• Issue 223 - February 2019

    01 February 2019



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the February issue of the Shanville Monthly! The first month of the year has flown by for me. It started and finished in London (I was there with the family for New Year's and several days after, then back again for some football matches at the end). Sandwiched in between I did some more work on what will hopefully be my next published Darren Shan novel -- more about that over the course of the year, as and if things develop. If things work out, I'll be releasing a Darren Dash book for adults too -- again, stay tunred for updates. But all that's in the future -- for now, here's what's been going on in my freaky little world over the last few weeks.






    When I publish a book, I always write up some author notes about it. I cover all sorts of things in the notes, such as where the idea might have originated, how long it took to write, who certain characters were named after, and so on. I try to make them asinformative as possible, to give fans as much insight into the creation of the story as I can. Over the last year or more, I've been updating those notes, and also writing new notes for a few that I missed over the years. I'm almost up to date -- the most recent notes I published were for Zom-B Fugitive, so there's the final Zom-B book to go, and the two most recent books for adults that I released under the name of Darren Dash. I should get those up this month. I'll be publishing them on Facebook, but also on my website, where all the rest of the notes are collected, and you can check them out over there any time you want, by clicking THIS LINK. Enjoy!





    If you CLICK HERE you'll find a very nice Italian review for an old book of mine -- Tunnels of Blood, the third book in my Saga of Darren Shan / Cirque Du Freak series. If you don't speak Italian, just copy and paste the text into a site like Google Translate, which will provide you with a surprisingly accurate translation -- that thing is getting better and better all the time -- I remember when I first started using it year ago, and translations would come out VERY garbled! You can also find reviews for the first two books in the series on the blog.






    A fan called Harriet sent me this photo of her Lord Loss A-Level project. She created a model of the heartless demon master, and I think she did a stunning job. I said to her that I hoped she got a demonically delightful mark for her work, and to my shock she said the examiners had only given her a C! What fools those mortals be! Ayway, I'm in the process fo finding out their addresses, and Vein and Artery will shortly be despatched to teach them a few pointed art lessons!!





    For my older fans, THIS IS A LINK to a very nice YouTube review for my most recent Darren Dash novel for adults, Midsummer's Bottom. The book was a BIG departure for me -- a light-hearted comedy about romance and relationships and fairies and actors. I wasn't sure how fans would take it, but it's had an overwhelmingly positive response, as this review from JJ Goodman suggests. If you'd like to learn more about my Darren Dash books, visit www.darrendashbooks.com for titles, buying links and info about them. But be warned -- things can get very dark and twisted in my work for older readers, so approach with caution!!!


    While I'm on the subject of Midsummer's Bottom... a fan called Bryan wrote to me to say he'd read Midsummer's Bottom and loved it. But he wanted to know if the forest in the book (almost all of the story takes place in a forest) was inspired by a real place. And the answer is yes it was -- my local forest, Curraghchase, which I've been visiting regularly ever since I moved to live in the area when I was six years old. In many ways I've grown up in that parkland, and it was an added pleasure for me to be able to pay homage to it in the book. https://www.coillte.ie/site/curragh-chase-forest-park/






    Sculptures of Lord Loss are like buses -- you wait ages for one to come along, then... I absolutely LOVE these amazing sculptures of Lord Loss and Vein, which a fan called Jade found online. It's possible I saw this years ago and shared it back in the day, but I don't recall ever seeing it before. If anyone out there knows who did it (or if YOU are the person who made it) let me know and I'll happily give them/you a shout out.





    JJ Goodman has been a busy boy on YouTube recently! As well as reviewing Midsummer's Bottom (see above) he also reviewed my short novel, Koyasan. I highly recommed the review -- it's just a smidgin over 6 minutes, so it won't take up very much of your day. If you've never read the novella, it might intrigue you enough to give it a try. If you're already familiar with it, this might bring a wistful, nostalgic smile to your lips. CLICK HERE to watch it.


    I'm still working on trying to get Koyasan adapted into a stage musical. It's something that rarely happens swiftly or easily -- you have to try to assemble a skillful and passionate team, and then try to get the money men interested -- but I'm plugging away slowly but surely, and hopefully one day we'll catch a lucky break and things will start to move forward with more of a head of steam.




    This is an unusual one! I've come across lots of reviews of the Cirque Du Freak movie over the years, some negative, some positive, but this is the first time I've found one that focuses so heavily on the Gavner Purl character. The reason for the focus on Gavner? It's a podcast run by Willem Dafoe fans -- hence its title -- and they watch any movie that he pops up in. The reviewers aren't overly kind to the movie, but it's interesting to hear their take on it -- and, of course, their informed thoughts on Willem Dafoe's performance! CLICK HERE to hear what they had to say.


    I've got to say, I'm a big Dafoe fan too, ever since I caught him in Platoon many years ago. I was very excited when he was cast in the film. I didn't like how his part was rewritten for the movie, and those who've read the Saga Of Larten Crepsley will know that he was far too old to play the character described in the books, but, hell, it was still pretty cool to see Willem Dafoe playing a character originally of my creation!






    Students at the Hundred Of Hoo Academy in the UK have been reading Cirque Du Freak, and incorporating it into their school work. One assignment was to come up with designs for the circus tent, and one pupil called Maisie took things to a whole new level with an amazing 3-D model of it. Stunning work -- I can see Mr Tall adding these to the tables of trinkets that he sells at the shows!!





    I was very pleased to see Zom-B score a prominent mention in this Wiki entry of 9 Infectiously Good Zombie Books. There's a short summation of the book included, which you can either read or watch on an accompanying video. Lots of other interesting looking zombie books too, so if you're keen on exploring the genre in more detail, this is the page for you! CLICK HERE.







    Fans have been sharing memes based on the Cirque Du Freak movie with me over the last few weeks. I wasn't aware of these before, but it seems there are quite a few of them out there. From top to bottom, the above memes were discovered by Richard, Lacey and Rachel. If any of the rest of you spot any CDF memes in the course of your internet travels, do please feel free to share them with me -- they do make me chuckle!





    There was an interesting article in The Irish Times last month about the surge in recent times of Irish children's authors enjoying success outside their own country. I wasn't interviewed for this, but I'm mentioned a few times in the piece. If you want to check it out, CLICK HERE.







    A Cirque Du Freak fan called Molly Marie sent me these photos of herself cosplaying as Mr Crepsley. I think she's done a really good job of capturing him -- it looks from the marks on his face as though he's just come through an especially gruelling brawl with one of the vampaneze back around the time that he decided to take on the entire clan single-handedly. (A part of his life detailed in The Saga Of Larten Crepsley books.) If any of the rest of you like to cosplay as characters from my books, please share some photos with me, and they might end up in a future Shanville Monthly post.



    IT'S A WRAP!



    And that's it for February. Watching the New Years Eve fireworks in London has become something of a tradition in the Shan household, ever since we got a small flat close behind the London Eye many years ago. (Which is why so much of the action in my Zom-B series is set around that area!) We used to host large parties back before Dante came along, and danced and sang into the early hours of each new year. We don't go as wild as that any more, but we did have some close family over to celebrate with us, and Dante kept going strong until 01.00, so it was lively enough, as you can see from the photo above! Assuming I don't get frostbite (it's chilly in my part of the world at the moment!) I'll be back at the start of March with all the latest news and updates. 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.





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