• Issue 205 - August 2017

    01 August 2017



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the August issue of the Shanville Monthly. Summers are usually a quietish time for me, as they are for many people, but I've been beavering away behind the scenes, working on my new series (still not in a position to make any announcements about that, but edging ever closer) but also doing some other bits and pieces, such as upgrading my broadband system and finally converting to a smart phone! Yes, the 21st century has caught me firmly in its technological tentacles at last! But before I go back to fiddling with that and trying to work out where everything is and how it all works, let's crack on with delivering all the latest Darren Shan news and updates, starting with...





    I haven't been doing many events or signings this year, but I couldn't miss the Edinburgh International Book Festival! I'm doing a public event on the last Sunday in the month, and an event for schools on the last Monday. I'll be talking about my books at both events, reading some extracts, answering questions, and signing afterwards -- there are no limits on how many of my books each fan can get signed.


    Sunday 27th August -- 2.30pm -- PUBLIC event, Edinburgh International Book Festival. For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.


    Monday 28th August -- 11.45am -- SCHOOL event, Edinburgh International Book Festival. For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.


    Although it says on their site that I'll be talking about Donald Trump and Brexit in relation to my Zom-B books, I probably won't actually spend all that much time discussing that subject (though I will be focusing on it during my schools event the next day). Instead, I think I'm going to something that I've never done before, and largely play requests this year. Let me explain...


    I've always gone to Edinburgh (and every other festival and book talk that I've ever been involved in) with a carefully picked selection of edited readings. It means I get to dictate the direction of the talks, which is usually the way these things work best. But this year I'm going to open the doors to the agents of chaos and invite fans to ask me to read out a page or two of their choosing from whichever book of mine that they want to hear brought to life. So, if you're coming to the event, have a little think -- is there a scene from one of my almost 50 published books that you have been dying to hear me read for years? It can be a big action scene, or an emotionally moving scene, or even just a quiet, unremarkable scene that features a few of your favourite characters shooting the breeze with each other. If so, bring the book along, stick in a bookmarker to mark the scene, and you might just get lucky!


    I'll only be able to read out a small selection of scenes, and probably won't be able to read out the whole of the scenes that people pick. Also, I'll have to be careful not to reveal any big spoilers. But, to compensate for that, I might talk a little bit about the scenes that are chosen, set the stage for what's to come, maybe share some memories or background details about them... I dunno, we'll have to wait and see. Maybe it will be a disaster -- I'll bring some prepared scenes along in case I have to ditch the improv -- but then again, maybe it will be my best event ever. There's only one way to find out!!! 





    What are the most popular Irish books, and who are the most popular Irish authors?


    An impossible question to answer, really, but a library service called OCLC, with links to libraries around the world, has attempted to figure it out, by looking at the numbers of books held in all the libraries on their system. It throws up some interesting statistics -- according to their records, Gulliver's Travels is the most popular book by an Irish author -- and I was one of those eyebrow-raising stats, coming in at Number 2 on the list of most popular contemporary (i.e. born after 1945) Irish authors, just behind my good friend Eoin Colfer, of Artemis Fowl fame. I guess that means it's official -- in the world of modern Irish literature, YA authors rule!!!!  If you'd like to read the article, CLICK HERE






    My Zom-B books are being issued in cool, newlook paperback editions in the UK. Book 11, Zom-B Fugitive, hit bookshops last month. The 12th and final book goes on sale in October, so if you haven't yet given the series a go, this would be a good time to get onboard, as you'll probably be able to catch up on all the action ahead of the release of the last book, meaning you won't have too long to wait to find out how it all finishes.You should be able to buy or order Zom-B Fugitive from your local bookseller -- if you don't see it on the shelves, please ask a member of staff for assistance -- but if you prefer to buy it online, you can find the best price by CLICKING HERE to use the 123pricecheck site.


    I recently added the covers for all 12 Zom-B paperback books to my website, along with the cover for the short, additional 13th book, Zom-B Circus, which is only available as an ebook. You can check them all out by CLICKING HERE






    "When someone asks you ‘what do you do for a living’ – How do you respond?"


    "Can you remember the first story you ever wrote?"


    "What two pieces of advice would you give a young aspiring writer?"


    If you'd like to find out the answers to these questions and a whole lot more, check out a lengthy new interview with me over on The Reading Lists. I talk about writing and reading and about the books that have had a big impact on me over the years. It also answers the question of what my autobiography should be called!! 






    I love this recreation of the world most infamous touring show -- the Cirque Du Freak. It was created by the talented pupils of Bearwood Primary School. It's a wonderful example of how a creative teacher can help their students get a lot of fun out of a book, and take it beyond a simple reading exercise in class.





    Fans of Mr Crepsley from my vampire books should enjoy this lengthy video review of Birth Of A Killer, the first book in a four book series about his life before he met Darren, covering the two hundred years from when he first crossed paths with a vampire -- "Are cobwebs a treat where you come from?" -- to when he first crossed paths with Darren and Steve at the Cirque Du Freak -- "he dropped towards the stage like a bat." If you weren't aware that he had his own series -- where have you been living these last several years -- Vampire Mountain?!?!?  CLICK HERE






    A Japanese fan over on Twitter recently posted this incredible drawing of the cast of my vampire books, based on the characters are drawn in the manga edition of the series. It's a beautiful piece that really sucks you in, but the big question is, how many of the character depicted can YOU recognise and name?!?





    A reviewer called Aaron Morrsi is working his way through my Zom-B books, and has just passed the half-way mark with Zom-B Gladiator. He's enjoying the ride and noted: "This is the sixth book in the series and it is weird to think that I am halfway through the series and the story is already so good, I can’t wait to get onto the next book." As good as the first half of the storyline is, I think the second half of the series is WAY better than the first, so I'm hoping Aaron's reviews continue to get more and more gushing as they go along!!!  To check out his review of Zom-B GladiatorCLICK HERE





    This might just be the most demonically delightful video you're ever going to see! A fan of Lord Loss has converted the poem that appears at the beginning of the book (and again near the end of the series) into a song. There's no actual music, just "four" singers harmonizing with each other. Why the quote marks around the word "four"?!? You'll have to watch it to find out!!!!  Seriously, if you're a fan of my Demonata books, this is the only video you should watch online today! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2EBgOdOZoU






    Here's another glorious recreation of the Cirque Du Freak, to go with the one above, but this example appears on a person's leg, in the form of a tattoo!! It adorns the upper thigh of a fan called Josh, and all I can say is, if any ants ever go crawling up Josh's leg, boy, are they in for a big surprise!!!





    This is a call out to fans of my Darren Dash books for adult readers. I've recently started to experiment with Amazon advertising campaigns, to try to make more people aware of the existence of the books. This involves placing ads on pages for similar books, to maybe catch the eye of readers as they're buying or checking out other works. So, if any of you have read any of my Dash books, and can think of other books or authors that they reminded you of, please feel free to let me know using the Contact form either on www.darrenshan.com or http://www.darrendashbooks.com, and I can add them to my keywords list. Oh, and if you HAVE read any of my Dash novels and enjoyed them, I would be absolutely thrilled if you posted a quick review on Amazon -- reviews make a big, BIG difference with self-published books...


    While I'm chatting about my Dashingly dark world... there's good news for British fans of my books for adults. I had to raise the price of my Darren Dash ebooks a few months ago, because of sterling's dramatic decline. While the pound is still struggling, it's picked up a bit, which has allowed me to lower the price again -- so all three Darren Dash books are now just £1.99 through Kindle. (They've remained constant at $2.99 in the USA, and are €2.99 through Amazon's European stores.) The prices of the paperbacks vary depending on the length of the book.


    For more info about my Darren Dash novels, click here: http://www.darrendashbooks.com/





    Here's a link to a very sweet video by the students of Estcourt Primary Academy, illustrating how important books are to them, and demonstrating how much value they place on reading. One of the students reads a short extract from one of my books in among the mix, so watch carefully and see if you can spot it, and also if you can name which book it is (as we don't see the cover in the clip). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBREmM71j-8






    I was sad last month to hear that George A Romero has died. Zombies have been huge business for most of the last decade, and I tried my hand at them myself with my Zom-B books, but all of us who've been bringing the dead back to life since the late 1960s have been shuffling along in Romero's brain-munching shadow. He's the true father of the modern zombie, the same way that Bram Stoker is the true father of modern vampires, and we all owe him a tremendous debt. Even in death may he (come back to life!) and be triumphant.





    Al Porter is a comedian and DJ on the Today FM radio show in Ireland. (We were both guests on a TV show last year, so I got to chat with him a bit -- he's a very nice guy.) On July 5th he was asking people to text in with stories of what had happened when they wrote to famous people -- who replied, who didn't, if they said anything nice if they did reply-- that kind of thing. Mrs Shan happened to be listening at the time, and decided to send in a text of her own, which you can listen to by clicking on this link, going to the archived July 5th show, and forwarding to the 1hour 27minutes mark: https://www.todayfm.com/AlPorter/listen-back


    If YOU would like to write to me, and wish to send your letter to the correct address (just to be safe!) you can find the info here: http://www.darrenshan.com/contact/ As Mrs Shan notes, I do reply to every letter that I receive, with a handwritten and autographed letter of my own, but sometimes it can take a while, so please be patient.





    The winners of the July Shanville Monthly competition were...


    1st -- Rebecca Nadin, England.


    2nd -- Luke Ryan, England.


    3rd -- Nykita Dinsmore, USA.


    There were almost 200 entries. Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter. Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everyone else. There will be another competition coming along very shortly, so keep an eye out for it.



    IT'S A WRAP!


    And that's it for August. I''ll be continuing work on the new series through the month, while at the same time getting to grips with my smartphone -- hopefully I'll end up mastering both in the not too distant future! I'll be back at the start of September with all the latest news and updates, and possibly another competition. 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.