Author Chat with Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant), Plus Giveaway!
Global bestselling middle grade series SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT returns to the US this May!
Today we're excited to chat with Derek Landy, author of Skulduggery Pleasant. Read on for more about Derek and his book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Derek Landy!
Derek Landy lives near Dublin. Before writing his children's story about a sharply-dressed skeleton detective, he wrote the screenplays for a zombie movie and a murderous horror film. "I think my career-guidance teacher is spinning in her grave," he says, "or she would be if she were dead."
She’s twelve. He’s dead. But together they’re going to save the world. Hopefully.
The iconic first book in the bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series.
Stephanie's uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror it certainly wasn't fiction. Pursued by evil forces, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source – the wisecracking skeleton of a dead sorcerer…
A Chat with Derek Landy:
Who is your favourite character in the book?
The title character is obviously Skulduggery, and he’s a lot of fun to write about. But actually my favourite character is Valkyrie. In the first book she’s 12, in the 9th book she’s 18, so we see her grow up and face down a multitude of challengers along the way. The best thing about her is that she’s not perfect. She’s good and decent and brave, but she’s also arrogant and selfish and sometimes mean. We’ve all got our good sides and our bad sides — but Valkyrie’s bad side is something to behold.
What came first, the title or the novel?
The title. I wasn’t even planning on writing a book when the idea came to me — I was still in screenwriting mode. But the name popped into my head, and it told me immediately who and what Skulduggery was — a skeleton detective in a great suit. The rest was easy...!
What scene in the book are you most proud of and why?
One of my favourite scenes in the first book is just after Skulduggery reveals himself to be a skeleton, and Valkyrie (or Stephanie as she is back then) asks him what is it like to be dead. This conversation they have is the first bit of writing I ever did for Skulduggery Pleasant, about five minutes after I’d had the original idea. It survived intact all the way through from my battered old notebook to the finished novel.
What part of the writing process do you enjoy more: drafting or revising?
I don’t do an awful lot of revising anymore. In the early days, I used to do it all the time. I’d send my editor the latest draft, and by the time I got his notes back a week later I’d already changed everything in the book. It was quite hilarious. For me. Not for my editor. But the more you write, the better a sense for story you develop, and you start to recognize the bits that are needed in the book and the bits that you’re just going to end up cutting out anyway. So you stop writing those parts. There will come a time when all that will flip round again, and I’ll spend ages revising — but it all depends on the story. I know the Skulduggery books so well by this stage that the writing of them is an absolute blast from start to finish.
What do you like most about the cover of the book?
We have completely different covers back in Ireland and the UK, and I’m so used to seeing the books with that particular style. The American covers, though, are startling. I love the silhouettes. I love how minimal it all is. I want them all, on a shelf, now.
What would you say is your superpower?
It’s a terrible superpower, but I have the ability not to be embarrassed by the things I love. I’ve loved comics since I was a kid, I’ve loved movies and books and now, because of that love, I’m actually able to write my own comics, movies and books. People who are ashamed of their
geek love will never get that chance, because they’re too busy hiding who they really are.
Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned from then to now?
I’ve learned about the importance of having fun. It sounds like an awful bit of advice to any budding writers out there. “Ooh, have fun, he says. Well, that’s helpful.” But actually, having fun is the secret. You’ve got to forget what everyone else is reading, you’ve got to stop trying to figure out what they want to read, and you’ve got to figure out what you want to write. When I started writing Skulduggery Pleasant, I packed in every good idea I’d ever had. I filled it with characters I loved writing about, I made them funny, made them scary, made them leap off the page...Fun is contagious. If a writer has fun writing, a reader will have fun reading.
What’s up next for you?
More Skulduggery Pleasant. This series has always been the one where I let my ambitions soar and then race along behind, trying to catch up. It’s all one big long story, and it’s not over yet.
By: Derek Landy
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Omg this sounds so amazing! I've seen and heard about the Skullduggery Pleasant series for ages but haven't really looked into it too much until I read this interview and I fell in love not only with the cover and synopsis but Derek Landy- his personality, writing style I gleaned from the interview, and the world he's created and described that I now can't wait to explore! Thanks so much for introducing me to this series YABC!
I like the colors and design of the book cover. Stephanie sounds like a great character. This premise sounds really interesting and cool.