• Issue 74 - September 2006

    01 September 2006

    GREETINGS!

    Hi everyone, and welcome to the September issue of the Shanville Monthly. I had a busy August. It started with a quick trip to New York to attend a reading by 3 of my writing heroes, Stephen King, J K Rowling and John Irving -- I also got to meet the famous Miss Rowling in person while I was there!!! I then did two thoroughly enjoyable events of my own, in Kilkenny and Edinburgh, and spent nearly a week soaking up the sights of the Edinburgh Festival. After that I caught the Rolling Stones in concert (from a front-row seat, no less!), as well as the Magic Numbers and Morrissey. You can read all about my comings and goings in August on my blog, at http://darrenshan.blogdrive.com/ It's where I chart my day-to-day life.

    Back here, there's LOTS to read about this month! America comes to the end of the "Cirque Du Freak" ride with the release of "Sons of Destiny" ... there's more news about the "Bec" CD Rom ... I reveal the title of the fifth "Demonata" book ... there are details about the most exciting launch event I've yet to do, and a terrific competition to win a ticket for it ... info about a special edition of "Bec" ... and you can even win a lunch date with Darren Shan at Cheltenham!!!! Phew -- could I pack any more in if I tried?!? Oh, and if fans in the UK and Ireland are planning to come to any of my events in October, please double-check the tour info near the bottom of the monthly, as I've updated this over the course of August, adding a few new events, and correcting times and contact details where appropriate. Right, enough of the preamble, let's get on with the show, and we'll start with that American closure that I mentioned above ...

    AMERICA - END OF THE LINE!

    All good things must come to an end, and in America, "Sons of Destiny", the final book in my "Cirque Du Freak" series, goes on sale in September. In fact, the book went on sale a bit early in some parts of the States, so lots of fans have already been able to buy it! No matter where you live in America, the book should be available by September 9th. If you don't see it on the shelves in your local bookstore, you can always ask the people there to order it in for you. Alternatively, you can order it online from Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316156299/ref=pd_sim_b_1/102-4045036-7476946?ie=UTF8 or from Barnes & Noble at http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?z=y&pwb=1&ean=9780316156295

    As I said, the book went on sale in certain states and stores in August, and the great news is that the series has re-entered the New York Times Top 10 Children's Bestsellers Chart at Number 9 for the week ending September 10th!!! It's brilliant to see the series finish on a high. Hopefully, once the book is available everywhere, you -- and all your friends!!! -- will buy a copy, and it will climb even higher up the chart. It would be fabulous to go out with a freakishly loud BANG!!!!!! But, regardless of what the series does on the charts over the next few weeks, I'd just like to thank all you guys for your amazing support over the last 4 or 5 years. I know it hasn't been easy, having to wait for the books when they were already out in the UK, but you've been incredibly patient and staggeringly loyal. I've loved answering your letters, reading your e-mails, and meeting many of you in the flesh when I've been in the States on tour. It's sad that this phase of my career has now come to an end, but worry not -- "The Demonata" is just getting going!!! Lots of you have already sampled the demonic delights of my new series, in "Lord Loss" and "Demon Thief", and I'm hoping even more of you follow me through my new adventures now that "Cirque" has come to its end. The third book, "Slawter" will be going on sale in a month or two, and the even better news is that I'll be coming back to the States on tour in April 2007!!!! So, for those of you who were wondering -- now you know!!! We haven't started putting the tour together yet, so please don't write to me asking me to come to your town or school -- at least not at the moment. A bit later in the year, when we start to plan the tour, I'll print full details in a future issue of the Shanville Monthly, letting you know how to go about trying to organise a Darren Shan visit, and who to contact about it. For now, just sit back and enjoy the reads!!!!!

    UK & IRELAND - "BEC" CD ROM
    For the attention of fans in the UK and Ireland -- when "Bec" goes on sale in October, Waterstones are running a special promotion, where people who buy a copy of the book will get a FREE CD Rom with it, featuring a host of attractive goodies! These include ...

    *A filmed interview with me, where I answer questions sent in by fans.
    *The Library, where you can click on your book jackets for a synopsis.
    *Could you be a Creature of the Night? (a multiple choice quiz with 3 outcomes)
    *An audio clip of Lord Loss
    *Win! Win! Win! (this is a competition to win a set of signed books)
    *IM icons (these are Instant Messanger icons - all the rage apparently!)
    *Creepy Special Effects Generator
    *Downloadable screensaver and wallpaper
    It sounds like a super-collectible item to me, so watch out for "Bec" in Waterstones this October, and make sure you buy your copy nice and early, while supplies last! I'm afraid the CD Rom will ONLY be available through Waterstones in the UK and Ireland -- I won't be able to supply any through my site. (For those waiting patiently -- or impatiently!!! -- YES, the "Demonata" trading cards WILL be made available through my web site in the near future. I just haven't had time yet to work out all the finer details. But they'll be coming SOON ...)

    "BEC" LAUNCH EVENT

    I'm going on a big tour of the UK and Ireland in October (see below), to promote the launch of "Bec", and my first event is going to be EXTRA special -- it will be held in a castle, in Craggaunowen (a Celtic theme park -- you can check out their web site here: http://www.shannonheritage.com/Craggaunowen_Day.htm ), on Saturday October 7th, and only a select group of prize winners will be able to attend!!! There are 50 tickets up for grabs, and each ticket admits two children and one adult. (i.e. each winner can bring one friend, and the pair can be accompanied by one adult.) The winners will also receive an exclusive goodie bag on the day of the event, and there will be free food and drink too!!!

    10 of the tickets will be going to people in the media.

    39 tickets will be available through Easons in Ireland -- there will be a competition, run through Easons stores around Ireland, but mostly in stores close to Craggaunowen (which is in County Clare, close to Bunratty). I'll e-mail fans in Ireland with more information about the competition once I find out. The Irish winners will have to make their own way to Craggaunowen on the day.

    And 1 (yes -- just ONE!!) "golden" ticket will be given out to the prize winner in an exclusive and exciting viral competition!!! Early in September, fans in the UK and Ireland who have subscribed to my site and become Secret Shansters, will receive an e-mail with a link to a special online site. You will get to compete in three demon-based games there, and if you complete all three games, you can send in your e-mail address and be entered into a draw to win the "golden ticket" to the launch event. But you will ALSO be sent another e-mail once you've completed the games, and you can forward this to as many of your friends as you wish. Each time one of your friends enters the game and completes it, YOU receive another entry into the draw!!! (i.e. if you send the e-mail to 10 friends, and 5 of them complete the game, you will receive 6 entries in total.) The people you forward your e-mail to don't need to know anything about my books to play the game and enter the competition -- so you can send it to as many of your friends as you wish. And remember -- the more of them who enter, the more entries YOU clock up, and the better chance you stand of winning!!! (And if one of your friends wins, maybe they'll bring YOU along with them!)

    The winner and their guests will have to be available to travel to Ireland for Saturday October 7th. The good folk at Harper Collins will arrange and pay for flights for all three of you (if you live in the UK -- if you live in Ireland, we'll sort something else out) ... they'll put you up in a hotel room either the night before the event or the night after it (depending on what works best for you) ... you'll get to meet me in person before the event ... and we'll arrange for your return home afterwards!! A truly fantastic prize, I'm sure you'll agree!!!!!!! Oh, and there are also several cool runners-up prizes for those of you who miss out on the Big One!!!

    As I said above, the initial viral e-mail will only be sent to fans in the UK and Ireland who have subscribed to become a Secret Shanster. If you have already subscribed, you will receive the e-mail within the first week or two of September. If you have not yet subscribed, click on the link below to join the ever-growing Darren Shan online club -- but do it quickly, before you miss your chance to enter this superb competition!!!! [N.B. Saturday September 2 -- The subscription service is currently Out Of Order, due to necessary maintenance work!!! I know -- BAD timing!!!! But don't worry -- we plan to have it back online early in the first week of September. The e-mail won't be sent out until a few days after normal services have been restored.]

    http://darrenshan.com/phplist/?p=subscribe

    Best of luck to everyone who enters!!!!!

    BOOK 5 TITLE
    After announcing it at the Edinburgh Festival for the first time, I can now reveal that the title for the fifth book of "The Demonata" is ....
    BLOOD BEAST.

    It might seem like an overly lurid and trashy title, but when you read the book, you'll see how it fits the story quite literally, in much the same way that "Slawter" accurately represented the contents of book 3. I tried to find a subtler title which conveyed the same sort of information, but in the end I felt "Blood Beast" worked best. It's not my personal favourite out of all the titles I've come up, but it's grown on me more and more, in much the same way that "Slawter" did. I hope you like it!! Even if you don't, have no fears -- I think book 5 is one of my best books ever, so whether you like the title or not, I'm pretty sure you'll get excited by what you find inside!!!!!

    AMERICAN COVERS

    I've added two new(ish!) American covers to my site. The first is the current work-in-progress cover for "Bec" -- I think it's a pretty cool image, though as far as I'm aware, the artist plans to re-work it to make it look even creepier! You can find it in Secret Shanville at: http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html

    The second image is the original working rough for "Lord Loss", which I only discovered recently on artist Rich Deas' web site. You can check it out by clicking here: http://www.darrenshan.com/demons/covers/covers/usa/usaindex.html

    "BEC" SPECIAL EDITION

    This is a bit of good news which I've been looking forward to sharing with you for ages!! Remember there were special editions of "Lord Loss" and "Demon Thief" in the UK and Ireland, only available through Waterstones? Well, I can now reveal that there will be a special edition of "Bec" as well -- but this will be available to everybody!!! I won't be revealing the full details until next month, but, in a nutshell, the special edition consists of 666 signed and numbered, and slipcased, copies of "Bec". And they will be available for sale exclusively through the HarperCollins web site. The other bit of good news is that they'll be less expensive than the special editions which were previously available through Waterstones!

    "But what about the special edition of "Slawter"?!?" I hear thousands of you cry!!! Well, the original plan was to release "Slawter" first, but when I realised the special edition weren't going to be ready to be sold until autumn, I decided it made more sense to make "Bec" the flagship special edition book, since just about all my fans would have already bought and read "Slawter" by that stage -- and the good folk of HarperCollins agreed with me. There probably will be a special edition of "Slawter" further down the line, but that depends on how well sales of "Bec" go -- if the special edition sells strongly, and HarperCollins think the market is there for special editions of the rest of the series, along with "Slawter", they'll print them. If they don't, they won't. Simple economics!!!!

    YOUTUBE

    I came across several Darren Shan videos on YouTube recently -- mostly, they're shots of fan art from various places, set to music by established bands. There are some pretty good efforts in there. If you want to check them out, this is the link: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=darren+shan

    I hasten to add, these are all unauthorised, so I have no control over any of the images which appear on the site. If you discover anything unsuitable, please inform YouTube and ask them to deal with it.

    SECRET SHANVILLE -- "BEC" NOTES & JAPAN COVER

    I've added my second set of notes about the writing of "Bec" - book 4 of "The Demonata" - to my web site. If you want to find out how I went about researching the book, click here: http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html

    You can also check out the Japanese cover for "Slawter", book 3 of "The Demonata", on Secret Shanville, which you can access by clicking on this link: http://www.darrenshan.com/secretgateway.html

    TOUR INFO

    OCTOBER
    When an event says TICKETED, it means you need a ticket to attend. These are sometimes available at the door on the day of the event, but where possible, you should book in advance.
    Saturday 7th -- 11.00am-2.00pm -- special ticketed Irish launch event at Craggaunowen, County Clare. For more details, see the entry higher up this page.
    Monday 9th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Bundoran, County Donegal.
    Monday 9th -- 1.30-3.00pm -- school event at Letterkenny, County Donegal.
    Tuesday 10th -- morning -- school events in Derry.
    Tuesday 10th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Easons, Foyleside Shopping Centre, Derry.
    Wednesday 11th -- 10.00am -- school event at Royal Belfast Academical Institution, Belfast, County Antrim.
    Wednesday 11th -- 2.00pm -- school event at Corpus Christi College (boys), Belfast, County Antrim.
    Wednesday 11th -- 4.30-5.30pm -- public signing at Waterstones, 44-46, Fountain St, Belfast, County Antrim. phone: 028 9024 0159.
    Thursday 12th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Methodist College Belfast, County Antrim.
    Friday 13th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Bow Secondary School For Boys, London E3.
    Friday 13th -- 1.30-3.00pm -- school event at Ilford Central Library, Clements Rd, Ilford, Essex. I will be collecting my Redbridge Award (see the July issue of the Shanville Monthly) at this event, and meeting some of the children (with great taste in literature!!) who voted for the book.
    Friday 13th -- 4.30-5.30pm -- public signing at Newham Children's Books Centre, Newham bookshop, 745-747 Barking Rd, London E13 9ER. phone: 02085529993
    Saturday 14th -- 11.00am-12.00pm -- tea with prize winner of a National Library for the Blind competition, in the Alias Hotel, Cheltenham -- see below for more information.
    Saturday 14th -- 12.45-1.45pm -- ticketed public event at the Cheltenham Book Festival. You can book online at: http://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/whats_on/event_detail.html?id=1062 or you can phone: 01242 227979
    Sunday 15th -- 5.30-6.30pm -- ticketed public event at the Ilkley Book Festival. You can book tickets online by clicking here: http://www.ilkleyliteraturefestival.org.uk/user/event_details.php?event_id=139 or you can phone: 01943 816714.
    Monday 16th -- 10.00am -- school event(s) in Doncaster, arranged through Doncaster Library Services.
    Monday 16th -- 12.30-2.00pm -- public signing at Ottakars/Waterstones, 27 Frenchgate Centre Interchange, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 1SZ. phone: 01302 329142
    Monday 16th -- 4.00-5.30pm -- public signing at Borders Books, 1-5 Davygate, York, North Yorkshire YO1 8QR. phone: 01904 653300
    Tuesday 17th -- 10.00-11.30am -- school event at Borders Books, 94-96 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 6NP. phone: 0113 242 4400
    Wednesday 18th -- 11.00am -- school event at Shannon Library, County Clare.
    Wednesday 18th -- 1.45pm -- school event at Ennis Library, County Clare.
    Wednesday 18th -- 4.00pm -- public signing at The Ennis Bookshop, County Clare.
    Thursday 19th -- 10.15am -- school event at Nenagh Library, County Tipperary.
    Thursday 19th -- 1.45pm -- school event at Excel Theatre, Tipperary, County Tipperary.
    Friday 20th -- 10.00am -- school event at New Ross Library, County Wexford.
    Friday 20th -- 12.30pm -- school event at Wexford Town Library, County Wexford.
    Friday 20th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Hughes & Hughes, Redmond Square, Wexford.
    Saturday 21st -- 11.00am-1.00pm -- public signing at Hughes & Hughes, Omni Shopping Centre, Santry, Dublin 9.
    Saturday 21st -- 3.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Hughes & Hughes, Marine Road, Dun Laoighre, Dublin.
    Tuesday 24th -- 4.00pm -- public event/signing at Dooradoyle Library, Limerick.
    Wednesday 25th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Ottakars/Waterstones, 77 High St, Staines, Middlesex TW18 4PQ. phone: 01784 490404.
    Thursday 26th -- 11.00am-12.30pm -- public signing at The Lion & Unicorn, 19 King Street, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 1ND.
    Thursday 26th -- 2.30-3.30pm -- public signing at Ottakars/Waterstones, 100 The Glades Shopping Centre, Bromley.
    Friday 27th -- 11.00am -- ticketed event at the Guildford Book Festival. http://www.guildfordbookfestival.co.uk/html/index.php You can book tickets by phone: 01483 444334.
    Friday 27th -- 4.00-5.00pm -- public signing at Waterstones, Broad Street, Reading, RG1 2AP. phone: 0118 958 1270
    Saturday 28th -- 11.00am-12.00pm -- public signing at Borders Books, MSU8, Bullring, Birmingham, West Midlands B5 4BE. Tel: 0121 616 1094.
    Saturday 28th -- 1.30pm -- ticketed public event at Stourbridge Town Hall, arranged by FCBG (the Federation of Children's Books Groups). http://www.btinternet.com/~martin.kromer/
    Sunday 29th -- 3.00-4.00pm -- public signing at Waterstones Bluewater, Wets Village, Greenhithe, Kent, DA9 9SE. phone: 01322 624831
    Monday 30th -- 10.00pm -- school event at Bushey Manor Junior School, Grange Road, Bushey.
    Monday 30th -- 5.30pm -- ticketed public event at Waterstones Picadilly, London.

    FANCY A LUNCH DATE WITH DARREN SHAN?!?

    While I'm at the Cheltenham Literary Festival (14th October 2006), I've agreed to donate an hour of my time to help raise money for the National Library for the Blind (NLB) as part of their 'Tea with an Author' series. There will be an auction on E-Bay, and the highest bidder will get this once in a lifetime opportunity to spend an hour in private with me, from 11.00a.m. to midday, have tea and ask me whatever they want (within reason!!). The winner will also receive a special goodie bag and a free ticket into my event at 12.45pm!! The Alias Hotel in Cheltenham has kindly offered to host the tea with Darren Shan event. Please note, the winner will have to make their own way to Cheltenham, so please only bid if you can get to Cheltenham on Saturday October 14th by 11.00am.

    The auction will open at 12.00pm on Tuesday 26th September 2006 and will run for 10 days, closing 12.00pm Friday 6th October 2006. Please visit http://www.nlb-online.org/tea for further information (the link is not currently working, but should be fixed soon) or contact Alison Staples at alison.staples@nlbuk.org

    I'm supporting the National Library for the Blind (NLB), a registered charity, because less than 5% of books ever make it into a format that blind people can read -- this includes Braille, large print and audio. By bidding, YOU will help try and change this. For further information about NLB visit http://www.nlb-online.org

    IT'S A WRAP

    And that's it for September! I'm going to relax as much as possible this month, maybe go on a short holiday, and catch up on lots of work that needs doing around my house -- October's going to be an ultra hectic month and I want to sneak in plenty of rest before it starts!!! I'll be back at the beginning of the Witching Month with another issue of the Shanville Monthly and all the latest news. Until then, I hope you all settle in nicely back at school, and don't feel too gloomy about the longer nights and dropping temperature!!! All the bloody best, Darren Shan x x x