• Issue 177 - April 2015

    01 April 2015



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the April issue of the Shanville Monthly. Zom-B Bride is still bubbling along nicely with readers -- there have been some more great reviews for it since last month, which I've highlighted below. I enjoyed my March events, and the LIVECHAT on Facebook for World Book Day -- though it did pass by in a fingers-whooshing-across-my-keyboard blur as I raced to keep up with all the questions coming in!! April will be a more relaxed month for me in terms of touring, although I am doing one public event in Ireland, in an amazing venue -- a CASTLE!!! I hope to get plenty of editing done while I'm off the road, and who knows, maybe even a bit of writing. In the meantime, there's plenty to report on, from early reports of what might one day be my first musical work(!!) to news of imminent stirrings on the adult book front. Read on to find out more...






    The third Zom-B collection goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on April 9th. That's the nifty cover above! It's called Zom-B Chronicles III, and it collects books 4 and 5 of the series, bringing the first half of the storyline to a close. There will be a sizeable gap until the fourth volume goes on sale (it's scheduled for October 2016!!) but to compensate collectors of the Chronicles for the long wait, we're hoping to include Zom-B Circus as part of the package for free, to sweeten the deal. You should be able to buy or order Zom-B Chronicles III from your local bookseller, along with the first two volumes and almost any of my other books, but if you prefer to buy online, I recommend Amazon UK, which usually offers the best price. You can buy the paperback or download it as an eBook through them by CLICKING HERE.


    American fans, please note that although the Zom-B Chronicles are also being produced in the USA, their editions actually collect three books at a time! The second American volume, collecting books 4, 5 and 6 is due to go on sale on October 5th, and I imagine the third volume will go on sale next year, probably around the same time as volume four in the UK.






    What makes for sweeter listening than a Darren Shan audio book?!? The tenth Zom-B book, Zom-B Bride, is now available as an audio book in the USA, read by the always-on-the-ball Emma Galvin, who has been the voice of B Smith since the series started. I usually recommend a site called Ambling Books, as they offer good discounts, but they don't yet seem to have it in stock. Instead you can buy the CD set through Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Zom-B-Bride-Book-10/dp/1478958979/ or download it via Audible: http://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/Zom-B-Bride-Audiobook/B00T80AG6G/


    In the UK the company making the British audio books went bust, but all is not lost! You can buy the CD set of the American edition through Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bride-Zom-B-Darren-Shan/dp/1478958979/


    You should also be able to buy the American CD set anywhere else in the world, through either of the Amazon links above -- just check before buying, to make sure you get the best deal. Happy listening!!






    Isn't the drawing above of B and Mr Dowling on their special day just the sweetest thing you've ever seen?!? I especially like the inclusion of the cute-slash-terrifying babies! It was done by talented Shanster, Hannah Cooper, one of the many readers who have given the book a big two thumbs up -- it's been getting rave reviews from almost everyone. You can check out some of the glowing feedback on Goodreads OVER HERE and on Amazon UK by CLICKING HERE. And if YOU want to post a positive review yourself on either site (or, indeed, any other), you'll make Mr Dowling a VERY happy clown...


    The fab reviews by critics for Zom-B Bride are also still trickling in. (I'd love to be able to say that they were flooding in, but I know from writing two long series before that by the time you get to the 10th book, reviews are very thin on the ground! Which is why I EXTRA appreciate those few sturdy, determined reviewers who stick with a series to the very end, delivering their reports come hell or high water!!!)


    Ahem... I digress! Back to what I was saying. There have been some very strong reviews for Zom-B Bride since last month's issue of the Shanville Monthly. First of all, Empire Of Books opined that "ten books into a twelve book saga, most threads would of been tied together by now, but not with the Zom-B series, oh no! There is still life in the old gal and for now she is on full steam ahead, rattling towards what is sure to be a cataclysmic finale, and until that point there is still a lot of shocking to be done, and Zom-B Bride is most definitely full of shocks. Physically and metaphorically speaking too!" Next there was one from Writing From The Tub, where the reviewer notes that "Zom-B Bride takes things further than it ever has before and truly sets the wheels in motion for what I’m sure is going to be an explosive finale." And then Bookworm Bird also trumpeted Zom-B Bride's cause, stating that "In Zom-B Bride, we see the pieces of the puzzle slowly starting to form, the strings twisting their path to the ultimately insane, gruesome but thrilling climax." I've gathered together all of the reviews for Zom-B Bride so far -- while most of them are hugely positive, there IS one stinker in the pack, from a reviewer who didn't find it mature enough for them -- proof that I DO include every review that I come across, whether it's positive or negative! To read them all, the good, the bad and the ugly, CLICK HERE.


    Most of you reading this have probably already read Zom-B Bride, but in case anyone has yet to join the party, it's now on sale in the UK, USA, Ireland and Canada, either as a physical book or eBook. Look for it in your local bookshop (ask a member of staff to order a copy in for you if you can't find it on the shelves) or buy online from your favourite seller -- there are some links below. It's also going on sale in Australia and New Zealand in July, though I think it might just be as an eBook over there...


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












    I'm doing a single PUBLIC EVENT in April, in Waterford in Ireland -- it's in a stately castle, the one in the photo above, so it should be quite a fun event -- do please come if you can, to hear me read from my books, answer questions and sign your copies of my books. I'm also doing some other school and public events in Ireland and the UK over the next few months. Here are the details as they currently stand. School events are only for invited school groups (although individuals can sometimes get in too, if they contact the school/library in advance). Public events are open to anyone who wants to come along, though you usually have to acquire tickets in advance to be certain of a place. If you plan to come to any of my 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!


    Saturday 18th April

    2.00pm -- public event, Towering Tales Festival, Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland. http://www.towersandtales.ie/


    Saturday 23rd May

    3.00pm -- public event, Wicklow Arts Festival, Wicklow, Ireland. http://www.wicklowartsfestival.ie/


    Wednesday 15th July

    2.30pm -- schools event, Norwich FLY Festival, Norwich, UK.


    Friday, Saturday, Sunday 17th, 18th, 19th July

    Date(s) and Times TBC -- public signing/event. YALC, Young Adult Literary Convention, part of the London Film And Comic Con. I will be appearing at this festival, but it has yet to be confirmed if I will be there on just one day or more, or what that day (or those days) will be. Updates to follow when confirmed.


    August - dates TBC

    school events and public event, Edinburgh Book Festival, Scotland.





    There's a new, short interview with me on the Chapter Book Challenge site, in which I talk about my motivation, the many uses that a good horror story can be put to, and the need to inject a bit of humour into proceedings. Check it out by CLICKING HERE -- it won't take you very long!!!


    There's also a short interview with me on the always-fabulous Adventures In YA Publishing site. This is one of the best sites about YA books that I've ever come across, so I recommend you bookmark it or join to keep abreast of updates. CLICK HERE.


    For a longer, more in-depth interview with me, check out this one from The Fountain, a new site that focuses on Young Adult Fiction. I talk about both my YA and adult books, and how I juggle the two... the merits of a long series versus a one-off book... who the TRUE Master Of Horror is... and lots more!! I like to think that I'm a pretty good interviewee when I get asked good questions, and these questions were VERY good, so come listen to me wax lyrical, why don'tcha, by CLICKING HERE?!? 






    Lady Of The Shades, a book I wrote for older readers a few years back, went on sale in Taiwan in March, and here's a quick snapshot of me posing with one of the copies that they sent me -- I got into character as best I could, to reflect the cover image!! I've also taken a photo of me with the very different but equally effective back page. I LOVE the packaging of this book! If you live in Taiwan and want to check out and Like my publisher's Facebook page, here's the link: https://www.facebook.com/darrenshanincrown


    Lady of the Shades is on sale in the UK and several other countries -- see the Covers part of http://www.darrenshan.com to find out if it's available in YOUR territory. If it isn't, you can order a British copy from Amazon UK by CLICKING HERE -- I'm pretty sure they ship almost anywhere in the world.





    I was very saddened to hear that the author Mal Peet died last month. I met Mal a few times over the years, most recently last October, when he introduced an event that I was doing, and then came to a dinner party with me afterwards. We had a great night, largely reminiscing about the time we met in Dubai at a literary festival, where we found out about a secret bar in our hotel -- we'd head there every night with some other children's authors, and behaved in a most rowdy way!! Mal was excellent company, the sort of guy you just wanted to be stuck next to on a long cruise to nowhere. I had no idea he was ill when we last met -- I remember thinking that he looked to be in brilliant health for a man in his mid-sixties, and hoped that I'd have that sort of drive and vivacity when I was his age. We made vague plans to meet up again in the near future -- maybe even in Dubai -- but I guess now we'll have to wait until our paths cross in Vampire Paradise. Even in death, may you be triumphant, Mal. I'll miss you.


    The world will also be a significantly less jolly place without Terry Pratchett and his books. Toodle-pip you mad old be-hatted whizz of a writer! I met Terry a few times over the years, but never got to spend quality time (i.e. have a few drinks in a pub!) with him, so I don't have any good stories to share. About the only one of any minor note is the time he was introduced to me at a children's event in 10 Downing Street (back when Tony Blair was in office -- he turned out to be a boo-hiss villain of a PM in most respects, but at least he appreciated the importance of children's books!). "An Irishman with a Chinese surname?" he purred, seeming amused and intrigued. He was whisked away before I could explain the origins of my pseudonym. I'd hoped to chat a bit more with him later on, but our paths didn't cross, and now, sadly, they won't ever again.



    "NEW" ART




    I've added loads of "new" art to my site recently, with covers from various countries around the world. The reason I used quotation marks around the word new, by the way, is because some of the covers are years old, such as the first one here, which is the Vietnamese cover for The Lake Of Souls -- I had never been sent copies of the Vietnamese editions of books 7 to 12 of The Saga Of Darren Shan until a month or two ago, so this was the first chance I had to add them. The second scan is of a VERY limited edition of Hell's Heroes that came out in the UK in 2009. The third IS relatively new, being one of the cover roughs for Zom-B Bride.


    I added covers from Bulgaria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Korea, Portugal, Taiwan, Turkey, the UK, the USA, and Vietnam. To check them out, along with covers of my books from ALL the other countries where they have been released, CLICK HERE. But be warned -- if you want to see them ALL, you're going to have to set aside a good chunk of time! But it will be worth it!!!






    The manga edition of Lake Of Souls, book 10 of The Saga Of Darren Shan, goes on sale in Finland on April 10th. I don't yet have the cover to share with you, but that's the volume 9 cover above, and you can find the covers of the first eight volumes by CLICKING HERE.






    Reviewer Matthew R Bell has recently reviewed all ten books of The Demonata over on his BookBlogBonanza site -- CLICK HERE for a link to the tenth, Hell's Heroes, and you can find the rest of them in the Book Reviews Index, along with reviews for all my Zom-B books and The Thin Executioner.


    I love reading Matthew's reviews, not because he says such nice things about my books (though that doesn't hurt!) but because he's a very skillful reviewer. While I always appreciate the time that reviewers take to read books and write their reviews, you can really notice a difference between someone who can write a high-class review and someone who can't. Matthew is one of the best I've come across, in terms of getting his points across in clear, concise, interesting ways, without rambling. If there are any budding reviewers reading this, I'd recommend you check out some of Matthew's reviews for an insight into how it should be done.


    Meanwhile, if any of you are looking to pick up a complete set of the UK editions of The Demonata at a bargain price, then I'd recommend Lowplex, where all ten books are currently on sale for the amazing low price of just £18.99!!!! They also ship worldwide at very good rates, so you can order them from just about anywhere. CLICK HERE to make all you cut-price demon dreams come true!!!!






    CLICK HERE for an interesting essay that a fan called Chloe recently sent to me, called Journey Of A Hero, in which she looks at the dramatical dynamics of The Saga Of Darren Shan. While I'm no academic, and would far prefer to read a book than to read a book ABOUT a book, Chloe makes some interesting points. See if you agree with them, or if you can find any insights that she maybe overlooked...


    If you haven't read The Saga in a while and would like to refresh your memory -- or indeed if you're a newcomer and haven't yet read my vampire books, or even if you just want to buy the perfect present for that special someone in your life -- you can pick up the complete set at an eye-watering discount through that site called Lowplex again -- all 12 books for just £15.99!!!! That works out at just £1.33 per book!!!! It really is an incredible offer -- they also ship worldwide at very reasonable rates, so it's not just confined to my British Shansters either. To get in on the act, CLICK HERE.


    Oh, and they have the Mr Crepsley books too, for a very good price of just £11.99 for all 4 books in the set! To access that offer and find out what Mr C was getting up to in the 200 years before he met Darren and Steve at the Cirque Du Freak, CLICK HERE.






    I finished my second draft of Koyasan: The Musical last month. I've been working on this since last year, having been thinking about it for several years before that, and I think it's developing quite nicely, although of course I could be completely deluded about that, given the fact that this is the first time I've ever attempted something like this! "Coming soon to a theatre near you?" I doubt it! Even if the current draft is as strong as I hope it is, these things move VERY slowly. But hopefully it will see the lights of the stage one day...


    Koyasan, by the way, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is a short book which I released for World Book Day back in 2006. It's been released in several other countries since then -- see the Covers part of my site to find out if it's on sale where YOU live. Although currently out of print in the UK, you can usually find lots of copies on Amazon UK, normally at a very low price, by CLICKING HERE. And if you try it and it tickles your fancy, make sure you look out for campanion-piece Hagurosan as well,





    THIS ARTICLE might be of interest to teachers out there who want to blur the lines between the sciences and literature -- to perhaps create a new field called lience or sciterature?!? All jesting aside, this is a very interesting article, describing ways in which the sciences and arts can not only coexist peacefully side-by-side in schools, but actually feed into one another to their mutual advantage. Oh, and one of the ways of doing that is by using Zom-B, which is why the piece caught my attention in the first place...






    I have a new book for adults coming out in the summer. (That's NOT the cover above -- that's the cover of the first book I released under my new pseudonym last year, which also went on sale in a paperback edition worldwide last month.) My plan is to release the new book as both a paperback and eBook at the same time. That way, those of you who don't mind paying extra for a physical format won't have a long, annoying wait!


    If there are any reviewers out there who are interested in reading an advance copy of the new book, you can email a request to [email protected] Just include a link to where your previous reviews are posted online, and as long as you're on the level, I'll be happy to consider emailing you a Word version of it. You don't need to be a professional reviewer, just someone who has posted a variety of reviews in the past. (Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon will be taken into consideration, depending on the volume of them.)


    Oh, and I'm happy to give interviews too, so if you run or contribute to a site that posts author interviews, feel free to approach me with questions, and I'll do my best to provide answers!


    The new book is a tale of three friends who go on holiday to Bulgaria, where they have an unfortunate encounter with a most unusual beast in the isolated, forested mountains of the country. More of a traditional horror novel than my last adult book, it's a fast-paced, slightly tongue-in-cheek look at modern relationships, the bonds of friendship, the nature of monsters, the beauties of the Bulgarian countryside... and the pains of getting sunburnt!


    To find out more about my books for older readers, visit the web site for my alter ego, by CLICKING HERE. As I said above, the first book (the one I'm holding in the photo) is now on sale through various Amazon stores all around the world.





    I often get asked what sort of music I listen to. The answer is that my tastes are wide and varied, though mostly they fall on the rockier side of the pop fence. For World Book Day, I was asked to list ten songs that I would recommend, and you can find what I came up with by CLICKING HERE. Please note, although there are links on the page to Spotify for 8 of the songs (and I'm sure you can find them elsewhere on the web too), 2 of them are unlinked, because they are fan-produced music inspired by my books. You can find Lord Loss by Rose Weeks if you CLICK HERE, and Annie Baby by Lee's Portrait by CLICKING HERE. Trust me, both songs are WELL worth checking out!!!!






    Isn't this drawing of The Cardinal from my book for adults (also my first ever published book), Procession of the Dead, just absolutely amazing?!? It's when I see a great picture like this that I regret having all the artistic talent of a duck!! It's by Will Cartwright, a fan of the book. I hope to add lots of new fan art to my site at some point in the near future -- I have about 40 pieces scanned in, and now I just need to get the time to upload them -- so stay tuned for updates.


    Procession of the Dead, by the way is the first book in a trilogy called The City. All three books are available in the UK, USA and certain other countries, as either physical books or eBooks -- see the Books and Covers sections of www.darrenshan.com for more info.





    I drew the winners for the March Shanville Monthly competition, and the lucky names out of the hat were:


    Joseph Sewell, UK.
    Aicha Bennegadi, Australia.
    Judit Jambor, Hungary.
    Chris Simigliano, USA.
    Chelsi Lawrence, USA.


    Each winner receives a signed copy of the Canadian edition of Zom-B Bride. There were 161 correct entries in total. Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everybody else! There will be another Shanville Monthly competition coming soon. 






    And that's it for April. March 17th, of course, was St Patrick's Day, when people in Ireland and all around the world added a bit of green to their lives, whether by wearing a green jumper, drinking a green pint of Guinness, or turning the colour of their local river a nice greenish shade. But for one smooth-talking, elegantly-attired, lady-attracting young gentlemen, EVERY day is St Patrick's Day!! I refer, of course, to that most verdantly hirsute of creatures, Sire Vancha March!!! Kudos to HarperCollins Australia for not forgetting about Vancha, and creating the brilliant meme above. Nice one, ladies and gents -- nice one!!! This April I'm going to be busy working on getting the new adult book ready for publication, as well as hopefully doing more work on my next YA book too, i.e. the book that I plan to release when Zom-B has finished. There will be more about both of those projects in the weeks, months and years to come. But for now, you'll just have to dream about what weird wonders I might be cooking up for you next!! I'll be back here at the start of May 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 (very rarely updated!) YouTube page.