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Last Updated: Thursday June 01 2006 16:23 GMT

Darren Shan talks blood and books

Scary writer Darren Shan
Horror writer Darren Shan met lots of kids at the Hay Fever book festival in Wales.

He's the writer of the Darren Shan vampire saga and the Demonata series.

He chatted to Newsround Online's Clare Youell.

Tell us about your new book, Slawter.

Slawter is narrated by Grubbs Grady, who was in Lord Loss, the first book in my Demonata series. There's actually three narrators in Demonata, and there's going to be 10 books in total. The great thing about having three narrators is that not all of them have to make it to the end of the series. They might all be alive in the end, but that uncertainty is there. So Grubbs might be back - or he might not!

What does book three add to the whole Demonata series?

It moves on the character of Grubbs, it's set just after Lord Loss. We see what's happening in his life. And it explores some of the magical themes that run through the series. We see Grubbs' magical powers expanding.

Is Slawter as shocking as Lord Loss? (Lord Loss starts off with a shocking, gruesome event).

Lord Loss started with a bang! One reason I did that was because it was fun. But the other reason is that my books normally have two themes. One is the overall story and the other is the underlying issues - I often use fantasy to explore real-life issues. So what Lord Loss is really about is recovering from the loss of people close to you.

So even though my books are about things like vampires and circus freaks, there's never really been a backlash from teachers, librarians or parents, because the morals always come through.

Slawter does have its shocking scenes, but out of the 10 books in Demonata, Slawter is the most light-hearted. There are scenes of carnage but they are dark humour, not really, really shocking.

What do you get out of coming to book festivals?

I get a buzz! I write my stories to be read. If it isn't read then it doesn't really have a point I think. For me the best part of these events is to see kids really excited about these stories that I've made up.

Do you prefer the Darren Shan saga or Demonata?

I don't have a favourite. The saga was a more personal series. It was one character through the 12 books. I don't think readers of Demonata will feel quite as attached to the characters as they did to Darren, Mr Crepsley or Vancha. But this series is subtler, it jumps forwards and backwards in time, it raises the horror stakes. They've both been very, very different with very different challenges.

What's next for you?

The Demonata books will come out every June and every October, and there's 10 books. So I know what I'm doing up until October 2009! I've actually written the first draft of book nine.

There are some other projects I'm thinking about too. There's a standalone book which I can't say too much about. And I may well do a trilogy of books about Mr Crepsley - about his life up until he met Darren Shan. But that may not be until after Demonata.

I don't like to rest on my laurels!

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