Issue 176 - March 201501 March 2015
Hi everyone, and welcome to the March issue of the Shanville Monthly. Zom-B Bride is still hot off the presses in the UK, Ireland and USA as I type (and due to come out in Canada in just a few days), and the reaction has been as electric as I hoped, as you can read about below. March is going to be a bit of a quieter month, although I'm doing some school events, and one for the public in London. I'm also doing a public LIVECHAT on Facebook for World Book Day, in which fans (worldwide, as far as I know) will be able to put their burning questions to me during a live thirty minutes Q&A. I also have three different books debuting in three different countries this month (well, four, really, if you include Zom-B Bride coming out in Canada) as ShanMania continues to sweep across the globe! Oh, and there's a new competition too!! You can read about those highlights, and catch up with all the latest Shan news, by reading on... so what are you waiting for?!?
THE BRIDE WOWS REVIEWERS!
Zom-B Bride, the tenth book in the series, went on sale in the UK and Ireland on February 12th, in the USA on February 24th, in Canada on March 3rd, and it goes on sale in and Australia and New Zealand in July. Early response from readers has been almost overwhelmingly positive -- lots of five star reviews on Amazon, and very nice comments from reviewers. The Bookbag, for instance, said that "ZOM-B Bride is chock full of blood, guts, twists, turns and surprises" and "Just as you think things can't get any more twisted, up pops Darren Shan with some even more surreal developments. I love the unexpected, and the unexpected is what Shan always delivers." Dark Readers gave it four stars and put forward the enlightened opinion that the book was really about love, "not the overtly soppy kind... more the kind of ideas of Love and what we would do for love." The Thoughts And Ramblings Of An Overactive Mind was more of the mind that "It is a bonkers slice of genius, and I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book as much as this." And The Fireside Table noted that "This is the most claustrophobic installment yet of Shan’s undead apocalypse saga... a wildly entertaining page turner."
Zom-B Bride is on sale through all good booksellers -- if you don't see it on the shelves of your local shop, do please ask the staff to order in a copy for you -- or, if you prefer to buy online, there are loads of places where you can either order a physical copy or download it as an eBook. Here are a few that normally offer very good value.
I'm doing a few school events plus one PUBLIC event in March in the UK, to continue promoting the release of Zom-B Bride, and I'm also doing some one-off school and PUBLIC events in Ireland and the UK over the next few months. Here are the details as they currently stand -- more dates will hopefully be added as and when they are confirmed. School events are only for invited school groups (although individuals can sometimes get in too, if they contact the school/library in advance). Public events are open to anyone who wants to come along, though you usually have to acquire tickets in advance to be certain of a place. If you plan to come to any of my events, please note that I never impose any limits on the number of my books that I will sign, so feel free to bring your whole collection from home or buy loads of them on the day!
Thursday 12th March
8.55am -- school event, Glenthorne High School, Surrey, UK.
1.30pm -- school event, The Cherry Trees School, London, UK.
Friday 13th March
3.30pm -- school event, Oasis Academy Southbank, London, UK.
6.00pm -- public event, Canada Water Library, 21 Surrey Quays Road, London SE16 7AR, UK. To book FREE tickets, CLICK HERE.
Saturday 18th April
TBC -- public event, Towering Tales Festival, Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland.
Saturday 23rd May
3.00pm -- public event, Wicklow Arts Festival, Wicklow, Ireland. http://www.wicklowartsfestival.ie/
Wednesday 15th July
2.30pm -- schools event, Norwich FLY Festival, Norwich, UK.
Friday 17th July
TBC -- public event, West Cork Literary Festival, Bantry, County Cork, Ireland.
WORLD BOOK DAY 2015
If you've ever wondered what my work desk looks like... wonder no more!! I was asked to submit a selfie of my desk -- aka a deskie! -- for the World Book Day Teen Fest, and here it is. This is where I've written all of my books over the last dozen or so years. The book in the middle of the desk is a book about magic that I bought a long time ago while researching a book about a magician (never published, although I might return to it one day). I liked the size of it, so I've kept it on my desk ever since, and use it as a pad when writing by hand, so almost every plot note and letter than I've written over the last couple of decades has been written on that book. Oh, and all of the plot notes for Zom-B, plus my next book when that finishes, are lying just underneath the book, containing all of their secrets and twists. This is when you wish you could reach into a photograph and move things around, isn't it?!? :-)
I’m pleased to announce that I am one of the authors taking part in the World Book Day Teen Fest on March 4th and 5th in the UK. This is going to feature all sorts of author-related goodies, and you can expect a few different contributions from me, including a LIVECHAT that I am doing on Facebook on Thursday, March 5th, at 6.45pm UK time. I'm going to be answering as many questions from fans as I can within the thirty minutes of the event, and you can ask me just about anything you want. Now, I know I answer many of your questions anyway, on Facebook, Twitter, email and post, but there's always something a bit more exciting about a live event, when you know I'm tapping away madly at my keyboard even as you watch my answers appear. As far as I'm aware, this is open to fans everywhere in the world, so JOIN the page by CLICKING HERE, set your phone or watch or parrot to remind you, and I'll see you soon!!!!
Lots of other cool authors are also taking part in the Teen Fest. This is the link for the web site: http://www.wbdteenfest.com/ And here’s a link to an article on the BBC explaining a bit more about it: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/31530528
There's good news for my fans in Canada and the USA who have yet to jump onboard the Zom-B brain-train! KOBO have included the first book in their Kids' Month promotion, so for the whole of March it will cost you just $2.99 to download. So what are you waiting for -- download and read it ASAP, before the zombies attack!!!!
BROTHERS IN HUNGARY
Brothers To The Death, the fourth and final book in The Saga Of Larten Crepsley, went on sale in Hungary on February 27th. Some of my most passionate fans live in Hungary -- I always get a huge turn-out when I go there on tour -- so I'm delighted that the series is now complete there, and I hope my Hungarian fans enjoy the finale as much as fans elsewhere have done! For more info about my Hungarian books, check out my publisher's Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.
LADY IN TAIWAN
Lady Of The Shades, a one-off novel that I wrote for older readers, goes on sale in Taiwan on March 9th, and that's the VERY eye-catching cover above! As in Hungary, I have loads of massively enthusiastic fans in Taiwan, and have enjoyed large crowds on my tours there. Lady Of The Shades is very different to the books that I write for young adults, so I'm intrigued to see what my Taiwanese fans make of it! If you live in Taiwan and want to keep up with everything Darren Shan-related, I would suggest LIKING my publisher's Facebook page by CLICKING HERE.
B IN CZECH REPUBLIC
The first Zom-B book goes on sale in the Czech Republic on March 15th. I'm always interested to see how my books play in different countries. My other books have proved very popular in the Czech Republic -- virtually everything that I have written has been translated and released there -- so its time to find out what my Czech fans think about zombies!!!! Hopefully they'll have the same reaction as this Czech reviewer on Vendea's World Of Books, who loved it! CLICK HERE to read the review, and use Google Translate if you can't read Czech.
BEST HORROR COVERS
I was pleased to see a couple of my books make a Best Horror Covers list over on Bookstack last month. To find out which two covers they picked, CLICK HERE.
I gave some interviews in February, to tie in with my Zom-B Bride tour. First up was the Cult Noise interview, in which you can find out who my favourite character in my books is (no prizes for guessing!), what I thought of John C Reilly in the Cirque Du Freak movie, and more. Well worth a look -- it won't take up too much of your time. CLICK HERE.
Next, I strongly recommend this interview with me in The University Times. Lots of good questions that pushed me to produce some (hopefully!) thought provoking answers. CLICK HERE.
This one's not an actual interview, but a very nice report in the Basingstoke Gazette of a signing that I did there. CLICK HERE.
In this interview for YA Insiders, I reveal my favourite quote from Zom-B Bride... which is actually a recyled quote from the very first YA book I ever published!! To find out what it is, CLICK HERE.
In A Leaf In A Library, I talk about giving children nightmares, and writer's block. CLICK HERE.
And, finally, in Adventures In YA Publishing, I divulge what Zom-B Bride taught me about the writing process. CLICK HERE.
Do YOU want to listen to me reading out an extract from Zom-B Bride, describing B's entry into Mr Dowling's nightmarish lair?!? Of course you do!!!! And here's your chance, as I recorded a clip for WHSmith in the UK. This is what the Zom-B audio books would sound like if I was the narrator... You can also buy the book via the link if you wish. CLICK HERE.
ZOM-B ON THE ROAD
I had a great time on my short Zom-B Bride tour last month. A clutch of fun school events, and some brilliant public signings, with fans travelling from near and far, with shed-loads of my books to be autographed. You can find a small selecton of the many photos from the tour above, taken from Cardiff to Croydon, Norwich to Maidstone, Reading to Birmingham to Leamington Spa. If you want bigger versions of the photos, and info about the fans who appear with me in them, check out the Darren Shan Official Facebook page, and scroll back through my entries from mid-February, where you can find all of the above and a whole lot more. Thanks to everyone who came and queued so patiently, as well as everyone who hosted me, and a special thank you to departing publicist Lorraine Keating for coordinating everything so fluidly and smoothly.
I was genuinely moved by this very sweet article from a fan and budding writer, commenting on the impact my books have had on her over the years. It's a nice piece, worth a few minutes of your time. CLICK HERE to read it. On a side-note, I wonder how many more of my readers hid the Demonata books face-down under their pillows, in order to stop the demons "escaping"?!?!?
WHY, SHAN, WHY?!?
I don't speak Spanish, but I don't think you need to in order to perfectly get the gist of this fan's reaction to Killers Of The Dawn, the book that I still get most weepy complaints about from devastated fans! To get what I'm talking about, CLICK HERE and prepare to weep!!!
I do a lot of touring, but obviously it's impossible to get to EVERY school, library and book shop in the world -- I'm not SHANTA CLAUS!!! However, as one school in Scotland recently proved, you don't need Darren Shan to host a Darren Shan event! Rather than bemoan the fact that I wasn't able to come and give a talk about Zom-B, the librarian and students of St Ninians forged ahead and threw their own Zom-B event without me. It looks like it was a lot of fun -- I'm sorry I wasn't able to get along to join in the fun! To find out what went down, and maybe spark some ideas for a Darren Shan-less Darren Shan event at your own school, CLICK HERE.
THE MAKING OF A SNAKEBOY
The response of fans to my books sometimes takes me by surprise, never more so than when Evra Von, the snakeboy at the Cirque Du Freak, became an international sex symbol!!! I kid you not! While I always had a special soft spot in my heart for Evra, I didn't think he was going to set knees trembling on all five continents -- yet that's what happened, and I soon began receiving lots of gushing fan mail about him, and fan art of him. Which I guess goes to show how little I truly know about the workings of the female mind!!!
Anyway, the reason I brought that up is because of this VERY cool university project that a fan called Sydney Isaac embarked on, where he had to design a circus environment and a figure to go in it -- and he settled on the Cirque Du Freak and young master Von! I love his drawings and concepts, so I thought I'd share the link with you, so that you Evra-mad gals (and guys!) can check it out too. CLICK HERE and enjoy!!
I drew the winners of the February Shanville Monthly the day after it ended, on February 24th, and - rather befittingly, given the day that was in it, i.e. Zom-B Bride went on sale in the USA on the day of the draw - all of the winners were from America!! In the order drawn, they were:
Main winner — Natalie Martinez, California.
Runner-up — Tyler Feather, Arkansas.
Runner-up — Courtney McGee, Ohio.
There were 429 entries in total, from all over the world. Thanks to everyone who entered. Congratulations to the winners. And better luck next time to everyone else!!
To celebrate the release of Zom-B Bride in Canada on March 3rd, I'm running another competition this month, with FIVE SIGNED COPIES of the Canadian edition of Zom-B Bride up for grabs. The competition is open to fans everywhere in the world, not just Canada. To be in with a chance of winning one of them, you simply have to answer the question below, make sure you skim through the small print to make sure your entry is valid, then email it in and keep your fingers crossed!!!
1) Answer this question: "In what country does Lady Of The Shades go on sale in a translated edition this month?" (You can find the answer elsewhere in this issue of the Shanville Monthly.)
2) Send your entry to: firstname.lastname@example.org
3) 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. This is so that I can easily send your prize to you if you win. Please also include your age, although this is not mandatory.
(4) Closing date is midnight, UK Time, Sunday 15th March, 2015.
(5) This competition is open to everybody, everywhere in the world, unless you work for one of my publishers or are one of my relations.
(6) You can only enter the competition ONCE. If you try to enter more than once, ALL of your entries will be disqualified.
(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 or after Monday, March 16th, 2015. 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, in the Shanville Monthly, and possibly on Twitter and Facebook too.
(9) Information submitted by entrants WILL NOT be shared by me with any other individual or company.
(10) My decision will be final.
IT'S A WRAP
And that's it for March. February saw the 13th anniversary of my first date with the young lady who was destined to become Mrs Shan a "mere" eleven years later. To celebrate, we went for afternoon tea to the Savoy in London (see the picture above), and took our latest little (but quickly growing) addition along -- Dante isn't on solids yet, so he wasn't able to partake, but he certainly enjoyed looking at all the lovely food! March sees the second anniversary of our wedding -- I suppose I'd better crack on and book something in for it, or Mrs Shan will start complaining!!! I'll be back here at the start of April with all the latest news and updates. Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x