• Issue 30 - January 2003

    01 January 2003

    "Well, I'm back." Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all had fun over the yuletide and don't feel too miserable now that you have to face back to school/work!!!!! I spent the Xmas and New Year in Jordan, where I had a great time touring. I was meant to learn how to dive, but after one day of it I decided it wasn't for me! Instead I spent two days in the majestic desert of Wadi Rum, returned to Petra (amazing beyond words) after already visiting it earlier in the trip, and spent another couple of days just lazing on the beach in Aqaba. Jordan's a wonderful country, the people are incredibly friendly, the scenery's fantastic, and the history is mind-boggling. Highly recommended!! Anyway, that's enough adverts for the Jordanian tourist board! On with the news ...


    Book 9, Killers of the Dawn, will be released in the UK and Ireland next month, concluding the Hunters Trilogy. I find it hard to believe it's upon us so quickly -- it seems like just a couple of weeks since I was out on the road promoting Hunters! I've no promotional dates planned yet to promote it -- coming so soon after my last mega tour, I doubt if I'll be doing a lot of events this time round. But if anything pops up within the next month or so, I'll let everyone know in the next issue of the Shanville Monthly. I'm really excited about book 9 -- it's an action-packed adventure set within the space of 24 hours. I think it's the tightest, most nerve-tingling book in the series yet! But will it end in triumph or tears for the Hunters? Find out next month ....
    By the way. I've had a lot of people from various countries asking if they can buy the UK versions of my books. The answer is -- yes. If you go to the Shanville UK shop, you'll find links to Amazon.co.uk and you can order the books from them. But be warned -- I think shipping can be quite expensive!! My advice is to wait for the books to come out in your own country -- but if you lack the patience, then the UK shop is open for business!


    As I said above, I was in Jordan on holiday over New Year's. And who should happen to pop up there at the exact same time as me? Only my old friend from number 10, Tony Blair! I hope you're not stalking me, Tony!! I'd hate to have to set the Vampire Generals on your case .... :-)


    I heard from my Taiwanese publisher in December that Cirque Du Freak and The Vampire's Assistant were the two bestselling fantasy books there! The books have been doing extremely well in Taiwan -- both have made the top 10 chart -- and that's for ALL books, not just fantasy or children's!!! I think the third book's being released there soon, if it hasn't already. I hope that proves as popular as the first 2!

    2002 REVISITED

    Now that we're at the start of a new year, I think it's time for a quick recap of all the major Shan stories from 2002 ...
    2002 started with the news that I was going to have Shanville redesigned. I scrapped the old American message board and created a single board for everyone. There were some murmured misgivings in the early days, but the new board soon proved fantastically popular and has grown in leaps and bounds -- there's now an average of more than 800 messages posted every day!!!!!! Over 125,000 (that's one hundred and twenty-five THOUSAND!) messages were posted between March 2002 and the end of the year!!!!!!!!!! By comparison, this time last year there were still days when there were only a handful of messages being posted -- and occasionally none at all!!!
    The Vampire Prince was released in the UK and Ireland in February, bringing the Vampire Mountain trilogy to a close. I went on a big tour to promote it -- part of which involved performing in the dank and gloom of the Edinburgh Dungeons! Newsround were there to record that leg of the tour, though I never got to see the actual footage they shot ... On the back of a lot of publicity, book 6 sold extremely well, becoming my first number 1 bestseller in Ireland! I also met mon amour this month, Lady Bas of the Busty Wilds -- the real life Debbie Hemlock!!!!
    In March the new-look Shanville hit the web, though it was a long time before we ironed out all the kinks. I did some more events around World Book Day, including one in the London Eye.
    The Shanville Monthly celebrated its 21st birthday in April! Tunnels Of Blood saw the light of day in America, and Japanese readers began their trek to Vampire Mountain. I did a rare evening public event in Pinner, which was lots of fun, and travelled to the Bologna Book Fair for a dinner with most of my global publishers -- it was here that I learnt just how popular my books were becoming in Japan, where they were aimed at older teenagers and women between the ages of 20 and 30!!! I broke the news that there wouldn't be a collected edition of the first 3 books released in the UK in 2002, but said one would probably see the light of day a bit further down the line -- I was absolutely right about that one: the collection is due for release in June 2003.
    In May I found out that Cirque Du Freak had won 2 book awards in America. I made a couple of appearances in Birmingham, and added lots of new covers to Shanville.
    Because of the increased number of users on the Message Board, in June I made registration with EZBoard compulsory. I also added the Deja Vu section to the Shanville Monthly, to help direct users towards other areas of Shanville. But most of the month was spent in Japan and South Korea, where I went to follow Ireland's progress in the World Cup. I had a terrific time there, and did a lot of publicity for my books, including a massive event in a Tokyo department store, where I needed a security cordon!
    The Shanville Monthly turned 2 years old in July, and I turned 30!!! I celebrated by doing a free-fall parachute jump -- an incredible rush!!! Hunters of the Dusk was released in the UK and Ireland (it got to #1 in Ireland). By now, 25 countries had bought the rights to my books -- Shansterism was quickly spreading to all areas of the world!!
    August means the Edinburgh Festival, and I returned for the third year in a row to meet some old friends and make lots of new ones. I also broke the news that a scriptwriter had been hired to work on the Darren Shan movie -- there should hopefully be some more news about that early(ish) in 2003 ... Vampire Mountain was released in the States.
    In September I finally revealed the title for book 10 -- The Lake of Souls. I also added the covers for book 8 and 9 to the web site.
    In October I undertook my biggest tour to date, going on the road in the UK and Ireland for most of a month. I visited loads of schools, libraries and book shops -- even a castle in Birkenhead!! I appeared at the Cheltenham Book Festival for the first time (hopefully not the last!!). This was an incredibly tiring, but very exciting tour. I had a blast -- though it's not something I'd have the energy to do too often!!!!
    Allies of the Night was released in the UK and Ireland in November, and became my third book of the year to hit the number 1 spot in Ireland! I finished my tour, made my first ever trip to Northern Ireland for a signing session, and had a delightfully freakish launch party for book 8 in Simon Drake's house of magic (I still haven't had time to add the photos from it to the site! I'll try to put them up in January -- promise!!!).
    In December I was invited to Number 10 Downing Street for a soiree with Tony and Cherie Blair -- lots of fun! I saw more children's authors gathered together in one spot than I'd ever seen before -- if the roof had fallen in on us, or if the floor had given way and we'd all been wiped out, there'd have been a huge lack of decent kids' books hitting the shelves for the next several years or so!!!!! I made my final appearance of the year at the Children's Bookshop in Pinner, added the Shanta Claus story to Shanville for the third time, then headed off into the sunset to Jordan with Lady Bas ...


    I'm printing this again, in case any new users got computers over Christmas and haven't seen this yet:
    Fancy some Darren Shan wallpaper for your PC? Well, now you can download some super-cool images from the official Taiwan Darren Shan web site by clicking on this link: http://www.crown.com.tw/darrenshan/dnld.htm The files are zipped, and have to be unzipped before you can add them to your computer. There are probably different ways to do this. What I did was: (i)Clicked on the size of the image I wanted, ie 800*600, (ii)Saved it to a folder on my PC (iii)Unzipped it by clicking on the icon in the folder (iv)Saved it as a Bitmap image, which allowed me to right click on the main PC screen, go into Background, and select it. Good luck!!


    The Shanville Monthly Archives are now fully restored, so you can go back and check out any of the 29 previous issues by clicking on the link or by going to the NEWS part of Shanville. Please note -- the links in many of the older issues are now invalid and don't lead anywhere.


    And that's it for January! I hope you all have a great 2003! It's going to be another busy year for me, with 2 new books coming out in the UK and Ireland, and lots more coming out elsewhere around the world. I probably won't be doing as much touring this year as I did in 2002 (I need to get some more writing done!) though I will be cropping up in various spots every so often, and I might be heading to some countries where I've never been before ... I'll be back here in February to celebrate the release of book 9 -- and I might also have some BIG news about the Saga, regarding the number of books there are going to be. I've come to a momentous crossroads and have a huge decision to make within the next month or two. Once I've made it, I should be able to let you all know exactly how long the Saga is going to be -- and that might not be as long as we've all previously thought ... And on that cryptic note I'm going to wish you all one last Happy New Year, then make myself scarce! All the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x