• Issue 17-December 2001

    01 December 2001
    GHOULTIDE GREETINGS!!

    Christmas already?!? Where's the year gone? With all the touring, travelling and writing I've been doing over the past 12 months, 2001 has passed me by in a blur. It's been a busy year: Vampire Mountain and Trials Of Death hit shops in the UK and Ireland; the first foreign editions of my books began to appear in various countries throughout the world (see update below for the latest global breakthroughs!); I did lots of promotional work in Ireland and the UK, as well as America and France; and Shanville has undergone quite a few changes, not least of which was the addition of the immensely popular Message Board! And next year's shaping up to be even busier!!! 3 Darren Shan books will be released in the UK in 2002; more countries will be bringing out Cirque Du Freak and the sequels; I'm already adding lots of touring dates to my diary for the first few months of the year; I've a trip to Japan planned for May/June -- and who knows what else will crop up!!! It's going to be hectic, but that's the way I love it! For the next couple of months though, I'll be at home, getting stuck into the first draft of the latest Darren Shan book (number 11!!), cooking up a hopefully tight-paced, thrilling feast! But first there's the not-so-small matter of the December issue of the Shanville Monthly to deal with ...
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    usa u.s.a. and france usa

    I've covered so much ground in the last couple of months!! First up was America, where I had a great time touring. I started in San Francisco, proceeded down to Los Angeles and San Diego, then flew east to Chicago and finally Boston. I visited loads of great book stores, met lots of dedicated Shansters -- and hopefully made a few new converts along the way! The two weeks flew by. I didn't get a chance to do much sightseeing, though I had a little wander round in most of the places I visited. In Los Angeles I met with one of the producers working on the Darren Shan film -- latest news is that IF they film it (and as I keep saying, there are no guarantees in Hollywood), it will most probably be filmed in the States, with American actors. In Boston I got to meet my editor and other staff who work for my publishers, LittleBrown, which was great -- until then they'd been faceless entities! I also picked up an advance copy of Book 3, Tunnels Of Blood while I was there -- I've added a copy of the cover to the Shanville USA home page. I think it looks super cool!! Thanks to everyone who helped look after me while I was in America -- literary escorts, booksellers, librarians, teachers, etc -- especially Kerri Goddard, who coordinated it all. And special thanks to everyone who turned out to welcome me and have their books signed -- your presence was much appreciated!! And extra special thanks to Spencer Wadell, who made his parents alter their holiday plans and drive 5 hours to meet me -- now THAT'S truly freakish dedication!!!!!
    Following a brief rest, I then took off for France. I was a bit nervous about this trip -- it was my first time touring a country where English wasn't the main language -- but my fears turned out to be totally without foundation. My French publicist, Christine Colinet, arranged a busy, invigorating tour, with lots of interviews and bookstore events. I was on the go all the time; 2 excellent translators helped me smash through the language barrier; I gave my first ever translated children's event; and I got to eat lots of fine French food!! Now I've wet my toes on foreign soil and enjoyed it, roll on the rest of the world ...
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    award winner!!!

    From France I went straight to Sheffield for the Sheffield Children's Book of the Year Awards ceremony. Cirque Du Freak had been shortlisted (along with 5 other books) in the Longer Novel category earlier in the year, and I wanted to go along in case it won! The awards are voted for by schoolchildren in Sheffield -- students from 92 schools read the shortlisted books and vote for their favourites. The ceremony was held in a HUGE theatre, with somewhere between 2000-3000 children in attendance! The Picture Book and Shorter Novel awards were handed out first. Then came the Longer Novel! There were three prizes handed out: Commended, Highly Commended, and Winner (or, 3rd, 2nd, 1st). The Commended prize went to Celia Rees for Truth Or Dare. Then the Highly Commended award was announced -- and it was for Cirque Du Freak!!!! I was delighted, and happily bounded up onto the stage to collect my framed certificate and lovely little gift clock. The Winner was Louis Sachar, for Holes. Of course, it would have been even nicer to finish 1st, but this was my first ever award for any of my books, and I felt about 10 feet tall!!!! (I later learnt that J K Rowling also won her first ever award in Sheffield -- a promising omen?!?) Thanks to everyone who voted for me -- and the curse of the vampaneze on all those who didn't!!!!!! :)
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    competition usa

    comp@darrenshan.com
    A new competition, open to all readers!!! To enter, you have to write a review of any of my books for Amazon or (in America) Barnes & Noble. Everybody who writes a review between now and the end of the year (i.e. December 31st), and e-mails me at comp@darrenshan.com to inform me, will be entered into a draw. There will be 2 winners, picked at random from all the entries (I was originally going to have one from Europe and one from the rest of the world, but I think it's easier and fairer to group them all together). I'm offering some really good prizes, so it's well worth taking the time and trouble to enter!! Each of the winners will pick up the following tasty pack:
    A signed copy of any one of my books (you can choose one of the the five UK books, or one of the two American books) with a short original poem, written inside the book, especially for the winner!!!
    An exclusive, signed American Cirque Du Freak T-shirt!!!
    A bottle of fake blood, part of the Trials Of Death promotional campaign in the UK!!!
    A signed Saga Of Darren Shan sampler -- this is a small booklet, with a chapter from the first 5 books, which is being used to promote sales of The Vampire Prince in the UK.
    A signed UK Darren Shan poster.
    An American Cirque Du Freak bookmark.
    Is that enough for you?!? As I said, everyone can enter this competition, no matter where you live -- but please read the list of rules below before you do!
    Rules: *you can only write one review per book, but you can write one for as many of the books as you wish, and each review will be entered separately into the draw (so, if you've read all 5 books, you can write a review for each, and I'll put five slips of paper with your name on them into the hat, giving you a better chance of winning).
    *You MUST include a name when submitting the review on Amazon or B&N -- either your real name or a nickname, so I can easily identify the review (but you don't have to include an e-mail address).
    *Reviews MUST be submitted directly to Amazon or Barnes&Noble, using their online review forms -- reviews sent to Shanville will not be eligible.
    *Only reviews PUBLISHED on Amazon or Barnes&Noble between October 25 2001 and January 5 2002 will be eligible for entry -- if you submit a review which is NOT published on the site, or which was published on either site before October 25 or after January 5, I cannot enter your name into the draw. Also, I'm not responsible for lost or rejected reviews -- if your review isn't published, there's nothing I can do about it. This competition hasn't been authorised by Amazon or Barnes&Noble, so I have no influence over their web policies. Also, there's no point contacting Amazon or B&N to enquire about this competition -- if you have any queries, you should write to me at post@darrenshan.com.
    *If you submit a review, and it is published, you MUST e-mail me at comp@darrenshan.com stating which site your review was published on, and the name you published it under -- but please don't e-mail me UNTIL your review has been published. Once you e-mail me, I will check the site, then e-mail you back to confirm your entry into the draw.
    *If you are submitting a review from a country OUTSIDE Europe, it MUST be either to Amazon.com OR Barnes&Noble -- NOT BOTH!! If you send a review to both, only one review will be entered into the draw.
    *If you live in Europe, you can only submit a review on Amazon.co.uk. If you live anywhere in the rest of the world, you can only submit a review on Amazon.com or Barnes&Noble.com. (So, for instance, if you live in America, and write a review for the UK Amazon site, that review won't be counted or entered into the draw.)
    *And, finally, ALL published reviews will be eligible for the draw, regardless of whether they're positive or negative -- so you don't have to write a good review to win!!

    Whew -- complicated!!! Sorry about the long list of rules, but this is the most complex competition I've run so far! You can find the books by going onto the web sites -- http://www.amazon.co.uk or www.amazon.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com -- and entering the words DARREN SHAN in the search box, or directly by clicking on any of the links beneath:

    AMAZON.CO.UK (for readers in UK/Ireland/Europe)
    Cirque Du Freak
    The Vampire's Assistant
    Tunnels Of Blood
    Vampire Mountain
    Trials Of Death

    AMAZON.COM(for readers in America/Canada/rest of world)
    Cirque Du Freak
    The Vampire's Assistant

    BARNES&NOBLE.COM(for readers in America/Canada/rest of world)
    Cirque Du Freak
    The Vampire's Assistant

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    shan across the globe usa

    The latest countries to sign up for The Saga Of Darren Shan are Indonesia and Taiwan!! I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with the books! When I have covers for the translated versions, I'll add them to the site. This month, I added the Spanish cover of Cirque Du Freak. You can check it out on either of these pages: UK COVERS or USA COVERS And don't forget, if you haven't voted for your favourite Cirque Du Freak cover yet, you can do it now!!
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    bbc chat

    I took part in a live web chat for the BBC Newsround site last month, with presenter (and dedicated Shan fan!) Lizo Mzimba. You can either listen to the conversation, or read a transcript of it, by clicking on this link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/chat/hotseat/newsid_1608000/1608873.stm
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    who's that on the roof?!?

    How many of you remember last year's Tunnels Of Blood Christmas story -- "SHANTA CLAUS"?!?!? Well, for those who weren't around at the time, or who missed it, I'll be uploading it again, a week or so before Christmas Day, then taking it off shortly afterwards until next year. (It's a seasonal story, which is why I don't leave it on the site full-time.) The story is set just after the events described in Tunnels Of Blood, but you don't need to have read the book to follow what's going on (though it's better if you have). This is probably my favourite of the short stories I've written for the site -- miss it at your peril!!!!!!!! (ps When I upload it, I'll send out an e-mail to remind everyone, but in case you don't get it, you'll be able to access the story from the Tunnels Of Blood Extras page on Shanville UK at this link: http://www.darrenshan.com/shan11.htm)
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    VAMPIRE PRINCE TOUR

    I'll be talking about this in more detail next month, but I'm going to be touring the UK to promote the release of The Vampire Prince near the start of February. For the most part I'll be doing events in Waterstones (they're making it their Book Of The Month!!). I'll be travelling to the following places: Edinburgh (I'm also doing an evening event there, arranged by Ottaker's, in the Edinburgh Dungeons!!), Nottingham, London Picadilly, Kingston and Cambridge. I'll probably be doing school events at the stores -- so if you'd like to be in on the act, ask your teacher to contact the store in your area and enquire about the possibility of bringing a class in.
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    shanville change susa

    I plan to introduce some major new changes to Shanville early in the New Year, including a new-look home page which unites Shanville UK and Shanville USA (I'll still have separate sub-sites, with their own covers and items, but they'll share a single home page). I'm thinking of changing the name of the site from Shanville to Darrenshan.com -- that way the name of the site would be the same as its URL address. I'll also be merging the Message Boards, to make it easier for Shansters to communicate with each other (lots of you cross from one board to the other as things stand, so combining them is a logical step forward). I'll be bringing in a professional designer to help implement the changes, but don't worry -- I'll still be involved with the site every step of the way, overseeing it all and making the decisions. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions as to what you'd like to see on the site -- or what you DON'T want to see! -- drop me a line at post@darrenshan.com or air your comments in public on the Message Boards.
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    IT'S A WRAP

    And that's it for 2001! I'll be sending you all an e-mail a week or so before Christmas, to remind you about "Shanta Claus" and wish you a ho-ho-ho-horrifically fabulous Christmas and a freaky New Year!! Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x

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