012

    01 June 2012



    Hi, everyone, and welcome to the June issue of the Shanville Monthly!! I had a great time on tour last month, and you can find a short report of that below. As always, it was a treat to meet so many of you during the course of my travels, and doubly rewarding when I saw how excited so many of you were by the last Mr Crepsley book -- it's gone down a storm with virtually everyone who has read it so far!! Now that we're over and done with Mr C, I'm going to move straight ahead to my next book, as I've always done -- no sitting around and resting on my laurels!! This month I'm going to be looking ahead to my next book for adults, Lady of the Shades, due in shops in the UK and Ireland on August 30th, as well as the start of my next series for younger readers, Zom-B, which debuts a month later on September 27th. There's also a competition, a trailer, new covers, news of a very special anniversary, and more. But let's start off with one final shout-out for our favourite orange-haired vampire...





    Brothers To The Death, the fourth and final book in The Saga of Larten Crepsley, went on sale in the UK and Ireland on April 26th -- you can buy it in your local bookshop or book stockist, at Amazon UK by clicking here, or download it onto your Kindle by clicking here. (As far as I'm aware, you can also download it onto any other digital reading device, but I'm a bit woolly when it comes to all of the new technology!)


    In the USA the book went on sale on May 15th. It should be available in any book selling store (if you don't see it on the shelves, ask the staff), or you can order it from Amazon by clicking here, or download it onto your Kindle by clicking here. Or, if you prefer Barnes & Noble you can order it from them by clicking here, or as a Nook Book by clicking here. (Again, I'm pretty sure it's available on all other eReaders too, but don't quote me on that!!)


    In Canada it also went on sale on May 15th! Look out for it in your local book stores, or order it online through Amazon by clicking here.


    In Japan it went on sale on April 25th. And in Taiwan it goes on sale on July 2nd (my birthday!). You can check out the very cool Taiwanese cover by clicking here.


    Early response to the book on Twitter and Amazon has been HUGELY positive. You can check out what some fans have said by clicking on the Amazon links above, and find out what the official reviews so far have been like by clicking here.





    I finished my final edit of Lady Of The Shades on May 29th, my next book for older readers which comes out in the UK on August 30th. I usually spend between 2 and 3 years working on any one of my books. This one took a little bit longer — 13 years!!!! Yep, that’s not a typo! I started work on the book way back in April 1999. I finished the first draft within a few months, but had to rewrite it several times before I was happy with it. And then my children’s career took off and time got away from me. I always knew I would return to it—it was just a matter of when. And now, 13 years later, that question has been answered!!! I think Lady is the most commercial of my adult books — it certainly packs the most twists that I’ve ever come up with in a single storyline!! Sometimes it DOES pay to keep a Lady waiting!!!!!!


    If you want to pre-order the book on Amazon, you can do so here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lady-Shades-Darren-Shan/dp/1409143600/shanville Or you can pre-order it on Kindle here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lady-of-the-Shades-ebook/dp/B007ZXK154/shanville





    We're less than 3 months away from the UK & Ireland release of Lady Of The Shades, and my publishers, Orion, have set the publicity ball rolling! That has resulted in a 3-in-1 treat for you guys this month! First, here is a teaser for the book -- feel free to post it to your profile or anywhere else on the web where you think it might catch someone's eye!




    Secondly, Orion have created a super-slick trailer to give you a little taste of the mood of the book. I think it captures the overall spirit of things perfectly! It's less than a minute long, and well worth checking out in my opinion! To have a look, and share it with your friends and acquaintances, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy43OZqCvUg&feature=youtu.be


    Thirdly, they have offered me FIVE COPIES of proofs of the book to give away as competition prizes!!! The proofs are advance, paperback copies of the book, which were produced before I did my very final edit, to be given out to booksellers and reviewers ahead of the book's release. There aren't many differerences between the proofs and the finished book, just a few small tweaks that I made at the final stage. If YOU would like to be in with a chance of being one of the first people in the world to read the book, way ahead of the general public, then enter the competition below. Please note, this is only open to fans in the UK and Ireland. Sorry, rest of the world -- I'll run a competition for you guys next month!


    1) Answer this question: "What is the name of my book for adults that is coming out at the end of August 2012?"


    2) Send your entry to: [email protected]


    3) You can only enter ONCE. If you try to enter more than once, 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. This is so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win!


    (5) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Tuesday, June 12th, 2012.


    (6) This competition is open to everybody in the UK and Ireland, 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 Wednesday, June 13h, 2012. 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 July 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.





    I revealed the stomach-churning UK cover for Zom-B last month, and you can still check it out here: http://www.darrenshan.com/covers/country/united-kingdom/


    This month I'm delighted to unleash the American cover for Zom-B onto the world! Although my American publishers went with the same cover artist (the incredibly cool Cliff Nielsen) they asked him to take a very different approach. The finished cover makes for fascinating comparison with the UK one! You can have a look at it here: http://www.darrenshan.com/covers/country/usa/


    The interior art will be the same in both editions. I will be talking a bit more about that next month, and revealing the name of the artist who has been charged with bringing the insides of the books to stunning, sickening life!!!





    I have also added the American cover of Brothers To The Death to my site (that should have been added last month, but it slipped my attention in the run-up to getting ready for my tour!), as well as the artist's first rough draft of it, and a sketch from a few years ago showing the plan to design four covers that would slot together to form one widescreen image. You can see all these, and all of my other American covers, by clicking here.





    May 8th was a very significant date for me — it marked 15 years to the day since I first had the idea for Cirque Du Freak! Hard to believe that a decade and a half has passed since I was sitting in a car, babysitting, moments before I came up with what has proved to be the most pivotal thought of my life—“What if I wrote a book that was as easy and fun to read as Goosebumps, but which had all the darkness and thought-provoking material of a Stephen King novel?” I was already well on my way to becoming a published author by that stage — I had sold the rights to Procession of the Dead — but Cirque was a game-changer, as it went on to establish me as a name and give me the financial stability to carry on writing full-time for as long as I liked. Without it, I might very easily have had to return to the world of “normal work” in order to support myself, as many published authors have to do.

    Apart from the financial benefits (which are nice, but not what motivate me to write), it also opened up a whole new world of story-telling for me, and led me to devote much more of my time to writing for younger readers, something I had wanted to do for a long time, but hadn’t quite got around to tackling. I’ve never looked back! If you want to find out a bit more about that fateful day, click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/books/details/cirque-du-freak/




    I loved this article about a hard-fighting Shanster called George, who has come to see me a few times when I’ve been on tour. It proves that there are virtually no obstacles in life that we can’t overcome if we have the will and the drive. I write books to try to inspire people to find the hero within themselves, but George makes my leading characters look like a shower of wimps!!! Make sure you read all 3 pages of the article. http://www.sundaymercury.net/news/midlands-news/2012/05/20/quadriplegic-teenage-author-george-bastow-earns-high-praise-from-best-seller-darren-shan-66331-31005330/





    My Brothers To The Death tour in the UK and Ireland in April and May was my final tour (for the time being) for HarperCollins, and the last time (again, for the time being) that I would be touring with my vampire books, I was keeping my fingers crossed that I would be able to end on a high -- and happily that's how I did! It was a smooth, enjoyable tour. I did more fan events this time than I have done on recent tours, and it was a lot of fun to read out some of my favourite extracts to hardcore Shansters, from old, current and future books. Many thanks to everyone who turned up to them, along with all those of you who came along to my signings too.


    There was an average crowd of about 100 people at most of the events, although we got about double that in Kettering, where the event was held in a cool church that had enough space to hold a couple of hundred fans. Some of the many school events I did during the tour had far bigger crowds than that -- the nice thing about school events is that you have a captive audience!! The average signing time at stores where I just signed instead of doing an event was over 2 hours, although I was signing for 3 hours on the very final day of the tour in Liverpool -- a nice way to finish up!


    Touring is still the most enjoyable part of the job for me. The actual travelling around from A to B is a pain (if only we had transporters like in Star Trek!!) but meeting the fans make all the hours on the road more than worthwhile. It's such a treat to be able to chat for a little while with you guys, and to see the impact that my books are having. I get a certain sense of that at home, from all the letters and e-mails that i receive, but that's not the same as meeting people in the flesh and seeing by the expressions on their faces that my stories have touched them maybe even more than they have touched me. It's elating and humbling all at the same time.


    I'd like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who made this tour happen, all the teachers, librarians, booksellers and others who worked hard behind the scenes to set up the events and signings. And a MASSIVE thank you to the team at HarperCollins who made this tour just as much of a triumph as all of the others they have set up for me over the years -- take one final bow, please, Geraldine, Mary, Sam and Rosi!!! And finally, of course, as I've already said, MONUMENTAL thanks to everyone who came along and waited patiently -- without you guys, none of it would matter a damn! I know we live in a world full of tempting distractions, so I really do appreciate it when you choose to spend an hour or two in my company when you could be off doing something else. You have made, and continue to make, my days on the road a thrilling adventure rather than a cumbersome bore!!! Three cheers for the Shansters -- hip! hip! hooray!!!!!


    I was interviewed while on tour by a young journalist called Callum who had won a competition to interview me. The link will lead you to an audio file, where you can listen to us chatting. I think he did a fine job—why don’t you have a listen and see if you think so too?!? http://www.youngjournalistacademy.co.uk/2012/05/darren-shan-interviewed/#comment-56651

    I was also recently interviewed by another young reporter, Leah, for Cuckoo Quarterly, and she produced a pretty damn good interview too! Check it out here: http://www.cuckooquarterly.com/?p=522

    Meanwhile, you can read a report of one of my school events here: http://www.conyers.stockton.sch.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=522:childrens-author-darren-shan-visits-school&catid=1:whole-school-news&Itemid=54

    And you can read a report of a public signing, which also doubles up as an interview (sorry for the typos—it was obviously published in a hurry! “duelled” should be “dual”!!), by cliking here: http://staffslive.co.uk/2012/05/06/horror-writer-darren-shan-visits-potteries-centre-in-hanley/

    Here you can read another very well-written report of a school event, in Manchester, with some revealing insights into what tends to happen at my events: http://m-cbf.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/zom-b-in-beswick.html

    Plus here’s another report of a school event, this time from Lytham St Annes: http://www.blackpoolgazette.co.uk/community/author-pops-in-to-pass-on-tips-1-4552711





    I won't be doing many events during the summer, as I'll be busy writing. An exception, as it is every year, is Edinburgh -- I will be appearing at the Book Festival for the 13th year in a row in August!! I should be able to announce full details of this in the July issue of the Shanville Monthly. Looking past the summer, I will be back on the road in the UK and Ireland on tour when Zom-B comes out. We've already started putting the structure of that tour together, and I might even be able to share an early version of it with you next month -- if not, then definitely the month after. Looking even further ahead, I'm planning to come to Scotland again early in 2013, and hopefully I'll be coming back to the USA on tour as well. More details to follow in future issues of the Shanville Monthly, as and when they're confirmed.





    I always give away one of my tour T-shirts as a competition prize after a tour, but because of the Lady Of The Shades comp, I'm going to wait until next month to do that, so as not to confuse people. That competition will only be open to fans in the UK and Ireland, but I'll offer up an equally cool prize for fans elsewhere too -- as always, I'm doing my best to keep ALL of you happy ALL of the time!!! :-)


     IT'S A WRAP


    And that's it for June!! I'm going to be spending much of the month editing books 4 to 12 of my Zom-B series -- I've done first drafts of all the books in the series, but there's still a LOT of editing work to be done -- in fact, it will be fairly constant for most of the next three years!! But as busy as I am editing those, I'm still working in time for other books too. I recently finished the first draft of a new adult book, and I'm planning to do another edit of what will hopefully be my next published adult book too -- as always, I have lots of coals burning on the fire at any given time!! I'll be back here at the start of July with all the latest updates, and some more news about Lady of the Shades and Zom-B. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x


    Follow Darren Shan on Facebook and Twitter. He also has a YouTube page.