• Issue 189 - April 2016

    01 April 2016



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the April issue of the Shanville Monthly! Zom-B Goddess, the 12th and final book in my Zom-B series, goes on sale in the UK and Ireland, and Australia and New Zealand this month -- the end is upon us! You can find out more about the book and my tours to promote it below, along with all the latest news, updates and lots more!






    The end is nigh!!! The 12th and final Zom-B book goes on sale in the UK and Ireland on April 7th, and is also due to go on sale in Australia and New Zealand at the start of the month. That's the glorious cover above, and this is the book's plot synopsis on Amazon: "B Smith has escaped from the murderous clown Mr. Dowling, only to find herself trapped by someone she had once thought of as an ally. As B learns more about the twisted history of the zombie virus, she prepares to make a final stand against her enemies -- even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice." I don't want to say too much more about the book at the moment, for fear of spoiling any of its surprises, but I will say that it's an action-packed entry, with lots of fighting, lots of twists, and lots of characters biting the dust! You'll want to find a comfortable seat when you sit down to read this one, because I'm betting you won't be able to put it aside until you finish! Zom-B Goddess should be on sale in all good book stores across the UK and Ireland -- if you can't see it on the shelves, please ask a member of staff if they can order in a copy for you, or else you can order it through Amazon UK, either as a hardback or eBook, OR you can use this online PriceCheck site to find the best available price through a variety of sellers: 123PriceCheck.





    There have been a couple of great early reviews for Zom-B Goddess, from reviewers who were sent advance copies. The reviewer on So Many Books, So Little Time judged it "a suitably mind-blowing ending" and said it left her "with a big smile on my face." I can only hope that every reader has a similar response!!! While The Bookbag reviewer noted: "This last instalment of Darren Shan's zombie series is epic. It's as full of graphic gore as you could wish, has a plot twist on every other page, and includes the biggest battle of the sequence yet." Music to my ears!!!! You can click on the links to access the full reviews.






    I received a most welcome and appropriate World Book Day present last month -- finished copies of the American edition of Zom-B Goddess!!! Even though I did my last piece of editing on it more than a year ago, that was the day when it truly and finally felt genuinely DONE. I must admit, a happy tear came to my eye as I thumbed through the last few pages, recalling all the years and hard work that went into creating these 12 books (13 if you include the additional ebook, Zom-B Circus). I also started to feel, as I read the last couple of chapters, that this is maybe my favourite conclusion to any of my series. Until now, that has always been the ending of City Of The Snakes, the last book in The City trilogy, but I think Zom-B Goddess may just have eclipsed it... maybe. I hope you guys come away from the series with the same sort of warm feeling in your stomach that I experienced when I came to the end -- but no refunds if you don't!!!!





    I'm going on tour in the UK and Ireland in April, to support the release of the final Zom-B book, and later in the month I'm heading for Utah in the USA for the World Horror Convention. Don't forget, if you're coming to any of my signings or events, I'm always happy to sign as many of my books as you wish to have signed.



    Saturday 2nd April

    11.00am -- PUBLIC signing, Eason BELFAST, 40-46 Donegall Pl, Belfast BT1 5BB.

    3.00pm -- PUBLIC signing, Eason DUNDALK, 34 The Ramparts Shopping Centre, Dundalk, Co. Louth.

    Sunday 3rd April

    1.00pm -- PUBLIC signing, Eason SWORDS, Unit G1 The Pavillion Shopping Centre, Swords, Co. Dublin.

    4.00pm -- PUBLIC signing, Eason NEWBRIDGE, Unit 19/20 White Water Shopping Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare.



    Wednesday 6th April

    6.30pm -- PUBLIC panel event with DEREK LANDY, C J SKUSE and JUNO DAWSON, Waterstones BIRMINGHAM, 24-26 High Street, Birmingham B4 7SL. For FREE tickets CLICK HERE.

    Thursday 7th April

    10.30am -- PUBLIC signing, Watertsones MANCHESTER ARNDALE CENTRE, Market St, Manchester M4 3AQ.

    1.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones LEEDS, 93-97 Albion St, Leeds LS1 5JS.

    4.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones DONCASTER, 27 Frenchgate Shopping Centre, A630, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 1LJ.

    Friday 8th April

    10.30am -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones NEWCASTLE, Emerson Chambers, Blackett St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7JF.

    2.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones EDINBURGH, 128 Princes St, Edinburgh EH2 4AD.

    6.00pm -- PUBLIC event, Waterstones GLASGOW, 153-157 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3EW. To book tickets (£3), CLICK HERE.

    Saturday 9th April

    11.00a.m. PUBLIC signing, Waterstones BRISTOL GALLERIES, 11A Union Gallery, Bristol BS1 3XD.

    2.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones CARDIFF, 2A The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1WB.

    Sunday 10th April

    10.30am -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones PLYMOUTH DRAKE CIRCUS, 1 Charles St, Plymouth PL1 1EA.

    2.00pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones EXETER, 48-49 High St, Exeter EX4 3DJ.



    Friday 15th April

    4.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Eason LIMERICK, 9 O'Connell Street, Limerick.

    Saturday 16th April

    10.00am -- PUBLIC signing, MIDLETON BOOKS, 103 Main St, Midleton, Co. Cork.

    2.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones CORK, 69 Patrick St, Cork.



    28th April to May 1st 2016

    I'm going to be a guest of honor at the World Horror Convention, PROVO, UTAH, USA, doing a solo presentation ("How Far Can You Gon In YA Horror?"), a variety of panel events, signing and more. http://www.whc2016.org/main.html

    Thursday 28th April

    7.00pm -- PUBLIC event, PROVO City Library at Academy Square. This event is FREE. No tickets required. CLICK HERE.







    Whenever a new Zom-B book is due out, I like to share some of Warren Pleece's roughs for the interior art that features in it, ahead of the book's release. Above, you can find two such roughs from Zom-B Goddess. The first takes us back inside Mr Dowling's lair, where he discusses battle tactics with his mutants and babies in a unique way that only the mad clown can! The second features a scene that we've all been waiting for -- Dr Oystein and Mr Dowling engaging in a direct, vicious fight. It's going to be a wild, crazy scrap to the death, but who's going to win? More importantly -- who will you want to win?!? There's only one way to find out -- Zom-B Goddess awaits!!!





    There was distressing news for fans of the Zom-B audio books a few months ago, when my publishers declared their intention to stop making them after Zom-B Bride, meaning the last two books would never be released in that format. To be honest, I was distressed too! I immediately got in touch with my publishers and asked them if they would reconsider. If not, I asked if it would be OK if I recorded audio versions myself and released them on YouTube -- they'd be nowhere near as polished as the official adaptations, of course, but at least it would mean fans who had come all that way with B would be able to listen to the big finale. (People who hear me talk at events sometimes compliment me on my reading voice, and suggest I record the books myself, but I know that I lack the necessary vocal skills that such a full-on job requires. I'm OK in a vocal sprint, but I'd come up well short in a marathon!) Thankfully, in a show of proof that big publishing houses are ultimately run by real human beings who are open to dialogue, the powers that be at LittleBrown changed their minds and have decided to record and release the final two books in the series -- HURRAY!!!!! As far as I know, Emma Galvin will be recruited to conclude B's tale, with the audio book of Zom-B Fugitive due to go on sale in May, and Zom-B Goddess in June. I'll provide more info and buying links in the next couple of issues of the Shanville Monthly, but I wanted to give you all the heads up that they ARE on their way!!!






    I had a brilliant time in Dubai on tour last month. My events all went well, and it was a treat to meet up with lots of other authors. Some were old friends, such as Jacqueline Wilson, Garth Nix and Anthony Horowitz, while I was meeting other for the first time, such as Curtis Jobling and Christopher Edge, who are in the picture above (with a lady called Asma), after a panel event that we did together. Like virtually every single children's author that I've met over the years, they were all lovely. You sometimes hear stories of high-maintenance writers who behave poorly when on the road, but they're almost always writers for adults. When it comes to those write for children and teenagers... well, we're a wonderful, friendly bunch!!!





    "The story is always king." It's something I've said to young writers, in various ways, over the years. When a story is working, it tends to take on a life of its own, and the wise writer merely follows it along, surrendering ultimate control and going wherever the story leads. To find out more about what I mean, check out this new interview with me on Adventures In YA Publishing, where I discuss the ending of the Zom-B series, and how I had to change it when the books led me in a direction I hadn't anticipated.





    Librarians and teachers are brilliant. We don't say it enough, and they don't hear it enough, but they are. They're out there on the front lines, engaging children directly every day, trying to foster a love of learning in them, and sometimes it isn't easy. Sometimes it can be hard. Sometimes it can be soul-destroying. But the best of them persevere and overcome the odds and reach even the hardest-to-reach kids. I'm not saying they're all perfect (we all know that isn't so), but I think far more of them fight the good fight than they get credit for. And it's not just rebellious children they have to deal with -- they've also got to contend with over-opinionated parents, interfering governments, and a whole lot more. While they often get gently mocked for the length of their holidays, it's a harsh, testing career, more of a vocation than a job, and very few of us on the outside would be able to cope with what they have to endure on a regular basis.


    The reason I'm singing their praises here is because of THIS BLOG by a librarian who set up a Skype event with me a few months back. It's lovely for me on a personal level, to hear how my books are connecting with her students, but it also offers an enlightening insight into the world of a strong librarian, showing how far they'll go to try and do their best for the children under their care. Forget about vampire princes and magicians and wizards and all those other heroes that writers like me tend to focus on -- people like this librarian are the TRUE heroes of our modern-day world, and it's only right and proper that we pause to salute them every now and again, even though the very best of them never do it out of expectation of praise.





    For another truly uplifting article, read THIS beautiful little piece by a lady who was a fan of mine when she was younger, and who has returned to my world as a librarian and mother. It's a lovely reflection on the paths that books can guide us down, and the connections they can help us make with the people who matter to us most.  






    I've always enjoyed reading books for younger readers, even as I've grown into a middle-aged adult, but I know most people put them aside when they come to a certain age. It's the way of the world -- we're always moving on, maturing and changing, and books for children and teenagers quite rightly appeal mostly to those who are of their intended age. But the good news for my fans who out-grow my YA work is that I write books for adults too. I haven't been quite as prolific (or commercially successful!) on the adult front, but I've still managed to publish six books, with hopefully lots more to come. The first four of those were released under the Darren Shan banner, while the most recent two came out under the name of Darren Dash.


    The reason I'm mentioning this now is that I recently read a cool new review for Procession Of The Dead, the first book for adults that I released. (Indeed, it's the first book I ever released, as the original version came out a whole year before Cirque Du Freak.) It appears on a site called thisdreamsalive, and it was written by one of those fans who fell out of love with my YA books when they grew up, but who has now discovered a new (and more disturbing!) love for my adult fiction. CLICK HERE


    If you'd like to learn more about my books for adults, CLICK HERE for those released as Darren Shan, and CLICK HERE for the more recent Darren Dash books.





    One of the most difficult things I had to face when writing Zom-B (or any of my books, in fact) was tackling the issue of racism. It was crucial to the plot, and indeed the whole theme of the series -- I wanted this to be a story that shows that everyone has the ability to change and become a better person, regardless of where they start out in life, or who they're influenced by. But that meant writing about someone who isn't a very nice person when we first start reading about them. It was uncomfortable for me, and I know it was uncomfortable for many of my readers -- in fact some weren't able to go any further than the first book, because they found B too disgusting a character to forgive or spend any more time with. (I think they would have revised their opinion if they'd given the other books a try, but at the same time I can understand why they opted out, and knew that was always a risk when I wrote the book.) That discomforting feeling for the reader is touched upon in this highly recommended review of the first book, by a young lady called Kya on Through The Looking Glass, who also talks about how the book managed to connect with her despite its off-putting elements, which was what I always hoped it would do. You can read the full interview by CLICKING HERE








    It was World Book Day in March, and here are some photos of young Shansters who dressed up as characters from my books to mark the occasion. The first two are variations on the creepy-looking Mr Dowling from Zom-B City. The third, a boy called Fin, is one of the many zombies from my Zom-B books. And the fourth is a young Larten Crepsley, from Birth Of A Killer, the first book in the Saga Of Larten Crepsley series. Don't they all look wonderful?!?





    If you'd like to know what my favourite thing was about writing Zom-B Goddess, then click on THIS LINK for Adventures In YA Publishing, which also lists some other cool YA books that went on sale in March.





    The winners of the March Shanville Monthly competiton, who each won a signed copy of Zom-B Fugitive, were, in order drawn...

    Aidan Jonah. Alex Folkins. Alysha Lafleur. Haley Peltier. Kim Pocha. Lou-Ann Dumoulin Laurin. Matt Telnes.

    Annie Liee. Kelsey Kehoe. Sarah McGovern. Natalie Weldon. Carrie Green.

    Wyatt Wood. Rebecka Hardiman. Amber Lester. Grace Palmer. Tyler Koestner.

    Alexander Van Zeyl. Sarah Swaid. Nikita Van Zanten. Mahala Fergusen. Carolijn Kreuk. Lilith Reiter.


    Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everybody else! There will be a new competition coming soon, so stay tuned!!!





    I've given a new interview to a Dutch blogger -- but don't worry, it's all in English! In it, I talk about my favourite place in the world, the character from my books that I feel most close to, and plenty more. If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE.






    And that's it for April. I hope those of you who get your hands on Zom-B Goddess this month enjoy the big finale -- do please let me know if you do, and spread the word online via Amazon or similar sites if you can. On the other hand, if it leaves you feeling as unimpressed as my son Dante looks in the photo above, please keep your opinions to yourself!!! :-) 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



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