Thursday 1 July 2021

Darren Shan's Back! RUN!

Pinch, punch, first day of the month! And maybe we should all run for cover as look who's snuck back! Darren Shan, international best selling author of the Cirque Du Freak series, the Demonata Series and the Archibald Lox is back with Archibald Lox: Volume 2!

Now, quick backstory. Volume One of Archibald Lox was published as three separate ebooks back in April 2020 as some relief due to the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. These are (hang on, long title time): Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds, Archibald Lox and the Empress of Suanpan and Archibald Lox and the Vote of Alignment. These were put in a bind-up so you can read in one gulp (or, if you are curious to dip toe into this weird world-jumping fantasy, Archibald Lox and the Bridge Between Worlds is, I think, free!)

Now, Volume 2 will contain three new instalments which will be published individually then put together in one bindup. eBook 4 aka Archibald Lox and the Forgotten Crypt is out TODAY (!!!), ebook 5 aka Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell (possibly my fave title in this series) will be out on 3rd August 2021 and the sixth ebook aka Archibald Lox and the Rubicon Dictate is out 1st September 2021. 

So, this is gonna be a typical guest author post, I hear you ask. No, dear reader, it's not. It's a little different. Darren did an open call to his fans via his website and socials late May/early June for questions that he will answer on here. As you can imagine, I am excited and terrified to see what you all asked him and how he answered (I haven't read them at the time of writing this!). This is gonna be a deliciously dark mess, isn't it?

Before I hand you over to the Q&A, I just wanna thank Catherine from Catherine Ward PR for emailing and going "I have an idea you might like" and for Darren for being so up for this! And to you, the fans of Cirque du Freak, Demonata, Zom-B and Darren's other works, for going "Answer Me This, Darren!". And if you wanna check Darren out on social, you can find him on or pop him a hello on either his Twitter (@darrenshan) or his Facebook ( 

Ok, we're going in. Deep breaths everyone!!!

Your questions answered! Bestselling author, Darren Shan, answers fans’ questions on his new series, Archibald Lox, and many of his other books. 

Damon DrewellThe creative process has always fascinated me when it comes to your books, the diversity and creativity behind the characters is amazing with every series and novel, so I’ve got to know, what was your inspiration behind Archibald Lox? And Lily Luchesi asked, along similar lines: What was your inspiration for using locks as such an important plot device in the Archibald Lox books?

It all began when I saw a young lady walking across a bridge in London, pulling faces. I wondered why she was doing that, and something in my head immediately answered that she was opening a gateway to another world. I started running with a story straightaway, and started thinking about sending a human boy after her, to explore that world of wonders. (Even though right then I had no idea exactly what that world would be like.) But she had to shut the door behind her, because I knew she was being chased by a pair of killers. How would he reopen it once the killers had left the scene? It couldn’t be as simple as just turning a door handle, or the two killers would have been able to do that. No, there would have to be a solid reason why a boy from our world could open a door to another. What if… what if he was a locksmith? And I was off!

Andy BellI'm interested in what inspires you; you've used locations such as mountains, central cities, boats and open plains... are these locations you are historically fond of? Been to? Or want to visit?

It’s a mix. Sometimes I create locations of my own — the settings in Cirque Du Freak and The Demonata are often not based on actual places, but are mishmash creations of my imagination. (Which is why there are no definitive answers to the geographical questions I often get asked, such as “Where did Mr Crepsley live as a child?” or “Where in the world in Vampire Mountain?”) But other times I feature real settings, such as London in my Zom-B books, and London, New York and Moscow in my Archibald Lox series. Usually, if I mention a real place, it’s somewhere that I’ve been. I’ve been very lucky to travel all around the world, and I like to use locations that I’m familiar with. Having said that, I wrote a monster book for adults under my Darren Dash pseudonym, called Sunburn, and I set it in Bulgaria — I’ve never been to Bulgaria, but I thought it would be an interesting challenge to see if I could do all my research on the internet. I’ve heard from a few Bulgarian fans who read the book and were impressed with the realistic way I portrayed their home country — they couldn’t believe I’d never visited!

Alysha RogersIs there a definitive date when all 3 books of Volume 2 will be put into one volume, like the previous 3 were?

I haven’t settled on a firm date just yet, but I anticipate it being some time in the spring of 2022, or earlier, between the release of the Volume 2 books and the Volume 3 books. There will be hardback and paperback editions of the omnibus, as with the first Volume.

Roy ReuterI would be interested in hearing more about the thought process in deciding on release dates, I'm mainly curious to find out why the hardcover collection of 4-6 is not coming out till next year, when it seems like it would make more sense to release it closer to the holidays?

It’s a tricky one. There are all sorts of factors you have to take into account when deciding on book release dates. It’s standard practice, when you bunch a few books together into an omnibus edition, to wait at least several months after the release of the original titles before making it available. Mainly that’s out of respect to the fans who buy the shorter books. Omnibus editions tend to cost a good bit less, and it’s not fair to bring them out too hot on the heels of the initial titles. If I’d released the three books of volume 2 in the spring, as I was originally hoping to do, I would have brought out the omnibus in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas. But with book 6 going on sale in September, it might anger some fans who’ve bought the individual books if I release the omnibus just two months later. Having said that, I’ve had several requests from fans who bought the first omnibus and who are waiting to buy the second to continue reading, asking if I might bring it out earlier than planned. At the moment I’m still mulling it over. I’ll make a definitive call early in the autumn, once I’m done releasing and promoting books 4 to 6.

Stephen GraingerHave you decided to expand the Archibald Lox universe beyond the 3 volumes (9 smaller books) and do a volume 4? Do you have any book spin offs planned in the future?

No, I’ll be stopping at book 9. I didn’t know when I started writing how long the series would be. My guess was somewhere between three and five volumes, and it ended up naturally wrapping up Archie’s story in three, so that’s where I’ll be saying goodbye to all the gang in the Merge. Part of me is annoyed that I couldn’t twist it into four volumes, because each collected volume edition features the title of a royal. Volume 1 is called The Missing Princess, while there will be a King and a Prince included in the next two volumes. (I’m not revealing those titles just yet, as I want them to be a surprise for now.) That means I’m missing a Queen, and the OCD in me would have liked four volumes, purely in order to be able to have a King, Queen, Prince and Princess in the titles on my shelves! But the story insisted on being no longer or shorter than three volumes, so that’s what we’ll have to live with. The story, for me, always, is king… or rather, in this case, Queen!

Jess DaviesDo your books feature any characters that represent your children? Or are like your cute kiddos? And do you have any plans to come back to the States, specifically South Carolina? 

There are actually a pair of characters in the volume 2 Archibald Lox books named after my son and daughter — Dante and Gaia. They’re not based directly on my kids – I only used their names – which is just as well, as Queen Gaia in the books is something of a cunning villain!

As for touring… I’d taken a break from touring before the lockdowns started, partly because I’d been doing it for more than a decade and a half and fancied a break, partly because I wanted to spend more time with my kids, and partly because since the Archibald Lox books are self-published, it means I don’t have a traditional publisher to organise long, complicated, expensive tours. I’m missing the touring now, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back out there at some point over the next few years, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Henry ClaisseWho do you prefer out of Mr Crepsley and Dervish?

That’s a tough one to call! Mr Crepsley is my favourite character out of all of my books, the one who fascinated me the most, and who I learnt the most about through the telling of his stories, first in the Darren Shan series, then when I wrote the prequel books about his life before he met Darren. But I loved Dervish too. There was a strong streak of me in Dervish, and he was also inspirational to me — I like to think that I can grow old while keeping an anarchic twinkle in my eye, the way Dervish did. For me he was proof that you don’t have to be too boring when you grow up and become a middle-aged adult. So, in short, I’m going to declare it a tie!

Kammie DarnoldIs there any update on the Cirque Du Freak tv show development?

I’d hoped to be able to share some updates by this stage (having quietly announced last year that there were rumblings on that front) but things are going slowly, in part because of the pandemic, so we’re going to have to wait a while longer. But hopefully at some point this year I’ll be making an announcement, though I must stress before anyone gets too excited that things are still at a very early stage, so it’s probably not going to be an announcement along the lines of, “Hey! Guess what? We’re sold the rights to a big production company and they start filming next week!” It’ll more likely be like, “Hey! Guess what? There’s a team working on scripts and we’re hoping to start pitching real soon.” But then again, things could suddenly speed up unexpectedly, or come off the rails completely, so… watch this space!

Jenna CravenWould you ever consider doing a werewolf book series?

Well, I already did — The Demonata! It’s easy to forget, given the swarms of demons that we encountered in that series, that book one, Lord Loss, revolved around the narrator discovering the identity of a werewolf, and that lycanthropic strain continued throughout the series, especially in books 5, 6 and 8. I know it wasn’t a traditional werewolf series, but hey, why go the traditional route when you can mash werewolves up with demons?!?

Justin BrunoAre you planning a spinoff of The Demonata? I would love a Cornelius Fleck series, I loved him so so much.

While I always tell fans to never say never when it comes to spin-offs, they’re not something that overly interest me as an author. For the most part I view them as either cash-ins, or the work of writers who are happy to keep paddling in familiar waters and prefer not to swim further out into the unknown depths. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not for me. I relish the challenge of new frontiers and telling stories that I haven’t yet told. Also, I think The Demonata is perhaps my most structurally perfect series. I look back at it, all these years later, with a certain amount of astonishment, because I can’t quite recall how I wove all those different plot lines and story ideas together — it’s almost like the work of someone else! I did everything I wanted to do with demons in that series, and I think it’s highly unlikely that I would ever return to that universe again. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

John Von MulligenVampires, Demons, Zombies... what's next? Aliens? Ghosts? Cryptids? Holy cow, you writing a series about Cryptids would be INSANE! Also, Are there any stand alone books in the pipeline, either under Shan or Dash?

I must admit — I had to look up what “cryptids” meant! I’ve actually already written about a yeti-type creature in Sunburn, one of my Darren Dash books for adults. On the YA front, I’m not looking much further ahead than Archibald Lox at the moment, and I’m fully focused on wrapping up work on that and releasing the last three books next year. It might be that I never do a long series again — each time I’ve done one, I’ve thought that might be it for me, as they take a huge amount of time and effort. Very few writers ever work on that sort of a scale, and if they do, they normally only do it once. I’ve already done it four times! (The Saga of Darren Shan, The Demonata, Zom-B and Archibald Lox.) In fact five, if you count the four-book Saga of Larten Crepsley series! (Although personally I see that as an extension of my first vampire series, and think of them as one super-sized work.)

I do have ideas for a few stand alone Darren Shan books knocking around in my head, and there will definitely be more Darren Dash one-offs for grown-ups — I would have released one this year, but self-publishing the Archie books has taken up an awful lot of my time. We’ll see where the muse leads me once I come to the end of the line with Archie

Stuart MainWhat book by any author do you wish you'd written?

I don’t really wish I’d written any other author’s book. Writing is all about telling your own stories. I’ve been inspired by loads of different books, and there are plenty that I look at with envy, but there’s no book by someone else that I wish I could have penned.

The Archibald Lox Volume 2 books will be released simultaneously in paperback and e-book formats as follows: 

Book 4: Archibald Lox and the Forgotten Crypt

1st July 2021

Book 5: Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell

3rd August 2021

Book 6: Archibald Lox and the Rubicon Dictate

1st September 2021 

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