• Issue 260 - March 2022

    01 March 2022



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the March issue of the Shanville Monthly! I'd hoped to reveal the release date for the Volume 3 Archibald Lox books this month, but I'm still beavering away on my final edit, and I don't want to commit myself to firm dates until the work is fully done and dusted. We should still be good for a summer release schedule -- perhaps early June for book 7, early July for book 8, and early August for book 9. But I'll see how I get on over the next few weeks, and I should have definite dates for you by the time I post the April issue of my newsletter. In the meantime, Volume 5 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus is now on sale worldwide... there's a recent(ish!) in-depth interview with me... new reviews... details of where you can pick up my Archibald Lox books at the best prices... how to pitch for me if you'd like me to do an online event with your school... another fab manga competition... and lots, lots more. Enjoy!






    Volume 5 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus, which contains books 9 and 10, was released last month, on the 22nd of February. This is a huge part of the storyline, where the Hunters finally come face-to-face with the dreaded Lord of the Shadows, and Harkat Mulds embarks on a quest to find out who he USED to be. Twists galore, and possibly the most heart-breaking loss that fiction has to offer!! To find out where you can buy a copy, read on...


    If you live in the USA, there are direct links to several stores on the Yen Press site: CLICK HERE


    If you live in the UK, this is the link for Volume 5 on AMAZON UKCLICK HERE




    and on PAGE 45: CLICK HERE

    (If you prefer to buy from a local independent store, they should be able to pre-order a copy for you too.)


    BOOK DEPOSITORY also stock it, and shIp worldwide for free: CLICK HERE


    If you prefer to buy the manga as eBooks, they ARE being republished digitally, but NOT as omnibus editions -- the first ten are currently on sale. You should be able to buy them through your local AMAZON store, or through YEN PRESS in the USA -- here's the link for Book 9: CLICK HERE





    Darren Shan


    Back in September last year I was interviewed on YouTube by a vlogger called Couragrous Nerd. It was an in-depth, half hour interview, looking at my writing processes, and touching upon all my major series, from Cirque Du Freak to The Demonata to Zom-B to Archibald Lox. Among other nuggets, you'll learn who Harkat Mulds was ORIGINALLY meant to be... which of my series means the most to me... and how I tried, but failed, to get to the end of my Archibald Lox series without sacrificing any of the main characters along the way! This is a really interesting interview, that hits an awful lot of bases -- I meant to share it with you guys back around its original release, but the link got a bit lost in the long list of links that I store on my PC to blog about! Oh well -- better late than never!! I HIGHLY recommend checking out this one.


    You can either listen to the interview in full (it's audio only) by CLICKING HERE   Or you can read a transcribed, condensed version of it, by CLICKING HERE






    There was an interesting article on the Culturess web site a while back, entitled Book Series Could Benefit More From Television Adaptations (as opposed to movie adaptations). The thrust of the article was that lengthy book series, like Harry Potter or Cirque Du Freak (I've heard of the latter series, but must have missed out on those Harry... was it Blotter??? books!) might benefit more from a TV adaptation than a movie adaptation, as so much has to be excised from the novels to fit into a movie's much more limited run time.


    This is certainly a view that I would for the most part agree with. When we sold the rights to Cirque Du Freak back around the turn of the century, it was always intended to be a movie adaptation. TV was still largely the poorer cousin of the cinematic world back then. Budgets were much bigger for movies, and they could do far more with a fantastical story than their counterparts in the small screen world. But TV has evolved incredibly over the past two centuries -- not least the fact that with streaming, a lot of people now don't want "TV shows" on a TV at all -- and a lot of my favourite lengthy storylines over the last decade have been served up as TV shows. There's still certainly a place for cinema -- I LOVE movies and going to the cinema -- but with a long, twisting story like the one I told in The Saga Of Darren Shan or The Demonata or Zom-B... yeah, TV seems like a more natural fit these days.


    As many of you will already be aware, Zom-B was optioned a few years ago, though nothing firm has come of that yet. I've yet to find any firm brave or imaginative enough to tackle The Demonata (though I do think that will happen one day -- I just hope it isn't years after I'm dead!), and Archibald Lox must be an extreme long shot, given that it's self-published (but never say never!)... but there's hope, as I've hinted a few times recently, on the Cirque Du Freak front. I can't say any more than that just yet (soon!! I promise!!), but if an adaptation does come to pass, it's looking ever likelier that it will be made for the small screen, not for cinemas. Which is probably (hopefully) for the best. Although, if by some chance it DOES get adapted for cinema again, instead of for TV, I'll deny I ever made that previous statement!!!! :-) :-) :-)


    Anyway, the Culturess article is a neat, snappy look at the issue, and you can check it out by CLICKING HERE






    There was a beautiful review a while back for book 5 in my Archibald Lox series, Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell, which was the middle section of the Volume 2 story arc. It came courtesy of a familiar old reviewer -- The Literary Connoisseur. She noted, in the midst of her review, that:


    "I have no shame in admitting that Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell, book five in Archie's story, is a slow-burner. Until about three quarters in, I considered this story of Darren Shan's to perhaps be a "bridge" book, a book that connects two more adventurous, more heart-pumping stories together with a bit of a breather in between. Little did I know that Darren Shan was luring me into a false sense of security... By about 63%, I could not put the book down -- reading in such short bursts I'd pace around my kitchen, book in hand, chewing the inside of my bottom lip with nerves. I found myself in such a constant, frantic state of distress, I'd positively search my brain to think of someone, anyone, on my friend's list who's also read this series so that I'd have someone to talk to about it."


    Heh heh!! I love when I can play with a reader's expectations like that! Pacing is something I'm always experimenting with. Sometimes I start a book with a bang - like Lord Loss - while other times I'll let things roll along quietly enough for a time, before ramping up the tension later in the story line - as I did in The Thin Executioner. The Archibald Lox books definitely fall into that latter camp. I let the story wend its way smoothly along, before suddenly changing tack and speeding things up for a while, then letting them slow down again. It's a bit like the course of a very long, twisting river -- a river of BLOOD, if you will...


    Anyway, you can read the full review by CLICKING HERE






    I recently lowered the regular price of the eBooks from my new Archibald Lox series. Here are the new prices, which are now in place across all the online stores where the books are sold.


    Book 1 -- this is always FREE to download.   Book 2 -- now $0.99 instead of $1.99.   Book 3 -- now $1.99 instead of $2.99.   Book 4 -- now $1.99 instead of $2.99.   The prices of books 5 and 6 remain the same, at $2.99 each.


    Here are the links for the FREE Book 1 eBook -- you'll be able to order all the others from that page.


    eBook 1 on AmazonCLICK HERE

    eBook 1 on Google PlayCLICK HERE

    eBook 1 on Apple, Kobo, B&N, etcCLICK HERE




    If you prefer to buy the eBooks in their omnibus format, the price of Volume 1 (The Missing Princess) has been reduced to match the prices of the individual books, while the Volume 2 omnibus (The Kidnapped Prince) has also been reduced, and is actually cheaper to buy than the three inidividual titles.


    Volume 1: The Missing Princess -- now $2.99 instead of $4.99.

    Amazon: CLICK HERE   Google Play: CLICK HERE   Apple, Kobo, B&N, etc: CLICK HERE


    Volume 2: The Kidnapped Prince -- now $4.99 instead of $5.99.

    AmazonCLICK HERE   Apple, Nook, KoboCLICK HERE   Google PlayCLICK HERE







    I haven't been able to reduce the price of the hardback or paperback editions of my Archibald Lox books, since they're print-on-demand, but Amazon and Book Depository often sell the hardback omnibus editions (and sometimes the paperbacks too) of Volume 1 and Volume 2 at a big discount. Here are current prices for Volume 2 -- but please note, these change frequently, going both up and down, so take this info only as a guide.


    At the moment, Book Depository are offering Volume 2 at a whopping 40% discount worldwide -- they also ship for free. CLICK HERE


    Amazon UK are currently offering Volume 2 at a big 36% discountCLICK HERE


    And Amazon Canada are selling Volume 2 at a big 34% discountCLICK HERE


    Amazon USA have also reduced it, selling it at a 22% discountCLICK HERE


    The Volume 1 hardback and paperback editions are also on sale at big discounts, so if you're new to the series, use the links above to help you search for Archibald Lox and the Missing Princess, and you can pick up a big bargain on that one too!






    I did a trio of online school events last month. The first was with the first year students of Patrician Secondary School in Newbridge, County Kildare, in Ireland. Students from three different classrooms were involved -- another benefit of doing these things virtually is that they were able to join in from their own classrooms, so they didn't have to gather as a big group in a large room. I usually pop on a Cirque Du Freak T-shirt for these events (my American publishers made a load of them nearly 20 years ago, and I still have a few that I wear on special occasions!), but yesterday as you can see in photo above, I happened to be wearing a Pennywise The Clown (from Stephen King's epic novel, IT) T-shirt on teh day that I did this event, and that seemed perfectly appropriate, so I saw no need to change! :-)



    The second event was with the students of Pensby High School in the UK -- you can see some of the Year 9 boys in the picture above, checking out some of my books from the library after the event. It's always nice when students are inspired to check out my books after a talk -- proof that I must have been doing SOMETHING right when I was waffling on, to spark their interest!!




    The third event was with the students of Round Lake Middle School near Chicago in the USA. You can see from the photos above how they had set things up for the event -- there were projectors in a number of classrooms, so that students in different rooms could watch, and they would come forward to ask questions via the laptops that were streaming the event. The technicalities vary from event to event -- sometimes students just shut out the questions from their seats, while other times students in certain rooms can't address me directly, but can type in their questions using the chat box on Zoom and similar services. But where there's a will, there's almost always a way!!


    If YOU are a teacher or librarian, in the UK, the USA, or any other country (geography truly isn't a barrier where online events are concerned), and are interested in contacting me to enquire about the possibility of arranging your own online event, please feel free to reach out and drop me a line using this email address: [email protected]


    I don't charge for online events, and I'm happy to talk about any of my books. I don't say YES to every request, but if you're well organised and can put together a large group of students (either in your own school, or by including others in your area) then you've got a good chance of getting a thumbs up from me!!!





    Although my books for some reason never sold especially well in their Spanish translations (my publishers only published the first nine books in my Cirque Du Freak series, in three trilogy collections), I have quite a few Spanish-speaking fans who found my work and have followed me resolutely over the years, on my website, Facebook, Twitter and so on. Some of them post lovely reviews every so often, and I thought I'd feature two of those this month.



    The first is actually three reviews in one -- a blogger called Plegarias en la Noche (which translates to Prayers in the Night) posted a review of the first three books in the series. She warned readers to expect a VERY different experience if they'd seen the movie before reading the books... she provided a fun review of each book, without too many spoilers... and summed up with a snappy "The three books are very entertaining and provide all sorts of sensations -- terror, laughter, anguish, suspense, stress... hahaha. So if you are looking for a vampire book that contains everything, this is the one for you."


    Google Translate or some similar online service will provide you with a pretty accurate translation if you don't speak English, but you'll probably have to copy and paste the first half, and then the second half, as it's quite lengthy. Here's the link for the full Spanish review: CLICK HERE



    The second review is on YouTube, and this is where technology hits its limits -- I haven't yet found anything that translates a video blog for me! It's a lengthy review, just over 26 minutes. It was posted by a blogger, called Letras en Rizo (Curly Letters!), and again, she reviews the first three novels in the series. A Spanish-speaking Shanster called Erick provided the following English summary of the review: "The review recommended the book for any readers that are starting, she said that this applies to both children (around 12 years old) and adults who are trying to start a reading habit, because the books are very entertaining and deal with a lot of subjects. She mentions that some parts are kind of dark when you think such a young person is going through all of these situations, but she also said that once you finish the first book you'll immediately will want to start the next. Overall is a very positive review!" You can watch the full review by CLICKING HERE








    I happened to have a look at the Lowplex site in the UK recently, and was pleased to note that they now have the complete Zom-B collection back in stock, along with the complete Demonata collection, and the complete Saga Of Darren Shan / Cirque Du Freak collection, and even the complete Saga Of Larten Crepsley collection. They sell these at incredible discounts -- up to 79% less than the normal retail price!! Ever wanted to own all 12 Cirque Du Freak books for less than £18?!? Now you can!!!


    You can see all the Darren Shan sets that they have in stock by CLICKING HERE


    I have no affiliations with Lowplex. I simply highlight their site every so often because I know it can be VERY expensive to buy ALL the books in my back catalogue -- the major downside to having been so prolific!! -- and it can also be tricky to track them all down. If you're just starting out collecting my books, it can be quite daunting. Lowplex makes buying my major series a far cheaper and easier process. They're a UK based site, and only ship to a few countries outside the UK -- Ireland, France, Spain, Switzerland -- and since the Brexit rules kicked in, you might end up having to pay import taxes in those European countries, so tread carefully if you're Irish or French!!! But for fans in the UK, these are truly amazing deals.


    If you live in the USA, the good news is that Amazon also sell a couple of these sets. They have the complete Zom-B collection for a very nicely priced $45 -- CLICK HERE


    And they sell the complete Cirque Du Freak set for $70, which is nowhere near as sweet a price as the Lowplex set, but is still a pretty good deal if you want to buy all 12 books in one fell swoop -- CLICK HERE


    Happy shopping, bargain-hunters!!!!





    When Cirque Du Freak was first published in the UK, my publishers were very worried that lots of teachers and librarians would rise up in a furious wave to condemn it -- although Goosebumps and Point Horror were doing very well, there hadn't been a horror book quite this dark released for children before, and they weren't sure what the response would be like. (That's one of the main reasons the book was originally turned down by pretty much every British publisher!) They braced themselves for the backlash... but it never came. Nor did it come in the USA or any of the other 40 or so countries where it was released over the coming years, or the dozens more where the English language books were imported. Sure, there was the occasional complaint from a parent, and very occasionally a teacher or librarian would choose not to stock the book in repsonse to those complaints, but honestly, we're talking tiny numbers here. The vast, vast majority of teachers and librarians (and even parents) realised from very early on that there was something special about the book... that it could hook in a classroom audience and reach kids who normally wouldn't read... and also, as dark as it was, it was also a very positive, inspiring book.


    In the twenty-plus years since then, Cirque Du Freak has been a standard text in huge numbers of schools across the world, and still continues to be taught in classrooms all around the globe. It even made the national curriculum in some countries!! Not bad for a "bad boy" book that almost never made it out of the starting blocks!!! :-)


    I'm always extra-impressed by teachers and librarians who find inventive ways to deal with the book, to incorporate it into the school curriculum and do more with it than just read it out to their students. (Though there's absolutely nothing wrong with that either! I'm a big advocate of the need to let kids know that reading can be fun, and think every group should have at least a few periods every week where they're encouraged to simply read for enjoyment.) And here are four such recent examples.



    The first (above) come to us courtesy of Rang Cuchulainn (that means Cuchulainn's Class -- Cuchulainn was a mythical Irish warrior, a bit like King Arthur) in Colaiste Bride in Ireland. Here, the students were challenged to invent flyers for the Cirque Du Freak, and I think you'll all agree that they came up with some real crackers!!



    The second (above) hails from Alloa Academy in Scotland, where pupils were asked to write book reports for my short novel, Koyasan. But... only one 5 star review out of four?!? I demand a recount!!!!!! :-) :-) :-)




    The third and fourth (above) are book reports written by students in Thorp Academy LRC in England, for a DEAR -- Drop Everything And Read -- lesson.






    A very happy Shanster in the USA got in touch with me recently to say they had picked up an entire set of my Cirque Du Freak books at a bargain price on ThriftBooks, and suggested I bring the site to other people's attention, in case they were unaware of it.


    I've got to be honest -- it wasn't a site I was familiar with. Back before Cirque Du Freak struck big, I used to scour the second-hand bookshops of London and Limerick, searching for good books at bargain-basement prices, because I had VERY little money back in those days -- indeed, there was a lengthy period, when I was drawing unemployment benefits, when I used to receive the grand total of £25 (old Irish pounds) a week! Second-hand books, videos and cassette tapes (ask your grandparents what those were!) were gold dust to me. But I didn't have a computer, and the internet as it exists now was still a dream world to me, so I used to pad from shop to shop, scouring the shelves, sometimes for hours at a stretch.


    Again, being honest, these days I love the convenience of being able to just download or stream pretty much any book, album or film I like, but I do miss those long-ago marathon treks around the stores. They gave my life a very enjoyable structure back then, and rare, unexpected finds could put a bounce in my step.


    Anyway -- I'm rambling!! So, yeah, while I was unaware of ThriftBooks in the year 2021, thirty years ago I'd have been all over that site like a rash, if it had existed back then!! Well... an Irish or English version of it anyway. I've had a quick look, and they appear to have second-hand copies of most of my books, many of them at half price or even less, so if you're in the hunt for a bargain, CLICK HERE -- happy hunting!!! Oh, and if anyone knows of a British or Irish equivalent, let me know and I'll be happy to share a link for that too.





    The winners of my February competition, in the order drawn, were:


    Ashley Nicole Regan, USA.

    Lori Rergerson, USA.

    Sophie Pearce, UK.

    Celine Vancoppenolle, Belgium.

    Alexandra Horvath, Hungary.

    Sacha Chotimet, Thailand.


    There were almost 200 entries in total. Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everyone else! Speaking of which...








    To celebrate the release of Volume 5 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus last month, I'm running a competition with SIX signed, dated copies of VOLUME 3 of the manga up for grabs -- this collects books 5 and 6 of the series, bringing the first half of the storyline to its close. I signed and dated these on the 27th July, 2021 -- the book's international release day. I only signed TEN of these in total on that date. I'm keeping two for myself. I'll give another two away at some point in the future (probably as part of a complete set). And the other six are the prizes in this competition. I think these are VERY cool prizes, so if you want a chance to be one of the lucky six winners, read on...


    1) Answer this question: "Which two books of the series does the Volume 3 omnibus collect?" (I'm just looking for the numbers of the books, although if you want to provide the names instead, that will be acceptable too.)


    2) Send your entry to: [email protected]


    3) Put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX when you send your e-mail. Make sure you INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS in the body of the e-mail, as well as the answer, so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win


    (4) Closing date is 11.59pm UK time, Thursday, March 10th, 2022.


    (5) This competition is open to fans everywhere 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 Friday, March 11th, 2022. 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 and my blog 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 March. Last month saw me celebrating the 20th anniversary of my first date with the lady who would later become Mrs Shan -- there's a snap of us in our early days above, and you can read the full article I posted about it by CLICKING HERE. Twenty years... they've lasted an age, yet passed in a heartbeat. I'll see you back here at the start of April, 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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