As followers of my blog will know, I am a huge fan of Darren Shan. What I love about his events at the Edinburgh International Book Festival is that he rarely has a chair person and the event is truly all about him and the novels that he has produced.
Darren was at the book festival today, to talk about his Zom-B series. There will be 12 books in the series and book 5 will be released at the end of next month. A new book in the series comes out every three month, the inspiration for this was serialisation that Dickens done with some of his work. These books have all been designed to be short and extremely fast paced. All the books end on a cliff-hanger which then continues in the next book.
Darren read passages from Zom-B, Zom-B City and gave a preview of the next book in the series, Zom-B Baby. There is no words to describe how good Darren Shan is at reading. He reads with so much passion that you can’t help but hang onto every word he is saying.
After the readings, Darren opened the floor to questions from the audience.
Was the idea for the clown in the Zom-B series inspired by Mr Tiny?
There is no character like Mr Tiny in the Zom-B series. Mr Tiny was a magical character and the Zom-B series is more scientific based.
Where did you find the inspiration for the Demonata series?
The poem at the start of Lord Loss was written long before the book and was hidden in a drawer. Darren realised over time that he had unfinished business with Lord Loss. Lord Loss was intended to be a one off book but it developed itself into a series. Darren told the audience that he spends on average seven years on each series he has written, so you have to feel passionate about what you are writing.
At the start of the Demonata series, there is inspiration taken from The Secret Gardens, did you have any literary or film inspirations for the Zom-B series?
The Secret Garden was Darren’s favourite book as a child and he regulary draws inspiration from films and comics when writing.
Are you planning on bringing Tyler back at any point in the series?
No he will not be coming back, some characters will be coming back but not all.
What is your favourite Zom-B book?
Darren thinks of the Zom-B series as one big book, that is just split up into chunks. It would be like asking you, what is your favourite chapter?
Do you feel that you get better as a writer, the more that you write?
Yes, I always want to try and better myself. Constantly challenging myself by pushing myself outwith what I am comfortable with. For example the Zom-B series is more realistic than anything I have done before and this was a challenge.
Any advice for young writers?
The more you write the better you get, you need to be willing to put the hard work. There is no secrets involved and you will develop your skills by experimenting with your writing style. The main goal of a writer is to tell the best stories that you can tell.
Darren then treated us to one of his favourite readings that he rarely does now, chapter 2 of Lord Loss.
With that final reading the event was drawn to a close. Darren Shan is always an Edinburgh International Book Festival favourite, his events are always so animated and you can hear the passion for the written word that he has when he is speaking. I love that he doesn’t have a chair at his events, the chairs job at a Darren Shan event is to introduce him at the start, though in my opinion the man needs no introduction. This allows for a more interactive event.
The picture above was taken an hour and a half after the Darren Shan event, the queue for signing was still long. This shows the level of respect he has for his readers. He says at the end of every event that is you have brought every book he has written with you he will happily sign them all. He poses for photos and have a conversation with every person he is signing a book for. I love seeing this in an author, you can truly see how important his readers are to him.