• Issue 62 - September 2005

    01 September 2005

    Summer's flown by for me here. As usual, we had a fairly poor summer, weather-wise, in Limerick. A week of sun quite early in the summer, then lots of clouds and rain afterwards. Oh well -- if you live here, you get used to it. It's almost a relief to see September roll round -- that way you can reconcile yourself more naturally to the grey skies and ... but wait!! What's this, a weather report?!? Enough of that!! You lot don't care about the weather here!!! "What's been happening this month with Darren Shan?" you cry. Well, not a lot, to be honest -- August is a traditionally quiet month for me, since kids are off school and everyone's enjoying their summer holidays. I kept busy doing some editing work, and spent a couple of weeks in the UK, where I went to a couple of football games and the Edinburgh Book Festival. In the States, book 10 of the "Cirque Du Freak" series (as "The Saga of Darren Shan" is known there), has been released, which is probably the biggest news of the last month, and the leading story in this issue of the Shanville Monthly. The other big news is that I'll be releasing a short book in the UK and Ireland next year, for World Book Day. Apart from those two juicy items, I've included a few extracts from my Blog, along with some reviews of "Lord Loss". I've also listed the winners of last month's competition, and revised the details of my upcoming America tour -- I'd read through that carefully, if I lived in the States and was thinking of coming to one of my events -- a few extra events have been added, and some times and dates have changed. So, without any further weather reports, let's get on with things ...


    In America, Book 10 of the "Cirque Du Freak" series, "The Lake of Souls", went on sale a month earlier than planned!!! This often happens in the States, as long-term fans will know by now. The book probably won't be in every book shop until later this month, but keep looking, as it is in many shops NOW!!!! Book 10 has a great, eye-catching cover (http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/covers/countries/usa/hardback/10.html) and is chock-full of action! It's a bit more fantastical than most of the books in the series, and features probably my most deliberately Over The Top character yet -- and considering the likes of Murlough, R.V. and Vancha March, that's saying something!!!!!

    If you prefer ordering over the internet, you can buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble by clicking on one of the links below. Please note, there is a review on Amazon (the first review at the bottom) which contains a HUGE plot spoiler!!! I strongly advise fans NOT to read it, as it will ruin one of the big twists for you!!!!! I've asked Amazon to remove it, but they haven't.

    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0316156272/ref=pd_sim_b_3/102-2116902-1183369?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance

    B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?userid=l73LUBKBqx&pwb=1&ean=9780316156271

    U.K. - WORLD BOOK DAY 2006

    Good news for fans in the UK and Ireland who can't get enough of my books -- next year, as well as the two "Demonata" books which I'll be publishing in May and December, I'm also releasing a short novel for World Book Day!!!! The book is called "Koyasan", and will be going on sale in February/March 2006, for the pricely sum of just £1!!! You can learn more about World Book Day by clicking here: http://www.worldbookday.com/ I'll provide more info about the book closer to its release date. All I'll say at the moment is that it was inspired by my trip to Japan in January this year, and is a companion piece, of sorts, to a previously published story of mine called "Hagurosan", which was available in the Kids' Night In anthology a few years ago (and is now available online at http://www.darrenshan.com/extras/extras/02-hagurosan.html) In the meantime, you can check out an early cover image for the book by clicking on this link: http://www.darrenshan.com/extras/othercovers/koyasandraft.html


    I was at the Book Festival in Edinburgh for the sixth year running in August, and did two events. The first, "The Birth of Darren Shan", in one of the festival's medium-sized tents, was sold-out. I talked about my early years as a writer, and how I came to write and publish the first book of the series, "Cirque Du Freak". The event went OK, but this was the first (and probably last) time that I'd told this story, and it took longer to tell than I thought it would, so I had to rush it a bit, and there wasn't as much time for Q&A afterwards as I'd have liked. I also had to cut out a song that I'd prepared -- but as those who heard it the next day might agree, that was probably a blessing for those with sensitive ears!!! :-) Thankfully, the fans were very patient, and even though it wasn't the most exciting event I've ever done, those who were there learnt things about me and the books which nobody else in the world knows (and maybe never will know) -- so I'd say it was definitely worth being there for!!!!

    I enjoyed my "Demonata" event much more the next day. This was more of a typical Darren Shan event. I read out extracts from the next 3 books in the series (each one a world exclusive!), answered LOTS of questions, and got to sing my "Darren Shan is just the man ..." song at the end -- to much wincing, groaning and weeping!!! The event wasn't a complete sell-out, but it was at the largest tent there, and it was almost full, so I was delighted that so many people had turned up -- there were lots more than at my event there last year!! Thanks to everyone who came to the events, and especially those who waited so patiently afterwards to have their books signed!!!!!


    The winners of the Shanville Monthly August competion were, in the order they were randomly drawn:

    Overall winner
    Debra A Mills, USA

    Leo Buckley, UK
    Claire Goodwin, UK
    Kyle Galbraith, UK
    Joshua South, UK
    Dakota Bradshaw, USA

    The overall winner won several signed books and postcards, while the runners-up won signed postcards. Given the fact that I received 336 entries, from all over the world, I was surprised that so many of the winners were from the UK, but that's what happens when you hold a random draw!!! Perhaps it was the work of DesTiny ...



    I've been busy adding lots of entries to my diary-like Blog since starting it in late July! While I haven't managed to make a new entry every day, I posted updates on most days in August. I'm enjoying it a lot so far -- it's been a long time since I kept note of my day-to-activities, and I've started to remember why I kept a diary for so many years. I've covered all sorts of topics in the blod, commenting on subjects as diverse as films ...
    Saw "Mr Moto's Last Warning" today. I really enjoy those old Mr Moto and Charlie Chan films, though until today it had been years since I'd seen any of them. They're very creaky and stiff by today's standards, but you could see foreshadowings of James Bond in this film. http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/archive/27.html

    theatre ...
    Just got back from a marathon 6 hours Shakespeare session!!! Went to see "Henry IV, Parts I & II" at the National Theatre. Michael Gambon was playing Falstaf. This was the first time I'd seen "Henry IV". I was a bit nervous that I'd struggle to follow it ... By the end of Part I, I was loving it, and craving more!!! ... Then, after a pizza, came Part II, and it was as flat as a pancake!!! http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/archive/35.html

    football ...
    I don't want to offend any Portsmouth fans, but their stadium - Fratton Park - is a real tip!!! It's like something from the dark days of football, as if it had travelled through time from the 1950s. http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/archive/32.html

    flying ...
    I've gone off flying over the last couple of years. I'm not scared of flying -- I just don't like it!! I used to love it when the plane thrust off, like I enjoy it when I'm on a roller-coaster and it picks up speed. But these days I keep thinking about turbulence and air pockets ... http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/archive/30.html

    writing ...
    It struck me, while editing these chapters, how far the series has evolved since I first sat down to write "Lord Loss" a few years ago. It's taken me in directions I hadn't dreamt of back then, and never could have imagined. http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/archive/43.html

    ... and a whole lot more!!! If you want to keep up to date with my day-to-day life, click on http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/ and either bookmark it, or register on the site to be sent an e-mail every time I update it. This Blog is the closest you'll ever get to actually getting inside my head and finding out how I see the world around me!!!!


    I've added the cover image for the revised, final cover for the UK version of Book 2 of The Demonata, "Demon Thief", to my site. It's not vastly different to the previous image, just a bit more colourful and brighter -- you can now see a bit of the demon's juicy pink brain!! You can check it out by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/demons/covers/covers/uk/uk&irelandindex.html

    I've also added some new covers to the Vampire section of my site, from Norway and Thailand. You can check them out by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/vampires/covers/index.html


    There have been several reviews of "Lord Loss" which I've come across since its release in the UK in June. I thought you might like to read what the critics have to say about it, so here we go ...

    This review is from Amanda Craig, who writes for The Times in the UK. This review was published online, on Amazon:

    "I made the mistake of telling my kids (fans of Shan) the plot of this novel on a long boring car journey and it freaked them out so much they had nightmares. This is defintely for teenagers, and ones with strong stomachs, because it's about a stroppy boy, Grubbs, who comes home unexpectedly and finds he has opened the door to Hell, where three horrific demons have killed his parents and big sister in a welter of blood and nastiness. Grubb escapes, and pf course when he gets to the police everyone believes he's insane, and that Lord Loss and his sidekicks Artery and Vein, are projections of his imagination. Only when his uncle Dervish visits him in the asylum and shows him a drawing of Lord Loss does Grubb begin to understand why his family were so obsessed with playing chess, and the curse which lies on them all - including his new friend and half-brother. Like a first-rate slasher movie, this is a book you can't tear your eyes away from. It's got a cracking plot, and cinematic pace and a prose style that would be swarming with flies if it were a piece of meat. I was one of Shan's earliest fans, but this is even better than his vampire opera."

    Amanda Craig also published a shorter review in The Times, which ran:

    "Lord Loss should come with a health warning. It is not for children under 12, and those who do read it should be immune to nightmares. Grubbs, a surly teenager, returns home and finds his parents and sister eviscerated by three demons out of Hell, but his troubles have only just begun. Nobody believes in Lord Loss, and it's only when his unlce Dervish rescues him from a lunatic asylum that Grubbs begins to understand the nature of the ancient curse on his family -- forcing them to play chess for the souls of those they love against a demon. Utterly unputdownable."

    Here's one I found online, from Amanda Loughman, a member of staff at Ottakar's Lowestoft store:

    "Legions of Darren Shan fans worldwide will breathe a sigh of relief with the publication of Lord Loss, the first in the new Demonata series. Parents be aware, this is far more gruesome than the "Vampire" series, with lots of demons and werewolves - definitely not for the faint hearted, or those under twelve! The story features Grubbs Grady - who comes home unexpectedly one day and finds he opens the door to hell rather than his home where three demons have killed his parents and sister in a frenzy of blood and nastiness. Grubbs escapes, but no-one believes his wild story and he is left languishing in the asylum until a visit from his Uncle Dervish sets him on a long and scary road to the truth. This is an excellent, fast paced novel with something scary happening at nearly every turn of the page. This keeps the reader enthralled right up to the explosive end.


    This one I also found online, from someone called simply Emma, who works at another Ottakars, in Portsmouth:

    "Grubbs Grady is a normal schoolboy who belongs to what seems to be a normal family with an abnormal obsession with chess. The children are forced to become experts in the game with no explanation as to why. Then Grady encounters the demon Lord Loss, a violent and sadistic creature with an insatiable taste for gore and death. Grady is plunged into a world of werewolves and magic, a world of which he has always been a part but has never known about. His final test relies on his skill in the game of chess, but is he really ready to face the haunting Lord Loss, and win.

    Darren Shan's most disturbing novel for young adults to date, it's a harrowing and bleak tale that provides disturbing explanations of the werewolf disease. Definitely scary, and definitely one of a kind."


    And, finally, one by Mark Collins, from the Waltham Forest Guardian:

    "Master of horror Darren Shan has returned with a brand new saga, featuring all new characters, an all new story and of course new terror. Lord Loss isthe first book of The Demonata which will be a ten book series aimed at taking readers to new worlds populated or threatened by demons. The hero of Lord Loss is a boy bythe name of Grubbs Grady who couldn't be more ordinary if he tried, and can't see anything extraordinary in his future. Naturally that is all about to change as Grubbs investigates the strange behaviour of his family and makes a startling discovery: Demons are real. Following this traumatic discovery Grubbs tries to pick up the pieces by moving to the countryside. The secrets chase him and he is about to find out something that is a lot stranger than anything he could have ever imagined. Some horrors you can never escape, no matter how far you run. So can Shan ever match the success of the internationally best-selling saga? Well if this first volume is any example of what is to come then yes he can. A fine start to the new series which will not disappoint veteran Shanians."

    That's the first time I've ever heard you lot referred to as Shanians!!!! I quite like it, but I prefer my own term -- Shansters, which is how I'll always think of my loyal, long-term, freaky fans!!!!!!


    Public events are open to anyone who wants to come. School events are for classes from selected, pre-arranged schools. Where the name of a library or book shop is listed for a school event, it MIGHT be possible for you to arrange a visit. If you are a teacher, you MIGHT be able to arrange for one of YOUR classes to come to the event. Or if you're an individual, you MIGHT be allowed to come yourself or with some friends. You will need to make direct contact with the store or library in question -- I have no control over who can or can't come to school events!!

    Thursday, 20th -- Seattle, WA.

    9.00am-3.00pm -- School events arranged through SECRET GARDEN, 2214 NW Market Street, Seattle, WA 98107.
    Friday, 21st -- Seattle, WA.
    9.00-11.00am -- School event at YOUTH SERVICE CENTER, E. Alder St, SEATTLE.
    1.00-2:30pm -- School event at Auburn High School, WA.
    6:30-8.00pm -- Public event and signing at Third Place Books, 17171 Bothell Way NE, Lake Forest Park, WA. -- phone: 206 366 3333
    Saturday, 22nd -- Seattle, WA.

    11.00am-12.30pm -- Public event and signing at All For Kids, 2900 NE Blakely St, Seattle, Wa. -- phone: 206 526 2768
    2.00-3.30pm -- Public event and signing at B&N #2573, 2700 NE University Village, Seattle, Wa, 98105. -- phone 206 517 4107
    Sunday, 23rd -- Las Vegas, NV. 11.00am - 12.00pm - Public event and signing at HENDERSON DISTRICT PUBLIC LIBRARIES, 280 S. Green Valley Pkwy., Henderson, NV 89012 -- phone: 702 492 6593.
    1.30-3.00pm -- Public event and signing at Sahara West Library, 9600 West Sahara Avenue, Las Vegas, NV 89117 -- phone: 702 507-3644.
    4.00-5.30pm -- Public event and signing at GREEN VALLEY LIBRARY, 2797 NORTH GREEN VALLEY, PARKWAY, LAS VEGAS, NV 89014 -- phone: 702 507 3791
    7.00-8.30pm -- Public event and signing at BORDERS BOOKS AND MUSIC #183, 2190 North Rainbow Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89108 -- phone: 702 638 7866
    Monday, 24th -- Las Vegas, NV.

    9.30am-1.30pm -- School event at SUMMERLIN LIBRARY, 1771 Inner Circle Dr,, Las Vegas, NV 89134.
    Tuesday, 25th -- Dallas, TX. 9.00am-11.00am -- School event at LAMAR MIDDLE SCHOOL, Crandall Rd., Irving.
    11.30am-1.30pm - School event at THE ACADEMY OF IRVING ISD, N Macarthur Blvd.
    3.30-5.30pm - School/Public (check with store if interested) event at FORT WORTH PUBLIC LIBRARY, Summerglen Branch Library, 4205 Basswood Blvd., Fort Worth, TX 76137 -- phone: 817 232 0478.
    7.30-9.00pm -- Public event and signing at B&N #2060, 2601 Preston Road ~1204, Frisco, TX 75034 -- phone: 972 668 2820
    Wednesday, 26th -- Houston, TX. 2.00-3.30pm -- School event at Kingwood Middle School, Kingwood, TX.
    5.00–6:30 pm -- School event at Clements High School, Sugar Land, TX.
    7.30-9.00pm -- Public event and signing at BORDERS BOOKS AND MUSIC #140, Fountains on the Lake, 12788 Fountain Lake Circle, Houston, TX 77477 -- phone: 281240 6666
    Thursday, 27th -- Houston, TX. 8:30–10.00am -- School event at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, TX.
    2.00-3.30pm -- School event at Jackson Middle School, San Antonio, TX.
    7.00-8.30pm -- Public event and signing at B&N #2684, 12635 IH 10 West, San Antonio, TX 78230 -- phone: 210 561 0205
    Friday, 28th -- Austin, TX. 8.30am-1.00pm -- Public event and signing at Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas.
    Saturday, 29th -- Austin, TX. 10.00am-12.00pm -- Public event and signing at Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas.
    Sunday, 30th -- Chicago, IL.

    6.00–7.30pm -- Public event and signing at B&N #2622, 55 Old Orchard Center, Skokie, IL 60077 -- phone: 847 676 2230
    Monday, 31st -- Chicago, IL.

    8.00A.M.-2.00pm -- School event at BENITO JUAREZ HIGH SCHOOL, S. Laflin St., Chicago, IL.
    7.00-9.00pm -- Public Halloween Party (hurrah!!!) and signing at ANDERSON'S BOOKSHOP, 5112 Main St, DOWNER'S GROVE, IL 60515 -- phone: 630 832 6566

    Tuesday, 1st -- Chicago, IL. 9.00am-12.00pm -- School event arranged by Anderson's Bookstores, 123 West Jefferson, Naperville, IL 60540. -- phone: 630 355 2665
    3.30-5.00pm -- Public/School (check with store if interested) event and signing at SCHAUMBURG TOWNSHIP DISTRICT LIBRARY, 130 South Roselle Road, Schaumburg, IL 60193. -- phone: 847 985 4000
    7.00–8:30pm -- Public event and signing at Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton, Skokie, IL 60077.
    Wednesday, 2nd -- Chicago, IL. 9.00-10.30am -- School event at CICS-West Belden Campus, N McVicker Ave, Chicago.
    2.00-3.00pm -- School event at Dakota Jr-Sr High School, Campus Drive, Dakota, IL.
    Wednesday, 2nd -- Milwaukee, WI.

    7.00–8:30 pm -- Public event and signing at Harry W. Schwartz Bookshop, 4093 N Oakland Ave, Shorewood, WI 53211. -- phone: 414 963 3111.
    Thursday, 3rd -- Milwaukee, WI.

    9.00-11.00am -- School event at COMMUNITY LIBRARY, 24625 89th Street, Salem, WI 53168.
    Friday, 4th -- Washington D.C. 10.30am-12.00pm -- School event at D.C. Public Library, 901 G ST NW, Washington, DC 20001.
    4.00-6.00pm -- School event at East Middle School, Carroll County Arts Council, West Main Street, Westminster, MD.
    7.30-9.00pm -- Public event and signing at BORDERS BOOKS AND MUSIC #29, 8027 Leesburg Pike, suite 100, Vienna, VA 22182. -- phone: 703 556 7766
    Saturday, 5th -- Washington D.C.

    11.00am-12.30pm -- Public event and signing at Howard County Library/Miller Branch, 9421 Frederick Rd., Ellicott City, MD 21042. -- phone: 410 313 1964
    Sunday, 6th A day off!!!! I'll believe it when I see it!!!!!!!!
    Monday,7th - Boston/New England 9.00-11.00am -- School event at Kickemut Middle School, Child St., Warren, RI.
    1.00-3.00pm -- School event at FRIEND'S ACADEMY, 1088 Tucker Rd, North Dartmouth, MA .
    8.00-9.00pm -- Public event and signing at BORDERS BOOKS AND MUSIC #445, 101 Independence Mall Way, C113, Kingston, MA 02364. -- phone: 781 582 8100
    Tuesday,8th - Boston/New England

    3.00am-5.00pm -- School event arranged by BUTTONWOOD BOOKS, Rt 3A, Shaw's Plaza, Cohasset, MA 02025.
    7.00-8.30pm -- Public event and signing at B&N #2966, 98 Middlesex Pkwy, Burlington, MA 01803. -- phone: 781 273 3871
    Wednesday,9th - New England. 8.00am-12.30pm -- School event in Portsmouth, NH.
    2.00-3.00pm -- School event at MANCHESTER CITY LIBRARY, 405 Pine St., MANCHESTER, NH 03104.


    I'm going to be going on a short tour of the U.K. in late November and early December, to promote the launch of "Demon Thief"! (I MIGHT be doing a few Irish events too, but that's only a possibility, not a probability!!!) It's going to be called the "Thief in the Night" tour -- as most of my events are going to take place after dark!! More details to follow in the next few issues of the Shanville Monthly ...


    I should be able to list more details about the "Thief in the Night" tour next month -- now that everyone's back from their holidays, my publishers should be able to put concrete plans together fairly quickly. I hope to be busy writing during September -- I want to finish the first draft of Book 8 of "The Demonata" before I go to the States in October. (You can read more about my writing habits in the Blog -- scroll up and check it out if you haven't already!!) At the moment I don't have a clear plot structure in place for it, but I know a lot of what I want to happen -- with luck, the rest will fall into place around that once I sit down and focus!!!! I'll be back here in early October to update you on its progress. Until then, all the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x