I’m a bit wishy washy and never know whether to think for myself or to say what others might approve of. But I did like Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant. I don’t know if it’s true that he’s been paid a seven figure sum for this book and the next two, and it seemed rude to press him on this when we met yesterday. Derek has Spielberg and Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio phoning, and he reckons he never needs to go back to the family farm to work again. This is enough to make most of us pretty envious.
I assume HarperCollins know what they’re doing and that they’ll get their money back from sales. Skulduggery Pleasant is already no.1 in Ireland, though as Eoin Colfer pointed out it doesn’t take that much to top the Irish bestseller list, being a small country.
The comparison with Eoin and his Artemis Fowl stories is easy to make. Both are Irish, both are funny, both are fantasy and crime. Though as Derek said, Skulduggery is mostly crime, apart from the small fact that his detective is dead. Skulduggery and his twelve-year-old sidekick Stephanie chase evil forces through Dublin, with plenty of action. It’s a little bit Harry Potter, but not much. What makes the book worth reading is the humour in the dialogue. Action is action to some extent, but I found the relationship between Stephanie and Skulduggery a nice one, and I look forward to meeting them again.
Although Derek admits to only getting out of bed at noon; once he has walked the dog and played video games, he writes for ten hours until early morning. And he enjoys it.
So far Derek appears to have kept a couple of feet on the ground. He also looks very normal and ordinary, so it seems as if new stars in the publishing world don’t absolutely have to be young and beautiful, or super confident public performers. Derek stammers, but this doesn’t get in the way much. He comes across well in his meeting with the group of thirty young book reviewers at Simply Books, and he does a nice line in faces to order when signing books.
In his new celebrity life Derek has been interviewed by a turkey puppet on Irish television. Maybe this stops him from missing the cauliflower and celery on the farm.