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A Trip With The Master of Horror: Mr Darren Shan

2015 repost first see on The

Sarah: Firstly Darren thank you so much for finding the time to come and do this interview with us, it was very kind. Lets start with something simple and go from there. How did you start out as a writer? What is your background?

Darren: I just always loved telling stories. I wanted to be a writer since I was five or six years old, and although I wanted to be lots of other things too at that young age, the love of writing stayed with me as the other dreams fell by the wayside. As I got older, I spent more and more time writing stories, and over the years my skills grew and I began looking into getting published.

Sarah: What are your current projects?

Darren: I’m writing for the young adult market as Darren Shan, and the adult market as Darren Dash. I have two more books in my Zom-B series as Darren Shan to release, and I’m working on the first book of what will hopefully be my new series after that. And I will shortly decide on what my next Darren Dash novel will be, and start getting it ready for publication next year.

Sarah: When is your next book due out? Can we please have a tiny snippet?

Darren: The next Zom-B book, Zom-B Fugitive, goes on sale in September 2015. It’s book eleven in the series, so it’s hard to provide a snippet without giving away too many spoilers, but here’s the opening line:

Becky Smith’s journey into darkness and pain began when a zombie ripped her heart from her chest and she became one of the walking, brain-eating undead.

Sarah: Have you any upcoming book signings planned?

Darren: I’m going to be at YALC the weekend of July 17th 2015, which is part of the London Film And Comic Con

Sarah: What did you think of your books being made into The Vampire's Assistant movie? Would you like to have any more of your books made into film or TV?

Darren: It’s always exciting when a book is adapted for TV or film, because it usually helps your story reach a much wider audience. I know some authors are sniffy about film adaptations, but I think they’re a fabulous publicity tool, and sometimes they lead to pretty good films too, which is a bonus! When my fans complain about The Vampire’s Assistant, as many of them do (although a lot like it too, which surprised me), I tell them that I feel and understand their pain, but that movies of books aren’t made for the existing readers, but for those who know nothing about the source material – when they work, they bring lots of new readers to my world, and that’s always a good thing. Do, yes, I’m happy for any and all of my books to be adapted, although currently the only one in the process of being filmed is The Lady Of The Shades, one of my books for adults.

Sarah: What is your favourite character you ever created and why?

Darren: Mr. Crepsley, from my vampire books. He was an intriguing character, and I only really figured him out at the very end of the two series that I wrote about the vampire world.

Sarah: What is your inspiration to write?

Darren: I just love telling stories. Everything inspires me – books, comics, movies, TV shows, things that I see in my day-to-day life.

Sarah: Do you still get excited when people love your work even after all these years as an author?

Darren: Oh yes! That’s still the only thing that really matters to me. The financial success is a very nice bonus, but meeting a fan and seeing the passion and excitement that I have for a story reflected in their eyes... or getting an email or letter from someone saying that my books have changed their life... that’s why I do what I do.

Sarah: How do you cope with the negative sides of writing? Such as haters/trolls/bad reviews/writers block.

Darren: I’ve been very lucky – apart from the occasional honest bad review (which every writer should expect and be able to deal with), I’ve never really been trolled or subjected to a hate riff. I have a lot of respect for my fans, and that respect has very kindly been reciprocated... so far anyway! As for writer’s block, I don’t believe in it. Sure, there are times when I struggle to figure out all the kinks of a story that I want to tell, but there are lots of other stories that I can work on while I’m waiting for the knots to unravel, so rather than sit around and bang my head against a wall, I turn my focus elsewhere and write something that I can make sense of. Writing is a learning process, and you’re better off working on something and learning from it, than stalling and doing nothing.

Sarah: What do you consider to be your best and worst works and why?

Darren: My favourite novel of my own is The Thin Executioner, a tale of a young boy who wants to be an executioner when he grows up, that also shows how each of us can find redemption and become a better person, regardless of our background or upbringing. I don’t have a “worst” book. I only release books that I’ve worked on for at least two or three years, and that I can stand 100% behind.

Sarah: What advice would you give to someone wanting to start a career in writing?

Darren: Do it because you love it. Most writers don’t make very much money, so be prepared to do other things to support yourself financially if necessary. Make as much time to write as you feasibly can, because the more work you produce, the more you’ll learn and the faster you’ll progress. And write stories that you would enjoy reading.

You can also refer to my writing tips guide by clicking here.

Sarah: If you could have written any book ever created, what would it be?

Darren: The Bible, if only for the royalties... :)

Sarah: Laughs, well thank you for your time, great answers.

As a personal note to end this interview, I would like to add just a little bit about Darren's personality here. I was actually lucky enough to meet him back in 2012 at a book signing in Derby, UK. A Sunday afternoon event, he was running late from another signing earlier that day and the queue was huge. He had been booked for just two hours so a lot of us expected to be turned away unseen. I was around halfway down the queue, not sure if I should even bother staying as he had so little time. Just under two hours and he got to me. My friend grassed me for being a writer, and he spent a few minutes talking to me about it. Said one day he hoped to come to my book signing. I laughed not thinking he meant it, and said "Oh like a girl from Derby is gonna make it." Darren laughed and smiled back saying "Well a boy from Limerick did." That memory has stayed with me every single time I have thought about giving up on writing, the fact Darren Shan himself believed in me.

Three years on I am working here of course and I should have my first book being self-published in a few months’ time. The least I could do for all the support was interview the total gentleman, and amazingly talented writer in return for all that praise. I have been to many book signings and not one author has ever made me feel so special, so important as Mr. Shan ever did. So thank you to him from myself and everyone else he has guided over the years. If you were wondering, yes Darren did stay there until EVERYONE in the queue had been seen. Never once rushed, gave everyone the same amount of interest, time, pictures, everything they could possibly want. This is the most humble 'star' you could ever hope to meet. Long live Mr. Shan, may his pen never run out of ink. He truly is the Master of Horror.

Sarah Beth James