ZX81 to TouchSmart

January 9, 2010 at 22:10 (1)

Started my latest edit of the second Mr Crepsley book on Wednesday. I’m not ready to share the titles with you guys yet (though I should be able to soon), but I CAN now tell you what the working titles were!! When I wrote the first drafts three years ago, I had very simple titles in place. The four books cover Larten Crepsley’s life from when he was a child up until when he met Darren at the Cirque Du Freak, and each focuses on a very different part of his life — the first looks at him when he was a child and (relative) teenager; the second sees him search for purpose in his life as the vampire equivalent on a man in his 20s who isn’t sure what he wants to do with his life; the third sees him try to establish a new, adult life for himself, trying to put his turbulent past and uncertainties behind him; while the fourth sees him finally come of age, accept himself and become the character we know from the Darren Shan Saga. In the early days — indeed, up to just a month or so ago — the books were named after names he used during those different stages of his life, and they were this:

Book 1 — Larten.
Book 2 — Quicksilver.
Book 3 — Vur Horston.
Book 4 — Mr Crepsley.

I liked the simplicity of the titles, but I knew that my publishers probably wouldn’t be overly keen on them, since they weren’t the most exciting or clear titles — new readers would have no idea what the books were about based solely on the titles. For a long time I stuck with the originals, because I could think of nothing better, and nobody else could either. But finally I came up with four titles which perfectly suited the books, and also fit in neatly with the types of titles I used for the Saga books. As I said above, I can’t reveal those new titles just yet, but at least now you know what the books USED to be called!!!!! (But you’ll have to read them to find out why Mr C was once known as Quicksilver, and also why he pretended to be Vur Horston!!)

I’ve been going fairly slowly on the book because I bought a new computer during the week, and I’ve been spending the last couple of days setting it up, moving all of my files across, making sure I was still able to maintain my website, etc. Now the new baby is in place and I’m firing ahead on all cylinders!! It’s a HP TouchSmart PC — you can tap the screen to access files and web pages, play around with photos, etc. It’s a bit like an iPod Touch, only with a MUCH bigger screen!!!! I don’t use the Touch function that much at the moment, but I love it all the same!!!! It reminded me of how amazing this world of ours us, and how far we’ve come even in my lifetime. I vividly recall getting a ZX81 computer one Christmas (I think it was probably 1982 or 1983). It was my first computer. It had a whole 1 KB of memory — less than the memory used in even a simple email these days!!!! You couldn’t actually do very much with it, but it was still a fabulous present, because virtually nobody back then had any sort of a computer at all. Having had no exposure to computers before, I sat down, plugged it into the TV, and wrote out a long message, telling it that I wanted to play a game, and how I wanted it to set up that game — i.e. something like, “Hi, computer, I want to play a space invaders game. Please have lots of aliense moving across the tip of the screen, and set me up with a gun at the bottom so that i can shoot them.”

Heh heh — that still makes me laugh, more than a quarter of a century later!!! Yet today, something like that could probably work — hell, you wouldn’t even need to type it in, you could just use voice recognition technology!! With the ZX81 you could run only the most basic of programmes, and it took ages to type in all of the instructions. Now you can put your fingers on a computer screen, move them apart and have a photo expand beneath your touch. It truly is an era of wonders, and I’m delighted to be part of it.

Away from editing and setting up the new PC, I’ve been enjoying the cold spell of weather which Ireland is currently experiencing, our worst cold snap since the very early 1980s. Being able to work from home, it hasn’t inconvenienced me much, so I’ve been able to relish the new unfamiliar world of white outside my windows. I’ve gone for a walk most days, and it’s fascinating to see all the landmarks in a new light. Goldie has joined Bas and me every day, and he seems to be enjoying it too — except for when I toss a stone across a frozen pool of water for him, and he goes slipping and sliding across the ice in pursuit of it!!! I always wonder what animals makes of snow and ice when they’re not used to it — does it confuse them, or are they genetically designed not to be bothered by it???


  1. Sarah McGovern said,

    The snow isn’t confusing my cat (Marshmellow), but he isn’t too happy about it and is only making trips outside when he needs to. The rest of the time he’s huddled close to the nearest radiator, I get the impression that he’s not a big fan of cold weather lol ^_^

  2. Miley said,

    My puppy, Truffles, loves snow! She goes outside and literally leaps through it. She also likes to eats it. It gives my daughter and I a good laugh! I also got the new smarttouch. I mostly use it for presentations for my students, power points and all. See ya!

  3. Paul Carroll said,

    Even Nielsen doesn’t have the title of the first book. This is a very well kept secret. (Don’t worry, I wouldn’t have announced it even if I’d been able to find out what it was…with my single book searching tool that not everyone in the public has access to).

    I can’t wait for those books! ^_^

  4. James said,

    Hope you enjoy your new computer Darren!! Sounds very cool!!!

  5. Rhea said,

    When will the Mr. Crepsley be published in the United States?

  6. Mikaela said,

    yeah, when will Mr. Crepsley and the other be published?

  7. Robbie said,

    I am interested by those book details and look forward to the future or past exploits of the orange haired vampire. Please keep up what I view as good work by writing more soon please!

  8. jax lees said,


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