In this week's 'The Bookseller' there's an interview with the children's writer Darren Shan who is now producing adult fiction as well. I was interested to hear that when he wrote Cirque du Freak, his agent Christopher Little couldn't sell it initially, because publishers 'thought it was too dark'. Sound familiar? Getting publishers to take a punt on something unusual when all the time they claim to be looking for something new is and always has been a challenge. Mr Shan is very determined, and very clear on how his audience will react - he knows kids can take any amount of guts and gore (I haven't read any but there were lots of references to demonic mutilation and extracted entrails in the article).
But the scariest thing of all? Not decapitation, not dismemberment - no, it's Mr Shan's terrifying workrate. As Mistress of Procrastination, my blood ran cold. Truly. Listen to this:
'Shan works a few years in advance, so is currently up to 2012 in terms of his children's books and 2010 for his adult titles.' He says, 'The trouble I've always had is getting the publisher to release the books quickly enough.' 'He spends around two years writing each book and has four titles on the go at once, doing eight drafts of each book.'
Be afraid. Be very afraid.