• Issue 284 - March 2024

    01 March 2024



    Hi everyone, and welcome to the March issue of the Shanville Monthly! The VERY exciting lead story this month concerns my series The Demonata, which has recently been optioned with an eye on turning it into a TV series! But don't stop there, because I have loads of other news to share with you this month, including... I give an hour-long interview on a radio show... I'm due to make a rare public apperarance in the UK at a sci-fi/fantasy/horror convention...  and I'm going to be jumping off the top of a rugby stadium!!! For all those stories, and lots, lot more, read on...






    Lord Loss, the first book of my Demonata series, was published way back in 2005. Hell's Heroes, the final book, came out in 2009. So, 19 years since the series began, and 15 since it ended. In all that time, nobody has come in strong, looking to adapt it into a movie or film. Cirque Du Freak has been optioned (twice), and Zom-B, and Lady of the Shades, and for a while there was even interest in a Koyasan musical (!!!), but no one seemed to be feeling the love for a potential Demonata adaptation. A few lukewarm enquiries to my agent from time to time, but nothing that ever led to anything further.


    Recently, that's changed. Like the old cliche of waiting for a bus for ages, only for three to come along all at the same time, a few people from different sectors got in touch with me over the last few months, and I'm pleased to be able to announce that after going through things carefully with my agents, I signed an option with two young British film/tv-makers today, giving them the rights to explore developing the books into scripts (or at least a pitch) which they can then take to various production firms in the hope of stirring up interest and landing ourselves a deal to take things further forward.


    This is a VERY early stage of the process, and I always urge caution when it comes to options, as most of the time they don't result in anything concrete. Usually I don't even announce publicly that I've signed up to an option -- with Zom-B and Cirque Du Freak, I waited until things had moved on quite a bit and scripts had been written and wheels had been set in motion, before saying anything to my fans about them. But, having waited so long for a bite on my Demonata line, I thought I'd dispense with normal protocol and give the deal an early shout-out!! Don't get your hopes up. Don't hold your breath waiting for further news. But do feel free to start dreaming, and debating among yourselves how in an ideal world you'd best love to see it adapted!!


    Updates to hopefully follow... but probably not for many months (or years!) down the road...






    If you missed the live broadcast last month of my appearance on the online heavy metal radio station ECSTASY RADIO, not to worry, because it's up on YouTube, free for you to listen to whenever you wish -- hurrah!!!


    The DJ, DOC, is a big fan of my books, and was as thrilled to have me on the show as I was to be on it. That isn't always the case with radio shows, where the presenters are often talking about subjects and people completely out of their sphere of interest, so it made for a very nice, informed discussion. We were only meant to chat for about half an hour, but were having so much fun that we ended up talking for about an hour, and that lengthy interview forms the backbone of the episode.


    Doc asked me LOTS of questions about my books and writing, and the show also features loads of cool, heavy tunes, as one would expect from the USA's #1 Free Rock and Metal Radio Show!!! You can listen to the entire show by CLICKING HERE



    SFW XV



    I'm making a rare public appearance this March, in the UK, at SFW XV, a sci-fi weekender in Great Yarmouth. The event is SOLD OUT, but it's possible there might be cancellations, so if you're interested in tyring to arrange a last-minute trip, you can find out all the info here: https://scifiweekender.com/


    Details of what I'll be doing are yet to be confirmed, but I'll be appearing on Friday and Saturday, probably doing a few panel events, maybe even a solo event or two, and of course signing lots of books!!


    I did SFW several years ago and really enjoyed it, so I'm delighted to have been invited back. It's a very relaxed, welcoming festival, with LOTS going on, loads of people from the sci-fi/fantasy/horror worlds of movies, TV, books, comics, etc. I'm especially looking forward to seeing Neil Marshall, who directed THE DESCENT, for my money one of the scariest films of the last few decades!!


    If you've already got tickets sorted, I look forward to seeing you there, chatting with you and signing any of my books that you'd like to get signed. If you didn't book early, and are trying to get hold of tickets... may the luck of the vampires be with you!!






    This is something that I don't think we've ever seen up for sale on the open market before -- a copy of the British "demon skin" limited edition of Hell's Heroes. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/266685884086


    Only 50 of these were printed, and most went to people in the book trade. It's by far and away the rarest edition of any of my traditionally published books. Super fan Peter Durn spotted the sale on eBay and brought it to my attention. He managed to get a copy through a private sale many years ago, and was rather shocked to see one pop up out of the blue on eBay like this!


    The bidding, as I write this on March 1st, with nearly two days remaining in the auction, is at £666. That's a big chunk of change, I know, but Peter has been open about the price he paid for his copy, which was £1,000 -- so it's by no means without precedent. The provenance looks airtight -- the seller won a copy in a competition that my publishers ran, and even has a copy of the letter they publishers sent to him informing him of his good fortune. I doubt we'll ever see many (if any!) of these come to market in the future, so if you ARE interested, and CAN afford to bid, this may well be your last chance in a long time (possibly ever!) to get hold of a copy. Good luck!!!






    If you've ever wanted to push Darren Shan off the top of a very tall building... here's the next best thing!! :-)


    I'm going to be abseiling off the top of Thomond Park, home of the Munster Rugby team, on Saturday, April 20th. It's to help raise funds for a rebuilding project at the school which my children attend. I'll be abseiling 45 metres/125 feet from the roof of the building. It's something I haven't done in almost 40 years, so hopefully I still have a head for heights!!


    If you'd like to find out more, and maybe make a donation to help sponsor me to do it, please CLICK HERE






    Last month I set off on the first ever ZOM-B WALKING TOUR of London!! A fan called MARTIN had bought the perk when I was running a fundraising campaign for The Terrified Troll (my upcoming picture book for young children). We met in Liverpool Street Station, then set off on a long walk towards the centre of London, during which we passed by several places which featured in my Zom-B series. (Including the block of flats where I lived when I first came up with the idea for the books.) We discussed Zom-B, my other books, and a whole lot more.


    The tour took just under 3 hours, which included a break to sit down and have a drink in a cafe in a crypt. (There HAS to be a crypt on a Darren Shan tour!!) We finished up at County Hall, where this photo was taken. County Hall was a notable finishing point for three reasons. 1 -- because it featured very strongly in the books (since I moved into the building while writing the series!). 2 -- that's where my Archibald Lox series started life (we actually walked over the footbridge where I was struck with the idea for the first Archie book). 3 -- and while there, we were able to see the building where I was born!!! (That's it in the distance behind Martin and myself.)


    Although the fundraiser has finished, I'm still offering some of the perks. The Zom-B tour is one of those (it costs €300). There's also a Bec tour (€250) in Ireland. You can meet me in Limerick (€200) or London (€275) for a couple of hours. Or you can do a 40 minutes Zoom chat with me (€150). If you're interested in any of those, drop me a line at [email protected] and we can discuss it further.






    Father of the Future, the sci-fi book I released last year under the name of Darren Dash, picked up not one, not two, but a trio of 5 star reviews from READERS' FAVORITE reviewers! Very nice comments from the reviewers included such gems as...


    "Dash excels at building a futuristic dystopia that embraces and exaggerates some of the hotly debated societal issues of the world today..."


    "The book serves as both a cautionary tale and a compelling adventure that resonates with contemporary discussions on AI's impact on our lives..."


    and "Darren Dash’s depiction of the ultimate Utopia and one citizen’s problem with perfection could not have been better portrayed."


    If you'd like to check out all three reviews, CLICK HERE


    Father of the Future is on sale as an eBook from all the usual main stores, so pick your favourite seller from the likes of Amazon, B&N, Kobo, Google Play, Apple, etc. Or you can buy it as a hardback or paperback through Amazon stores worldwide. (I advise spending the bit extra on the hardback if you can -- it turned out rather beautifully in that format!) Or, if you prefer to absorb it as an AUDIO BOOK...






    Good news for audio book fans -- Father Of The Future, my most recent Darren Dash novel for adult readers, is now on sale as an AI-narrated audio book through GOOGLE PLAY stores worldwide. If you'd like to buy a copy, or just listen to a sample for free, CLICK HERE


    I know opinions vary greatly on the moral standing of AI audio books. I've written about my views on the subject previously, so I won't rehash them again, except to say that in this specific instance, even if I was in a position to pay for a real narrator, I'd probably stick with the AI option. Why?!? Well, the book's plot revolves around the dangers of living in a world where an AI has too much control over humanity. It basically serves as a warning that we shouldn't be trusting our computers TOO much, and that we may well come to regret the amount of autonomy that we're granting them.


    The notion of having an anti-AI story narrated by an AI programme is just too deliciously twisted a prospect for the schoolboy prankster in me to resist!! So, yeah, as I've said before, if the Darren Dash books ever start selling in greater numbers and generate more of an income, I'll be happy to hire narrators to produce proper, human AI versions of my self-published books -- but NOT for this little audio book outlier, which will remain an AI-generated product that Father himself would be proud of!!!






    There was a lovely review for Demon Thief, book 2 of my Demonata series, over on THE PHOENIX PROJECT. CLICK HERE


    Demon Thief was the key to the entire series. Although the second published, it was actually the sixth Demonata book that I wrote. I was having trouble figuring out how to structure the series, and was thinking I might have to set aside Bec (which was the second book that I'd written) and make it a short series where the sole focus was Grubbs Grady and his journey. I didn't WANT to do that, because I could sense a much bigger, more ambitious story lurking in the depths of my subconscious, waiting to be revealed -- but I just couldn't find my way towards it.


    Then, very late in the day -- the release of Lord Loss was looming, and I was almost at the point where I had to submit a second book to my publishers -- I had the idea for Demon Thief, and that opened everything up for me. I saw that the series needed three narrators, and the order in which they would best appear, and how it should be ten books in total, with the order of narrators the same backwards as it was forwards, in order to tie in with the time-can-be-cyclical story elements. And I was off!!!






    THE PHOENIX PROJECT also posted a great review for the first book in the series, Lord Loss. CLICK HERE


    I was going to write a few words about how Lord Loss began life, so I had a quick look at my author notes for Lord Loss (I publish notes for all of my books, although I've fallen behind in recent years, and haven't done it for a last few). I hadn't read the notes in years, and I was fascinated when I did, and figured you guys might like to see them too, so instead of truncating them here, I'm going to direct you towards my AUTHOR NOTES FOR LORD LOSS on my website, where you can read the entire back story. I hope you enjoy your look behind the grisly scenes!








    I could still remember the ending of the last book. And reading this reminds me that Darren Shan has changed a lot since the first book when it comes to perspective yet he still has A LOT to learn about vampires such as politics and heirarchy introduced in this book. As always, trivial matters like cat's blood bad for vampires are what amazed me with details for this Saga.


    Book 3 is both "Vampires in the City" and "Christmas Special" sort of. We're far from our Cirque Du Freak setting. Darren encountered another human friend and potential love interest which make his life more complicated. I was intrigued with Vampire-Generals and I thought he was the man in the cover but actually it's not, and that someone is miles more sinister. What I like is the easy-reading, middle grade level dialogue. I'm not exhausted by too much exposition and world building. Just enough to know more about Darren's vampire-world. Darren and Evra's friendship is heartwarming. I'm just constantly worried everytime Darren made another mistake again, although seems normal for a teen, and for a human himself haha.


    It had introduced another character tied with the mystery. Even though I also thought Darren is stupid with his plans to solve the mystery himself, I can't help but say that it's because he's a teen. There's also a discussion of a moral dilemma as who would be considered as evil or not. Darren is brave bit stupidly brave. I really love the dialogues between Darren and Mr. Crepsley, of how they argue about sacrifice and things they should have done, even about love. How mature Darren is now and how understanding Mr. Crepsley is. If I was him, I've already lost my mind on every stupid decisions Darren make along the way but since he's a half vampire and half teen, that's part of the package.I was actually apprehensive as I read the climax because one wrong move, I know the saga could turn into multiple options and some of those options are horrible.


    As expected naturally from middle grade books, the ending was cleverly put even though I can smell it from far away. Overall, this is a great addition to the saga. I enjoyed it a lot, with all the tensions I feel for every idiotic decisions the main character made however, I'm not sure where he draws the braveness he had against these menacing villains. Also, I'm pretty sure the ending would take impact for future installations and I hope I could read them and witness it unfolds.


    P.S. Sorry for the smudge in my copy in the photo, as it is preloved (secondhand). It's so hard to see copies of old series here in the Philippines.






    I was greeted with this post on Facebook recently, from a fan called MELISSA who is nearing the end of my Archibald Lox series:


    "Darren...why do you like tormenting your readers? I'm reading volume three of Archibald Lox and I was thrilled that [REDACTED] was helping Inez and Archie (who I adore dearly) escape, but no. It reminded me of the chapter in Killers of the Dawn where Mr Crepsley was 'rescued' from the stakes. You're a cruel man Mr Shan... I just thought I'd let you know."


    Heh heh!! So many of you STILL haven't recovered from Killers Of The Dawn, and I must admit, I'm delighted to be tugging at those heartstrings again with the Archie books!!


    Overall, the Archibald Lox series is nowhere near as traumatising (or bloody) as my other major series, a conscious decision on my part to tone down the gore and heartache for once. But let's be honest, isnt the PAIN a big part of the reason why you all love my books?!? I never ladle it in needlessly or gratuitously -- I'm certainly not a misery merchant -- but if an author is being in any way realistic, the loss of key characters is to be expected if you send your main cast off on a perilous quest. I write books that have danger at their core, and for them to work to their maximum effectiveness, that danger must be REAL. And so, alas, must the pain.


    On the flip side, when one of your most loved characters DOES make it alive to the end of one of my books, you can truly celebrate, the way you can't with the work of many authors, because you know they've genuinely defied the odds and are truly lucky to still be breathing!!! So, y'know, I take (and take!) with one hand, but I do give back generously with the other, even if it doesn't feel that way when you're reading Killers Of The Dawn or certain parts of Archibald Lox: The Exiled King...






    My February Father Of The Future competition stirred up a lot of interest and I had more entries than usual, which was nice to see. Most were sent in by people living in the USA, UK and Ireland, but there were also quite a lot of entries from fans in Hungary, Canada, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic, plus some from other countries, such as Norway, Sweden, Mexico, Dubai, Oman, Australia, New Zealand, Japan... There really ARE Shansters pretty much everywhere in the world!!!! :-)


    Anyway, although many entered, only four could walk away triumphant, and the quartet of winners, in the order drawn, who each get an ultra rare limited edition copy of Father of the Future, were...







    Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everyone else!! I hope to run another competition in the not too distant future, so stay tuned!






    Hungarian Shansters!!! You better watch out! You better not cry! You better be good! I’m telling you why! Darren Shan is coming back to Budapest in August!!!
    I'm going to be celebrating the launch of Archibald Lox Volume 2, by spending the day in Budapest on August 24th at the Lurdy house. Full details are still being confirmed, but I'll be giving a talk, and signing lots and LOTS of books for everone who comes, and of course posing with them for photos too!
    For more info about how to book tickets, visit the BOOKAHOLIC FACEBOOK PAGE. That's also where details of the event will be confirmed over the coming months -- what I can say is that I won't be the only attraction on offer that day...



    IT'S A WRAP!


    And that's it for March. I'm looking forward to hitting the road again, albeit briefly, for SFW XV. I miss meeting fans and getting to chat with them and sign their books. It will be great to be back out there on the road, even if only for a couple of days. I'm also going to be flying over to London during the month to meet the guys who are hoping to adapt The Demonata into a TV show -- it will be interesting to sit down with them and hear their thoughts on how that might best be achieved (and to maybe offer up a few thoughts of my own!). I'll be reporting on both of those trips in the next issue of my montly newsletter, along with everything else that happens in the world of Shan over the next 31 days. So I'll hopefully see you back here at the start of April for that. 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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