Mark Twain was born Samuel L. Clemens in Florida, Missouri on November 30, 1835. He worked as a printer for a time, and then became a steamboat pilot. He traveled in the West, writing humorous sketches for newspapers. In 1865, he wrote the short story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, which was very well received. He then began a career as a humorous travel writer and lecturer, publishing The Innocents Abroad in 1869, Roughing It in 1872, and, co-authored with Charles Dudley Warner, Gilded Age in 1873. His best-known works are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876), Mississippi Writing: Life on the Mississippi (1883), and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1884). He died of a heart attack on April 21, 1910.
Darren Shan was born in 1972 in London. At the age of 6 he moved with his parents and younger brother, to Limerick, Ireland, where he has lived ever since. Darren saw first literary success at age 15, as a runner-up in a television script-writing competition with a dark comedy titled A Day in the Morgue. He was 17 when he finished his first novel. Although it was never published, he found himself focusing more on novels than on short stories. In January 2000, Darren's first children's book, Cirque du Freak was published. The first book in a series titled The Saga of Darren Shan, or Cirque du Freak, as it's known in America, received rave reviews. His books have been children's bestsellers in America, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and other countries. In addition to his children's books he writes for adults as well and has had several adult books published including Procession of the Dead, Hell's Horizon, and City of the Snakes. Darren Shan spends most of his time in Limerick, Ireland.