• Issue 261 - April 2022

    01 April 2022



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the April issue of the Shanville Monthly! The big news this month is that I'm going to be appearing at a Book Festival in England, my first in that country in 6 years, and my first anywhere in close to 3 years!! It will be a rare chance to come and hear me read from my books, answer questions, and have your books signed afterwards. In other news... I had a very busy week around World Book Day, and there are lots of photos connected with that... there are links to various articles about, and reviews of, different books of mine... info about where to get the best deals on my most recent releases... and even a (mind of!) answer to that age-ole question -- what does Lord Loss sound like?!? :-) But first, here's the skinny on that Festival appearance...






    I'm going to be making a VERY rare public appearance at the Tunbridge Wells Literary Festival this month, on Saturday, April 30th, at 2pm. CLICK HERE


    For 16 years I was out on the road on tour pretty much every few months or so, but since my last big tour six years ago, to support the final Zom-B book, I've only done a handful of public events. The last of those was nearly 3 years ago, in Edinburgh, and in fact this is the first event I've done in England since the end of that Zom-B tour -- yes, my first event in England in SIX YEARS!!!!


    Since I've been out of the public eye for such a long time, I figured it would be nice to do a short career retrospective -- in reverse! I'm going to open with a short reading from Archibald Lox, then read an extract from Zom-B, then from The Demonata, and finish up with a reading from Cirque Du Freak. I'll be taking questions from the audience in between each reading. It's a bit of an unusual format, but this is a special occasion, so I thought why not mix things up a little?!?


    If you're interested in booking tickets to come to the event, CLICK HERE


    There *should* be copies of Volume 1 of my Archibald Lox series on sale (this will be the first event I've done where I'll be signing Archibald Lox books, since they hadn't been released when I was last out on the road), and perhaps some of my back catalogue too, but as always, I'll be happy to sign books that fans bring from home too, so please feel free to bring books with you. I'll also aim to sign as many of my books as each fan brings, time permitting, so don't be shy about bringing more than one, if you want to!! :-)








    It was World Book Day last month. For me, every day is a good day to read, but it's lovely that there's at least one globally recognised day when books are getting the official recognition that they deserve!


    I had a very busy week around World Book Day, doing online events with various schools -- In fact it was my busiest week of events in almost 6 years, since I was out on the road touring to support the release of the final book in my Zom-B series! I used to be reluctant to do virtual events, much preferring to actually visit venues in the flesh, but that's all changed over the last couple of years, mostly due to the pandemic -- it seems we all got used to doing Zoom calls and the like during that time, so now it seems like the most natural thing in the world both for me and the students in the schools! I'd still rather be going out there in person -- there's nothing quite the match of a real live event, where you get to sit eyeball-to-eyeball with an author and have your books signed -- but at the same time the online events allow me to cast my nets far more widely, and not have to worry about the logistics of getting from A to B to C to...


    I've included photos from a few of the events. The first is a collage from my my chat with the students of Archbishop McHale College, in Tuam, Ireland.The second was taken during an event I did with the students of Oldfield Primary School in England, while the third (also a collage) was taken during an I did with the students of Borrisokane Community College in Ireland. With a lot of online events, the students stay in their classrooms, and several classes join in at the same time, as they did for the Tuam event -- with the other two, the students were gathered together in one large room, the way they would be if I was doing the event in the flesh. Either way works fine for me -- I always let the teachers decide, based on what works best for them.


    I thought, to tie in with World Book Day, that I'd recommend five of my favourite books for older children and teenagers. I didn't think too long about it, just decided to make it a mix of older and newer books, and to avoid Big Guns that most of you will already be familiar with (e.g. Harry PotterHis Dark MaterialsLord Of The Rings). And the five I came up with are...


    The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

    Rebecca's World, by Terry Nation.

    The Machine Gunners, by Robert Westall.

    Holes, by Louis Sachar.

    When The Sky Falls, by Phil Earle.


    By the way, although World Book Day is over for another year, I'm still doing plenty of online events with schools. If YOU are a teacher or librarian, anywhere in the world (geography 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. 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!!!










    To celebrate World Book Day, a number of Shansters decided to dress up for the day in costumes inspired by characters in my books -- and in one case, by a LITERAL book!!!


    Jorgie is the star of the first photo, "booking" herself a note in the annals of Darren Shan history! She dressed up a bookworm devouring her favourite book -- Cirque Du Freak!! In my 22 years of seeing fans celebrate World Book Day with nods to my work, I don't recall ever seeing any of them disguise themselves as a physical book before!! Outstanding, creative work!!!!


    Next we have the dashing Jake, sporting the coolest toop hat known to humankind -- OR vampirekind!!


    Then the equally dashing Axel-Isaac (has Mr Crepsley ever looked as elegant as in these two photos?!?), who posed in front of a global map much like the one that I suspect hangs above the desk in Vladamir Putin's secret office... (grrrr!!!!)


    Then we have the brooding Benjamin, who's a dead ringer for the way I always imagined a young Larten Crepsley inside my own head.


    After that we have Khan, Mr Duncan and Milo, from All Saints Primary School in Sapcotes, who dressed up as Mr Crepsley, the Wolf-Man and Murlough from my Cirque Du Freak books. They look incredible, and I also love how they're holding such a wide selection of my books, including even an Archibald Lox entry -- this is clearly a school where the book-buyers have SHANtastic taste in books!!!


    And finally there's Jack, who dressed up as that most handsome of Vampire Princes... Darren Shan!! Jack's minimalist approach reminds me of when I've been out and about on Halloweens in the past -- sometimes, if I'm not dressed up in an elaborate costume, people will express surprise that I haven't marked the big occasion -- to which I always wink and reply, "But I HAVE dressed up... as Darren Shan!!!!"


    Sterling work, people -- my heart fills with joy looking at these photos, and Mr Crepsley thanks you most deeply from the bottom of a mug of ale that he's currently quaffing in Vampire Paradise!!






    A blogger called Trans-Scribe posted an article a while back, talking about 5 books or book series that NEED a TV adaptation. You can check out the full list by CLICKING HERE


    I was very pleased to see The Demonata get a mention, and a I had a wry little chuckle at the blogger's opening line about it:


    "Officially a ‘children’s’ series, The Demonata by Darren Shan might have one of the most messed up beginnings I’ve ever read, with an event that puts one of our protagonists in a psychiatric ward for months."


    Heh heh!!! I still regularly read out chapter 2 from Lord Loss when I'm doing live events -- it never fails to draw a wide-eyed, open-mouthed response, even all these years later!


    While I've obviously be delighted if any of my books or series were adapted for TV, I must admit I'd especially LOVE to see The Demonata brought to life, as it's just a such a visually wild and grisly ride -- imagine a world where the likes of Lord Loss, Artery and Vein were streaming into TV sets and computers all across the land every week!! Sadly, to date there hasn't been a whole lot of interest from production companies in taking it on. I think they're put off, not just by the violence -- and it WOULD be a challenging job to pitch on that front -- but by its complex, multi-narrator, overlapping timelines structure. I don't think it would be incredibly difficult to mould the stories into a shape that would work for a TV series, but they don't automatically lend themselves to that format, which might be putting off producers who want an easy, straightforward sell. I'm hopeful that one day someone will come along who loves the books and sees a way to make them work for TV, and has the industry links to convince those with the money to take a chance on it, but that knight in shining armour hasn't ridden along yet...






    There's a site called Cultured Vultures (what a cool name!!) and a while back they posted an article entitled 12 Best Horror Book Series of All Time. As it suggests, its an article which names twelve of the best horror series that gore-fans might want check out. Most of them are books for adults, but they didn't restrict the list, which allowed a certain demon-packed, 10-book series by Yours Truly to make the cut!


    It was lovely seeing The Demonata listed beside these heavy-hitters. To see what the Cultured Vultures had to say about it, and what else made the list, click here: CLICK HERE







    A blogger called T.S. Hathaway recently reviewed all 12 books in my Saga Of Darren Shan / Cirque Du Freak series. I appreciate the difficulties involved with reviewing a long series like this -- most reviewers tend to only review the first book or two, or if they read all the way to the end, they do a single, overall review of the entire series. But to write twelve separate reviews, one for each book... that takes extreme dedication, so... RESPECT!! :-)


    T. S.'s reviews are short and snappy, and also provide a summary of each book. If you're re-reading the series, or coming to it for the first time, these reviews will be a nice, easy way to see what somebody else thought about the books, as you read through them. I'm including links to the first three reviews below, with more to come.


    Book 1: CLICK HERE


    Book 2: CLICK HERE


    Book 3: CLICK HERE






    Volume 5 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus went on sale just over a month ago, meaning this is the perfect time to share a review of Volume 4 that appeared on AMP (Asian Movie Pulse) a while back. The reviewer praises Takahiro Arai's art (which I'm always happy to praise too!) and notes that this is "a series that is easy to recommend, and ideal to share with the upcoming generation of manga fans – it perfectly bridges the gap with elements that both young and mature readers can appreciate. In addition, the work continues to wonderfully capture that macabre aesthetic that will appease horror fans along with kids who are just beginning to find interest in all things creepy and crawly."


    I second that! Indeed, I think it's one of the reasons why Cirque Du Freak continues to be so popular all these years after its first release. When I was writing it, I wanted to create a story that would be as easy to read as a Goosebumps book, but which would also be as dark and unsettling as a Stephen King book for adults. Praise from an occasional parent or teacher in the early years inclined me to believe that I'd struck the right balance, but I've been hearing more and more from older fans in recent times, people who'd read the books as children, and are now re-reading them as adults, and they've all been reporting that the books are just as much fun to read ten or twenty years later -- indeed, some of them are preferring the series as adults, as they're picking up on things that they didn't clock first time round!!


    Anyway, I think the manga captured that same appeal for both younger and older readers, so if you ARE returning to my story after years (or decades!) away, you might want to consider reading it in its adapted manga format this time round, as it will provide you with the familiar storyline from your youth, but with a whole new world of visual wonders to drool over and relish.


    You can read the full AMP review by CLICKING HERE






    A vlogger called Raymond posted a nice, 14 minute video last year (sorry for the late share!!) in which he looked at both the novels of my Cirque Du Freak series, plus the manga adaptation of them. He includes shots of some pages from the manga, which will give you an idea of what they're like if you haven't yet set eyes on them, and also give you an insight into how the manga stayed faithful to the story of the books (unlike the movie adaptation!!) but also reinvented it to make it work in a visual format. You can check out the video by CLICKING HERE






    Volume 5 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus, which contains books 9 and 10, was released on the 22nd of February. 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 45CLICK 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 9CLICK 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 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, but have now started shipping again to the EU -- but, because of Brexit, you might end up having to pay import taxes, so tread carefully!!


    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!!!!






    While I always try to release reviews for my books around the same time that those books go on sale, sometimes one gets a bit waylaid, and sits as a link in the BLOG folder on my PC a bit longer than it should have. This is one such review.


    It was posted by a reviewer called Thomas Paxton last June, when Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell (the fifth book in the series) was released. Thomas originally posted it on Goodreads, then on his Facebook page. While I don't often link to Goodreads review, in this case I thought I would, as it's quite an in-depth, informative review. Thomas talks excitedly about the big sporting competition around which the book's plot revolves, and how it's the darkest in the series so far, and also how it reminded him of a couple of my other books. To find out what those books were, and to read the full review, CLICK HERE






    I occasionally get asked about Demonata audio books, and here's the latest enquiry which was posted on the Darren Shan Discussions fan page on Facebook a couple of weeks back, by a fan called Valentina:


    "I have a question -- do you know if the Demonata series (my favorite of all time) will ever became an audio series, I don't know, on Audible, or else? I'm actually listening now to the series of Darren Shan and, OMG, it makes so much difference! I can tell that also the interpreter is amazing, so it helps a lot. Anyway, I wish I could listen to Demonata too. I know that there were like, the first 3 books on CD, but I'm Italian, living in Netherlands, and nor in Italy or Netherlands I'm able to find any of them. Lately, anyway, I've noticed that Demonata is always mistreated, compared to Zom-B or Darren Shan, etc... It's a pity because in my opinion is a great series."


    The short, sad answer is that no, there are no plans to release any more audio books of The Demonata, or to make them available on Audible. :-( The first 6 books were released many years ago, in the UK, but this was in the time before streaming sites like Audible (they were only released as CDs), and they didn't sell very well. My publishers chose not to complete the series, and my American publishers never expressed any interest in adapting them either. Personally I think they could do really well in today's Audible world, but I've never been able to get my publishers interested, so, for the time being, it ain't gonna happen. Maybe Lord Loss is holding things up, so that he can relish our "sweet sorrow" while we wait in vain and weep...






    A long-time Shanster called Niall sent me an email a while back, with a question.


    "I am writing to you as a 28 year old man who first read your books as a 7 year old boy. Recently I have had the joy of reading Lord loss to my 7 year old daughter, Lexi. This has been a wonderful experience and I wanted to offer you my sincerest thank you for this intergenerational reading experience. I do however have a question to ask on behalf of her. Grubitsch and dervish and Co have an Irish accent like her grandmother's family (we are English) but she stumped me with the question of who does Lord Loss sound like. After many attempts of explaining to her that book characters can sound any way she wants, I agreed I would email Darren Shan on her behalf and ask him. So could I please ask on behalf of Lexi: Which accent does lord loss have? (p.s. I know Lord Loss isn't a typical 7 year old's favourite, but she thinks that his familiars are "the cutest.")"


    Once I'd recovered from the shock of a 7 year old reading Lord Loss (social services will be coming for you, Niall !!!), I replied to Niall that since Lord Loss comes from a different universe to ours, his accent isn't like any that we have here on Earth. I told him -- and I'll tell the rest of you here -- to imagine the sound of a frog speaking Esperanto while being spun around in a cement mixer... That's actually nothing like his accent, but it's fun to imagine anyway, right?!?


    The drawing of Lord Loss was done by a fan called Frank.






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


    Amirali M, USA.

    Abigail Reyes, USA.

    Tyler Hawthorn, New Zealand.

    Celine Khan, Canada.

    Adam Dempsey, UK.

    Laura Williams, UK.


    Each winner received a special signed and dated copy of Volume 3 of the Cirque Du Freak manga omnibus. Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everyone else -- I'm going to be running a competition in the near future with signed, dated copies of Volume 4 of the manga up for grabs, so watch out for that!



    IT'S A WRAP!


    And that's it for April. I hope to see lots of you at my event near the end of the month -- it's my first public appearance in ages, so I'm not sure what sort of a crowd I'll draw -- so if you CAN make it, PLEASE do come!!! :-) Regardless of that, I'll see you all back here at the start of May, 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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