• Issue 222 - January 2019

    01 January 2019

    GREETINGS!

     

    Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to the January issue of the Shanville Monthly! 2018 was a bit of a lazy year for me, certainly in terms of work published, although I did release one of my Darren Dash books for adults -- Midsummer's Bottom, my first stab at a comedy, which went down a treat with readers -- so it wasn't an entirely fallow year. I've also been working on some adaptations of my work (there were a few hints in the Shanta Claus story that I posted during Christmas week), although in truth, other people have been doing most of the work so far -- I guess "overseeing" would be a more accurate term for my involvement. (Although I have been hands-on with trying to adapt Koyasan for the stage, and I might get more involved with the TV stuff if it gets the go-ahead -- though as I said in the Shanta story, nothing has been given the green light yet.) My New Year's resolution is to do my final bit of editing work on the first book of my new Darren Shan series early this year, so that it can be submitted to publishers -- if we're lucky, they'll like it and it will see print in 2019, though there's a good chance that even if it finds a good home, it might 2020 before it sees the light of day, as it takes time for the wheels of publishing to turn. Anyway, I'll be chipping away at that, and there might be a new Darren Dash book to look forward to too, so hopefully I'm going to be more of a visible presence again in the very near future. In the meantime, here's the final Darren Shan roundup from 2018, starting with...

     

     

    NEW YEAR PRESENTS?!?

     

     

    OK, I'll admit it -- I've recyled this entry from last month's issue! But I figured some of you might have been given money for Christmas, and if you're thinking of spending some of it on books, and you don't own all of my series, you probably won't find a cheaper and easier way of ordering them than through Lowplex, who offer sets of all my YA series at incredible bargain prices -- they're based in the UK, but ship worldwide.

     

    The Saga Of Darren Shan is usually about £19.49 for all 12 books. CLICK HERE

     

    All 10 of The Demonata books will probably set you back a slight bit more, £23.99 or thereabouts, CLICK HERE

     

    You can normally get an even better price if you buy both The Saga Of Darren Shan and The Demonata -- I've seen them sell for just £33.99CLICK HERE

     

    Want to find out what Larten Crepsley's life was like before he met Darren? The 4 book Saga about his early centuries will cost you in the region £10.99CLICK HERE

     

    Finally, you can normally get the entire Zom-B set -- 12 books -- for around £17.99CLICK HERE

     

    There's a small charge for shipping in the UK, but if you order over £30 worth of books, it's absolutely free. Lowplex ship worldwide, and while shipping WILL set you back more if you live outside the UK, their rates are pretty reasonable and the overall price will still work out quite attractively. Amazon also sell these sets in other countries, so my advice if you live outside the UK is to price them up on both Lowplex and Amazon, including shipping on both, to see which works out better for you. Happy shopping, bargain hunters!!

     

     

    CINEMATIC INSPIRATIONS

     

    Like every other writer, I get asked about my inspirations all the time. Obviously I'm highly inspired by books that I read, but TV shows and movies have a big impact on me too and work their way into my books, sometimes directly (Procession Of The Dead started life when I was trying to come up with a story reminiscent of Barton Fink), more often subtly and subconsciously (the Little People in the Cirque Du Freak were inspired by a movie called Phantasm, but I'd forgotten all about it when I was writing the book, and only realised the collection years later when I came across the DVD on my shelves). I put together a list of 50 of my favourite films on IMDB a while back, and although it's by no means exhaustive (I've seen a LOT of films -- for many years, I used to watch 2 or 3 movies pretty much every day), it gives you a pretty good idea of the sort of films that have ticked my box big time over the years, and I'm sure you could find traces of all of these in my work -- action scenes from Aliens surely fed into my Demonata books... the weirdness of Eraserhead might have influenced An Other Place... the mindset and actions of my vampire general and princes probably owes no small debt to Seven Samurai... And so on. And so on. You can check out the list by CLICKING HERE.

     

     

    A FREAKY TOP 40!

     

     

    We're all used to Top 10 lists and their ilk, right? They're usually straightforward affairs -- Top 10 Stephen King novels, or Top 20 It's A Wonderful Life clones. But here's a very oddly put together titled new kid on the block...

     

    40 Netflix Horror Movies You Can Actually Watch With Your Scaredy Cat Friends!

     

    I'm still scratching my head about that one! But what IS clear to me is that the Cirque Du Freak movie was #2 on the list. Whether that was a good thing or a bad thing... I'm not sure!!!

     

     

    ODE TO AN AUTHOR

     

    An Ode to an Author. That's the title of a very sweet blog from a horror fan who was shown the light (well, the darkness!) by my books back when he was younger. It's a short but wide-ranging piece, talking about the three series of mine that impacted big on him back in the day. I was especially pleased by his mention for The Saga Of Larten Crepsley -- he was highly sceptical of the prequel series when he started, but the story managed to win him round. To be honest, I'm generally sceptical too when it comes to sequels and prequels -- normally they exist only to make money, have little new to boast of, and are meaningless to people who are unfamiliar with the original work on which they're based. I tend to steer well clear of them as a reader. I resisted writing the Crepsley books for quite a while, because the cynic in me was dubious of them, but in the end I felt they had to be written, and hoped to give them just as much validity as the Darren Shan Saga. It's nice to get reports like this to confirm that I was right to ignore my inner sceptic and forge ahead! CLICK HERE to read more.

     

     

    DARINA SHAN?!?

     

     

    I find that the older I get, the less surprised I am by life. If you knock around long enough, it's hard for this old world to catch you unawares. You get to a point where you think you've seen it all. Then along comes something like... this. It's been nearly twenty years since Cirque Du Freak was first released. I've seen all sorts of different versions of my characters, drawn by fans both talented and... um... not so talented. But I don't think I've ever before seen Darren and Steve reimagined as very sultry... girls?!?!? It shouldn't really work, yet I think this is great. It was drawn by a fan called Ender. The weirdest thing of all for me? Heh heh -- I'm probably going to regret saying this in public, but... I think *I* look hot in those tights! :-)

     

     

    DANGEROUS CEREAL!

     

     

    The photograph above was posted online by Lochgelly School. They were having a book photo challenge, and one demonically daring student came up with this delightful Breakfast With A Book snap. I did have to warn the teacher to warn the student not to spill any milk on the cover, as Lord Loss comes to life when that happens and drags the poor unfortunate reader into the book and into his kingdom of cobwebs, to undergo centuries of milky torment...

     

     

    A "SMALL" REVIEW
     

    I like THIS NEW REVIEW of my book Bec, by Katrin Hollister, aka the Frog Blog! Bec has been a real grower with fans of The Demonata over the years. When it first came out, it met with a somewhat puzzled reception -- readers weren't sure what to make of this book that was set in the distant past, with only the character of Lord Loss to link it to the first three books of the series. They weren't sure how it fit in with the other entries, if it was just a strange, random one-off that I'd thrown into the mix for no good reason. But, as the story continued to unfold over the next few novels, they started to see how tightly it was connected with what was happening with Grubbs and Kernel, and these days it's often cited by fans as one of their favourite books from the series -- which is pleasing, because it was always one of my faves too.

     

     

    HARSHLY JUDGED?!!

     

     

    A fan called Lacey spotted this online and it made her chuckle, so she shared it with me. Lacey was keen to point out that although this made her laugh, she actually felt sympathetic for Steve, which pleased me, as I always wanted him to be a character that people could feel torn over -- yes, he becomes a true villain in the Cirque Du Freak books, but it wasn't all his fault... was it???

     

     

    SISTER WENDY

     

     

    I was very sad to hear that Sister Wendy (the art critic -- for a bit more info about her, CLICK HERE) died last month. Believe it or not, she was a Shanster, and sent me some very nice messages about my books -- though she did occasionally chastise me if she thought I went "too" far with certain grisly scenes. Even in death may she be pictorially triumphant!

     

     

    COMPETITION WINNERS

     

    The winners of last month's Christmas competition were...

    Natalie Cole, who won the singed An Other Place mouse mat.

    Joe Irwin, who won the signed Sunburn mouse mat.

    Thanks to everyone who entered, and better luck next time to those who didn't win on this occasion.

     

     

    IT'S A WRAP!

     

    And that's it for January. I'll be getting back to work on the new Darren Shan book early this month, and if all goes well with that, it might finally take a signficant step closer to publication. I'll be keeping you guys in the loop as and when things progress on that front -- as well as on the Darren Dash front if you're one of my older readers -- so make sure you check back at the start of every month for the latest news and updates. (You can subscribe to be notified by email every time a new issue goes live.) I'll see you back here at the start of February, when romance will be in the air, and blood and guts will be dripping from the walls! Until then, all my bloody best, Darren Shan. x x x

     

     

    Follow Darren Shan on Facebook and Twitter. He also has a (very rarely updated!) YouTube page.

     

     

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