• Issue 175 - February 2015

    01 February 2015



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the February issue of the Shanville Monthly. I hope you've all survived the January blues and are warming up to the year ahead. I bought my first ever car last month (a red 2008 Nissan Note) and my driving lessons are progressing nicely -- I'm hoping to sit my test in March if all works out, and after that, if I pass, the roads of the world are mine!!! The BIG news this month on the publishing front, of course, is that Zom-B Bride, the tenth book in the series, goes on sale -- hurrah!! But as well as that, I'm also exclusively revealing the title of the eleventh book -- see if you can guess what it is before you scroll down!! Along with all that, I've included tour updates for my upcoming jaunt around the UK, so check to see if I'm coming to a store or library near YOU! I've also added some more stunning interior artwork from Zom-B Bride.. there's info about an upcoming TV appearance... some exciting news for fans of my adult books... an exclusive reveal of the spine-tingling cover for the second American Zom-B Chronicles bind-up... plus a brand new competition to celebrate the release of Zom-B Bride!! Let's crack on with it, shall we?







    Zom-B Bride, the tenth book in the series, goes on sale in the UK and Ireland and Australia and New Zealand this month on February 12th, and in Canada and the USA on February 24th. While things calm down a little after the brutal, shocking events of Zom-B Family, this is, in its own way, maybe the weirdest and most unsettling entry in the series, as we finally get to spend some quality time with everyone's favourite clown, Mr Dowling, as B is escorted to his underground lair, where truth and revelations lie in wait... along with the most bewildering and life-changing decision she will ever have to face. This is a book that's going to make your jaw drop and your insides clench, and you might never hear the phrase "Here comes the bride" again without having to suppress a small, involuntary shiver...


    Zom-B Bride will be on sale through all good booksellers -- if you don't see it on the shelves of your local shop, do please ask the staff to order in a copy for you -- or you could ask them to pre-order it in advance, to make sure you get it nice and early. Alternatively, if you prefer to buy online, there will be loads of places where you can either order a physical copy or download it as an eBook. Here are a few that normally offer very good value.


    AMAZON UK.   HIVE (in cooperation with your nearest independent book shop).












    I'm doing a number of events in February and March in the UK, to promote the release of Zom-B Bride. Here are the details. Schools events are only for invited school groups (although individuals can sometimes get in too, if they contact the school/library in advance). Public signings and events are open to anyone who wants to come along. If you plan to come to any of my signings or events, 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!


    Friday 6th February

    11.15am -- schools event, Cardiff, part of the Hay Scribblers Festival. http://www.hayfestival.com/thescribblers/scribblerstour.aspx?skinid=25

    Tuesday 10th February

    2.30pm -- schools event, Holbeach Primary School, Lewisham. A one-off Saga Of Darren Shan event.

    Thursday 12th February

    9.00am -- schools event, Dereham Neathered High School, Norfolk.

    2.00pm -- schools events, Wymondham High School, Norfolk.

    Friday 13th February

    8.35am -- schools event, Whitgift School, Croydon.

    1.40pm -- schools events, Wallington County Grammar School, Surrey.

    4.30pm -- public signing, Waterstones Croydon, Unit 1065-1067, Whitgift Centre, Croydon.

    Saturday 14th February

    11.00am -- public signing, Waterstones Basingstoke, 35 Wesley Walk, Festival Place, Basingstoke.

    3.30pm -- public signing, Waterstones Reading Broad Street, 89a Broad Street, Reading.

    Sunday 15th February

    11.00am -- public signing, Waterstones Tunbridge Wells, 32-40 Calverley Road, Tunbridge Wells.

    2.30pm -- public signing, Waterstones Maidstone, Unit 24, Fremlin Walk Shopping Centre, Maidstone.

    Monday 16th February

    11.00am -- public signing, Waterstones Birmingham.

    2.30pm -- public signing, Waterstones Leamington Spa, 1 Priorsgate, Warwick Street, Leamington Spa.


    Thursday 12th March

    8.55am -- schools event, Glenthorne High School, Surrey.

    1.30pm -- school events, The Cherry Trees School, London.

    Friday 13th March

    6.00pm -- public event, Canada Water Library, 21 Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 7AR. To book free tickets, CLICK HERE.





    On Friday February 6th, I'm due to appear on the Today Show on RTE1 television, at some point between 4.30pm and 5.40pm. So if you live in Ireland, or can get access to RTE1 from abroad, check it out to see how I get on! http://www.rte.ie/tv/today/





    As usual, the wonderful Warren Pleece has produced interior art for Zom-B Bride, and these are actually my favourites pieces that he has come up with so far -- the artwork has been excellent from the beginning, but I think he hits new heights this time round! I treated you to some of his roughs from the book last month, and here are three more to whet your appetite!



    First up, it looks like poor B is being tortured again -- but could there be more to this than at first meets the eye?!?



    The next picture finds a group of babies (yes, the same babies from B's dreams in book 1) studying hard in class. But this is no ordinary school, and that's no ordinary teacher...



    Finally, it's romance, Darren Shan style!! Well, the title of the book IS Zom-B Bride -- did you think there wouldn't be at least a little bit of kissing?!? It's the weirdest, wildest wedding ever -- and YOU are invited, this February -- all you need to do to be there is buy the book!!!!



    ZOM-B 11


    I'm delighted, in the month that the tenth Zom-B book goes on sale, to be able to exclusively reveal the title of the 11th, which is due for publication later this year. And that title is...




    I'm not going to give away anything else about the book right now, as we're still quite a long way off publication, except to say that my editors in the UK and USA all said that this was probably their favourite book in the entire series. It will be interesting to see if you guys have the same reaction!! Zom-B Fugitive goes on sale in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand on September 10th, and in Canada and the USA on September 22nd. The wait starts now!!!






    The second volume of the Zom-B Chronicles in the USA goes on sale on 5th October 2015, and there's the stunning cover for it above!! It collects the 4th, 5th and 6th books of the series, as B meets first her Angelic mentor and then her demonic tormentor. This is when the ship (pun intended!) starts to get real!!!!





    The release date for the fourth volume of the Zom-B Chronicles in the UK has been confirmed, and it's scheduled to go on sale on 6th October 2016. Sorry for the delay between the third and fourth volumes, which was necessitated by the alteration to the hardback schedule for the last couple of books, and the paperback schedule for the last five.





    I was pleased to see Zom-B get a mention in the YA Book Mark End Of Year Book Survey for 2014. It’s number 7 in the list. http://yabookmark.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/end-of-year-book-survey-2014.html





    As many of my older fans are already aware, I write for adults as well as young adults. I released four books for adults under the name of Darren Shan, but last year I began releasing new work under a pseudonym. I don't promote the new adult books actively here, as I'm trying to keep them as separate to my YA books as possible, but at the same time I think it's only fair to make my more mature fans aware of them, so that they can buy them if they wish. The book that came out last year was initially available only as an eBook, but in response to repeated requests, I'm in the process of producing a physical version too, which should soon be on sale all around the world -- it will hopefully be available to buy within the next month or two. I'm also almost finished work on my second new adult book, and I'm hoping to release that in the summer, both as an eBook and physical book. To find out more, and to keep up with updates, CLICK HERE







    Steve Leopard... evil to the bone, or lonely and misguided? I like this thoughtful drawing and post about him, by fan EveLyn, which appeared over on my Twitter page in January. I always found Steve to be a sympathetic character. Obviously he tips far over the edge towards the end and descends into full-blown, destructive insanity, but I like to think he could have come to terms with himself and lived a far better life if Mr Tiny hadn't been tinkering in the background all the time and nudging him down a dark and twisted path.

    Maybe I'm a naive optimist, but I like to think that there's hope for all of us, that even the most warped human beings can change. That optimism is frequently challenged and knocked, such as by the events in Paris this week, but what sort of a world do we want to live in? One where we see our enemies as irredeemable, where we feel to compelled to kill or be killed? Or one where we try at all times to sit down and talk with those who oppose us, where we always try to appeal to the human in those who act inhumanly?

    I'm not saying everyone WILL be reached -- many have put themselves so far beyond the moral boundaries that there can be no going back -- but I firmly believe that the vast majority CAN be reached, if we get to them early enough, if we find the right words, if we can tread the path of righteousness and lead by example. We're only puppets of wicked destiny if we let ourselves be led by the actions of the wicked. We must always look to rise above the base urges of those who kill and destroy, or else be dragged down to their level. Mr Crepsley figured that out over the course of his difficult life. I hope the rest of us can follow his example. If not, a forlorn and lost Steve Leopard is waiting for us in the shadows...





    Sometimes I get an email that puts a BIG smile on my face. This is one of those, from the father of one of my older fans...

    "You recently signed a beano card for my son, Callan's 18th. Just to say a huge thank you as his birthday was yesterday. I made up a memory box of all things I've kept over the years that have meant so much too him, including a few of your books. He also got a holiday to Barcelona to go and watch a football game. Yet the biggest reaction was your card. It meant so much that you had taken the time.

    "I and my mates have found that sometimes it's hard being a Dad with boys when they hit teenage years as they want to get that independence quicker and you become so uncool. So when you have that common bond you just get the biggest kick and the most amazing fun. Your books have given us that gift."

    I might adapt that quote and start using it on my books -- DARREN SHAN: BIGGER AND BETTER THAN BARCELONA!!!!!!





    I did an interview with a Limerick magazine called Fusion back in October last year, and it ended up being one of the best interviews I've ever done -- it was very well researched and written, with some gorgeous photographs to match. Initially you had to pay to access it, but it has now been put on the web for FREE. I strongly recommend having a look at this. The piece about me starts on page 21. You can access the site by CLICKING HERE.







    The above images are of tattoos that two different fans recently committed to their flesh! Both were inspired by characters and quotes in my vampire books. The first, which a fan called Granniah got done, is my favourite quote from any of my books. The second, by a fan called Robert in Hungary, is of Mr Tiny and the infamous quote most associated with him. While I'm not a huge fan of tattoos, there's no denying that these are stunning, inspiring works -- I just hope they didn't hurt too much going on!!





    Sad to hear that the writer Gene Kemp has passed on. I read The Turbulent Term Of Tyke Tyler when I was in university, and it stuck in my head ever after. There was a twist in it that worked a treat, and I wondered if I could maybe replicate it myself one day. A long time later, when I started plotting my Zom-B books, I realised this was the perfect time to unleash my Tyke Tyler twist, and I set about it with glee! Without Gene Kemp's influence, B Smith might have been a very different character indeed... RIP Gene Kemp, and even in death may you be triumphant!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gene_Kemp





    I sometimes get asked at events how many books I've published, and my answer is usually a very sheepish, "Um... I'm not actually sure!" It seems bizarre (hell, it probably IS bizarre!) but I genuinely struggle to keep the numbers in my head. Maybe it's because I'm always looking forward to the next challenge, and working on so many different books at any given time.

    Anyway, since I'm going to be hitting the road again this month (see above for dates), I figured this would be a good time to tally them up and calculate the exact number. I'm going to include novellas/short books that have been published as stand-alone titles (like Koyasan) but not foreign-language books that have been put together by my publishers just for their territory (so I'm not including the Japanese Darren Shan fan book). I'll do my YA books first, then my books for adults, then tot up the numbers at the end.

    The Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak series - 12 books.
    The Demonata - 10 books.
    Zom-B - 10 books (including the Zom-B Circus novella).
    The Saga Of Larten Crepsley - 4 books.
    The Thin Executioner.

    Procession Of The Dead,
    Hell's Horizon.
    City Of The Snakes.
    Lady Of The Shades.
    The xxxx And The xxxx (as Darren xxxx -- see article above).

    That makes a grand total of...


    Of course, when Zom-B Bride goes on sale and I hit the road on your, the number will creep up to 45 (an average of just under 3 books every year!!) so I must bear that in mind!! For the individual titles of every book, and to read my author notes about them, see the Books part of my web site: http://www.darrenshan.com/books





    I recently came across a Wikipedia page dedicated to listing all of the characters from my Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak books. It's been around quite a while, I think, and seems pretty exhaustive to me, though if you spot any discrepancies, do feel free to correct it! CLICK HERE.





    They say that faith can move mountains. Well, I don't know about that, but I do know that it can move ME!!! I received the following email from a lady called Emily last month:

    "I work at the Leamington Spa branch of Waterstones, and I was wondering if there was any possible chance of coming to us for a public signing? Obviously this process would usually be done by our regional events manager contacting you/your publicist, but our events managers don't seem to believe that you would be willing to come to such a small store. I asked them when I first began my job if they had ever managed to get you for a signing, and they actually laughed and said a big author like you would never come to a store like ours. I would like to prove them wrong, and to show them that a less business minded way of approaching things can sometimes work. You have a large following in our area, and myself, our children's book specialist and our manager are all huge fans (my manager and I actually bonded over your books in my interview, and argued over which was better- the Saga or the Demonata). It would mean the world to us and our customers if you were to consider this. I've been to a number of your signings before and I would love for our customers to be able to experience it too."

    Now, maybe there ARE "big authors" out there who don't like straying from the normal tour routes and who only do signings in large cities, but I'm certainly not one of them. I love to go where the fans are, and I'm always happy to go to the more out-of-the-way places. Hell, I LIVE in an out-of-the-way place!! I put Emily straight in touch with my publicist and as a result I'm delighted to be able to announce that I'm coming to Leamington Spa on February 16th at 2.30pm as part of my Zom-B Bride tour!

    I've said it many times here before, but I'll say it again. Getting me for a signing or event is by no means an impossibility, or even a tall order. I can't go EVERYWHERE obviously, but I try to respond to as many requests as I can, especially when the people pitching show the levels of enthusiasm that Emily did. So if YOU work in bookstore or library or school, and would like to try to set up a Darren Shan event... ASK. I even supply a contact address and email address for my publicist on my web site, to make it easier for you: http://www.darrenshan.com/contact





    To celebrate the release of Zom-B Bride, I'm running an oh-so-tempting competition this month -- a chance to win a COMPLETE set of signed Zom-B books -- yes, all 12 of them!!! Of course, the winner will have to wait for books 11 and 12 to be published, but I'll post out the first ten books once I receive my copies of book 10, with 11 and 12 to follow in the future -- the winner will just need to email me around the release of book 11, and again with book 12, to remind me and confirm that their address is still valid. The books are the hardback American editions. I'm also offering two runner-up prizes, which will each comprise signed copies of the first seven British paperback Zom-B books! The competition is open to fans everywhere in the world. Pretty tasty, huh?!? So what are you waiting for -- answer the simple question below, make sure you skim through the small print to make sure your entry is valid, then email it in and keep your fingers crossed!!!


    1) Answer this question: "What is the name of the 10th Zom-B book which went on sale this month?"


    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, Tuesday, February 24th, 2015. (The day the book goes on sale in the USA.)


    (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 Wednesday, February 25th, 2015. 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) The winner of the main prize agrees that it is their responsibility to email Darren Shan (using the Contact form on www.darrenshan.com) around the release dates of books 11 and 12, to reconfirm their address and request the sending of the books when they are published.


    (10) Information submitted by entrants WILL NOT be shared by me with any other individual or company.


    (11) My decision will be final.





    And that's it for February. I'm looking forward to my short tour -- it feels like ages since the last one. I'd love to see YOU if you can make it to any of the signings or events -- they're never much fun if I'm the only one who turns up! If you do come along, feel free to bring your entire collection from home, or buy lots of my books at the store -- there are no limits on the numbers I will sign for each fan. I'll be back here at the start of March with all the latest news. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x



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