• Issue 180 - July 2015

    01 July 2015



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the BIRTHDAY issue of the Shanville Monthly! July always marks two anniversaries here -- my birthday in 1972, plus the Shanville Monthly's birthday in 2000. Doing the maths, that makes me 43 this year, while the SM clocks in at a far sprightlier 15. To celebrate, I'm running a birthday competition, but I'm also offering Sunburn, my latest book for adults, at a hugely discounted rate for 43 hours (see what I did there?!?) from July 2nd -- you can find out more about both of those below, along with all the latest news, including the first look at some of the interior art for Zom-B Fugitive, a couple of amazing Zom-B deals, tour updates, and lots, lots more. We'll blow out the candles on my cake at the end (metaphorically speaking), but let's kick things off with more info about that great Sunburn offer...








    Sunburnmy latest book for adults, published under the Darren Dash pseudonym, went on sale worldwide on May 1st, exclusively through Amazon. It's available as a paperback or eBook. (And the paperback is also available on some other online stores, such as Barnes & Noble.) To celebrate my 43rd birthday, I am offering the eBook at a hugely discounted rate for 43 hours from 08.00 on Thursday July 2nd to 03.00 on Saturday July 4th. I'm afraid the offer is only available through Amazon USA and Amazon UK. The start and end times are comparable on each site, i.e. in the UK it starts at 08.00 GMT on July 2nd, while in the USA it starts at 08.00 PST on July 2nd. During the offer, the ebook will cost just £0.99 in the UK (instead of £3.33) while in the USA it will cost just $0.99 (instead of $4.99). So, if you want to download it for a bargain, this is your chance! These are the links for direct access: Amazon USA and Amazon UKAnd please tell any of your friends or contacts if you think they might be interested.


    If you prefer paperback, you can buy Sunburn in that format at full price at any time, through Amazon stores worldwide, as well as certain other online stores like Barnes & Noble. You can also download it as a full-priced eBook, through any of Amazon's worldwide stores, such as Amazon CanadaAmazon Australia (only as an eBook), Amazon Germany, etc. If you live in a country that doesn't have an Amazon store, then you probably won't be able to download the eBook, but you can order the paperback and have it shipped to you -- just check around to see which store offers you the best price. If you're interested in downloading the eBook, please bear in mind that YOU DO NOT NEED A KINDLE. You can download a FREE KINDLE APP to whatever device you prefer, e.g. Mac, iPad, smartphone, tablet, etc. You can then use that App to buy books from the Kindle store and download them to your device. I've kept the cover price as low as I can with the paperback, and the eBook is on sale for approximately a third the cost of that, so it's pretty good value, even if I say so myself!! :-)


    Sunburn is also part of KDP Select, which means it is available for FREE to those who subscribe to Kindle Unlimited, or who borrow the book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.






    I have two great Zom-B deals to tell you about this month. First up, for fans in the UK who prefer to read their books on a device, the ebook of the second ZOM-B CHRONICLES is currently on sale until July 12th. This collects books 3 and 4 in the series (Zom-B City and Zom-B Angels) and costs just £0.99 during the sale -- that's less than 50p per book!!!!! This offer should be running across all online sellers, but here's the link for Amazon UK, and remember, you don't need a Kindle reader to buy ebooks -- you can download a FREE Kindle app to your computer or smartphone and buy and read books on that. CLICK HERE.


    For thos who prefer old-fashioned paperbacks, there's another offer in play. Lowplex in the UK are offering all of the first six ZOM-B books for the incredibly low price of just £12.99!! Plus they ship worldwide, so fans in other countries can take advantage of the offer too. UK shipping is just £2.65. Europe comes in at around £17, while rest of the world seems to be about £27. So what are you waiting for? If you haven't yet jumped onboard the ZOM-B express, this is the perfect time to start!! CLICK HERE.





    I've written a piece for The Guardian about the perils of beheading mothers in YA books. It harks back to when I first presented my editor with an early draft of Lord Loss... her shock and dismay when she read chapter two... and how I cunningly tweaked it to soften the blow for her, but not lose any of the really heart-stopping stuff for the rest of my readers. It's one of my more humorous recollections, and always goes down well when I chat about it at events, so don't miss it!! CLICK HERE






    YALC stands for Young Adult Lit Con, and it's part of the London Film And Comic Con. And the reason I'm telling you this? Well, because I'm doing an event and signing at it this month, that's why! I was there last year for its inauguration, and I enjoyed myself so much that I jumped at the chance to go back when they invited me! The Con runs for three days, but I will only be there on the FIRST day, which is FRIDAY, JULY 17th. I'm doing an event at 2.30pm with fellow authors Will Hill, Dawn Kurtagich and Lou Morgan, chaired by Matt Whyman. I'll be signing afterwards for a couple of hours, or even longer if there's a big crowd -- I won't leave until I've signed for everyone! There are advantages and disadvantages to appearing on the Friday. The major downside, of course, is that some fans won't be able to come because of work or school. But the big positives are that it should be quieter than the Saturday or Sunday (lots of people couldn't get in last year when I was there on the Saturday) and it's also the cheapest day to buy a ticket!! To find out more, and to book tickets, CLICK HERE. Oh, and for any convention regulars who pay a fortune to meet actors from famous films and shows, and who want to know how much I charge for my autograph or a photo, the answer is... nothing!!! Yep, I'm perfectly happy to sign for free (as many of my books as each fan wishes to get signed -- there are no limits) and you're more than welcome to have your photo taken with me too, and again there's no charge.






    If you're a student or teacher or school librarian living in the Norwich area in the UK, and you would like to FLY with Darren Shan, then you should look into getting tickets to come see me when I visit the city in July. I'll be doing a SCHOOLS event for the FLY festival, talking about my books, answering questions, signing books, and strangling (see above)!! Booking is now open, and there's good news -- I was originally going to be in a venue that could hold 280 people, but tickets sold out within the first couple of days, so they've moved me to a bigger venue that holds nearly 500!! Click on THIS LINK to find out more about when I'm performing and how to book to come see me -- tickets might still be available, though I can't make any guarantees! You can also read a bit more about the festival in this Eastern Daily Press article.







    The eleventh Zom-B book, Zom-B Fugitive, goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on September 10th, and in the USA and Canada on September 22nd. Those are the American and British covers above, by series regular Cliff Nielsen. Below are a couple of roughs for the interior art, by our other series regular, Warren Pleece. The first is a triumphant moment for B, as she lays her hands upon something that might offer humanity its best chance of winning the war with the living dead. The second picture features one of my favourite characters from the entire series, Holy-Moly! I know you haven't seen much of the mini killer up until this point, but I think hearts are going to melt as you read through the last two books. Well, I hope they do!!




    It's getting tricky to feature interior art at this stage of the game, as I don't want to give any big twists away! But, by choosing carefully, I think I can whet your appetite without spoiling things too much, so expect another couple of roughs next month, and maybe one or two more in September.


    Zom-B Fugitive should be available through all good high street and online book stores once it goes on sale, but if you wish to pre-order, here are some handy links. Amazon UK hardcoverAmazon UK kindleAmazon USA hardcoverAmazon Canada hardcover.





    "If you had to be trapped inside a TV show for a month, which show would it be?"


    That's a question I'd never been asked until last month, when I gave a short, fun interview to Libraries Ireland for a summer reading initiative. They also asked me what my favourite word is, and what meal I would eat if I had to eat the same meal every day for the rest of my life. If you want to find out my answers, CLICK HERE.





    It's very rare for a reviewer to review EVERY. SINGLE. BOOK. in a long series. Time is short, there are lots of other books to read and review, and people probably get annoyed if a reviewer that they're following keeps writing about one particular series. BUT, luckily for writers like me who work outside normal publishing industry standards, you get the occasional maverick like Matthew R Bell, with the passion and vision to see the job through to the end. He's just finished reviewing, on an individual basis, all twelve books in The Saga Of Darren Shan, and every review is thoughtfully crafted and extremely well written. He doesn't just gush about the books, but zones in on what actually is good (or bad) about each one, and what makes the books work. That's very rare in a reviewer -- most simply express an opinion, but show very little evidence that they understand the background mechanics of storytelling. I don't think truly insightful reviewers get the sort of acclaim that they deserve, which is why I'm taking this opportunity to highlight Matthew's talents. Here's THE LINK for his review of Sons Of Destiny, for those who want to start at the end, and you can work backwards from there -- he's also reviewed most of my other books, along with a whole host of books by other authors. Go give some of his reviews a read if you have the time -- I think you'll enjoy them. 








    While the three images above look like posters for a very cool crime movie, they are actually the RUSSIAN covers for the three books in my CITY trilogy -- Procession Of The Dead, Hell's Horizon and City Of The Snakes. The first two books went on sale in Russia last month, with the third book set to be published in July. The cover for the third book is still in development, which is why it doesn't look quite as polished as the others -- I'll add the final image once it's been sent to me.


    My City books for older readers are on sale in many countries around the world, including the UK and USA. You should be able to order copies through your local bookseller, or else online through a site like Amazon. To find out if they're available in YOUR country, CLICK HERE.





    If YOU would like to come meet Darren Shan, then please note that I'm doing some SCHOOL and PUBLIC EVENTS in the UK in the summer, and then again in September/October around the release of Zom-B Fugitive (that tour is still in the early planning stages -- I've added two events, with more to follow). I'm also going to be appearing at the Sharjah International Book Fair in November, the Dubai Literary Festival in March 2016, and the USA World Horror Convention in April 2016, and of course there will be a big Irish/UK tour when Zom-B 12 goes on sale -- do please come if you can, to hear me read from my books, answer questions and sign your copies of my books. 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!


    Wednesday 15th July

    2.30pm -- SCHOOLS event, NORWICH FLY Festival, Norwich, UK. If you are a teacher, librarian or student in the Norwich area, and wish to book tickets, CLICK HERE

    Friday 17th July

    2.30pm -- PUBLIC event and signing at YALC, the Young Adult Literary Convention, part of the LONDON Film And Comic Con. http://www.childrenslaureate.org.uk/yalc/


    Thursday 27th August

    11.00am to 12.00pm -- SCHOOLS event, Carnegie Hall, East Port, DUNFERMLINE. If you are a teacher or school librarian interested in bringing students to this event, CLICK HERE. (If you are a student, show this to your teacher or librarian, and try to sweet-talk them into following it up!)

    Thursday 27th August

    11.00am to 12.00pm -- SCHOOLS event, Auchmuty High School, Dovecot Road, GLENROTHES. If you are a teacher or school librarian interested in bringing students to this event, CLICK HERE. (If you are a student, show this to your teacher or librarian, and try to sweet-talk them into following it up!)

    Friday 28th August

    1.30pm -- SCHOOLS event, EDINBURGH Book Festival, Scotland. If you are a teacher or school librarian interested in bringing students to see me at the Festival, CLICK HERE. (If you are a student, show this to your teacher or librarian, and try to sweet-talk them into bringing you!)

    Saturday 29th  August

    3.45pm -- PUBLIC event, EDINBURGH Book Festival, Scotland. For more info and to book tickets CLICK HERE


    Friday 25th September

    Time TBC -- SCHOOLS event, Isle Of Man, part of the Manx Litfest. CLICK HERE

    Time TBC -- SCHOOLS event, Isle Of Man, part of the Manx Litfest. CLICK HERE

    Time TBC -- PUBLIC event, Isle Of Man, part of the Manx Litfest. CLICK HERE


    Saturday 3rd  October

    6.30pm -- PUBLIC event with CHARLIE HIGSON, Bath Children's Literature Festival. For more info and to book tickets CLICK HERE.

    Sunday 4th  October

    6.15pm -- PUBLIC event, Cheltenham Literature Festival. CLICK HERE.


    November 2015

    I'm going to be appearing at the Sharjah International Book Fair. More details TBC closer the time. CLICK HERE


    March 2016

    I'm going to be appearing at the Dubai Literary Festival. More details TBC closer the time. CLICK HERE


    28th April to May 1st 2016

    I'm going to be a guest of honor at the World Horror Convention, PROVO, UTAH, USA. More details TBC closer the time. http://www.whc2016.org/home.html






    The Edinburgh Book Festival programme launched last month. As usual, it's one of the most exciting line-ups imaginable -- and, as usual, I'm delighted to be part of it! Edinburgh was the first book festival I ever went to as an author, and I've been back every year since -- this will be my 16th appearance in a row!! As well as school events (see below) I'm doing a PUBLIC EVENT on Saturday, August 29th, at 3.45pm. Tickets are now on sale. You can find out more about the event, and book tickets, by CLICKING HERE. And you can download the full festival programme, to see what else is on (I'd strongly recommend trying to see Eoin Colfer, who is on earlier that day) over here: https://www.edbookfest.co.uk/


    As I said above, I'm also doing some school events to tie in with my visit to this year's Edinburgh Book Festival. I'm going to be doing Outreach events on Thursday August 27th, i.e. going to visit some schools. And I'm doing a big schools event in Charlotte Square (the Book Festival centre) on Friday August 28th, for groups who can travel to it. If you're a teacher or librarian in Scotland who wants to find out more about these events, and if you're interested in registering to either bring a group of children to the Book Festival to see me (or other authors), or maybe have me (or other authors) come visit your school, CLICK HERE for more details and to make a booking.





    A fan pointed me towards THIS ARTICLE about YA book adaptations that failed to launch franchises. Cirque Du Freak is one of the books/films mentioned. I'm not going to get into a debate about whether or not the film is any good -- I've said many times that I do like it for what it is, although obviously I would have preferred a much more faithful adaptation. But the article raises an interesting point about WHY it (and lots of other successful YA books that were adapted into movies) failed to generate a sequel. If you look on IMDB, you'll see that a lot of viewers actually like the CDF film -- it has an aggregate user rating of 6/10, from almost 34,000 votes. And in fact a lot of critics did too, even though it's generally represented these days as having been panned by all of them -- I read every review at the time, about 120, and a third were positive, a third were neutral, and only a third were negative. And what usually united the negative reviews were a) they thought it was a Twilight cash-in, and b) they didn't like the fact that it was trying to set up a series, rather than tell a one-off story -- they thought the makers were doing that just to try to squeeze more money out of viewers, so they were against it from the moment the credits rolled. In reality, the film had been in the pipeline long before the Twilight books or movies ever came along, and while I do think the film would have worked better if it hadn't tried so hard to hint at what was coming next (something I didn't do in the first 3 books), the story WAS a twelve-book storyline, so the sequel potential was in-built from the beginning. Anyway, as I said, the article is an interesting look into why most film adaptations of YA book series don't result in long-term movie series, so I'd recommend it regardless of whether you liked the CDF film or not, and also to get a quick reminder of just how many adaptations fall at the first hurdle.


    And following that up, a different fan drew my attnetion to another ARTICLE about why movie adaptations of popular books often fail. The argument in this one is that maybe the medium just isn't right, and that TV works better for a book series. I've got to say, it's something I've been thinking about a lot myself over the last several years, and I'm inclined to agree with the author's line of reasoning. TV has changed massively in recent times, and has shown itself as the ideal mode of storytelling for longer, more challenging tales. The biggest problem with making movies of The Saga or The Demonata or Zom-B is the sheer scale of the stories being told -- I dream BIG!!! Maybe TV is where they would work best, visually speaking... Having said that, alas it's not as simple as me giving someone at Netflix a buzz and telling them to start the camera rolling. Movie companies and TV companies usually approach writers, rather than it happening the other way round, and any adaptation is a VERY costly, complicated business, with dozens (ultimately hundreds) of people involved. Sometimes everything lines up neatly and classic films or shows are made. More often, the adaptation results in a dud. And more often than that, there's no adaptation at all. I'm always open to my works being adapted -- as many fans have commented over the last several years, they'd never heard of my books until the Cirque Du Freak film came along, and that served as their entry point into my universe -- but at the moment I'm just keeping my fingers crossed and waiting for the phone to ring. Well... not JUST waiting, of course -- I'm using the time fruitfully by writing more books!!!!! 



    TOP 30



    I like this list of 30 (and ONLY 30!!) recommended books by a 12 year old with a voracious appetite for the written word. And I LOVE his incredibly short but spot-on review for Zom-B!!!! To find out what he had to say about it (along with the other 29 books) CLICK HERE.





    Have you ever wondered how old I was when I decided to become a writer? Or what inspired the creation of Cirque Du Freak, Lord Loss and Zom-B? What my favourite book is out of all the books that I've written? If you want to learn the answers to these questions and more, then check out my most recent INTERVIEW on The Literary Connoisseur, which also features one of the sweetest introductions to an interview with me that I've ever read... CLICK HERE.






    How cool is this recreation of the environment of the Cirque Du Freak?!? It's the work of a fan called Sydney Isaac, who produced it as a university project. (I included a link to the earlier draft some months back.) I'm sure she'll get a great grade for it -- if not, I'll be tracking down her peers to find out why!!!





    The Washington Post is one of a few famous local newspapers that people all around the world know about, due mainly to Watergate and the part it played in bringing down Richard Nixon. (A pity they couldn't have done something similar with Sepp Blatter many years ago!!) So, while I'm always delighted to see any of my books merit a mention in a publication, it was extra nice to see ZOM-B get a lovely write-up in a recent issue of The Washington Post, in an article of suggested books for children to read during the summer. I just hope this doesn't mean I'm about to get impeached!!!!! CLICK HERE





    The winners for the June Shanville Monthly competition, in the order drawn, were:


    Aislinn Toner, Northern Ireland.  Andrea G Mann, USA.  Heidi Wyatt, England.  Katia Collazo, USA.  Mattanja Koenz, Netherlands.  Georgia Vecchio, Australia.  Clarrie Ariel Sim Siew Lian, Malaysia.  Elora Nebeker, USA.  Kevin Paulk, USA.  Stephanie Birc, Engand.


    I received 603 correct, valid entries in total (more than usual) from all corners of the globe. Congratulations to the winners, and best of luck next time to everyone else!






    July 2nd, 2015 marks my 43rd birthday -- young Master Shan is getting old! To "celebrate," I'm running a competition with... wait for it... 43 prizes up for grabs!!!! (See what I did there?!?) In the order that they appear in the photo overhead from the bottom up, I have: 10 copies of the UK edition of Zom-B Chronicles III (paperback; it collects books 5 and 6 in the series), 5 copies of the Canadian edition of Zom-B Family (hardback), 5 copies of the UK edition of Zom-B Bride (paperback), 5 copies of the American edition of Palace of the Damned (hardback), 5 copies of the American edition of Brothers To The Death (hardback), 5 copies of the UK edition of The Thin Executioner (paperback), 5 copies of the American manga edition of The Lake Of Souls (paperback), and 3 copies of the American edition of Procession of the Dead (paperback). I will sign and date each book on the day of my birthday. To be in with a chance of winning one of the 43 prizes, read the entry guidelines below, answer the simple question... and good luck!!


    1) Answer this question: "What age will Darren Shan become on July 2nd, 2015?"


    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. Plus, please list your first choice prize, as well as a second choice -- I can't guarantee that each winner will receive their preferred book, but I will do the best I can to try to give you one of your two preferences.


    (4) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Sunday, July 19th, 2015.


    (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 Monday, July 20th, 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 in the Shanville Monthly, and on Facebook too.


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


    (10) My decision will be final.





    I like the company I'm sharing in THIS ARTICLE from Stouffville, Canada! Also, is it a coincidence that so many of the horror writers mentioned have surnames or first names starting with an S?!? Sephera, Shan, Shaun, Shelley, Snow, Stephen, Stine, Stoker... Or is it deStiny?!?!?






    Over the years, quite a few fans of mine have had themselves tattooed with images or quotes from my books. The most common line to be appropriated is my favourite from any of my novels: "Even in death may you be triumphant." Aaron, the guy in the photo above, is the latest to join the ranks of IFS (Illustrated Flesh Shansters!) and I have to say he's gone about it with more gusto than most! The design and size of the piece made my jaw drop! In fact I was so blown away by it that it was only when I read it again that I realised the line has been changed to "Even in death shall you be triumphant." When I asked, Aaron admitted he had made a mistake, realized it halfway through, but decided to press ahead regardless. While I'm normally a stickler for getting the details correct, I'm more than happy to grant Aaron a little leeway in this instance, and happily offer him my full kudos for executing the tattoo with such fierce style!!!





    And that's it for July. I won't be doing anything exciting for my birthday, just spending it with family, but that's the nicest way to celebrate a birthday in my opinion. I'm looking forward to doing my two events, in Norwich and London -- it feels like ages since I was last on the road! I'll be back here at the start of August with all the latest news and updates, and maybe some more info about Zom-B Fugitive. 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.