Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Halloween Special: An Email-Interview With Darren Shan!

Well! Its Halloween, and boy have I got a surprise for you! Just lately I've got the amazing the chance to have an Email- Interview with the Master of Horror Darren Shan! How cool is that!?! 
Anyhow, Here's how the whole interview played out!~

What made you decide to write Horror novels in particular? 
I actually mix up all different sorts of genres, but because all of my books have a very dark undercurrent (which is sometimes brought more to the fore, as it is in Zom-B), they most neatly fall into the horror bracket. As for why I write these type of books... well, these are the type of books I most like to read! I always say to young writers, "Write for yourself, stories that you would like to read, that interest you." I never think of an audience when I write. I just write stories that get me stoked, then hope they get other people buzzing too

With all the success of Cirque Du Freak, will you ever revisit it? 
I did that already, with The Saga Of Larten Crepsley, which followed the life of a vampire over the course of 200 years. But that wasn't because I wanted to cash-in on the success of my earlier vampire books -- I just felt compelled to tell that particular story. My Saga Of Darren Shan/Cirque Du Freak series was originally meant to be much longer, before I realised that it was a coming-of-age story and needed to finish when the main character hit maturity. I had quite a bit of the later books planned, so there's a chance that I might return to those ideas one day and re-jig them, but I have nothing planned for the near future.

Where did the idea of Zom-B come from? Have you always wanted to write a Zombie book? 
Actually, no. I'm not a huge zombie fan, although I have enjoyed some of the better movies over the years, in particular the original Dawn Of The Dead. Zom-B began with me wanting to write a book in response to the atmosphere of fear which has been building since 9/11 and 7/7 in London. People are being told to be suspicious of others, to be wary, to be fearful. But the people spreading these messages have their own agendas, and are trying to exploit the very people that they claim to want to protect. I wanted to write something that highlighted the dangers of racism and the abuse of power in all its forms. I wanted to write something that would say to readers, "Don't take false prophets at face value. Don't believe everything you're told. Use your brains and commonsense. Look for the truth behind the lies. Make up your own minds -- don't let others make them up for you." At the same time, I wanted to write an exciting, action-packed book. I didn't want to preach -- that's not my style. Zombies seemed like the perfect launching pad for the story I wanted to tell. We begin with a classic zombie set-up in book 1, where a group of people are trapped in a school by zombies, but from that point we shoot off in all sorts of new and unpredictable directions.

Can you give us a few spoilers on Zom-B Book Two: The Underground? 
Not really. There are a couple of huge twists near the end of the first book, and if I talk too much about book 2, I risk spoiling their impact. All I will say is that it takes place in an underground complex, where soldiers and scientists are conducting very unseemly tests on imprisoned zombies. And in this series, not all zombies are the same...

Out of all the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite? 
The Thin Executioner, a one-off fantasy book that I released a few years ago. I'm proud of all the books I've published (I spend at least two years working on any one book, so I've never rushed a book and regretted it afterwards). But there was something about The Thin Executioner that particularly appealed to me. I think maybe it was the fact that it revolved around a fairly nasty central character, who matured and grew as a conscientious human over the coursse of the novel -- it showed that there is always hope for those willing to open themselves to new ideas, no matter where they might have started out in life. Zom-B's main character is similar in that respect -- they're both individuals who have been raised to believe certain "truths", who rebel and become more human when they reject the teachings of their elders and start thinking for themselves.

Outside of writing, what do you do each day? 
Watch a movie and some TV, do some reading, answers emails and work on my web site, listen to music, go for a walk or a run on a treadmill. I also travel a lot, when I'm not writing, sometimes for work, sometimes for pleasure.

Do you have some sort of secret skill or hobby? 
No real secret skills, but quite a few hobbies. I collect lots of books, comics and movies. I've also got more and more interested in art over the last several years, and now spend quite a bit of time going to galleries and museums.

When you were in high school; what books did you read?
All sorts, but horror, sci-fi and fantasy were my favourite genres, work by the likes of Stephen King, Clive Barker, Ray Bradbury, Tolkien. Having said, some of my very favourite books were much more realistic, such as The Machine Gunner, by Robert Westall, or The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier. Zom-B is kind of my way of bringing those different strands together -- on the one hand it's a cutting-edge school story, like The Chocolate War, while on the other it's about a pack of brain-munching, undead creatures.

Are you doing anything special to celebrate this Halloween? 
I'm going to be doing a signing in one of my local bookshops in Limerick. Then I'll probably be heading back home to hand out goodies to trick or treaters.

Thanks for the Interview, is there anything else you would like to say? (Book Promo’s etc…) 
Just that Zom-B is out now, and the rest of the books (there will be 12 in total) are coming out at a rate of one every three months, so watch out for Zom-B Underground in January!

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