• Issue 145 - August 2012

    01 August 2012



    Hi, everyone, and welcome to the August issue of the Shanville Monthly!! This month sees the release of my latest book for older readers (it's aimed at adults, but I would say that it's probably suitable, generally speaking, for readers aged 15 and upwards). You can read all about it below. I have a packed issue for you this month, including another exclusive image from the interior of the first Zom-B book, as well as the UK cover of the second book in the series -- and it's a monster!! There are also some early reviews of both Lady of the Shades and Zom-B, a link to a revealing radio feature about me, update tour details, and a whole lot more. So, what are you waiting for? Let's crack straight on!!






    My new book for older readers, Lady of the Shades, goes on sale on August 29th in Australia and New Zealand, and August 30th in the UK and Ireland. I'm very excited about this book. It's the first new book for adults that I've released in two and a half years, and also my first standalone adult novel. It also packs more twists-per-page than probably any other book I've ever written! On the one hand it's a crime thriller about a horror writer who falls in love with a beautiful femme fatale, but on the other hand it's about a man who is haunted by his past and who starts to wonder if he is descending into a supernatural nightmare.


    To give you a taste of the book, my publishers, Orion, have made the prologue exclusively available online. You can read or download it at the following link: http://www.orionbooks.co.uk/books/extracts/lady-of-the-shades-pdf


    Lady of the Shades should be available in all good book stores from August 30th (and from the 29th Down Under!), but 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





    Apart from the prologue, I'm not going to reveal a huge amount about Lady of the Shades, 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! Here are the lines that I have revealed so far:

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


    “Jose Nilson dos Linos’s head exploded in a cone of bone, brain and blood.”


    “There was good money in killing, but if you weren’t careful, it could be the death of you.”


    “I wake abruptly from a troubled sleep to find the dead pressing in tightly around me.”


    “London’s landscape is smudged with the fingerprints of the dead.”


    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





    Proof copies of Lady of the Shades were produced and sent out to reviewers and booksellers. While most reviews won't be published until the book is released, one reviewer got in early and had this, among much else, to say about the book:


    Everyone has heard of books described as roller-coaster rides; well, not this one. Opening this book was more like trying to ride a bucking bull than strap myself in to the comparative tameness of a roller-coaster. Every page I turned, it felt like the book was trying to throw me off and I’m not ashamed to admit that it succeeded on more than one occasion. By the end, I wasn’t even trying to guess where the book was taking me – I just let it sweep me along... With Shades, Shan moves solidly into adult territory, mingling ghost story, love story and crime fiction with surprising ease... Readers who like their crime with a side of whacky will devour this dark, quirky mystery.


    You can check out the full review here: http://www.tarasharp.com/review-lady-of-the-shades-by-darren-shan/


    I also received a couple of reviews by email, the first from a reader called Christopher Smith, who was sent one of the proof copies of Lady Of The Shades:


    Can you believe that I’ve had Lady of the Shades for 2 weeks, and only started reading it today? I think it’s my favourite of all your works. The way I was drawn into the story was brilliant. At page 199, I believed I had uncovered the plot, only to be masterfully misdirected into thinking as Ed [the main character] did. I think it speaks highly of your skill when I’ve fallen so far into the story that I’m thinking like the protagonist. This was the first of your adult books that I’ve read - I have procession of the dead but I’ve yet to read it, something I shall rectify in the morning - and at first it didn’t really feel like I was reading an adult book. However, as the story progressed and took on a darker tone, it started to feel like I was reading a book aimed at adults. I literally couldn’t put the book down. As a long time enjoyer of your books, I’m truly honoured to have had a chance to read this before it went on the shelfs. It also gives me plenty of time to try write up a decent review with my sub-par reviewing skills!


    I thought that was a pretty well written review even as it stands, but if Chris sends in a more complete, follow-up review, I’ll be happy to share that one with you guys too!


    The second review was from Michael Glynn, who read another of the proof copies, and here is what he had to say:


    I’ll start by saying I have read nearly all of Darren Shan’s books and this one was not like any other I have read. There are so many twists and turns that you’ll find you can’t stop reading to simply find out what is really going on. I spent a lot of the book trying to guess what the truth was behind the Menderes family, to no avail, the ending stopped me in my tracks. I had never thought for a second that a love story so brilliant could be written by the same man who created the Demonata series! This is by far my favourite of your works. A lot of novels fall by the wayside when you simply can’t feel anything for the protagonist, there is no hope of that happening with Lady, you truly want Ed to succeed and discover what is happening to him in London.


    I hope those reviews have stirred your interest and that you try the book for yourself when it comes out on August 30th. It should be available in book stores all across the UK and Ireland, but if you prefer, you can pre-order it through Amazon UK here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lady-Shades-Darren-Shan/dp/1409143600/shanville





    Looking past Lady of the Shades, my next book to be released will be Zom-B near the end of September in the UK and mid-October in the USA. This is the start of a 12 book series for teenagers, all about zombies, and the books will be released at the rate of one every three months. Each Zom-B book is going to feature interior art by the fabulous Warren Pleece, about 15 drawings per book, highlighting some of the scenes from the stories. I shared one of the images with you last month, and now here's another.



    That fierce-looking creature holding the baby, by the way, is NOT a zombie. While zombies are rife in the series, they're not the only menacing monsters on the prowl. I'm not going to say exactly WHAT this guy is -- you'll have to read the books to find out!!





    I'm delighted to be able to bring you the UK cover for the second book in the series, Zom-B Underground, drawn by the brilliant Cliff Nielsen. This startling image features a guy called Rage (named after a friend of mine!), who is one of the most interesting characters I've ever created. I hope you all enjoy reading about him as much as I've enjoyed writing about him!






    Although there have been lots of excited tweets and Facebook posts about the first Zom-B book from reviewers who were sent an advanced copy, there hasn’t been a full review of it… until now! The reviewer, Isabel, had the following to say about the book:


    On the first page of my copy of Zom-B is a letter from the author, Darren Shan, in which he quotes a plea made by Alfred Hitchcock: “Please don’t give away our ending. It’s the only one we have.” I am lucky enough to be reading an proof edition of Zom-B, an early version of the book sent out to booksellers and reviewers, and Shan is keen to make sure we readers aren’t tempted to give away the two walloping twists when the inevitable raving about Zom-B begins with our customers. “See if you can find a way to discuss Zom-B with those who have not read it, without giving away the cataclysmic plot twists,” he urges. It’ll be harder than you might think right now, he says, and it turns out, of course, that he’s right... Zom-B is very easy reading at a bare 200 pages long, but it’s full of twists and turns and several little threads dangled temptingly in front of my eyes.... Zom-B kicks ass and eats brains, and will definitely satisfy all those die-hard Darren Shan fans out there waiting on the edge of their seats for the new installment.


    If you want to read the full review, and I would strongly recommend you do, since there's much more to it than the excerpts above, click here: http://stardust-reader.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/zom-b-by-darren-shan.html


    Zom-B is currently creating a big buzz among the reviewing community, which is hopefully a sign of good things to come! I hope you guys enjoy the book as much as the reviewers so far have — I’m in trouble if you don’t!!!! :-) Don’t forget, the book goes on sale on September 27th in the UK and Ireland — the official release date in the USA is mid-October, but it will probably be available in most States around the same time as the release in the UK. It should be available in book stores everywhere, but if you would rather pre-order it online, you can do so through Amazon UK here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zom-B-Darren-Shan/dp/085707752X/shanville  or Amazon USA here: http://www.amazon.com/Zom-B-Darren-Shan/dp/031621440X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1343760530&sr=1-1&keywords=zom-b  It is also available in eBook format through both sites.





    British and Irish fans of the manga adaptation of The Saga Of Darren Shan -- rejoice!!! Volume 7 came out two years ago, and since then... nothing. This was because of issues beyond my control, but they have now been resolved, and I'm delighted to be able to announce that the rest of the series will now be released in the very near future. Volume 8 is scheduled to go on sale in October, Volume 9 in December, Volume 10 in February 2013, Volume 11 in April 2013, and Volume 12 in June 2013. I don't have any more specific dates than this at the moment, but will list them here once they have been confirmed. In the meantime, if any of you have not yet read the manga, and wish to start, you can order the first volume from Amazon UK (and the following six volumes) by clicking here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saga-Darren-Shan-Cirque-Freak/dp/0007320876/shanville


    As I've often said before, I think the manga is a BRILLIANT adaptation. It's very faithful to the books, yet tells the story in its own unique way, so that it feels fresh and original from start to finish. The artist, Takahiro Arai, was very young when he started -- this was actually his first major project. As good as the art is in the first few volumes, you can see him grow and mature over the course of the series, and it just gets better and better as it goes along. This was a huge hit in Japan, and it's been very popular in other countries too. I can't recommend the manga highly enough.





    Here’s a link to a 20 minutes Spin SouthWest radio feature on me that aired on Friday 13th in Ireland. There’s a long interview with me, my fiancee Bas, some of the cousins I used to babysit, and a local bookseller. This very well produced piece is worth a listen for a rare sneak insight into my home life!! Strongly recommended. http://soundcloud.com/ciaranryanproductions/smart-arts-2-darren-shan




    I love this Iranian article, published on July 2nd (my birthday) about writers who were born or died on that date. Hemingway, Hesse, Nabokov, Puzo… and Shan!! Probably the only time my name will be mentioned in such fine literary company!! http://www.ibna.ir/vdciqzazvt1a532.ilct.html





    I was pleased to be mentioned in the list of recommended children’s summer reading in The Guardian (even though Zom-B doesn’t actually come out until September 27th). To see who recommended me, and to check out lots of other great recommendations, click here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/2012/jul/13/childrens-summer-reading?newsfeed=true





    There’s a famous saying that proves to be true more often than not — “Don’t judge a book by its cover!” However, sometimes you CAN judge a great book by a great cover, as one young lady in Charleston, West Virginia did recently, according to this article in the Gavette-Mail — in fact, not just once, but three times!!! http://wvgazette.com/News/201206230114





    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 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 tour details below -- we are still working on it, and will be adding the final few details over the coming two months, so make sure you check back closer the time for the final version. school 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.


    26th September, Wednesday

    10.00am -- prison event, HMYOI ISIS, Thamesmead.

    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

    11.35am -- school event, Dame Alice Owens School, Potters Bar.

    2.00pm -- school event, Lochinver House School, Potters Bar.

    7.00pm -- public event, The Bull Theatre, High Street, Barnet.

    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

    11.00am -- public event, Waterstones Taunton, East Street, Taunton.

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

    1st October, Monday

    10.30am -- school event, Nova Hreod College, Swindon.

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

    2nd October, Tuesday

    am -- TBC.

    pm -- school event, Fulneck School, Pudsley, Leeds.

    7.00pm -- public event, Ilkley Literature Festival, Kings Hall, Station Road, Ilkley. 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 -- school event, Liverpool.

    pm -- public event, Easons Belfast.

    5th October, Friday

    am -- school event, Dublin.

    pm -- public event, Easons O'Connell Street, Dublin.

    6th October, Saturday

    am -- TBC.

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

    7th October, Sunday

    12.00pm -- public signing, Waterstones Cork, 69 Patrick Street, Cork.

    31st October, Wednesday

    pm -- Halloween public signing, Easons Limerick.




    The winners for the July Shanville Monthly competition, in the order drawn, were:


    UK & Ireland comp
    Main Winner - Emily Jane Anderson, Co Durham.
    Runner-up Prizes - Catherine Carron, Co Donegal.
    Hanna Evans, South Wales.
    Hannah Smith-Fawcett, Kent.
    Emily Maher, Co Laois.
    Aisling Brady, Co Longford.


    Rest Of World comp
    Main Winner - Jasmine Tiang, Canada.
    Main Winner - Alaina Sutherland, USA.
    Runner-up Prizes - Pia Pada, Finland.
    Melanie Kenny, Germany.
    Tabish Virani, USA.
    Kimberly Schwartz, USA.
    Rani Clark, USA.


    As always, it was a completely random draw. I received 117 eligible entries in the UK & Ireland comp, 112 in the Rest of the World comp. Congratulations to the winners. Better luck next time to the rest of you — there will be more competitions on the site, coming soon!!





    Bas (my fiancee) and I ran the British 10km on July 8th in London to “celebrate” my hitting 40 years of age!! I can honestly say that preparing for it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done – I trained for several months and had to deal with a niggling, persistent injury in my right calf. But all came good on the day, and we ran it in 1 hour, 5 minutes and 50 seconds -- faster than the 1 hour 10 minutes that we were rather optimistically hoping for! It was hard work, but we loved doing it, and I didn't even mind when it rained down mightily and soaked me to the bone halfway through!!


    While we primarily ran the race for fun, we decided to try and raise some money for a great cause at the same time, No Strings, a charity which Bas has supported and done voluntary work for, for the past several years. Some of you very generously sponsored us (many thanks!!!). The donation link will remain open until August 8th, so if anyone else would like to retroactively sponsor the pair of us, you can find out more and donate by visiting:







    And that's it for August. I hope all of my older readers in the UK and Ireland descend upon their local bookshop on August 30th and snap up every visible copy of Lady of the Shades -- if enough of you buy it, maybe it can become the new Fifty Shades of Grey!!! :-) I'm looking forward to hearing what you guys think about it, so please feel free to post reviews on Amazon, or your blogs, or anywhere else -- and if you send me the links, I'll try to make other fans aware of them. I'll be back here at the start of September with all the latest news and updates. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x


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