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Darren Shan – Writers’ Spotlight

by Conor O'Brien
Darren Shan

SPOTLIGHT: DARREN SHAN (Saga of DARREN SHAN, DEMONATA, ZOM-B…)

I would like to preface this edition of Writers’ Spotlight with a few points. Firstly, unlike the other posts, this edition focuses on an author rather than a Screenwriter. This is because Darren Shan is one of my all-time favourite writers. I first discovered his books in 2008.

Furthermore, I became an even bigger fan of Darren’s later. This was when I discovered interesting parallels in our personal lives:

  1. We were both born in London during the month of July although in different years,
  2. Possess strong Irish heritage; Darren’s real surname is O’Shaughnessy and mine is O’Brien.
  3. Immigrated to the Green Isle around the same age — 6 and 7, respectively. Interestingly, Darren moved to Limerick, the ancestral home of my family.
  4. Both the oldest of two boys who has the same first initial as each of us
  5. Interest in writing, across different formats

Darren’s Career

Over the course of his prolific career, Darren’s imagination has created many different fantastical scenes. His characters allow readers to imagine or interpret them in their own way. Vivid imagery and first-person narrative, in particular, helped The Saga and The Demonata, in particular, come to life.

Darren’s audience for these books was a YA (Young Adult) audience. However, the writing is still as smart and sophisticated as ‘adult’ books of the same genre. He does, in fact, write books for maturer readers under the name Darren Dash.

My journey into the “Shandom” as Darren’s fanbase are known on Twitter, is intrinsically linked with two characters. The title character who is named for Darren’s pseudonym and his unlikely mentor, the centuries-old vampire Larten Crepsley. The strength and realism of these characters are what strapped me in. As matter of fact, it has been an 11-year journey and counting. In the Saga alone, supporting characters such as Steve, Harkat, Vancha, Mr. Tall and Desmond Tiny also helped shape the world of these novels.

Characters

The relationship between Darren and Larten is one of, if not the outright strongest throughout the series. Their evolution from wary acquaintances to a true father-son bond is a genuinely beautiful development to see. Since the books were written in first-person, from Darren’s perspective, we saw his side primarily, Larten was later fleshed out in a prequel series – The Saga of Larten Crepsley, which was published between 2010 and 2012, comprising four books.

As alluded to earlier, the Saga is one of the reasons why I became interested in writing fiction. The idea that one person could write all these different, interesting characters was fascinating to me. I started writing myself in 2009 – one year after reading the Saga for the first time. Coincidence? I think not!

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