• Issue 198 - January 2017

    01 January 2017



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the January issue of the Shanville Monthly. It's the start of a new year, and while 2017 probably won't be an especially busy one for me on the publishing and touring front, I hope to get lots of hard work done behind the scenes, working on new books over the coming twelve months -- and writing, of course, is the most important thing of all for a writer! But before I lock myself down at my PC, here's all the latest Darren Shan/Dash news and updates, starting with my latest release for adults, An Other Place...






    As most of you probably already know, I write books for adults under the name of Darren Dash. My latest release came out last month, and it's called An Other Place. It is on sale exclusively through Amazon stores worldwide, as both a paperback and ebook. You can learn a bit more about it by visiting my Darren Dash website: www.darrendashbooks.com And here are direct links to the UK and USA Amazon and Kindle pages:


    UK paperbackUK kindle.


    USA paperbackUSA kindle.


    If you live in another part of the world that has a local Amazon store, e.g Canada, Australia, France, India, Japan, Mexico, you can order the book through them -- although be aware that in some stores (such as Australia and India) it's only avaialble as an ebook. If you live in a country that doesn't have a local Amazon store (or if you want the paperback and your local store only offers the ebook) you can order a paperback copy through your nearest store, e.g. USA or UK, as Amazon ship worldwide -- but I'm afraid shipping is likely to add a fair bit to the price.





    An Other Place has continued to pick up incredibly positive reviews over the past month. I wasn't sure what sort of a reaction to expect, as it is a very strange book, and I was braced for a lot of negative feedback. But so far readers have been mesmerised by it. The latest endorsement came from publishing industry heavyweight Kirkus, which listed it as one of their Recommended Reads and said: "Dash’s surreal tale has its share of unsettling moments. There’s also an abundance of intriguing peculiarities. An often baffling tale, but its protagonist’s wry commentary is undeniably entertaining." If you'd like to read their full review of the book, CLICK HERE.


    Meanwhile, I was very pleased to see Dutch fan Odette choose An Other Place as one of her top reads of 2016, over on a list that she put up on Goodreads. To see Odette's full list (along with lists by other Dutch readers) click here.


    If you'd like to find out if An Other Place is worthy of a place on YOUR best of 2016 list, you can buy a copy through any Amazon store worldwide, either as a paperback or ebook.


    An Other Place has also picked up glowing reader reviews over on Goodreads, including comments such as the following:


    "This was utterly brilliant. Darren Shan/Dash is a master in horror, somehow it is so funny! I've LOLed and quoted this book and I want to recommend it to anyone who likes weird books." Odette.


    "This is probably the fastest I've EVER read a (standalone) book, and it says a lot. I'm not normally a fast reader & sometimes it takes me at least a few days to finish a book (and sometimes months) but this took me less than a day!" Mahtab.


    "I personally read this entire book in two sittings, which is a very rare achievement for me as a lot of the time a book doesn’t grip me by the time the second act even has a chance to kick in, but this book had me in it’s tangly and confusing grip by the time I’d hit the second chapter. I cannot recommend this book more than enough and I will certainly be telling everybody about it who is willing to listen, as my mind is still turning well after the final page was read." Danny.


    If you'd like to check out the full reviews, along with all the others, this is the link for the Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32711043-an-other-place







    If you're collecting the wonderful new UK paperback editions of my Zom-B books, make sure you pencil January 12th into your diary, because that's when books 7, 8 and 9 go on sale in their new format. As I've said before, I absolutely love the new-look Zom-B covers, and the twelve of them are going to look so stunning together once they've all been released. (And if you turn them round and line up the back covers in the correct way, you'll find a bonus surprise!) These three books also mark a crucial turning point in the series. Zom-B is a tale of two halves. The first six books chart B Smith's early adventures in a world overrun with the living dead, as the character struggles to find a place in the new, brutal world. It's a time of establishing characters and storylines. Then the action ramps up in the second half (not that there wasn't plenty of it in the first half!) and the pace picks up too, as B finds herself at the centre of a struggle that may well decide the fate of the remaining survivors of the zombie apocalypse around the world... These three books are where B's most testing showdowns begin. If you haven't yet dipped your toes into my world of the undead, this is the perfect time to start! You should be able to find or order the new-look books from any good book seller (along with the first six, which were released last year), or else you can order them online through a site like Amazon, Hive, Waterstones, WHSmith, Wordery, etc. For the release dates of the final three books in the series, CLICK HERE.





    "For some reason An Other Place reminded me of Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life – an unhappy man is transported to a reality like his, but different. This other place allows him to reflect upon himself and others. Would you agree?"


    That question was put to me in a recent interview about my latest Darren Dash novel, over on the Banshee Irish Horror Blog. To find out my answer -- as well as my favourite Christmas movie and lots more -- click here.






    I'm a big fan of The Apprentice (although I reserve the right to change my mind if Alan Sugar ever gets voted in as Prime Minister!) so I was absolutely delighted to see an enterprising teacher using it to help promote interest in my Cirque Du Freak book in St Lawrence College in the UK. This is a great example of how a teacher can make learning fun and help foster a love of reading among a new generation of potential bookworms. I often get asked how to get children more interested in reading, but to be honest, those interviewers are asking the wrong person -- they should be heading down to St Lawrence college and similar establishments and quizzing the inspirational teachers there.





    I'm not doing many events at the moment, since I'm between projects and don't want to go on the road without a new book to promote. As much as I love meeting my fans, after seventeen years of touring, I must admit I'm enjoying the break, and it's also giving me more time to write. That said, I'll hopefully be doing occasional, one-off events while we're waiting for the next Darren Shan book to come along, and I've just confirmed the first of those, for the start of April next year. It will be in North Wales, at the Sci-Fi Weekender festival, an epic coming-together of fans of sci-fi, fantasy and horror, featuring authors, film and TV stars, and a whole lot more. It's held over the space of a couple of days, and I'll be doing a few different events while there. I'll be arriving on Friday March 31st, so I might be making an appearance or two later that day, though I imagine most of my events will be scheduled for Saturday April 1st. For more information about the Sci-Fi Weekender, click here: http://www.scifiweekender.com/






    I was a guest on the Six O'Clock show on TV3 in Ireland last month. It's a very relaxed and friendly chat show, and I always enjoy my visits to the set. (This was my third appearance.) That's a picture of me with the hosts and a couple of the other guests. From left to right -- me, Eoghan Quigg, Muireann O'Connell, Ray Foley and Barry Kirwan. You can view a recording of the show online, but I think it might only be available to viewers in Ireland: CLICK HERE.





    I was asked in early December what I was going to be doing on Christmas Day, so I wrote this short piece for #HashtagReads in which I discussed my yuletide plans. I'm pleased to say the day went pretty much as planned -- and I even found time to answer some fan mail while Dante was having his early afternoon nap! CLICK HERE.






    A fan called Grant spotted this while reading Volume 8 of The Unwritten comic, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross. Of course, my army of Shansters would argue that my books are more than "okay" and not just the early ones -- but hey, it's still nice to get a mention in someone else's work! :-) If you're interested in picking up The Unwritten, HERE is the Amazon link.





    Q: "An Other Place is somewhat of a different book for you. How do you feel, sending this new story on into the world? Nervous? Excited?"


    A: "Very nervous! I genuinely had no idea what the response to this one would be. It covers so much ground, and is so different to anything else out there, that I was afraid that readers would give up on it halfway through in their droves. A general reaction has yet to be determined, but the first couple of reviews have been excellent, so hopefully they’re an indicator of good things to come. Or else those two reviewers are just as warped and rare as myself!"


    That's a snippet from an interview I gave to The Literary Connoisseur in my Darren Dash mode, which was focused on my most recent release for adults. Since I gave the interview, several more reviews for the book have come in, and they've all been glowing, so it looks as though there are more "warped" readers out there than I had anticipated -- hurrah for warpedness!!!!! :-) You can read the full interview by CLICKING HERE. And the Literary Connoisseur also reviewed An Other Place. If you want to see what they made of it, CLICK HERE.






    Most of the Darren Shan-inspired tattoos that fans go for are linked with my vampire books, as that was my most popular series. And that's cool. Some of the more gruesomely inclined fans plump for an image linked with The Demonata. And that's cool too. But very few get tattoos to tie in with The Thin Executioner, which is my personal favourite out of all my books, so I was delighted when a fan called Anna sent me the photo above. THWACK!!!


    It's been several years since it was released, but you can still buy The Thin Executioner through any good bookseller -- if they don't have it in stock, they should be able to order in a copy for you -- or download it as an ebook in most territories. While it didn't reach the same size audience as Cirque Du Freak or Lord Loss, it has a strong cult following of people like Anna who value it as highly as I do. To find out if you're one of them, you'll have to read the book!





    The winners for the December Shanville Monthly competition, in the order they came out, were:


    Melinda Tanyi, Hungary.

    Stephen Denton, England.

    Leah Prewitt, England.


    There were 162 correct entries in total. Thanks to everyone who entered, and better luck next time if you weren't one of the winners on this occasion. To be in with a chance of winning my next competition, either keep an eye on the Shanville Monthly every month, or better yet, Subscribe to be notified every time a new edition goes live -- it's free, and your information never gets shared with anyone else. http://www.darrenshan.com/news/shanville-monthly/






    I spotted this over on Twitter a while ago, posted by (I think) a Japanese fan. I don't think Mr Crepsley would find it amusing, but I'm hoping it will give the rest of you a nice giggle! Those who've read my Vampire Mountain trilogy will know about the origin of those boxer shorts, but for the full story of why Gavner was wearing them, you'll need to read my short story, An Affair Of The Night.





    Q: "Could you tell the readers a little bit about why a multi-million copy selling writer of child and teen fiction rebrands himself as ‘Darren Dash’?"

    A: "Freedom! It’s a bit like Paul McCartney in the 1960s, when he spoke longingly of going on tour with The Beatles in disguise, under a different name. Success is great, and I love that my stories have reached so many people, but it does impose limits... I want to go in all sorts of weird and different directions with my adult books. As Darren Shan I would have felt restricted, but as Darren Dash there are no boundary lines."


    The above Q&A is a snippet from a long interview that I recently gave to the Ginger Nuts Of Horror site, and I can't recommend it strongly enough. I talk about my new book for adults, An Other Place, of course, but also a whole load of other stuff. It's mostly me in Darren Dash mode, but I do talk about my Shan life too. It also contains my honest answer to an oft-asked question, "Why are people so fascinated by vampires?" and it's not an answer I've ever been able to give as Darren Shan!!! :-) To read the full interview, CLICK HERE.






    Look at what the (un)dead good folks at Burger King have unleashed upon the world!! At first I thought someone was using photoshop to mess with my head, but a couple of fans in different parts of the globe have now shared photos of this with me, so I guess it's genuine. I doubt this is linked in any way to my Zom-B books, but then again, you never know -- maybe someone on the Board of BK is a fan of the Board in my Zom-B series!!!!! If so, maybe this is a cunning plan to spread the zombie virus to as many countries as quickly as possible!!!!!!





    "I have slight OCD (well, I think it's slight, though others might disagree!) and I was giving way too much to that side of myself in the 90s. I wasn't quite at Howard Hughes levels, but I could see myself going more and more that way."


    That quote comes from an interview with me on the Kelly Smith Reviews site. Kelly was one of the reviewers that I sent An Other Place -- my latest book for adults, released under the name of Darren Dash -- to, and she loved the book so much that she asked if she could interview me about it. I was happy to oblige, and we covered the sort of ground that I never really venture onto when talking about my Darren Shan work -- such as how my struggles with OCD helped inspire the most creative (and weirdest!) period of my life, resulting in a book like An Other Place.


    You can read Kelly's review of the book and interview with me by clicking on the following link -- but please be aware that this is an interview for an ADULT book, and I cover some topics that are not suitable for younger readers. As with the novel, I would recommend it for people aged 16 years or older. CLICK HERE.



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for January. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year's. I had a quiet one at home with Mrs Shan, her mum and Dante, though we got to see some other members of the family as well over the course of the day and night. The photo was taken a few days before Christmas, in Bunratty Folk Park. Like many children his age, Dante got rather freaked-out when he came face to face with Santa, and wanted nothing to do with the big old guy in red -- hence his bemused expression, and the fact that I'm holding him rather than him being perched on Santa's lap! But he did love the small funfair in the Folk Park and had a great time on the carousels, so it wasn't a complete waste! My New Year resolution is to write lots, and hopefully finally get my new Darren Shan series ready to launch. (I've already done a huge amount of work on it, but I just need to get a few more things into place before it's good to go.) I might also release another Darren Dash book in 2017, though 2018 is looking the more likely year for that right now. Either way, I'll be back here next month with all the latest news and updates, and probably my first competition of the year. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x



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