• Issue 207 - October 2017

    01 October 2017



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the October issue of the Shanville Monthly. The final book in my Zom-B series goes on sale in paperback in the UK and Ireland this month, so those of you who have been buying them in that format will now at last be able to find out how it all ends -- and I think it's safe to say, without giving too much away, that in true Darren Shan fashion it ends with a mind-blowing bang! I'm also doing what will almost certainly be my final public signing session of the year. And I'm running a very cool competition to celebrate my favourite event of the year -- Halloween! I've lots more to report about too, but first, let's start with the end...






    The UK paperback edition of Zom-B Goddess goes on sale on Thursday October 5th in the UK and Ireland, meaning that all 12 of the Zom-B books are now available in that format. (The additional 13th, Zom-B Circus, is only available as an ebook.) I love the revised cover style that Simon & Schuster came up with, and they make a stunning set if you collect the whole series -- indeed, if you put the back covers together, you'll reveal a bonus puzzle which will look REALLY cool if you have the space to display it! Zom-B Goddess should be on sale in all good book shops -- if you don't see it on the shelves of your local bookseller's store, please do ask a member of staff if they can order it in for you. If you prefer to order online, Amazon UK will of course have it, but while Amazon often do offer the best value on books, they aren't ALWAYS the cheapest option, and I've noticed with my Zom-B books that you can actually often get a lot of them at better prices through other stores. My advice, if you're buying online, is to use a site like 123PriceCheck, which will highlight the best available deals. If you want the best of both worlds, i.e. to buy online but also to support your high street bookshop, you can get it at a good price through HIVE.


    Is the book WORTH buying?!? Well, obviously I'm going to say yes! But critics agree with me, and here are a few snippets from some of the glowing reviews for Zom-B Goddess that we received when it was first published in hardback.


    "Zom-B Goddess doesn't disappoint. We get another huge twist, another big moment for B to shine and a suitably mind-blowing ending to a series that has made me gasp in shock at least once per book." So Many Books, So Little Time.


    "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." The Bookbag.


    "Wow. I did NOT see that ending coming. Even down to the wire, Shan's got tons of surprises up his sleeve, and he deploys them by the megaton." Reader, Writer, Fanboy.






    Saturday 28th October -- 2.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Crescent Bookshop, Dooradoyle, Limerick. CLICK HERE.


    I'm doing a public signing, which will almost certainly be my final public appearance of 2017, to tie in with my favourite season of the year -- Halloween! It's taking place in the Crescent Bookshop, in the Crescent Shopping Centre, Dooradoyle, Limerick, at 3pm on Saturday October 28th. Everyone is welcome -- no need for a ticket -- just come along and take your place in the line. You can bring books from home and/or buy books in the shop on the day -- there are no limits on how many books I will sign for each fan. (The new paperback of Zom-B Goddess will have gone on sale earlier in the month, so this will be the perfect time to get that signed!) The-Crescent-Bookshop/





    It was nice to see Zom-B feature on this Best Zombie Books Of All Time list, which was compiled by looking at how many other Best Of lists each books was mentioned in. Zom-B's low placing is a bit deceptive, as books are alphapetically listed within the criteria that was used by the compilers. (i.e. books that were mentioned on three lists are listed alphabetically, then books that were mentioned on two lists are listed alphabetically.) Anyway, if you're into zombies, this will provide you with a very long list of recommended books about them, so CLICK HERE to make a beeline for it ASAP and -- like a hungry zombie cracking open a skull -- dig in!







    I had a lovely time at my event in the Hunt Museum In Limerick last month. Because it was for Culture Night, I didn't do my normal sort of event, where I read just from my own books. Instead I started by reading from three books that were a huge part of my childhood -- The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall, and Salem's Lot by Stephen King. I talked about how every writer is the sum of the books they read, and how the extracts I chose linked in with books of my own that I would go on to write 20 or 30 years later. e.g. the opening of The Secret Garden, where a child loses her family and is sent to live with a mysterious uncle in a big, spooky house in the countryside, is mirrored in Lord Loss. I took questions from the audience after the reading, and finished with a reading from Cirque Du Freak -- I've been doing it for 17 years now, but still get a buzz when I manage to make everyone jump! And after that I signed books and took photos -- as you can see from the snaps with young ladies called Eleni and Sharon, I haven't lost my strangling knack!!





    I went to see the new Darren Aronofsky film, Mother! last month. What a weird trip of a movie! The trailer made it seem that this was a horror film, but while it certainly has a lot of dark and troubling moments, this is no standard scare 'em. It's a parable about the environment, God, Christianity, acts of creation, and a whole lot more. It's a film that has divided viewers, and I can certainly understand why, but if you're into mind-twisting stories that leave you with lots of questions afterwards, I highly recommend it.


    It actually put me in mind of one of my own books -- An Other Place, which I released under my Darren Dash banner late last year. In that book, I too was looking at how we create and make sense of an often senseless world, and the focus wasn't on a straightforward narrative and supplying easy answers. I thought it would turn off a lot of readers, the same way Mother! has turned off a lot of viewers, but so far it's had an amazing response, garnering some of the best reviews I've ever received. Maybe that's just because not a lot of people have read it!  Either way, if you'd like to check out my strangest, most mind-bending offering to date, you can find out more about it here: http://www.darrendashbooks.com/






    I mentioned Zom-B Circus earlier on in this issue of the Shanville Monthly, and figured I should say a bit more about it for those of you who might be unfamiliar with the novella. Although it's part of my Zom-B series (officially I list it as book 6.5, but you can read it at any point), it's also a standalone short book which can be read independently of the others. It does tie in with the main Zom-B storyline, but it doesn't focus on the main character (B Smith) but rather on one of B's teachers, who survives the zombie apocalypse by throwing her students to the invading zombies, giving herself time to escape! I wrote it for World Book Day, but when the people who organise that read the synopsis (not even the book itself -- just the synopsis) they were horrified and said they couldn't publish it.


    Since I thought it was a really cool little story, I discussed ways of making it available with my UK publishers, Simon & Schuster, and they ended up printing a limited supply of paperbacks, which were given away for free with a magazine called SFX. (You can probably still find copies if you look hard enough online -- maybe sites like eBay or Abebooks or Alibris.) To make it more widely accessible, it was then released in an eBook-only edition, in both the UK and USA, and you can buy it through the Amazon stores -- CLICK HERE TO BUY ON AMAZON UK or CLICK HERE TO BY ON AMAZON USA. I think it's also available through other eBook sellers. It's a grisly, very darkly comedic little number, that I had lots of fun writing -- and White Hart Lane (the old Tottenham Hotspur stadium) features prominently in it. Not that you need to be a Spurs fan to enjoy it -- I think even if you're a supporter of a rival team (like Arsenal or West Ham) you'll get a kick out of this one, as football doesn't factor into it at all -- instead it imagines what a football stadium might be like if a psychotic clown erected a circus tent in the middle of a football pitch, packed it with zombies, then put on a show...


    Enjoy -- and if you happen to know anyone who is part iof the World Book Day team who choose which books to publish each year, please feel free to draw their attention to this, shake your head sadly, and tell them, "This is what you could have had!!!"






    "Interesting, funny and a bit creepy with some scares along the way. A must read."


    That lovely review was for Sunburn, one of the books that I have released for adult readers under the name of Darren Dash. The review appeared on the Goodreads site, and came courtesy of a fan called Teresa. Fan reviews are always appreciated, and they can make a big difference in a book's longevity, so if any of you enjoyed Sunburn (or, indeed, any of my other books) as much as Teresa did, it would be lovely if you could take a few minutes to post a review on Goodreads, or your local Amazon site, or indeed any other site, to help spread the word.


    To find out more about Sunburn and my other adult-aimed novels, visit the Darren Dash web site, which also has buying links to the UK and USA Amazon stores. http://www.darrendashbooks.com





    I like to highlight the Lowplex box set of The Saga Of Darren Shan every so often, as it's the best price I've found for the books anywhere (certainly in brand new condition), and they come in a cool little traycase to hold them all in place. (It's not the greatest quality traycase, admittedly, but at that price, who's going to complain?!?) You can currently buy all 12 book for just £21.99 -- a whopping 69% discount!! And Lowplex ship all over the world at reasonable enough rates (though there's no really cheap way to ship a collection of books like this) so you can pick these up no matter where you live. CLICK HERE


    Lowplex also offer a complete set of my Demonata books, again for just £21.99: CLICK HERE


    Or you can buy both sets together for an even better price -- just £39.99 for 22 books!! CLICK HERE


    They also sell The Saga Of Larten Crepsley books at a huge discount: CLICK HERE


    And the first 6 Zom-B paperbacks (in the old covers) for an equally high discount: CLICK HERE


    They sell the first 6 volumes in the Manga collection too, though the discount isn't so strong in this instance -- though it still might be less than you'll pay elsewhere: CLICK HERE







    Here's a cool little Cirque Du Freak edit that was put together by a fan called (aptly) Cirque Du Freak Lover, over on Instagram. It features three of the series' main characters, matched to a trio of quotes. Now, here's a twisty little snap quiz for you -- can any of you name the titles of the books in which quotes first appear?!? No prizes for guessing -- just lots and lots of kudos, as, to be perfectly honest, I'm not quite sure myself!





    On a whim, I recently posted images of my three most recent books for adults, which were released under the name of Darren Dash. (For more info about those, see www.darrendashbooks.com) That set me thinking -- I've been so productive (49 books released to date, if you include a few short ones) that I bet there are plenty of my books that my fans know nothing about. So I've decided to post about them chronologically on my Facebook page over the next couple of months. I'm going to mostly be copying over notes that you can find in the Books part of www.darrenshan.com but I'll aim to add a few new recollections or comments about them each time. I'm going to be doing these in addition to my normal daily posts, and I doubt I'll do one every single day, but I'll try not to leave too long of a gap between them. The first few are already so, so head on over to Facebook to read a lengthy post about my first ever published book -- which, despite what many of my fans probably assume, was NOT Cirque Du Freak!!






    I went to see the movie of Stephen King's IT last month. (Well, the first half of it, anyway, assuming that they do make the second half.) A very competent, creepy and enjoyable take on it, not as powerful as the book (which is possibly my favourite out of all of his novels) but it comes closer to his magic than the vast majority of his film adaptations have over the years. Pennywise the clown is, of course, the key villain of the piece, and is captured chillingly in the new version. Pennywise was the main inspiration for Mr Dowling in my Zom-B books. I was being driven between events many years ago by a bookseller in Ireland, whose surname was Dowling, and we were chatting about our shared love of horror. She said that clowns really freaked her out, especially Pennywise, and I chuckled and began to riff on King's creation, coming up with a nightmarish clown of my own, which I happily described to her in great detail as she drove me along -- I love nothing more than a captive audience! I quite liked what I came up with, and said that one day I would find a book in which to feature my creepy clown, and in her honour, I would name him after her. It took me a few years to find a suitable story, but I'm a man of my word, so when I did, I slipped him into the narrative as swiftly as I could. And the rest is clowning history.






    I'm amazed and honoured every time someone gets a tattoo based on characters or story lines or designs from my books, and it's always a pleasure to share photos of them with you on Tattoo Tuesday (which is a feature I run on my Facebook page most weeks). But I'm particularly pleased with this offering, submitted by a fan called Jeremy, because it's based on my favourite book out of all the books I've ever written -- The Thin Executioner. As I've often said at events when chatting with fans, if I could only keep one book out of everything I've ever written, it would be The Thin Executioner. I'm not saying it's the best thing I've ever written (though it's pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself!), just that it's the piece of work that means the most to me, and that touched me the deepest. Thwack!!!!!


    If you'd like to have a look at other Darren Shan-inpired tattoos, visit my Facebook page and scroll down through my older posts, looking for Tattoo Tuesday entries.






    "When I when 9, a teacher introduced me to the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan. I immediately devoured every book of the series that was published and ordered them from the UK when I could not get the next book in the US. Reading those books set the wheels turning in my mind about the power of stories. By the time I finished the series, I had fallen in love, not only with the characters, but story telling. For that reason, I dedicated the Roadside Paradise series to Darren Shan. I was also fortunate enough to receive a personalized hand written letter from him about the dedication. I feel like things have come full circle. I hope one day to inspire someone the way that his work inspired me at a young age."


    The above post was written by an author called K J Amidon. No writer stands by themself. We're all the product of dozens and hundreds of other authors, whose works inspire us to go on and try writing our own stories. So it's always a sweet day when one of your fans grows up and makes a breakthrough of their own -- and doubly sweet when they acknowledge you as an influence! I've attached a photo of the letter that I wrote back to K J when she sent me a copy of Into Oblivion, and here's a link to the book on Amazon: CLICK HERE It's the first in a series, and the second book has just gone on sale too.


    To follow K J on Instagram, CLICK HERE





    The winners of the September Shanville Monthly competition, in the order drawn, were...


    UK & Ireland draw -- Becky Harton.

    Americas draw -- Tania Prates, Brazil.

    Rest Of World draw -- Roland Szabo, Hungary.


    There was a really good response to this one -- I had nearly 800 entries, which is three or four times the norm for the Shanville Monthly competitions -- I guess the allure of a complete, signed set of Zom-B books proved too hard to resist!  Thanks to everyone who took the time to enter, congratulations to the winners, and regrets to the rest of you -- better luck next time!! Speaking of which...







    I'm running a competition to link in with Halloween, and I'm offering up an exciting smorgasbord of prizes for the lucky winners.


    First prize will be a set of publisher's proofs of Brothers To The Death, which was book 4 of The Saga Of Larten Crepsley. These proofs were sent to me by my UK editor at HarperCollins ahead of the book's release, to check that everything looked the way it should. No one else in the world will have this! I've given away a few sets of proofs as prizes over the last year, but I think this is the last set that I have to offer, so this will be your final chance to win one for a very long time (if ever). The winner will also get a few treats from Taiwan, which were produced by my Taiwanese publishers, Crown, to help promote sales of my Demonata series. They include a Demonata-themed board game (it's on a sheet of paper, not an actual board), a pop-out piece of Demonata art presentation, a Demonata CD (I'm not sure what's on it) and some Demonata character trading cards. All of these were only ever available in Taiwan as giveaways, and I imagine they're almost impossible to find even in Taiwan now, so, y'know, your chances of ever being in a position to get your hands on them again in the future are pretty much nil -- so seize your chance while you can!!


    Second prize will be a complete set of the Taiwanese giveaways, i.e. board game, art presentation, CD and trading cards.


    Third, fourth and fifth prize winners will each get the Taiwanese CD and trading cards.


    I have signed all of the prizes.


    1) Answer this question: "What was the title of book 4 of The Saga Of Larten Crepsley?"


    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.


    (4) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Wednesday, October 11th, 2017.


    (5) This competition is open to everybodyeverywhere 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 Thursday, October 12th, 2017. 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.



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for October. The Shan clan spent a week on holiday in Center Parcs in Elveden last month. We had a fabulous time there, especially Dante, who found something new to do every day. I figured this would be a good time to start preparing him for if he ever travels to Vampire Mountain and has to face Arra Sails on the bars! I'm looking forward to my signing near the end of the month, and of course I love Halloween. I'll probably do some trick or treating with Dante this year (his first experience of it!) although I also like to be in to hand out treats to visiting trick or treaters, so maybe I'll have to juggle that with Mrs Shan. Anyway, I'll be back at the start of November with all the latest news and updates, and maybe even another competition (which would make it three months in a row!). 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.