Issue 112 - November 200901 November 2009
Welcome to the November issue of the Shanville Monthly. Like last month's edition, this one is jam-packed with news, so I've split it into two parts, the first half concerning my books, the second half concerning the movie of Cirque Du Freak. There's a lot to get through (and a competition to enter!!!), so I'm going to keep this intro brief and crack straight on with all that's hot and new this month in the world of Darren Shan!!
---------------- FIRST HALF ... BOOK NEWS ----------------
HELL'S HEROES STRIKES LIKE A COMET!!!
Hell's Heroes, the 10th and final book of The Demonata, went on sale in the UK and Ireland on October 1st, and promptly became my fastest ever selling book there!! Hell's Heroes had the best first week sales of any of my books in the UK!!! In fact, it wasn't even on sale for a whole week -- after less than 5 days, when the Bestseller chart was compiled, it had already stormed ahead of all of my previous first week tallies!!!! It came in at #4 on the overall children's bestsellers chart, behind 3 of the Twilight books which have been hogging the top of the chart for months on end, and was the #1 children's bestselling hardback book. Result!!!!!! And in the 2nd week of sales, it just got better!! Once again I broke my record for book sales in the single week in the UK, selling roughly a third as more books in the second week as I did in the first!!!! VERY exciting times -- there's a storm a-coming, and it's a storm named SHAN!!!!!!! In Ireland meanwhile I did the impossible and managed to knock the Twilight books from the top of the children's chart, notching up a lip-smacking pleasant #1 -- exxxxxxxcellent!!!! Hell's Heroes is available in bookshops all across the UK and Ireland, but if you prefer buying online, you can do so through Amazon UK by CLICKING HERE.
As for my notes about the writing process of the book... I had meant to release them by the end of October, but it's been a crazy month and I didn't get a chance. I will add them to the site at some point in November, on the book notes part of the site. Thanks for bearing with me!!!
BACK FROM THE GRAVE!!
It's true what they say about vampires -- they always come back from the dead!!! I'm delighted to be able to announce that my Cirque Du Freak series of books has returned to the New York Times Children's Bestsellers chart, re-entering at #8!!! Obviously the release of the movie played a big part in this, but I also think the new covers and push my by publishers, LittleBrown, was instrumental as well. There's life in the old freaky dog yet!!!
WATERSTONES & AUCTION WINNERS
The winning bid for the special edition of Hell's Heroes (see the September issue of the Shanville Monthly) which was auctioned on eBay was a whopping £310!!! Many congratulations to the winner -- I hope you enjoy it, and No Strings will be delighted to put the money raised from the book sale to good use!!! On their behalf, many thanks!!!!!
Meanwhile, you can find the names of the winners of the Waterstones Hell's Heroes competition, where ten lucky fans each won a copy of the special edition of the book, by CLICKING HERE.
I gave lots of interviews in October, to newspapers, TV shows, radio shows and more, talking about both my new book and the release of the movie. Some of the many interviews, which are available to read online, are:
THE IRISH TIMES.
TOTTENHAM 'TIL I DIE
The Tottenham 'Til I Die book, which I have written a foreword for, was launched on October 29th at White Hart Lane. Several Spurs legends, and about 100 fans, were in attendance for the big launch -- unfortunately, I couldn't be there, as I was on holiday in Florida at the time. The book features lots of memories from fans about Tottenham Hotspur, and is essential reading for any Spurs fans among you. For everyone else... well, it's stil worth checking out, if you're curious about football and why it matters so much to so many people -- this is an insider's look into the brains and hearts of fans who love the beautiful game, and maybe it will win you round to our way of thinking!!! At the very least, you'll be getting an article by Darren Shan which very few people in the world will ever have access to!! If you're interested in purchasing a copy, CLICK HERE. And you can read about the launch and learn a bit more about the book by CLICKING HERE.
I had a fabulous time of the Hell’s Heroes tour of the UK and Ireland in October. In terms of crowds and people turning up, it was my biggest and most successful tour ever!!! The signing sessions went on so long that I often didn't get to my hotel until late at night -- I got a lot less sleep on the tour than I had imagined!!! Some of the stats from my 13 days on the road were:
The longest signing — Waterstones, Bluewater — 6 and a half hours!!!
Average signing time at 13 signing sessions — 2 hours 50 minutes!!!
No signing was less than 2 hours!!! (The first time ever that every signing lasted at least two hours!)
Number of children at school and public events — 3110!!!
It wasn’t my longest tour ever (I’ve cut back from doing 3 or 4 week tours — I’m getting too old for those!!) but it was easily my busiest. I covered a huge amount of ground, met more fans at signings and public events than ever before, and didn’t have a single weak turnout at any session. That’s virtually unheard of on the road — you always get at least one disappointment, where the numbers are lower than average. But this time every single stop was a winner!!!!! Thanks to all the booksellers and librarians and teachers who welcomed me so warmly (with the exception of one librarian who tried to cut my talk down in order to fit in some dancing!!!). To the drivers who got me to every event on time, and who ferried me off into the night, sometimes working to midnight and beyond. To Geraldine, Mary, Catherine and Sam, who set it all up and kept me company on the road. And, of course, as always, my deepest thanks to all of you guys for turning up and travelling far and lining up for hours to see me — you continue to amaze me, even after ten years, and you’re the reason I keep putting myself through all this. Here’s to the next ten years and beyond!!!!
I've added LOTS of photos from the Hell's Heroes tour to my MySpace page. There are pics from the launch party on October 1st, the mammoth six and a half hour signing session in Bluewater on the 10th (I've also added a couple of pics from my event in Bristol to that album), and the movie premiere in Limerick on the 13th. To check them out, CLICK HERE.
After a brief break (during which I moved house -- my old house is being renovated and extended, so I've had to move out for anywhere between 9 months and a year!!) I headed to Sweden for the first time and had some great events there too. I did two school events on my first day, then one for adults, mostly teachers and librarians (though some fans sneaked in too -- hi again, Pumpkin and Elise!!!). Then, the next day, I did a great public event in Lund. Elise and Pumpkin turned up again, and so did lots of other hardcore fans!! Some even dressed up — I spotted a Snake Boy and a Vampaneze lurking in among the crowd!!!! You never know how an event is going to go when you travel to a foreign county for the first time, so it was a delight to see so many faces in the audience, and to have people line up patiently afterwards to get their books signed. Good times!!!
SWINDON AND WEXWORLDS
I have one schools event in the UK on Friday November 13th, in Swindon, for 600 kids from 11 different schools -- it should be a nice, busy end to the year's tours!!!
Then, on Saturday November 21st, I am appearing at the Wexworlds Festival in Wexford, Ireland. I am doing both a public signing early in the day, and a public event with Eoin Colfer in the afternoon. The details are as follows:
11.30a.m. PUBLIC signing at Hughes & Hughes Book Store, Redmond Square, Wexford.
3.00p.m. PUBLIC event with Eoin Colfer at Whites Hotel, Wexford. Entry is FREE but an advance reservation is required.
By the way, I WILL be signing books after the event too, so don't worry too much if you can't make the earlier signing. But it will probably be very busy, and maybe a bit chaotic afterwards (given that there will be two sets of fans in attendance, some of whom will onyl want to meet me, some of whom will only want to meet Eoin, and some of whom will want to meet both), so my advice is to try and come to the 11.30 signing if you can -- then you can simply sit back, enjoy the show, and calmly slip away when it finishes.
I know it's a long way off, but I've already booked up for a couple of international tours in 2010. In March, I will be visiting Dubai for the first time, and I will also be returning to Hong Kong. Dates, times, and more information to follow in a later edition of the Shanville Monthly.
To celebrate the release of Hells' Heroes, the tenth and final book of The Demonata in the UK and Ireland, I'm going to run TWO competitions this month, one for fans in the UK and Ireland, the other for fans in the Rest of the World. This is what is up for grabs.
UK and Ireland -- the winner will receive an exclusive T-shirt which I wore on my recent tour to promote Hell's Heroes -- it has the Hell's Heroes cover on it, the date of the tour underneath, and I will sign it. I only created two of these T-shirts to wear on tour, one black, one dark navy. I will keeping one for myself, so the winner will receive a true one-of-a-kind prize which nobody else in the world can ever have!!!! I will also send the winner a signed copy of Hell's Heroes.
REST OF THE WORLD -- the winner will receive a ticket for the Irish Premiere of the Cirque Du Freak movie. This took place on October 13th in Limerick, and a special ticket was created by Universal for each of the lucky guests in attendance. It features a small version of the poster for the movie, along with the date, time and venue of the showing. It's a VERY cool and rare piece of Darren Shan memorobilia, and to make it even better, I signed and dated it on the actual night of the showing!! In addition, the winner will receive a signed copy of the UK edition of Hell's Heroes.
Here are the entry links, along with the full terms and conditions:
UK & IRELAND COMPETITION:
1) If you live in the UK or Ireland, answer this question: "How many T-Shirts did I create for the Hell's Heroes tour?"
REST OF WORLD COMPETITION:
1) If you live in any country other than the UK or Ireland, answer this question: "In which city was the Irish Premiere of the Cirque Du Freak movie held?"
GENERAL TERMS FOR ALL ENTRANTS:
3) You can only enter ONE of the competitions, depending on where you live. If you try to enter more than one, ALL of your entries will be disqualified.
(4) Put your NAME in the SUBJECT BOX when you send your e-mail. I will not accept your entry if you don't! And make sure you INCLUDE YOUR FULL POSTAL ADDRESS in the body of the e-mail, as well as the answer -- and don't forget to add the name of your country. This is so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win!
(5) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Sunday, November 15th, 2009.
(6) This competition is open to everybody, unless you work for one of my publishers or are one of my relations.
(7) Only one entry per household -- if you send in more than one entry, ALL of your entries will be rejected. If more than one person in a house wants to enter, you'll need to make a joint entry.
(8) The draw for the winners will be made on Monday, November 16th, 2009. It will be a completely random draw, made by Darren Shan personally (I use an online number generator to pick the winners). I will try to notify the winners by e-mail, and will post their names on the Shanville Message Board and in the December issue of the Shanville Monthly.
(9) Information submitted by entrants WILL NOT be shared by me with any other individual or company. I'll keep your details on my PC, then delete the info once the competition ends.
(10) My decision will be final -- so there!!!!!
---------------- SECOND HALF ... MOVIE NEWS ----------------
INTERNATIONAL RELEASE DATES
Below you can find the planned global release dates for Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, and they have been significantly revised since last month, so please take a moment to double-check if you live in one of the countries below. Please note, all dates are subject to change, and all dates are decided by Universal -- I have nothing to do with the release schedule. At the end, some countries are listed with no release date -- these countries are part of the schedule, but a date has not been confirmed yet. As Universal update me over the coming months, I will adjust this list accordingly.
TERRITORY RELEASE DATE
UNITED KINGDOM 23-Oct-09
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES 10-Dec-09
SWITZ. (F) 05-Jan-10
NEW ZEALAND 07-Jan-10
SWITZ. (G) 07-Jan-10
HONG KONG 28-Jan-10
CZECH REPUBLIC 04-Mar-10
JAPAN (Toho Towa) Mar-10
SERBIA & MONTENEGRO
As I'm sure just about all of you know by now, Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant hit cinemas in Hungary, Ireland, Russia, the UK and USA on October 23rd. It's been doing steady business in all regions since then, getting to #2 in Russia, #5 in the UK and #7 in the USA. In two weeks, it has made over 18 million dollars at the box office -- not a bad start!!! Critics have been intriguingly divided down the middle by the film -- literally so!!! I kept track of reviews for the first couple of weeks, and logged 123 different reviews. Of those, 55 were positive, 45 were negative, and 23 fell somewhere in the middle. I can't remember the last time I read reviews of a film which so split reviewers!! What was interesting to note was that many of those who didn't like it spoke out the loudest, claiming that since THEY didn't like it, nobody else possibly could either! As you'll see if you go read the reviews which I have included on the MOVIE FORUM on my message board, that most definitely is NOT the case -- more reviewers liked it than disliked it!!
It was also interesting to note the reasons why the movie so divided critics. Many of those who disliked it voiced two main reasons for why, in their opinion, it was a bad movie. (1) It was ripping off Twilight. (2) It was trying to set up a series, and didn't tell all of its story in a single film. Now, as all of you know, I wrote my vampire books long before the first Twilight book ever saw print, and the movie was in pre-production long before the Twilight movie was released -- so the first point, for me, is a wash-out and lazy journalism on the part of any critic who didn't bother to do just the smallest bit of research. As for the second point -- well, I've made a career out of writing long series in which plot-lines sown in early books aren't wrapped up until 9 or 10 books down the line. I like those sorts of ambitious stories, and having sold almost 15 million books worldwide, it's clear that you guys like them too. So if it's OK for a writer to do that in the world of books, why shouldn't film-makers be afforded the same courtesy?!?
As I've said here before, I like the film a lot. It didn't bother me in the slightest that it had an open ending, or that not everything was explained about the war between the vampires and vampaneze, or about Mr Tiny, or the Little People, or what happens to Steve after he parts way with Darren at the end. The books didn't explain those things until later on, so unless the film-makers had cut out certain elements entirely -- such as Steve, Mr Tiny and the Little People -- it couldn't wrap the story up neatly either. But what sort of a film would THAT have been?!? The world of Darren Shan is a complex, multi-layered place, where all sorts of story threads are on the go at any given time, and I was delighted that the movie reflected that side of my books. To those critics who condemned it on those terms, I have only pity -- those guys need to open up their minds a bit more!!!!
Away from the critics, the response of fans of the books was a LOT better than I had feared!! I really didn't know how hardened, passionate Shansters would react. While the film captures the dark, freaky spirit of the books, there's no denying that it DOES change a lot, and I wasn't sure how fans of the books would react to those changes. To my relief, judging by comments I've read on my message board and on various other web sites, most of you seemed to like it. There were dissenters, of course, but I don't think ANY movie could have ever pleased ALL of the fans. For the most part, Shansters gave it the thumbs up, for which I'd like to shout out a very loud and hearty -- hurrah!!!!
And other fans? Well, the response from newcomers has been pretty good too. I've had lots of emails from new fans, people who saw the movie, liked it, and have now decided to give the books a try. On IMDB the film had a score from reviewers of 6.5 out of 10 after the first two weeks -- and as anyone who follows the fortunes of films on IMDB will know, that is a very good score.
In short, the film has got off to a good, solid start. It's no runaway hit, but it's caused a stir, got people talking about it, pleased fans of the books, and garnered support from audiences which will hopefully allow it to continue to grow and attract new fans over the coming months. While it's far too early to know whether or not a sequel will be given the go-ahead by Universal, the signs are positive, so let's all keep our fingers crossed -- and, if you enjoyed the film, make sure you tell all your friends to go see it too -- every ticket sale helps!!!
For those of you who haven't seen the film yet, several clips are no available online, so go check them out and see what you're missing!! Click on any of the links below.
Steve and Darren Clip - http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00026755.html
Madame Truska Clip - http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00027535.html
No Parents Clip - http://movies.ign.com/dor/objects/14219034/cirque-du-freak/videos/cirquedufreak_exclip_093009.html
Mr Crepsley Clip - http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00027632.html
Darren Asks About Powers - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8L3MT_TxB8
Murlaugh Captures Darren - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ATWfB-TZA08&feature=related
Darren And Steve Buy Tickets - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtcYBpSdzV8&feature=PlayList&p=42BB2FD57E6A855A&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=40
Steve Asks Crepsley To Blood Him - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kt5Em6XDPwk&feature=related
Character Snippets Clip - http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00027496.html
Featurette - http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/thevampiresassistant/
Another Featurette on MovieWeb can be found by CLICKING HERE.
There are two TV spots on Facebook. You can see "Entertaining" ,which includes reviews from critics, HERE. You can see "End the War" HERE.
You can check out the trailer designed for showing on TV stations by CLICKING HERE.
There are LOTS of filmed interviews with the cast and crew available by CLICKING HERE.
HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS
You can see a video of the scare zone in Universal's Halloween Horror Nights, shot by a fan, by CLICKING HERE. I visited HHN on holiday in October and will be adding photos from my visit to my MySpace page in the near future -- a link will be included from the next issue of the Shanville Monthly.
Some of the main actors in the film gave a range of interviews during the run-up to its release, across a variety of TV and radio shows, and in newspapers and magazines. Here are links to as many as I came across online:
You can read an interview with John C Reilly, conducted after his Fantastic Fest panel event, by CLICKING HERE.
And another, on the CHUD.COM site, by CLICKING HERE.
And yet another, on Shock Till You Drop, by CLICKING HERE.
And one on AZCentral.Com that focuses mostly on Salma Hayek, but which features plenty of the ubiquitous Mr Reilly too, OVER HERE.
And there's an interview with John, Salma and Chris Massoglia on About.Com -- CLICK HERE.
And one with Salma Hayek on CanMag by CLICKING HERE.
You can read a feature on WalesOnline about the shooting of the movie, including an interview with Paul Weitz and some cast members, by CLICKING HERE.
You can check out an interview with John C Reilly on the Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien by CLICKING HERE. This is part 2 of the interview -- in the first part he was talking about his favourite horror movie when he was a kid. It's pretty funny stuff!!! You'll be able to access it on the Tonight site after you've seen the second part, where he talks about the movie.
You can read a sweet interview with Jessica Carlson, who plays Rebecca, Darren's love interest in the film, by CLICKING HERE.
You can read a lengthy interview with Josh Hutcherson on TeenHollywood.com by CLICKING HERE.
And you can watch video interview clips with Josh and Chris Massoglia on ShockTillYouDrop.Com by CLICKING HERE.
And you can read an interview with Chris on GirlsLife.Com by CLICKING HERE.
And another with Chris on JSYK.COM by CLICKING HERE.
And you can watch or read another interview with Josh on About.Com by CLICKING HERE.
And another with Chris on CanMag by CLICKING HERE.
And Chris on TeenHollywood.com by CLICKING HERE.
And Josh on Just Jared Jr by CLICKING HERE.
Finally, you can read an interesting article here: CANMAG In the article, Michael Cerveris talks about how his character, Mr Tiny, was created. Check it out!
You can read a review of the music score CD for the movie on the IF Magazine site by CLICKING HERE. Having listened to the album on Spotify, I agree totally with the review -- it's a fabulously freaky score!!! I didn't really notice the score that much the first time I saw the movie, as I was focusing on so many other things, but having seen the film 3 times now, I think the music is excellent, an intoxicating mix of styles. Top-notch!!!!
IT'S A WRAP
And that's it for November!! October was a crazy, hectic month for me -- the tour, moving house, the release of the movie, and a holiday. I'm looking forward to enjoying a nice, relaxed November -- I might even get a bit of work done!!! I'll be back in December with the Christmas issue of the Shanville Monthly (which reminds me -- it's almost time to dust off my annual Shanta Claus story, which should hopefully provide a grisly Xmas treat for those of you who joined the Shanster club in 2009!!!). Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan x x x