• Issue 144 - July 2012

    01 July 2012



    Hi, everyone, and welcome to the special BIRTHDAY July issue of the Shanville Monthly!! Yes, July is always birthday time in the world of Darren Shan, but this year's is more special than usual. First, The Shanville Monthly celebrates its 12th birthday -- a dirty dozen years of bringing you all the best and most exclusive Shan news and updates! Secondly, I celebrate my 40th birthday this month, on July 2nd!! Hard to believe, given my youthful good looks, I know, but yes, it's true, this month I turn 40!! It's a significant milestone -- I'm starting to feel very grown-up! While I'm not looking forward to it as much as I was looking forward to turning 30 (since it feels like I'm starting to grow old!), I don't mind it too much. Growing old and slowing down is part of the deal we sign when we're born into this world, the price we pay for getting to enjoy it as children and young adults. I'm just going to have to work extra hard to keep as lively as ever and ensure that I enjoy my 40s just as much as I enjoyed my 20s and 30s!!! But enough of me -- let's crack on with why we're really here. This is a busier than usual issue of the Shanville Monthly, with all sorts of news items to report on, as well as a couple of exciting competitions, and news of the biggest personal challenge I have ever faced!!! So let's speed on and find out what's been going on in the world of Darren Shan in his last month as a 30-something...





    Brothers To The Death, the fourth and final book in The Saga of Larten Crepsley, goes on sale in Taiwan on July 2nd, my birthday -- probably the best present I'll get! I hope all of my fabulously loyal Taiwanese fans enjoy their final adventure with Mr Crepsley -- I'm just sorry I can't be there to celebrate it with you all. You can check out the very cool Taiwanese cover for the book by clicking here.





    I have drawn the five winners for the June Shanville Monthly Lady Of The Shades competition, and the five lucky Shansters who each won a copy of the proof edition of the book, were:


    Darren A Winder, Norfolk.
    Helen Beaumont, Kent.
    Michael Glynn, Galway.
    Luke Ryan, Milton Keynes.
    Chris Loughman, Kildare.


    There were 192 correct and eligible entries in total. I have informed the winners by email, and my publisher Orion will be sending out a proof copy to each of them very shortly. Many congratulations to the winners, better luck next time to the rest of you, and my thanks to everyone who entered.


    I'm not going to reveal a huge amount about Lady of the Shades, my next book for older readers, before its release in the UK and Ireland on August 30th, as I don't want to spoil any of its many surprises and plot twists -- I think this probably packs in more shocks than any of my other books, and I want fans to be able to enjoy each and every one of them!! However, to hopefully intrigue you all a bit, I've decided to share a line from the the book every week between now and its release. I will be doing that through my Facebook and Twitter pages, so if you don't follow me on either of those yet, this is a good time to sign up! But to get the party started, I'm revealing the first line here, and it's the very first line of the book:


    "Jose Nilson dos Linos was brushing dandruff from his hair when he was executed."


    For another subtle insight into what lies in store for you, 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! To have a look, click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy43OZqCvUg&feature=youtu.be


    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






    Astute readers of the Shanville Monthly and my Facebook and Twitter pages will have noticed that I’ve been using numbers whenever I refer to my Zom-B books (Zom-B 2Zom-B 3, etc). But of course each one of them does have an actual title, which I’ll be revealing in the run-up to the release of the individual books. And I’m pleased this month to be able to announce that the name for book 2 is… Zom-B Underground. You heard it here first!!! Zom-B Undergound will go on sale in the UK and USA in January 2013, just three months after the release of Zom-B. Enjoy!!!





    As I announced in an earlier issue of the Shanville Monthly, each Zom-B book is going to feature interior art, about 15 drawings per book, highlighting some of the scenes from the stories. I can now announce that the artist charged with bringing the interiors to life is none other than comics legend Warren Pleece. Warren has been drawing even longer than I've been writing -- I remember reading one of his early strips, True Faith, back when I was a fresh-faced teenager, and I recently read and hugely enjoyed his graphic novel Incognegro. I was very excited when Warren's name was put forward, and gave him my full and unreserved backing. He's already completed most of the work for the first two books, and it's brilliant! Over the next couple of months, I'm going to share a few of the images with you, starting with this charming little number, which is the first to appear in the book:



    Without wanting to give too much away, I can reveal that the guy with the large eyes is a very important figure in the series, a man of sinister mystery, whose intentions and aims are always murky at best. And the little boy who is kneeling and praying? Well, you'll have to read Zom-B in September or October to find out!!!! :-)





    I was delighted to see the American cover for Procession Of The Dead included in a list of the 50 Coolest Book Covers Ever on the ShortList.com site: http://www.shortlist.com/entertainment/the-50-coolest-book-covers


    I think the cover is amazing, and I love that it’s getting the recognition it deserves. You can see the genesis of the cover on my website: http://www.darrenshan.com/covers/country/usa/ 


    Meanwhile, I’ve added lots of brand new covers to my site, from the following countries: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, UK and USA. To check them out, along with every other cover of a Darren Shan book that there has ever been, from countries all over the globe, click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/covers/





    Proof copies of the first Zom-B book were recently produced in the UK and USA and sent to booksellers, reviewers, librarians and teachers, etc. There have already been lots of very excited tweets posted about it by advance reviewers, but I especially love the way that this reader (Hurley Books on Facebook) went from being grossed-out to being intrigued over the course of her Facebook comments on June 18th! Hopefully that reaction will be mirrored across the board when the books goes on sale at the end of September!!!!


    3.19pm—oh gross, page 2 is awful - no wonder my boys like this…


    3.23pm—page 4 - yuk - feeling seriously queasy now


    5.10pm—OK - this book is turning into a really interesting anti-racist read - not sure where the zombies are hiding.


    9.20pm—Found the zombies!


    June 19th, 1.53pm—Oh - that was a good book! On two major issues that will get readers thinking and talking. Can’t say what the issues are as it will spoil things. I hate to suggest anything so gory should be a class reader but any teachers out there Y6-9 - this is fabulous.


    At the same time, I was very pleased to see that one of my older books, Cirque Du Freak, is still drawing rave reviews -- it was recently listed as a “purple pick” on the web site Read it! Loved it! in Australia. The “purple picks” are the site’s best of the best in each genre. To see what else made the Horror grade, and to check out all their other recommendations, click here: http://www.readitlovedit.com/boysaged13/boysaged13horror.html


    As well as making the boy’s part of the site, the book was also recommended for girls, which I was doubly pleased to see. Although my books are usually aimed at boys by my publishers, I know from touring and all the letters and emails that I receive that a huge section of my fans are girls, and it’s nice to see other people in the trade acknowleding this. Darren Shan arent exclusive—they can be enjoyed by everyone!!! http://www.readitlovedit.com/girlsaged13/girlsaged13supernatural.html





    You can listen to me answering questions from a group of children in Manchester (UK) at an event on my Brothers To The Death tour last May. http://audioboo.fm/boos/861329-darren-shan


    Also, on Friday, July 6th, at 2.15pm, a recorded programme about me will be aired on Spin SW, an Irish radio station. This will feature an extensive interview with me, as well as with members of my family who will be talking about me. If you miss the interview on the day, it is due to be podcast afterwards. You can find the Spin SW website here: http://www.spinsouthwest.com/





    The Edinburgh Book Festival line-up has been revealed. I will be doing an event there on Sunday August 12th at 1.30pm. Ignore what it says in the link about me talking about my old stuff — I will be focusing almost exclusively on my Zom-B books, including some first-ever readings from them! (Although of course I’ll be happy to answer questions about any of my books during the Q&A.) It will be my 13th year in a row at the Festival, so come along and celebrate my “lucky” day with me, why don’tcha?!? Tickets are now on sale. http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/darren-shan-2 





    I will be embarking on a major tour of the UK and Ireland in September and October, to support the release of the first Zom-B book. You can find the bones of the tour details below -- we are still working on it, and will be adding lots more info over the coming month, so make sure you check back closer the time for an updated version. 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. A public signing is open to anyone who turns up -- there are no limits on numbers. Please note, I am always happy to sign as many of my books as fans wish to bring along from home or buy on the day.


    27th September, Thursday

    1.00pm -- school event, Old Buckenham High School, Norfolk.

    6.30pm -- public event, Waterstones Norwich, 11/17 Castle Street, NR2 1PB.

    28th September, Friday

    am -- TBC.

    pm -- TBC.

    29th September, Saturday

    11.00am -- public signing, Waterstones Bournemouth, Unit 1, West Mall, Castlepoint, Castle Lane West, BH8 9UY.

    2.30pm -- public signing, Waterstones Yeovil, 37a Middle Street, BA 20 1LG.

    30th September, Sunday

    am -- TBC.

    3.30pm -- public event, Bath Festival of Children's Literature. http://www.bathkidslitfest.org.uk/darrenshan.aspx

    1st October, Monday

    am -- TBC.

    6.30pm -- public event, Waterstones Reading, 89a Broad Street, RG1 2AP.

    2nd October, Tuesday

    am -- TBC.

    7.00pm -- public event, Ilkley Literature Festival. http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/

    3rd October, Wednesday

    am -- TBC.

    pm -- schools event, Grand Theatre Blackpool.

    7.00pm -- public event, Waterstones Manchester Deansgate, 91 Deansgate, M3 2BW.

    4th October, Thursday

    am -- TBC.

    pm -- TBC.

    5th October, Friday

    am -- TBC.

    pm -- TBC.

    6th October, Saturday

    am -- TBC.

    3.00pm -- public event, Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoighre, County Dublin.

    7th October, Sunday

    am -- TBC.

    pm -- TBC.

    8th October, Monday

    am -- TBC.

    pm -- TBC.




    I'm running two great competitions this month, one for fans in the UK and Ireland, the other for fans who live anywhere else in the world -- make sure you enter the right one! The main prize in the UK/Ireland comp is a signed Brothers To The Death tour T-shirt. It's a black T-shirt with a blown-up cover of the book on it. I created two of these for my tour last May, and wore both of them over the course of the tour. I'll also include a signed copy of the two-in-one edition of Death's Shadow and Wolf Island from my Demonata series. There will be five runner-up prices of a signed copy of the Death's Shadow/Wolf Island book.


    There will be two main prizes in the Rest of the World comp -- the winners will each receive a signed hoodie from a 2009 October tour that I did in the UK (each is Size Small, although they're quite large for Small), as well as a signed copy of the Canadian editions of Palace of the Damned and Brothers to the Death. There will be five runner-up prizes of a signed copy of the Canadian editions of Palace of the Damned and Brothers to the Death.


    Please make sure you read all of the guidelines before entering -- incorrectly submitted entries will be eliminated from the competition.


    1) Answer this question: "What landmark birthday did Darren Shan celebrate on July 2nd, 2012. i.e. how old is he?"


    2a) If you live in the UK or Ireland, send your entry to: [email protected]


    2b) If you live anywhere in the world outside of the UK and Ireland, 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, Sunday, July 15th, 2012.


    (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 Monsday, July 16th, 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 August 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.





    Bas (my fiancee) and I are running the British 10km on July 8th in London to “celebrate” my hitting the big 4-0!! I can honestly say that preparing for it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done – I’ve been in training for the past several months, and I’m still struggling to get near the 10k mark – and that’s just on the treadmill!! But rest assured, I’ll force myself forward on the big day, whether that’s jogging, walking, or crawling on all fours towards the finish line!!


    While we’re primarily doing this for “fun” (that’s what Bas calls it – I think of it more as “torture”), we have decided to try and raise some money for a great cause, No Strings, a charity which Bas has supported and done voluntary work for, for the past several years. If any of my older Shansters (with a credit card and a healthy bank balance!!) would like to sponsor the pair of us, you can find out more and donate by visiting:




    Assuming we survive this major challenge, my next goal is to start training for a marathon… when I turn 50!!!!





    And that's it for July!! After celebrating my 40th birthday and attempting to complete my first ever 10km run, I'll be busy editing for the rest of the month, before taking some time off in August. I'll be back here at the start of August 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.