• Issue 169 - August 2014

    01 August 2014



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the August issue of the Shanville Monthly! I hope you're all enjoying your summer holidays -- unless, of course, you're in a part of the world where it isn't summer, in which case I hope you're looking forward to your summer holidays!! :-) I won't be holidaying this August, for a reason which I'll reveal in a month or two's time, although I will be fitting in a visit to Edinburgh for the Book Festival -- you can find the booking info for that below. The big reveals this month are the British and American covers for Zom-B Family, the ninth in the series -- I hope they spook you out as much as they spooked me out! I also have some exclusive interior rough artwork from the book... there are new interviews to enjoy... photos from recent tour appearances... another competition... and lots, lots more!!







    Those are the covers for Zom-B Family above, the UK cover on top, the USA cover just beneath (arranged alphabetically, as always). Although they're by the same artist, series regular Cliff Nielsen, they're two very different renderings of one of my favourite characters from the books -- the enigmatic Owl Man. I love the fact that we get to see him imagined by Cliff in two very different fashions, since it reflects the conflictions that are at the very heart of this most mysterious of creations. Although we're three-quarters of the way through the series, this guy is still harboring all sorts of secrets, and it's not going to be until the very final book that we finally get to see exactly how he fits into everything, along with the true nature of the role he has chosen to play...


    Zom-B Family goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on September 25th, in the USA on October 7th, and in Canada, Australia and New Zealand around the same time. I'll be posting more about it next month. But for now, revel in those covers above... then scan down a bit further and revel in some of the interior artwork too!!





    Zom-B Clans, the 8th book in the series, is now available on audio to download in the USA. CLICK HERE to listen to a free sample. The page also includes links to all the sites you can buy it from if you so wish.


    The audio editions hit a snag in the UK, when the producer/distributor went bust! A replacement distributor has made the first four audio books available for download (read by the actress Zawe Ashton), and hopefully the rest will follow, but at the moment you can only get the first four. Here's the Amazon link to book 4, Zom-B Angels and yu can search for the other three from there.


    My Cirque Du Freak/The Saga Of Darren Shan series is also available in audio format, in the USA and UK. You can download the first book from Ambling Books in the USA by CLICKING HERE. Or you can buy it through Amazon in the UK by CLICKING HERE. In both cases, you can then search for the rest of the books, on the respective sites.


    The physical and eBook editions of Zom-B Clans are currently on sale in  Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, the UK and the USA. The book has been picking up some of the best reviews of the series so far -- if you don't believe me, CLICK HERE or have a look at the Amazon UK page for fan comments. You should be able to buy Zom-B Clans from your local bookseller (ask for it if you don't see it on the shelves), or else you can order it online, either as a hardback or an eBook. CLICK HERE to order it in the UK or Ireland, or CLICK HERE to order it in the USA, or CLICK HERE to order it in Canada.







    As I said above, Zom-B Family is the ninth book in the series, and it goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on September 25th, in the USA on October 7th, and in Canada, Australia and New Zealand around the same time. The sketches above are two of series artist Warren Pleece's roughs for the interior art. The first is evidence that Zom-B Family starts with a bang! And the second will come as no surprise to anyone who has read book 8, Zom-B Clans -- yes, everyone's favourite creep, the dreadful and dreaded Dan-Dan, is back!! But why has he swapped his sailor costume for an astronaut's outfit?!? Well, without giving too much away, I can tell you that it isn't solely a fashion statement -- there's a practical reason too... but you'll have to wait to read the book to find out what it is!!!






    Zom-B Chronicles, which collects the first two books in the series, went on sale last month. It should be available in all good book stores, or you can buy it online via Amazon UK, where it is currently on sale at the incredible bargain price of just £3.85 and £3.66 on Kindle, which works out at less than £2 each per book!!! To access the offer, CLICK HERE.


    My American publishers are also releasing a collected paperback, bind-up edition, on September 9th, and their version will provide even better value, because it collects the first three Zom-B books!!


    If you have not yet tried any of my Zom-B books, and would like to know a bit more about them before purchasing, it’s worth checking out this recent review of the first book by I’m With Geek, which offers a concise, well-written overview, without giving any of the big twists away. CLICK HERE.






    I released an extra Zom-B book in the UK and Ireland 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 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 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...


    I've added author notes for Zom-B Circus to my site, so if you want to find out why Mr Dowling is on a mission to hunt down the people who run World Book Day in the UK, CLICK HERE!!!!


    In the UK and Ireland we are 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 on sale exclusively as an ebook in America on September 9th, on the same day that Zom-B Chronicles (the bind-up edition of the first three books of the series) goes on sale. That's the cover above. You can find out more about it on the Hachette site by CLICKING HERE, which also includes links to all the places where you can buy it (please note, it’s not currently available on Amazon, because of a complicated argument between Amazon and Hachette, but hopefully this will be resolved by the time of its release). It's also due to go on sale in Canada in the near future -- I'll have an update about that in a later issue of the Shanville Monthly when it gets confirmed.





    I've given a few revealing interviews recently, where I talk about some upcoming plot twists in my Zom-B books. First, if you want a glimpse into the “romantic” future of my Zom-B books, check out my Q&A on the Waterstones Blog by CLICKING HERE, in which I talk about twisted love and many other topics unexpected and unpleasant! But be warned -- this contains SPOILERS for those who are no up to date with the series!


    Then check out a brand-new interview with me on the fab YA Series Insiders site by CLICKING HERE, in which I offer all sorts of insights into the world of Zom-B — including a big hint at a major plot development to come in a later book!!!! I’ve probably given away a bit more than I should, but what the hell, I’m in a generous mood!! But be warned -- as with the above interview, it contains SPOILERS!


    Finally, while there's no big plot reveals in the following interview with the Scottish Book Trust, it's revealing in many other ways instead. I must admit that most interviews with me are farily standard stuff — the usual sort of questions, such as “Where do your ideas come from?” and “Tell us about your latest book.” THIS interview, on the other hand, threw up some VERY intriguing queries, and I hope my answers are a decent match! So what are you waiting for—click on THIS LINK NOW!!!!!







    Exciting news for my French fans! Zom-B is going to be released in France, in a French language edition, on September 10th!! Hopefully the rest will follow. Please spread the word and help work up a Gallic head of word-of-mouth steam ahead of its release...





    As I've already mentionied above, all of my Zom-B books are on sale in the UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the USA through the usual sources — local booksellers, Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, etc. But if you live in the UK and would like the convenience of ordering online, while at the same time you’re keen to support your local independent bookstore, then I’d like to recommend buying through HIVE, which is offering a very tempting 25% discount off of all of my Zom-B books at the moment. To access the offer, and learn more about HIVE, CLICK HERE. You might never order books in the same way again!!





    What are the best books for gamers?!? Well, while I couldn’t possibly offer a valid opinion about this (since I’m not a gamer!), luckily The Book Doctor over on The Guardian is in a better position than me, and has tackled that very question, with some great recommendations for books for teenagers — and I was delighted to see one of my series in among the mix!! To find out which one, and to pick up tips for some other cool YA books, CLICK HERE.






    I've decided to run a competition for a third month in a row, for no other reason than I feel like it!! :-) This time I'm offering signed copies of my Zom-B books to the lucky winners. There will be 20 prizes in total, broken down into the following lots:


    Five first prizes, featuring the UK hardback editions of Zom-B Mission and Zom-B Clans, plus the UK paperback editions of Zom-B Baby and Zom-B Gladiator.


    Five second prizes, featuring the UK hardback edition of Zom-B Clans, plus the USA hardback editon of Zom-B Mission, plus the UK paperback edition of Zom-B Baby.


    Five third prizes, featuring the UK hardback edition of Zom-B Clans, plus the UK trade paperback editions of Zom-B Baby and Zom-B Mission.


    Five fourth prizes, featuring the UK trade paperback edition of Zom-B Clans.


    The competition is open to fans everywhere in the world -- just make sure you read the guidelines carefully before entering -- and good luck!!.


    1) Answer this question: "What is the name of my series about zombies?"


    2) Send your entry to: [email protected]


    3) 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. Please also include your age, although this is not mandatory.


    (4) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Thursday, August 14th, 2014.


    (5) This competition is open to everybody, everywhere in the world, unless you work for one of my publishers or are one of my relations.


    (6) You can only enter the competition ONCE. If you try to enter more than once, ALL of your entries will be disqualified.


    (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 Friday, August 15th, 2014. 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, in the Shanville Monthly, and possibly on Twitter and Facebook too.


    (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.





    The winners of the July Shanville Monthly Competition were, in the order drawn:




    Each of the winners won a signed copy of Dark Calling and Hell’s Heroes. There were 205 valid entries in total. Congratulations to the winners, my commiserations to the rest, and my sincerest thanks to everyone who entered!





    Long-time Shanster Grafin Drachen has drawn a few Zom-B bookmarks for anyone who wants to mark their place in a book in a suitably grisly manner! They’re black and white, so you can colour them in yourself if you so wish, once you’ve printed them. As Grafin notes, all of the characters, etc. from the books are copyrighted, so this is just a free, fan-driven bit of fan, not a commercial enterprise. But if you DO colour them in, please do share your efforts with the rest of us—if you don’t, I’ll sic the zombies on you!!! You can access the bookmarks by CLICKING HERE.






    Zom-B Baby, the fifth book in the series, goes on sale in Taiwan on August 18th. It should be available from all good booksellers, and you can check out the official Darren Shan Taiwan site by CLICKING HERE. I'm intrigued by the Taiwanese covers for the series -- they've come at the images in a very different way to my British and American publishers, and it's fascinating to see what they come up with next. I think this is the most disturbing so far -- I don't think we're going to see Teddy Bears like this one on sale in Hamleys or Toys R Us any time soon!!!


    My Taiwanese publishers, Crown, have also created a VERY creepy little video trailer for the book. Definitely worth checking out -- but be ready for shivers down your spine!! CLICK HERE.





    The manga adaptation of Hunters of the Dusk, the seventh volume of The Saga Of Darren Shan, goes on sale in Finland on August 1st. It should be available from all good booksellers.







    One likes this picture of the Queen Of England enjoying the demonic delights of Dark Calling!! A genuine photograph... or the work of the fiendish Wellacre Library gang, some of whom you can see caught in action in the second picture?!? I'll let YOU be the judge!! :-) Personally I love the thought of the Queen tutting at her grandchildren and great-grandchildren and telling them in a haughty tone, "Behave yourselves, or we won't read you any Darren Shan books tonight!"

    Dark Calling, along with the rest of my Demonata books, should be available in all good book shops, or you can order it online via Amazon or any similar seller. CLICK HERE.





    The always fabulous Mr Ripley’s Enchanted Books site is running a special, one-off Book Cover War, in which all five authors are the same person… me!!! They’ve chosen five of their favourite Darren Shan covers from around the world, and are asking fans to vote on their own faves from the shortlist — or one of their favourites from any of the others, if they prefer. It only takes a few seconds, and you don’t have to register or do anything else other than cast your vote by CLICKING HERE.


    To find every Darren Shan book cover there has ever been, head on over to the Book Covers part of my site by CLICKING HERE.





    I am doing one more event this summer, in Edinburgh, and a few in the autumn. Here are the details as they currently stand, with hopefully another couple of October events in different parts of the country to come. 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!



    Monday 11th August

    4.30pm -- public event, Edinburgh Book Festival. Click here for tickets.



    Monday 20th October

    Time TBC -- schools event, London

    Tuesday 21st October

    Time TBC -- schools event, London.

    Wednesday 22nd October

    Time TBC -- schools event, Preston.

    Tuesday 28th October OR Wednesday 29th October

    Time TBC -- public signing/event, Plymouth.

    Wednesday 29th October

    7.00pm -- public event, Exeter. Click here for tickets.



    Friday 31st October

    2.00pm -- public event, Limerick.





    Do you fancy a double-bill of Darren Shan and George R R Martin?!? Then Edinburgh is the place to head this August!! My event will be on Monday 11th August at 4.30pm, and George R R Martin’s first event of the festival will be later that night, at 8.00pm, so you can come see the master of YA horror/fantasy in action, line up to get your books signed by me, then nip on over to catch the master of adult fantasy/horror strut his funky stuff (I’m hoping to get to it too, if I’m finished signing in time). Sounds like the perfect date night to me!!!!! Tickets for the Edinburgh Book Festival are now on sale. This is one of my favourite festivals in the calendar — I’ve been going there every year since my first visit way back in August 2000, so this year will mark my 15th appearance!! I always try and do something original for my Edinburgh events,and this year will be no different… www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/darren-shan-zom-b-continues


    Speaking of Edinburgh, I was very pleased to see my upcoming appearance mentioned in a couple of “Best Of The Festival” articles recently. First my event was listed as one of the Top 10 YA Must Sees: CLICK HERE Then I was one of a few select children’s authors listed by this site too: CLICK HERE.






    The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse had better watch their backs — there’s a new team in town!!! This is a picture from my panel event at YALC (Young Adult Literary Convention) in July, featuring, from left to right, Charlie Higson, Me, Will Hill and Derek Landy. If you missed it, you can only weep into your pillow while dreaming of the awesomeness of it all… :-)


    In all seriousness, YALC, which was part of the London Film And Comic Con, was a storming success, with huge, enthusiastic crowds. In fact the crowds were TOO huge -- lots of fans ended up being turned away, because there was no room inside Earl's Court for them!! That was the only downpoint of what was otherwise a remarkably successful weekend, in which books for teenagers were given the massive degree of focus which I've always felt they deserve. I was signing for almost five hours in total, either side of my hugely enjoyable panel event with the boys in the picture above. Huge congratulations to Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman for masterminding it all -- it was a big gamble, but I think it paid off handsomely, and hopefully this will because a regular, annual event -- although i also hope that they can sort out the ticketing issues next time round, so that fans don't end up waiting outside for hours and then being denied entry and sent home...


    Speaking of the YALC, there was a cool review of the weekend (with a nice mention of my panel event) over on The Guardian, which is well worth checking out, by CLICKING HERE.


    CLICK HERE for a very sweet video of a group of school children who were brought to the Convention by the good folk of the Siobhan Dowd Trust. There’s a brief clip of me in it, but mostly you should watch it because it features kids who love books, and it’s a nice reminder of what the great big world of literature is really all about.


    And sticking with the YALC theme... I always love it when fans who love books go above and beyond the call of duty to spread the word — so CLICK HERE for a video by a group of fans doing just that! They made this short video to promote YALC in advance, but it can be enjoyed by anybody at any time. The question is — how many of the featured books have YOU read?!?





    I embarked on a short, albeit wide-ranging tour to support the release of Zom-B Clans last month. I started in Kells in Ireland on Friday evening, flew over to the UK that night, did a signing in Liverpool on the Saturday at midday, an event in Manchester that night, then a signing in Newcastle on the Sunday. I had great turn-outs everywhere, and met a lovely mixture of veteran fans and newcomers. While I always love to meet fresh, newly blooded Shansters, it's an extra special thrill to meet fans who have been part of the team for five... ten years... or more! It's really touching to be told that I've been a welcome part of someone's life for all that time, and to see the impact that my books have had over the course of so many years. I've said it before, but I'll say it again -- you guys are the best!!!


    There was a nice piece written about me on the Spectral Visions site, which includes some answers to questions that I gave when the author met me at the signing in Newcastle. To access it, CLICK HERE


    And fellow author, Alexander Gordon Smith, has posted a fun video about an event her and I did together earlier in the year in Norwich, in which he read out an extract about killing off a character called... Darren!! For a grilsy little giggle, CLICK HERE.





    And that's it for August. I can't wait to hit Edinburgh again -- it's always one of the highlights of my year, not just for the Book Festival, but for the Fringe Festival too. Either one is reason enough to move heaven and earth in order to visit Edinburgh in August, but both together... yowzahs!!! I'll also be working through August, on a few different projects -- there won't be any putting-my-feet-up-to-enjoy-the-good-weather!!! I'll be back here at the start of September with all the latest updates and more information about Zom-B Family. 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.