Darren Shan's real name is Darren O'Shaughnessy. Although he is Irish, he was born on July 2, 1972, in St. Thomas' Hospital, London - directly across the river from the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Darren went to primary school in Askeaton, where his mother was a teacher, then to secondary school in Copsewood College in Pallaskenry. Later, he went back to London to study Sociology and English at Roehampton University.
Darren was 17 when he finished his first novel. Although it was never published, he relished the writing experience, and found himself focusing more on novels in the coming years, leaving behind the short-story format. For the next several years, sandwiched between university and work, he wrote an average of one book a year, experimenting with different ideas, genres, lengths and styles. When he started writing full-time, at the age of 23, his output shot up to 5 to 6 books per year.
All of these early books were adult-oriented. Although Darren quite liked the idea of writing a children's book one day, he considered himself an adult writer first and foremost. In fact his initial breakthrough was with an adult book, in February 1999, called "Ayuamarca" (later republished as "Procession of the Dead"), the first of a trilogy of books known as "The City". That was followed by "Hell's Horizon" in February 2000. Then, several years later, when the first two were re-edited and re-released, he published the third book, "City of the Snakes".
In January 2000 Darren's first children's book, "Cirque du Freak", which he'd written as a fun side-project, was published. The first book in a series titled "The Saga of Darren Shan" (or "Cirque du Freak" as it's known in America), it attracted rave reviews and an ever-growing army of fans hungry to learn more about vampires which were quite unlike any that anyone had ever seen before.
Darren loved writing for children so much that for the next several years he focused almost exclusively on his books for younger readers. First, he wrote a total of twelve books about vampires. He quickly followed up his vampiric saga with "The Demonata," a series about demons. He also wrote a one-off short book, called "Koyasan", for World Book Day in the UK in 2006.
In addition to writing for children, Darren has now returned to his first love and is once again writing for adults as well. He has had three adult books ("The City Trilogy") published to date, with a new, one-off thriller with supernatural tones scheduled for release in the UK in 2012, called "Lady of the Shades."
The movie rights to Cirque Du Freak were bought by Universal, and a movie (which combines elements from the first three books in the series) was released on October 23rd, 2009, starring newcomer Chris Massoglia as Darren Shan, along with a wide array of established stars such as Josh Hutcherson, John C Reilly, Salma Hayek, Willem Defoe and Ken Watanabe. The movie was called "Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant". It did not do well at the box office and there are no current plans to release any sequels.
The Saga of Darren Shan: Book 1 written by Darren Shan
Darren Shan seems like your average boy--he likes playing football with his mates, passing notes in class and loves spiders. Then, one day, his best mate Steve gets tickets [...]
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