Issue 187 - February 201601 February 2016
Hi everyone, and welcome to the February issue of the Shanville Monthly! We're getting close to the on-sale date to Zom-B Goddess, the 12th and final book in my Zom-B series, so that's the lead story this month, though I have plenty of other items to report on too, including tour updates, a surprise positive placing for the Cirque Du Freak movie on a Best Of list, a "wonderful" piece about the possible links between my series and The Wizard Of Oz, and lots, lots more. So let's not waste any more time in Munchkinland -- it's time to hit the yellow brick road!!!
The end is nigh!!! The 12th and final Zom-B book goes on sale in the U.S.A. and CANADA on March 22nd, then in the UK and IRELAND on April 7th. (It should also go on sale in in Australia and New Zealand around this time.) Those are the covers above, the first for the American and Canadian markets, the second for the UK and Ireland. I'll be talking a lot more about the book over the next couple of months, but for now, enjoy the build-up to the big finale, and start taking bets on who you think will make it through unscathed -- though it's a brave person who'd bet on any particular character walking out of a Darren Shan series with their brain intact!!!
My next tour in the UK and Ireland will be in April, to support the release of the final Zom-B book. We're working on the tour at the moment. You can see the dates below, along with the first confirmed signing, and hopefully I'll be able to include more details in the next issue of the Shanville Momthly. But I also have a couple of trips lined up to other parts of the world -- see below.
Wednesday 9th March
I will be doing SCHOOL events at the DUBAI Literary Festival. If you are a teacher or librarian and are interested in trying to get involved in those, please CLICK HERE
Thursday 10th March
6.00pm -- PUBLIC event at the DUBAI Literary Festival. I will be talking primarily about my Saga Of Darren Shan books. CLICK HERE
Friday 11th March
3.30pm -- PUBLIC event at the DUBAI Literary Festival. I will be talking primarily about my Zom-B books. CLICK HERE
Saturday 12th March
5.00pm -- PUBLIC event at the DUBAI Literary Festival. I will be doing a panel event about horror, with Christopher Edge and Curtis Jobling. CLICK HERE
UK and IRELAND
Saturday 2nd April
11.00am -- PUBLIC signing, Eason BELFAST, 40-46 Donegall Pl, Belfast BT1 5BB.
3.00pm -- PUBLIC signing, Eason DUNDALK, 34 The Ramparts Shopping Centre, Dundalk, Co. Louth.
Sunday 3rd April
1.00pm -- PUBLIC signing, Eason SWORDS, Unit G1 The Pavillion Shopping Centre, Swords, Co. Dublin.
pm -- PUBLIC event, UK. Details TBC.
Thursday 7th April
am -- PUBLIC signing, UK. Details TBC.
pm -- PUBLIC signing, UK. Details TBC.
4.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones DONCASTER, Frenchgate Shopping Centre, A630, Doncaster, South Yorkshire DN1 1LJ.
Friday 8th April
am -- PUBLIC signing, UK. Details TBC.
pm -- PUBLIC signing, UK. Details TBC.
7.00pm -- PUBLIC event, Waterstones GLASGOW, 153-157 Sauchiehall St, Glasgow G2 3EW.
Saturday 9th April
11.00a.m. PUBLIC signing, Waterstones BRISTOL GALLERIES, 11A Union Gallery, Bristol BS1 3XD.
2.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones CARDIFF, 2A The Hayes, Cardiff CF10 1WB.
Sunday 10th April
11.00am -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones PLYMOUTH, Drake Circus, 1 Charles St, Plymouth PL1 1EA.
pm -- PUBLIC signing, details TBC.
Friday 15th April
4.30pm -- PUBLIC signing, Eason LIMERICK, 9 O'Connell Street, Limerick.
Saturday 16th April
12.00pm -- PUBLIC signing, Waterstones CORK, 69 Patrick St, Cork.
28th April to May 1st 2016
I'm going to be a guest of honor at the World Horror Convention, PROVO, UTAH, USA. More details TBC closer the time. http://www.whc2016.org/home.html
WHAT'S THE POINT?!?
As long-time Shansters will already know, whenever a new Zom-B book is due out, I like to share some of Warren Pleece's roughs for the interior art that features in it, ahead of the book's release. I do this for two reasons -- 1) to get fans even more excited, and 2) because I think the roughs are really cool in their own right. This time, with Zom-B Goddess, I've decided to break slightly with tradition and offer up not just a rough, but its finished counterpiece too. There's a reason why. The scene, from early in the book, features a couple of characters injecting themselves with a deadly serum, for reasons that readers of the series will already be familiar with. BUT, when we studied the rough, we realised it looked like a couple of junkies shooting-up!! Since that's not something we'd ever treat lightly, we asked Warren to go back and tweak the picture, even though it's now not quite the way that it's described in the book. More roughs to come next month!
Although the Cirque Du Freak movie definitely underperformed at the Box Office (hence no sequels), it didn't do quite as terribly as some of its critics would have you believe, which is why it appears (albeit quite far down) on this list of the Most Successful YA Novel Movie Adaptations. CLICK HERE
Having said that, the actual budget and promotional costs for the CDF film were a LOT more than the stated $40 million, which I suspect is probably the case for quite a few of the movies listed here -- when a film doesn't do as well as its producers were hoping, they often present a low budget figure to the public, to hide their blushes and mask its real box office shortcomings. If CDF had come in just a few million short of its overall cost, there's a good chance they would have greenlit a second film. Sadly, as with pretty much every movie series that fails to make it past the first entry, it came in a long way off what they spent on it.
To forestall most of the usual comments that get posted whenever I mention the movie... no, I had nothing to do with the making of the movie... yes, I wish they'd been more faithful... no, I don't think it's terrible -- I like it on its own terms... and yes, I hope that one day it gets rebooted, either for films or a TV series, but that's out of my hands, and like the rest of you, all I can do is sit and wait until someone with tens of millions of dollars to gamble comes along and decides to take a punt on it.
ISLINGTON READ TEEN VOTE
I was very pleased to see that Zom-B Family has been shortlisted for the Islington Teen Read Vote 2016!! Anyone in the Islington area (in London) between the ages of 11 and 18 can vote for their favourite book to decide the winner. Voting started on January 15th and ends on February 12th. You can pick up a voting slip from your school library, local public library, Waterstones Islington Green, or from www.islington.gov.uk/libraries And if you know any Shansters in the Islington area, please pass this on!!
Last month marked the one year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris. I was asked by a Canadian journalist to contribute to an article where seven different authors were asked for their views on free speech in the wake of the killings. It's interesting to compare and contrast the different reactions. My contribution can pretty much be summed up by my last line: "For me, being a human of good account is all about finding a happy middle ground, where we have the freedom to say anything we want, but the wisdom and compassion to choose those words with care." But if you want to hear what else I had to say, along with the views of the other authors, CLICK HERE. Highly recommended.
According to a recent Scottish Book Trust post about reluctant readers, "It can be a challenge to find the right book for someone who's switched off from reading. But once they've been gripped by a plot-driven thriller, books can suddenly be a much more attactive proposition!" I couldn't agree more. I find, with children or teenagers who are classed as reluctant readers, that usually it's only because they haven't yet been exposed to a truly entertaining book, something that they'll want to read for pleasure, as opposed to something they're forced to read from an educational perspective. It can be tricky, as a parent or teacher, finding the right book to get them hooked, but thankfully the SBT have listed ten "riveting reads" which provide plenty of great recommendations. So if YOU know a reluctant reader, or even just a teenager who's looking to try something new, THIS is the list for you. Last one to read all ten is a rotten egg!!!
WHO ARE YOU?!?
If you've ever wondered which of the characters in my vampire books you are most like... wonder no more! Here's a quiz that will sort you into your most fitting category, and filter out the vampires from the vampaneze. When I took it, I assumed I'd end up being Darren, but I actually turned out to be more like Vancha!!! Who will YOU be?!? Take the quiz and find out! http://www.quotev.com/quiz/1871284
I don't check the Darren Shan MessageBoard very often these days -- the internet has moved on, and it seems a bit of an anachronism. But people still use it, so I drop in every so often, and last month I read the following post, which is one of the most eye-opening posts by a fan of mine that I've ever come across!! Warning -- SPOILERS FOR ALL MY SERIES!!!
"I noticed that Darren Shan’s Protagonist are similar to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’s Protagonist. Darren Shan in The Saga Of Darren Shan in the beginning wasn’t too smart and made a lot of dumb mistake like the Scarecrow but eventually because of his life as a half-Vampire became smart enough to outwit his enemies Murlough, Steve Leonard, and Desmond Tiny. He is also vengeful to his enemies. Grubbs Grady in The Demonata in the beginning was cowardly like the Cowardly Lion. Eventually when he became a Werewolf he became very courageous and ruthless. B Smith in Zom-B in the beginning had no heart like the Tin Woodman but when her heart was ripped out and became a Zombie she had a big heart in her unlife. She cares for her friends and merciless to her enemies. Then would the next series protagonist for Darren Shan’s new series book be a boy that is similar to Dorothy Gale and had a pet like Toto? But instead of a cute puppy it could be a monstrous animal. That would sound awesome if it did."
This has never crossed my mind until now, so it's certainly not intentional... but yeah, now that it's been brought to my attention, it's certainly subconsciously feasible! Although it does overlook Kernel and Bec of course... Mind you, the main character in the new series that I'm working on could certainly be read as a Dorothy type character, in an over-the-rainbow kind of way... but you'll have to wait quite a while to find out what I mean about that one!!! If any of you are interested in the Darren Shan MessageBoard, which used to be THE place for my fans to hang out back in the day, it's still up and running (and occasionally visited by my good self) over here: http://www.darrenshan.com/messageboard/
The internet throws up all sorts of surprises, and I stumbled across one last month when I spotted a link in my Twitter feed to a site called Open Quotes. This features quotes from a huge variety of authors, and I'm one of the gang. There are a number of quotes by me, taken from different articles and interviews. To be honest, I never thought I was that quotable, but I think I come across quite well taken on the basis of this selection! You can scan through the quotes in a matter of a few minutes, so if you want to see what they've cherry picked from the Darren Shan archives, CLICK HERE
SECOND TIME ROUND
"You should always read a good book twice." That's the opening line and key argument of THIS fascinating blog by Kristian Richmond, about reading your favourite books more than once. I used to re-read books all the time in my teens and early twenties, but it's been a long time since I returned to something I've read before -- I just seem to find less and less time to read these days, and prefer to try new books as opposed to dipping back into the well of past reads. That said, this blog has made me wonder if maybe it's time I revisited a few old literary friends...
I'm always surprised when fans of my Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak books are surprised to find out that I also wrote four books about Mr Crepsley and his life before he met Darren. The series, called The Saga Of Larten Crepsley, has been on sale for several years now, in many countries, but because it came out quite a long time after the original series, a lot of fans never found out about it, even though we live in an age where information like that is readily accessible. If you're one of them, this is a quick heads-up to let you know that there are MORE Darren Shan vampire books to sink your teeth into -- now go hunt them down and spend 200 years in the company of Larten, Vancha, Gavner, Mr Tiny, and many more familiar faces, along with some newbies too! In the meantime, here's a fresh review of the first book, Birth Of A Killer, to whet your appetite. CLICK HERE
JANUARY COMPETITION WINNERS
The three winners for the January Shanville Monthly competition were:
Sean J McDermott, Ireland.
Richard Hougland, USA.
Christine Stanley, England.
And the three runners-up were:
Jyoti Baldew, The Netherlands.
Justine Villanueva, The Philippines.
Aoibh Kingston, Ireland.
There were 147 entries in total. Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winners, and better luck next time to everyone else!
Last month was tinged with sadness for me. After a long battle with Alzheimer's, my wife's father, Augustine, passed away early this morning. He was in his 80s, which was a good old run, but he'd been an incredibly healthy man, and if the disease hadn't worn him down, I'd have bet on him edging closer to a hundred. He stayed in good cheer all the way through, with the solid support of his caring wife, Urszula, even as that horrible disease robbed him of his memories and personality. The last time I saw him was a few months ago. I turned up at his house just as he was heading upstairs for a nap. His wife asked him if he wanted to stay to have a chat with me. "Why?" he grunted -- so he wasn't THAT far gone in his mind!!! I named a character after Augustine in Lord Loss, though he only gets a very quick mention. I've written another book where the main character has that name, though I'm not sure if I'll ever get round to publishing it -- unless his ghost starts hassling me to get on with the job! Arrivederci for now, Signore Basini. Even in death may you be triumphant.
IT'S A WRAP
And that's it for February. I'm hoping to get a nice bit of writing done this month, ahead of my upcoming tours, though we'll see how things pan out -- since Dante came along, my writing schedule doesn't run quite as according to plan as it once did! Anyway, I'll be back here at the start of March for the countdown to the release of Zom-B Goddess, and with all the latest news and updates. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x