• Issue 166 - May 2014

    01 May 2014



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the May issue of the Shanville Monthly. The big scoop this month is an exclusive reveal of both the British and American covers for Zom-B Clans -- you can find them directly below. There's also info about Zom-B Circus and recently revealed audio books, along with links to new interviews - video, audio and text - and articles both written by me and about me. And lots more as well. But let's kick things off, as promised, with that exclusive reveal...







    With the Zom-B books coming out fast and furiously every three months, you're never far away from the release of the next instalment!! Book 8, Zom-B Clans, goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on July 3rd, and in the USA just a few days later, on July 8th -- and those are the fabulous covers above!!! The UK cover is on top, the USA cover just beneath. Expect Zom-B Clans to hit stores in Australia, Canada and New Zealand around the same time in early July. I'll be telling you a bit more about the book next month, but for now, let's just enjoy the covers, shall we?!?






    I released an extra Zom-B book in April. Called Zom-B Circus, it's not a full-length book -- it's about half the size of a normal Zom-B book -- and it doesn't focus on B Smith (though she has a small but crucial part to play in it). Instead it focuses on a teacher from B's school who gets caught up in the madness when the zombies attack, and undergoes a most surprising and disturbing transformation. The book is be a stand-alone, though it also links in with B's story in certain ways, featuring appearances by some of the characters we have already met (or will meet soon) in the main series. It also gives us a chance to have another look at Mr Dowling and his merry crew in wild, kill-crazy action, to catch up on what they've been up to while they've been keeping low in the series...


    There are two way to get a copy of the book. First, if you want a physical copy, you will need to buy issue 248 of the magazine SFX, and you will get a FREE copy with that -- you should be able to find SFX in all good magazine stockists, or else you can ORDER IT ONLINE.


    In the UK and Ireland we are also selling Zom-B Circus as an eBook for £0.99 -- you can order it on Amazon UK by CLICKING HERE or buy it through any of the main eBook sellers, such as iBooks, Nook, Google Play Books or Kobo.


    Zom-B Circus is also going to be made available to readers in America and Canada, exclusively as an ebook, but not until later in the year -- I'll have an update about that in a later issue of the Shanville Monthly when it all gets confirmed.




    Zom-B Mission has been going down a storm with fans and critics, picking up some of the strongest reviews for any book in the series so far -- see here. As I've said before, my feeling is that the second half of the series is even stronger than the first. That's been the feeling among my editors too, and now it's being reflected in the reviews we've been receiving. Hopefully that means there are very exciting times ahead for regular readers!!! If you live in the UK, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you should be able to buy Zom-B Mission in your local bookseller -- if you don't see it on the shelves, do please ask a member of staff to locate or order a copy for you. Alternatively you can buy or download it online if you prefer.


    In the UK you can buy the book on Amazon UK or download it in a variety of eFormats including Kindle.


    In the USA you can buy the book on Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or download it in a variety of eFormats including Kindle and Nook Book. It is also available in audio format in the USA -- I recommend downloading it through the Ambling Books site, or you can get it on CD through Amazon.






    I forgot to mention last month that the paperback edition of book 5 of my zombie series, Zom-B Baby, went on sale on March 27th in the UK & Ireland. As with most of the paperbacks, it includes author notes by me at the back. If you're collecting the paperbacks, you should be able to find or order Zom-B Baby in your local bookshop, or else you can order it online through Amazon UK or any similar online seller.






    Have YOU got what it takes to join the Zom-B Army?!? If you live in the UK, you have until midnight May 5th to make your case to become a Zom-B Ambassador. We’re looking for a handful of hardcore fans who are willing to help promote the books and spread the word among potential Shansters far and wide. Actual details of what you’ll get and be asked to do as an Ambassador are yet to be confirmed (I think the plan is for my publishers to discuss this with the winners and take feedback from them) but might include exlusive content, pre-release material, maybe even a meeting with me. So, if you think that YOU have what it takes (i.e. if you’re a big fan of my books) then CLICK HERE and state your case before the end of May 5th.





    I gave several interviews over the last month, to tie in with the release of Zom-B Mission. I was talking about the Zom-B books for the most part, obviously, but I covered all sorts of different topics as well. Here's a list of the places where I appeared, with links to the articles and a little bit of info about issues discussed in each.


    YA SERIES INSIDERS -- which of my books make me cry, how I treat myself when I finish a book, my favourite Zom-B quote.


    EXCELLENT READS -- my most embarrassing moment as a writer, three people I'd like to have dinner with.


    BOOKBABBLERS -- brief bio, writing tips.


    SO MANY BOOKS, SO LITTLE TIME -- why I serialised the series, how I planned it, my favourite word.


    LEINSTER LEADER -- the anonymity of being a children's writer, making use of fantasy to explore social issues


    NIGHTMARE --  this is a far-ranging interview, covering all my backlist, as well as my adult books, with surprises even for the Shansters who think they know everything about me!





    As well as giving several interviews last month around the release of Zom-B Mission, I also wrote a couple of articles for various publications.


    First up, here's a piece called A HARD DAY'S WRITE, published on the Much Loved Books site, in which I describe a typical working day -- this piece also includes confirmation of a piece of personal news that I've hinted at previously but haven't alluded to directly until now!!


    Next, BECOME A STORY DETECTIVE sees me tackling the age-old question that writers get asked more than any other, i.e. where do our ideas come from?!? This appeared on the Adventures In YA Publishing site.





    My name -- or books of mine -- has also been mentioned in a few different articles recently, for different reasons.


    First up, CLICK HERE for an interesting piece from the Book Zone (For Boys) site, about female characters who appear in books that are traditionally aimed at boys, and how a book can appeal equally to both sexes. I think it’s impottant to have both strong male and female characters when writing, regardless of who you are writing for. I never write for boys specifically, but since my books are always written for myself, and I was a teenage boy once upon a time, main male characters are my natural fallback position—but I’m always happy to mix things up when the opportunity comes along, as longtime readers are no doubt well aware!!


    Next, CLICK HERE for an article about UK YA horror books, on the Project UKYA site, in which Zom-B gets a nod. “Zom-B is probably the best zombie series. Ever.” Yeah, I can live with that!!! :-)


    Then CLICK HERE for an article in the Daily Mail which doesn't actually mention my name -- but check out what the boy in the accompanying photo is reading!!


    Finally, CLICK HERE for a list by the Scottish Book Trust of books that explore themes of prejudice. Along with Zom-B, there are lots of other interesting-sounding books on there too — I’ll have to check a few of them out when I get a chance.





    Heh heh heh — I just know that this post is going to have some of you spluttering with outrage, but I can’t resist! My views on the Cirque Du Freak movie have been well documented over the years — I think, taken on its own terms, it worked quite well, and was an odd, generally effective little movie, albeit one that was only very loosely inspired by my books. I know lots of you have a very different view of it, and I understand and respect those views — when you love a book, a movie of it can often be a disappointment, regardless of its merits. But sometimes, when I speak up for the movie, I get accused of lying — some of the film’s detractors hate the movie so much that they just can’t see how anyone could find anything of value in it, and refuse point-blank to believe that there can be any opinion other than their own of it. But the fact is that the movie DOES have its fans, people who saw it and enjoyed it and gave my books a try later on the strength of that. There are even some people (and this is where I can hear the blood beginning to boil!!) who don’t only like the film, but believe that it’s actually better than the books that inspired it!!! And here’s a review of Cirque Du Freak by one of those reviewers, called the Icequeen, just to prove that I’m not making this up!! CLICK HERE. And before any of you start howling at her in outrage, just remember, she’s only expressing her opinion, and everyone is entitled to that!


    For those of you who think the Icequeen is a heretic and that the world has gone mad, here are recent reviews by another reviewer called Zoe Markham of the first three books that reinforce your views too — I am nothing if not a diplomat, merely trying to reflect the voices of all my readers!!! http://markhamreviews.com/the-vampires-assistant/ http://markhamreviews.com/tunnels-of-blood/">CLICK HERE.


    In all honesty, I have to say I’m more on Zoe's side, in that I do believe the books worked better than the film, and that the movie might have benefitted from trying to steer closer to the stories I mapped out in the novels. But this isn’t an ideal world, and movie adaptations are always compromises that should be taken on their own terms. And on its own terms… yeah, I liked it. Just not as much as the books. But then again, as the author of those books, I would say that, wouldn’t I?!?






    Although some of my Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak books were published in audio format in the UK years ago, the series was never completed or made available in other countries. That’s all now changed! All twelve books in the series have been released in brand new audio editions in USA (some of the earlier books are also available in the UK). Book 12, Sons Of Destiny, was released on April 1st, and that's the incredibly cool cover above -- if you click on it, you can listen to a free sample and then pay to download the book if you so wish. The narrator is Ralph Lister.


    You can download Cirque Du Freak through the Amazon UK site here or you can buy it on CD here. You will find links for the other available books on that page.


    In the USA you can download the Cirque Du Freak books through the Ambling Books site here or buy them on CD through Amazon here. You will find links for all of the other books on those pages.


    My Zom-B books are also available in audio format in the USA (and some of the early books are also available in the UK -- we're trying to get the rest of them released, but the company that was making them has gone bust, so we're currently talking with their replacement) -- again, I'd recommend Ambling Books. This is THE LINK for book 7, Zom-B Mission, and you can find the other books once you're there.





    I'm pleased and relieved to be able to report that books 7 to 12 of The Saga Of Darren Shan are now finally available to buy as eBooks via Kindle in Australia and New Zealand. This means the entire series is now available in eFormat, so if you've been waiting to read them on your Kindle or other eReader, you need wait no more!!!





    Zom-b Angels, the fourth book in the series, goes on sale in Taiwan on May 19th. I think the cover for this is my favourite so far of the Taiwanese covers -- I'll share it with you next month, after it's been officially revealed.





    As most of you probably already know, I started publishing my books for adult readers under a different name earlier this year. The first was published as en eBook only, all around the world, in February, and I'm hoping to release the second later this year if possible, though I never rush my books, so I can't guarantee that. The book has been picking up some very positive reviews from readers, and my first ever interview under the new pseudonym was published in April. If you're interested in reading it and learning a bit more about my work for older readers, you can find a link to it in the Blog on my adult site, but you'll need to verify your age first by CLICKING HERE.





    I think this is maybe the best video review of Cirque Du Freak I've yet to come across -- certainly the best produced. A little bit harsh on the film, perhaps, but in a very witty way. If you only ever watch one video review of my books, watch this one, by CLICKING HERE!!





    I was delighted to recently be invited back to Hungary on tour. It's been a good few years since my last visit, so it will be nice to catch up with some old fans and hopefully meet lots of the new Shansters who have sprung up there since I was last in town! The planning is still in its very early stages -- all I can reveal for now is that I'll be coming on June 13th and 14th, Friday and Saturday. Stay tuned for more details.





    Good news for my fans in the Czech Republic -- I just signed contracts with my publishers there for Birth Of A Killer, and the first two Zom-B books. They're scheduled to publish within the next 18 months if all goes according to plan, so keep an eye out for them!





    I am doing several events over the course of the summer. Here are the details as they currently stand -- updates to come next month. If you plan to come to any of them, please note that I never impose any limits on the number of my books that I will sign, so feel free to bring your whole collection from home or buy loads of them on the day at the event!



    Saturday 10th May

    4.00pm -- public event, Brighton Festival. http://brightonfestival.org/event/2347/darren_shan/

    Friday 23rd May

    4.00pm -- public event with Alexander Gordon Smith, Norfolk And Norwich Festival, Norwich. Click here to book.

    Monday 26th May

    1.00pm -- public event, Hay Festival, Hay-On-Wye. Click here to book.


    Friday 13th June

    Details To Be Confirmed.

    Saturday 14th June

    Details To Be Confirmed.



    Friday 4th July

    4.00pm -- public event, Hay Festival Kells, County Meath. Click here for tickets.


    Saturday 5th July

    12.00pm -- public signing, Waterstones Liverpool.

    6.00pm -- public event, Manchester Children's Book Festival, Manchester. Click here for tickets.

    Sunday 6th July

    12.00pm -- public signing, Waterstones Newcastle.


    Saturday 12th July

    4.30pm -- public event with Charlie Higson, Derek Landy and Will Hill, London Film And Comic Con, Earls Court 2, Old Brompton Road, London SW5 9TA. I will be signing between 1.15pm and 2.15pm, and also from 5.15pm to 6.00pm. http://www.londonfilmandcomiccon.com/



    public event, Edinburgh Book Festival, date and time TBC.



    Wednesday 29th October

    Time TBC -- public event, Exeter.



    Friday 31st October

    Time TBC -- public event, Limerick.







    I had a very enjoyable time on tour in April, in the UK and Ireland -- that's a photo of me with one of the fans in Dundalk, where the signing lasted a bum-numbing three hours! Good crowds at most of the events, long signing lines, lots of books dedicated and signed, many questions answered and photos posed for. However, there was a horrible mix-up in Bury-St-Edmunds. I always set a start time when I’m doing a signing, but never an end time, since I always stay until everyone in line has been signed for, whether that takes one hour, two hours or six! But someone connected with the store put out misinformation for my signing in Bury-St-Edmunds, and told people that I would be starting at 10.30am and staying until 1.00pm. This meant that fans were under the impression that they could come along at any point during that two and a half hour period. The trouble was — nobody told ME about that!!!


    I turned up at 10.30am to find just a handful of people in the store. I was very surprised, as this looked like my lowest turnout ever in the UK. I took my time signing their books and chatting with them, in the hope that more fans would turn up — but nobody came, and after 40 minutes it was just me and my publicist. (The store member who was meant to be liasing with us took off to deal with a customer in a different part of the store.) With a heavy heart, I packed my pens away and we moved on, letting a different staff member know that we were going.


    At no point in proceedings did any staff member tell us that they had told customers that I would stay for two and a half hours. If they had, then of course I would have remained. But since I’m not a mind-reader, I thought that was that, and off I set to my next event. It was only later that I found out that people had come along later in the day, after I’d left, to find that I was gone, and to also be told by members of staff that I had deliberately left early.


    Anyone who has ever come to one of my signings or events will know that there’s no way in the universe that I would desert my post. I always have huge respect and gratitude for you guys when you come out to support me — I know there are lots of other things you could be doing instead! I’d like to apologise to anyone who missed me in Bury-St-Edmunds, but also to ask that you save your anger for the person who misinformed YOU and didn’t inform ME. I know that some of you, prompted by what you’d been told by staff members, felt that I’d let you down, but - hand on heart - that truly wasn’t the case. If anyone turned up for the signing after I’d departed, please write to me via the Contact page on http://www.darrenshan.com and I’ll do my best to make it up to you.





    And that's it for May. After my time on the road, I'm busy editing -- I'm very close to the final edits of the last few Zom-B books, and hope to complete work on the series over the course of the summer. leaving me free to move on to... whatever is next!!! I'll be back here at the start of June with all the latest news and updates, as well as some exclusive interior art from the upcoming Zom-B Clans. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x


    Follow Darren Shan on Facebook and Twitter. He also has a (very rarely updated!) YouTube page.