March 8, 2010 at 16:28 (1)

Bas and I flew over to Newquay on Friday, then drove down to St Ives, in order to go to a wedding on Saturday in a remote but lovely little spot called Prussia Cove. It was my first time in St Ives. It’s a sweet place. We visited the Tate Gallery while there, which was hosting an interesting exhibition by an artist called Dexter Dalwood – I wasn’t sure I liked him at first, but his work grew on me more as I wandered round. Then we went to see the Barbara Hepworth sculpture garden, which was very impressive — a small space, but beautiful works carefully arranged. After that (and a Cornish pasty, of course!!) we went to the wedding, which was also lovely and sweet. Sarah and Hugo (the happy couple) had put their own unique stamp on things, such as displaying hundreds of bunches of spring flowers in jam jars and tin cans!! Many weddings feel artificial and forced, people slotting in with what they think is expected of them, but this one showed what can be done with a bit of imagination and thought.

Back to London on Sunday. I spent most of the night signing copies of City of the Snakes for family and friends and packing and addressing them. This morning I filmed some pieces for HarperCollins, including an interview and me reading an extract of The Thin Executioner. (I’ll let you know more about them when they go online.) Then we went to see Alice in Wonderland at the IMAX. Meh!! I’ve got to say, I’m not an Alice fan. I’ve never seen the attraction of the original books — sure, they’re weird and wacky, but they never appealed to me as stories or set my imagination firing. I’m well aware that I’m in the minority on that one, but to me the books are a prime example of The Emperor’s New Clothes — because they’re enshrined as precious, majestic children’s books, you’re not supposed to say anything bad about them, and people tut if you do. But I don’t care about that!!! A person’s opinion means nothing if it’s not from the heart. This is a world where we’re free to enjoy or dislike whatever we like. We shouldn’t let the mood of the majority sway us. I’m sure everyone has a particular “classic” book or movie which they secretly despise and don’t see any worth in. Well, I don’t think it should be a secret — there’s nothing wrong with saying you don’t like a particular books, movie or anything else, regardless of what everyone else might say. Your opinion is your own — if you don’t cherish and value it, you’ll simply become a mouthpiece for other people’s thoughts. I never liked Alice, and while this new version came at it from an interesting angle, and looked fabulous, the direness of the orginal story dragged it down and sank it. I wish the Queen of Hearts HAD chopped off Alice’s head!!!!!

In between the filming and film, I went through several issues of The Bookseller which had been delivered for me while I’d been away. In one, I found a list of the 50 bestselling authors in the UK in 2009, and was surprised and delighted to spot that I was on it!!! I was at number 48, which might not seem particularly high, but lists like these are nigh on impossible to get onto — it’s a list of EVERY bestselling author, so you’re not just competing with other children’s authors, but with writers of adult fiction, biographies, cookbooks, etc. I think it’s the first time I’ve made the top 50 list in the UK (I was at #60 in 2008) so I was tickled pink!!! The future is bright — the future is bloody!!!!!

I head off to Dubai in the morning. I’m all packed (pretty much) and have plenty of extracts to read out, including one from The Thin Executioner which I will be reading out live for the first time anywhere. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of new fans in Dubai, before jetting on to Hong Kong to hopefully meet some old friends in among the crowds of newcomers. All are equally welcome in my eyes, so if you live in Dubai or Hong Kong, make sure you check out my touring info in the Shanville Monthly and I’ll see you SOON!!!!


  1. Sophie Z. said,

    I was never a fan of alice either…. the story is just a little… boring, is it? Heh heh, my uncle actually fell asleep in the middle of it-but then again he falls asleep during every movie… well, the wedding sounded nice and congratulations on your place in the bestselling authors list, you deserved it! Have fun on your tour, and I envy the people who will be there!

    • BSC said,

      I congratulate you on your success on the list. I also agree with your views on ‘Alice in Wonderland’, it feels that there are only so many times you can watch new remakes of a classic.

  2. Sophh said,

    Congrats on making the bestselling chart.
    I was in Truro on Friday, in order to go to your signing, after having travelled 8 hours from Stoke, but it didn’t happen =/ but mehh, I suppose if you’d got commitments then there wasn’t a lot that could be done.
    Good luck with the tour, I hope you enjoy it.

    • Darren Shan said,

      Sorry!! I did note in last month’s Shanville Monthly that the mini March tour had been cancelled. I always advise fans to check the latest issue of the SM for tour updates, because the scheudle can change closer to the time (or even be cancelled entirely, as it was in this case — although that’s extremely rare!!). Keep an eye out for me on my May tour…

  3. Bee F said,

    haha i love the fact that youre taking a shot at the alice books and the new film,especially considering how poor your cirque du freak film is,and the books its based on! some accounting for taste there, i guess! perhaps if you concentrated less on blogs and faux-horror kids books, and more on things like the city trilogy, we’de have a more even playing field to compare you and carroll on.

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