• Issue 170 - September 2014

    01 September 2014



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the September issue of the Shanville Monthly! The big reveal this month is the title of the tenth Zom-B book -- it's been a carefully guarded secret, but now, at last, the undead cat is out of the bag!! There are also new covers and interior art to enjoy... news about the imminent release of Zom-B Family... tour updates... another competition... and lots, lots more. Enjoy!!!





    The tenth Zom-B book is scheduled for release in February 2015, and the title has been a closely guarded secret... until now!! Before I announce it, here's a quick recap of the first nine titles:


    1 - Zom-B.

    2 - Zom-B Underground.

    3 - Zom-B City.

    4 - Zom-B Angels.

    5 - Zom-B Baby.

    6 - Zom-B Gladiator.

    6.5 - Zom-B Circus.

    7 - Zom-B Mission.

    8 - Zom-B Clans.

    9 - Zom-B Family.


    OK, there were actually ten books listed there, not nine, because I included Zom-B Circus, the short, additional book that I released this year -- it's not essential reading, in that it doesn't form part of the main storyline, but it's a fun optional extra, and I definitely think it should be included with the others. Anyway... enough digressions... now, without any further ado, for the first time ever, I'm proud to reveal that the title of the tenth book will be...


    10 - ZOM-B BRIDE.


    Yep, you read it here first -- HERE COMES THE BRIDE!! But which lucky lady is getting married?!? And who is she getting married to?!? Obviously I'm not going to give that away just yet, but I will say that if I told you, you'd think I was pulling your leg!! Things are about to get very dark, very strange, very quickly!!! Trust me -- this is one wedding you don't want to miss!







    Before our date with Zom-B Bride, we have Zom-B Family to deal with -- it goes on sale in the UK and Ireland this month, and in the USA and other territories shortly thereafter. Zom-B Family is one of the most uncomfortable, hardest-hitting books of the series -- take a very deep breath before you read it! It's all set in Battersea Power Station, so in a way it's harking back to the confined, claustrophobic feel of Zom-B Underground, but there's a beast at large in this entry, far worse than any we encountered deep beneath the ground... yes, this is the book where we get to see the dreaded Dan-Dan cut loose in a most terrible and painful fashion. The person he cuts loose on? Well... look at the name of the series... then take three guesses!


    Zom-B Family goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on September 25th, in the USA on October 7th, in Canada on October 14th, and in Australia and New Zealand around the same time. You should be able to buy or order it in any good bookshop, but if you prefer to buy online, here are some recommended links:


    UK -- Amazon.  UK -- Kindle.  UK -- HIVE. Or use 123PriceCheck to compare prices across all major sellers.


    USA -- Amazon.  USA -- Barnes & Noble.  USA -- NOOK.






    My American publishers are releasing a collected paperback, bind-up edition of the first three Zom-B books on September 9thand it provides amazing value for money!! It's also a product of incredible dark beauty -- it features all the interior artwork from the original books, along with gorgeous black-and-white versions of the three covers, that sport only the art and none of the text or graphics -- trust me, they look stunning, and even if you don't plan to buy the book, I'd recommend having a look inside a copy in your nearest bookstore!.


    You should be able to buy or order Zom-B Chronicles from any good book shop in the USA, but if you prefer, you can order it online through your seller of choice -- I would recommend Barnes & Noble, the direct link for which can be found by CLICKING HERE.






    I released an extra Zom-B book in the UK and Ireland in April. Called Zom-B Circus, it's about half the size of a normal Zom-B book and doesn't focus on B Smith. 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...


    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 iBooksNookGoogle 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).





    As you'll see in the Tour section further down, I'm doing some school events in the London and Preston areas in the UK in October. If you are a teacher or librarian who is interested in maybe bringing a group to one of these events, you can get in touch with my publicist, Lorraine, at Simon & Schuster, and she can pass on your details to the people who are organising the events, and hopefully they'll be able to fit you in. The London events will probably be in the Forest Hill and Kingston areas. If you want to make an enquiry (and please only do so if you are part of the school staff, or have discussed this with them) then click here: [email protected]







    Zom-B Family is the ninth book in the series. The sketches above are two of series artist Warren Pleece's roughs for the interior art. The first is from a fight scene in the book that I think is maybe one of the best fight scenes I've ever written! As for the second... well, all I can really say about this is... in my best Noddy Holder (of 1970s band Slade) voice... baby, Baby, Bayyyybeeeee!!!! Those of you who have read Zom-B Circus will know that the baby in Zom-B Baby wasn't a one-off. Now you're going to see the little menaces in action!!






    Zom-B Chronicles II, which collects books three and four of the series, goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on October 9th. It should be available in all good book stores, or you can buy it online via Amazon UK by CLICKING HERE. That's the ultra-cool cover above -- neat, huh?!?






    Good news for my Canadian fans. My publishers in Canada, HarperCollins, are planning to release Zom-B Chronicles (the first 3 books of the series, in a low-cost bind-up edition) in October, in both physical and ebook format — a great way to get started on the series if you haven’t already, and much more economical than buying the individual books! And if you buy it as an eBook, it’s going to be even better value, as they’re including Zom-B Circus, the short additional book I wrote for the series (which I’ve decided to refer to from henceforth as volume 6.5), for free as part of the online package!! But if you prefer to buy the physical version of Zom-B Chronicles, don’t worry, as you will also be able to buy Zom-B Circus online all by itself. (But Zom-B Circus is ONLY being released as an eBook.) The actual release date has yet to be confirmed, but the plan is to release it at or around the time of the release of book 9, Zom-B Family, which goes on sale on October 14th.






    Zombies are about to invade France! Rather -- Zom-B is about to invade France!! Yes, the exciting news for my French fans is that Zom-B is going to be released in France, in a French language edition, on September 10th!! My publishers have been checking in with me to ensure it's an accurtae transation, so hopefully it will retain all the "vim and voive" of the original! You should be able to buy the book in all good bookshops across France, but if you prefer you can order it through the French branch of Amazon by CLICKING HERE. Vive the living dead!! There's also an article about the upcoming release over on the coolly titled My Zombie Culture site, which you can read in French OVER HERE!






    The paperback edition of Zom-B Mission goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on September 25th, the same day as the hardback of Zom-B Family. As with the other books in the series, it includes my author notes about the writing of the book. You should be able to find this in all good bookshops, or else you can order it from Amazon UK by CLICKING HERE.





    I was recently interviewed, along with a couple of other authors, for an article in the Toledo Free Press about teen fiction. If you’d like to check it out, CLICK HERE.






    There's no let-up on the competition front, as I offer a brand new comp for the fourth month in a row!! This time, to celebrate the upcoming release in the UK of the second volume of The Zom-B Chronicles, I'm offering ten signed copies of the first UK volume, which includes books 1 and 2 of the series, Zom-B and Zom-B Underground. 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 the second book in the Zom-B series?"


    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, Friday, September 12th, 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 Saturday, September 13th, 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 August Shanville Monthly competition, in the order drawn, were:

    Sarah Gibbs, England.
    David Benko, Hungary.
    Jeff Grivna, USA.
    Noemi Czinkoczky, Hungary.
    Alysha Lafleur, Canada.

    Brigida Afonso Pereira Laranjo, Portugal.
    Kinsey Moore, USA.
    Esther Johnston, Scotland.
    Charlotte McGill, England.
    Morgan Tippings, Wales.

    William Gardner, USA.
    Siobhan Lamb, Scotland.
    Colton Hinderaker, USA.
    Patrik Baumann, Hungary.
    Fanni Pupok, Hungary.

    Sean Ryan, England.
    Abbie Oliver, England.
    Philip McCann, England.
    Layton Back, USA.
    Kerry Ann Lambie, Scotland.


    For the first time ever, EVERY single entrant got the correct answer!! As easy as I usually make my contests, I can always rely on at least a few people to get the answer wrong — but not this time!! You guys must be getting smarter with age! Having said that, I had to discount a few entries because they hadn’t included their address as instructed. So, the total number of correct and vadid entries was 391. As usual thanks to everyone who entered, congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to the losers!





    I’ve had quite a few fans get in touch with me recently saying they’d just finished The Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak series, and didn’t know what to read next. Many of these were unaware that I’d written four books about Mr Crepsley’s past, called The Saga Of Larten Crepsley, and were very excited when I drew their attention to this. So, in case anyone reading this was unaware of the existence of the Mr Crepsley books — now you know!! They start with a book called Birth Of A Killer, continue in Ocean Of Blood and Palace Of The Damned, and conclude with Brothers To The Death. They cover the 200 years of his life before he met Darren, and are, as you would expect, very dark, sad and bloody! You should be able to buy or order them through your local bookshop, or else online through Amazon or any reputable eSeller. Enjoy!!


    If you’d like to know what the critics think of the books, here’s A LINK to a review which is a couple of years old, but which I only stumbled across recently. And you can find LOTS more reviews, not just of the Mr Crepsley books but everything I’ve ever published, OVER HERE.





    Here are two very different songs inspired by Lord Loss. The first, by Rose Weekes (I shared this several months ago when it was first released), is quiet, haunting and eerie -- to listen to it, CLICK HERE. The second, by a heavy metal band called Scaphoids, is loud, brutal and fast -- prepare your ears for an aural assault, then CLICK HERE. Let me know which one you prefer when you've finished listening to both!!






    I was recently asked to put together some photos from over the years for an article, so I spent a bit of time quickly zipping through the photos on my web site, to pick out a choice few. This was one of the few I selected. It dates back to 2002 (the run-up to Halloween, if I remember correctly) and was taken at the launch party for Allies Of The Night in the UK. The girl in front is called Zahava, whose parents used to run an amazing bookshop in Pinner, but I’ve no idea who those other two are… :-)


    I jest, of course!! Yes, it’s none other than a young Tom Felton and Matt Lewis, taking a night off from their hectic Harry Potter filming. Before Universal ended up making the Cirque Du Freak movie, Warner Bros held the rights, and the producer, David Heyman, distributed a few copies of the book to some of the actors on the HP set. I think it’s fair to say it became something of a cult hit among them, and I got to visit the set a few times and hang out with some of the actors. I also got to go to a premiere (I think it was the second film) and a DVD launch that was the most elaborate launch I’ve ever witnessed!! Tom and Matt were two of my most dedicated fans among the cast, so when I was having my own launch (which was pretty damn cool too, even if I do say so myself, held in a magician’s haunted house) I invited them along. They were happy to come, and a splendid time was had by all.


    Heh. This reminds me of my first visit to the HP set. I’d been taken around for a while, then got to have lunch with some of the actors. If memory serves me rightly, Rupert Grint was among them. While we were munching away, a very young Daniel Radcliffe came sauntering along. Rupert called out to him, “Hey, Dan, guess who this is? Darren Shan!” Daniel’s eyes lit up and he exclaimed something like, “No way!” Rupert said, “Do you want to join us?” Daniel replied, “I’ll have to go ask my Mum!” And off he shot like a rabbit to get permission (which, I’m pleased to say, was duly granted.)


    Happy days…


    You can find lots (and I mean LOADS!) more photos on my web site by CLICKING HERE.





    I came across a cool price-check site for UK books recently, called 123PriceCheck. You can enter the title of any book that you like, and it will compare the prices (including shipping) on all the major bookseller sites, and provide you with a list, so that you can see where the best bargain is to be found. You can also do an author search, in which case it lists all their available books, ranked to be the most recent and relevant. If you want to pick up a Darren Shan bargain, CLICK HERE.





    I am doing a handful of events in October. Here are the details as they currently stand -- I'll update these over the coming month, as and when details are confirmed. 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 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. Click here for tickets.





    I had a great time at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August, where I performed for the 15th year in a row! I read out some scenes from Zom-B Circus, the short, additional book that I’ve added to the series (Book 6.5 for those who are unsure of where it sits in the storyline). You can read a nice review of my event by CLICKING HERE. And if you want to buy Zom-B Circus, it’s available exclusively as an eBook in the UK, and is coming soon to the USA and Canada (see above). It was lovely to meet some long-term Shansters again at the event, as well as lots of newcomers too. I’m always fascinated to see the diversity of my fans, and I had everyone from brave 9 year olds to groovy grannies, happily waiting to get their books signed and (of course!) be strangled for a a photo. Hopefully we'll all get to do it again next year...





    I get a Google Alert whenever “Darren Shan” gets a mention in a news story online. Usually I enjoy the article when I click on the link, as it’s normally a piece about recommended books for children in which I’m given a nod, or about a child who has won a spelling bee and names me as one of their favourite authors—nice, fun stuff like that. But THIS ALERT led me to a heartbreaking story about a boy called Alex who committed suicide a few years ago.

    The article focused on Alex’s mother, Pam, and what she was doing to try and get through life since the loss of her son. The reason my name popped up was that I was Alex’s favourite author. He’d even written to me years ago, and my reply was proudly propped on a shelf in a photograph of his room, along with some of my books.

    I’ve lost a few friends and relatives to suicide over the years. The one that hit me hardest was when a really good friend of mine, Hughie, took his life last year. I used to go drinking and clubbing with Hughie. We went to the World Cup in Japan in 2002 together. The last time I saw him was in Australia, where we stayed up until the early hours to watch an Ireland football match. I hadn’t caught up with him for a while, and every so often I’d tut at myself for that and make a resolution to catch him the next time he was home. And then, suddenly, he was gone, and time was up.

    What comes through in the article, as well as Pam’s pain, is her wish that Alex had discussed his fears with her before acting on them. I think this is what we all feel when we lose a loved one to suicide—if only they’d told us how they were feeling, maybe we could have helped them battle through.

    I’ve had my own dark times in the past. I know what it’s like to feel the weight of the world resting uncomfortably on my shoulders, to question whether or not there’s a reason to continue. One of the things I do with my books is to try to give hope to those who aren’t sure they can go on, to use the medium of fantasy and horror to say that no matter how bad things get or seem, every one of us can overcome our demons and enemies and obstacles. The fight is always there to be fought, and if we can summon the courage to continue fighting, each one of us can triumph. It doesn’t mean there won’t be more fights in the future, or that life will suddenly turn on its head and become all joy and light. But there IS always a way forward—unless, like Hughie or Alex, you check out early, and then all options are removed.

    I never apportion any blame to people who can’t find the strength to continue. As much as we can understand about our fellow human beings, since we all experience the same highs and lows, I don’t think any of us can ever truly walk in another person’s shoes. I feel only sadness and pity—along with the futile wish that they could have been saved.

    You’ve probably all heard this before, but I don’t think it can ever be stressed often enough—if you’re struggling to get through the day-to-day worries and anxieties and hassles of life, please do try and talk to someone about it. As alone as you might feel, you never ARE alone unless you choose loneliness. There always IS someone to talk to—a friend, a relative, a teacher, the Samaritans. People CAN understand what you’re going through, because there are more people than you can ever imagine who have gone through and are going through exactly the same things. And discussing it with them very probably WILL help you steer a course through your troubled waters. Because, even though most of us crave material riches and rewards, the truth is that the most valuable thing in this world, the one thing that will make just about everyone feel better about themselves, is having someone look you in the eye and say, “I know what you’re going through. I’m here to help. Because I love you.” Those people exist for every single one of us. But they can only help us if we reach out and let them know that we’re hurting.

    Take care of yourselves, people. And don’t ever stop reaching out for help if you have to.

    And Hughie and Alex—dudes—I’ll see you both when I get to the end of my line—we’ll have a good old natter and laugh about things — and Even in death we will all be triumphant!!





    And that's it for September. If everything goes according to plan, this should be a very busy and exciting (yet also terrifying) month for me -- not on the writing front (although I plan to beaver away at that too) but because of something else that I don't want to say too much about just yet... all I can say is that Zom-B Family isn't the only scheduled new arrival in the Shan household this September... and if that's not clear enough, you'll find another big clue in the photo at the very end of this issue of the Shanville Monthly!! :-) I'll be back here at the start of October with an update about that, along with all the latest news. 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.