Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Australian Tour Video

Where's my camera? Where's my camera?

I'm finally ready to show you the photos from the Down Under tour and now I can't find my camera.

Hold on, a cat has just wandered in. It's Pooper. I haven't seen Groomer for over 24 hours. I very much fear I locked her in the garage. I'll check that out later. Where was I?

Yes, I can't find my camera. I'm going to look for my camera. In the meantime, here is the Tour Wrap video those nice Australian people made.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Oh Dear God... MORE Questions??

Greetings, minions. It is I. You may weep with joy or cry in fear, the choice is yours.

I take it, by the way, that you approve of Mr Tom Percival’s back cover? Is it not creepy? Is the character not intimidating? Is it not utterly, utterly fantastic? Tom contributes so much to the Skulduggery Pleasant look, and his work is hugely important to the series as a whole and how it’s presented to you, my minions.

Would the books be as good without Tom? Oh sure, they’d still be brilliantly written by a wonderful, yet wrathful, golden god, but the covers are a mind-blowingly vital part of the book. I think, in the hands of a lesser artist, some of you might not have been intrigued enough to pick up that first copy... Who, out there, picked up Skulduggery for the first time simply because of the sheer Derekosity (that’s my new word for awesome things) of the cover? You see? My minions have TASTE.

My minions also have many opinions as to who that mysterious character IS. A few of you are completely right, a few of you are completely wrong, and a few of you are completely weird.

Bliss is DEAD! He’s DEAD and he’s not coming back! Accept it and move on!!

Oh, and if you were expecting me to TELL you who he is, allow me a moment to laugh at you.


Okay, moment over. All your questions will be answered when Mortal Coil (man, I love that title. It’s Derektastic!) is released in September.

Do you know what else my minions have, aside from great taste and opinions?  They have questions. They have lots and lots and lots of questions. Oh yes. It seems that whenever I spend a Blog entry answering questions, I get approximately three hundred MORE questions in the comments section, and so I am forced to answer THEM in the NEXT Blog entry, and thus risk incurring even MORE questions. You see what a vicious cycle we’ve locked ourselves into?

Sigh. Let’s see, what have you been yapping about...?

Corporal Wolf asked if people can reference Skulduggery in their own stories. This is absolutely fine, so long as those stories aren’t then put on sale- for instance, referencing, or even using, Skulduggery characters in fanfiction is fine, but this is not the case if you write a book or a short story you want to get published. My advice, however, is to do whatever you want, and then if you’re lucky enough to have one of your stories printed/published/sold, you can go back in and change Skulduggery’s name to something else, so you won’t infringe on copyright.

On that subject, ThreeBooksInTheFire asked if I read fanfiction, but unfortunately I have a policy where I just don’t. However, when I’m finished the books I plan to spend a few days going through some of it, just so I can go “oooh look, they guessed what was coming...!” or “oooooh, look, they were WAY off...!”

Lenka... I’ve decided I don’t much like your teacher.

Alexia wants to know what I drive- I drive an Audi A5. (black, of course) and a 1966 Ford Mustang (white).

Oh, and I chose the name Sanguine because a derivative of the word used to mean “bloodthirsty”...! Plus, the word itself sounds lazy, doesn’t it? It sounds a like a lazy, arrogant drawl, and that suits Billy-Ray PERFECTLY.

Lady Kandraker- apparently I’m heading up to Belfast in September as part of my Irish tour- I better see you there, or your golden god WILL be angry.

I’m not even going to give my OPINION on the Skulduggery/Valkyrie pairing. Basically, whatever happens in the books, happens. And whatever doesn’t, doesn’t. Yes, I am going to make you all suffer with curiosity.

Oh, and Tim Burton is a wonderful director, even if Alice in Wonderland was a dreadful film. I just wish he’d stop adapting and remaking stuff, and do something ORIGINAL again.

Minnie Miracle- most of your questions will be answered in the books themselves, and as for the ones that aren’t answered, well... they were never meant to be answered...!

Avotica, details on the winning character in the competition will come out when I’ve finished writing him into my edit of Mortal Coil. I’ve just written two new chapters in which he stars, and he’s turning out to be a LOT of fun to write about.

Avotica also asked what my favourite book would be. Hmmm... okay, I’d have to say Mucho Mojo, by Joe R Lansdale. More recently, it’s been the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie- violent, foul-mouthed fantasy books where everyone wants to kill everyone else. Also, absolutely hysterically witty.

As I said above, I thought Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was terrible. I would have MUCH preferred to see an adaptation of the American McGee version. That game was WEIRD.

As for your other questions, they will be answered in the books, not here. Sorry.

Myazaki films are amazing. Spirited Away is just.. wow...

Owen, you get the same response as Avotica and Minnie Miracle- these questions will be answered in the books!

Ambiguity, I have quite a Concrete Blonde collection around here somewhere... Two of my favourite songs, apart from the cover of Everybody Knows, is The Ghost of A Texas Ladies Man- which is something I keep playing whenever Billy-Ray Sanguine appears- and Bloodletting, which is a song I always imagine playing if ever Dusk and Caelan meet up again...

Irresistibly Evil, Skulduggery uses a .38 Smith and Wesson revolver- and it’s not the snub-nosed version. He doesn’t use a .357 or anything of that power because it would mean he’d never be able to shoot to wound- every shot would cause a limb to fly off...

Jessica, there were so many requests to go to NZ’s South Island, but my schedule didn’t allow it. But hey, you wouldn’t have been there ANYWAY, right? So next time!

Vampirefreak- I don’t know who the oddest person I ever met was. Can’t remember. The people in my family are pretty odd... My favourite animal is a dog, my favourite bad guy is Scapegrace, and my favourite Disney character is Maleficent, from Sleeping Beauty.

Parhelia, I took your advice and visited Genesisnx’s page on Deviant Art- and I found the pictures AMAZING. Thanks for recommending it.

Speaking of Genesisnx, the forum, at is BRILLIANT. Genesisnx, you have no idea how thrilled my publishers are that you went ahead and did this. Finally, you all have a chance to discuss the things you want to talk about- well done! (By the way, you’re exactly right- being a vampire is an affliction, not a power. There ARE sorcerers who have been turned into vampires, so THEY keep their magic, but most of the vamps we’ve seen so far started out as mortals, so they have none.)

I’ve also seen Cluainn Fhada’s forum, over at  Also, Cluainn? Your violent disposition makes me grin. I like your style.

Even though I don’t become a member of things (I’m a lone wolf, me), I’ve visited and I’m liking what I’ve seen.

Captain Sparkler- who has a FANASTIC picture at -  asked about how I come up with names for the characters. Some of them- China, Ghastly, Tanith, Bliss and Serpine- came to me within minutes of thinking up Skulduggery. But ever since then, I’ve had to work on it.

Basically, whenever I hear an interesting word or name, I write it down in a notebook. I COLLECT these kinds of things, because I know I’m going to need them sooner or later.

For instance, I needed a taken name for Stephanie, and I didn’t have one. I had spent MONTHS trying to come up with the perfect name- I had already passed the point in the story where she decides on what it is, so I now had a great big blank space where her name should have been. I was getting close to the end of the book, and nothing was working.

So I flicked through the names I had collected, and among them was Valkyrie. And I thought- “oh”. I thought, “oh, this could work- this could be good.” Apart from anything else, Valkyrie sounds a lot like Valerie, so it SOUNDS like a normal name but isn’t. So now all I needed was a second name that fit, and it was then that I heard the phrase “raising Cain”, which meant to make trouble, and suddenly I had my character.

Acacia Volt (wonderful name, by the way) obviously wants Clarabelle and Sharon- Finbar’s wife- to play a bigger part in the books. I love writing Clarabelle, and she’s going to make another appearance or two in Mortal Coil, but as for Sharon- I don’t know... I quite like the fact that she’s always mentioned but never seen...

Ah, and that isn’t snow on the covers, that’s um... Okay, I actually don’t know what that is- ask Tom! As for the highlighted paperbacks, I don’t think we’re going to continue that, unfortunately. It’s really expensive, and now everyone’s doing it, so I think we’re going to stop before it becomes boring.

The audiobook of Dark Days is out now, but we’re fixing up a few mistakes, and so the mistake free version will be out in a few months. Oh, and I’m not going to say what happens to Guild!

Penguin- I’m sure I’ll get around to writing a “Tips on Writing” entry in this accursed Blog, sooner or later. In the meantime, you just focus on following that yellow brick road.

Happy belated birthday, Fiona!

Hollies, if my neighbour’s house went up in flames I would rush to the rescue. Well, eventually. First I’d Blog about it.

Tara- how are the exams going??

Nerdy Skeleton- “It’s your mom”. Genius. Poor comic genius.

Skyril- I doubt we’ll ever find out Skulduggery’s given name. Oh, and my nana says hi back.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More Percival Madness!

Ladies and gentlemen, for your viewing pleasure, for the first time EVER, unveiled on this Blog EXCLUSIVELY...

The back cover for Mortal Coil! Yayyyyyyyyyy!

Who IS this masked man?

Let the guessing COMMENCE!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Good golly... I leave you alone for a few days and WAR breaks out!

First of all, your golden god is pleased that you have managed to sort out your differences. The comments section should be a friendly environment, a community, a place for you all to argue about who loves me more. Let’s face it, that is the only argument worth having, is it not?

Of course, the debate all started with a very simple question- how old is Skulduggery? There’s a bit of misleading information that’s been circulating the internet for a while- namely his year of birth.

When I set up the Skulduggery Bebo page, the Year of Birth counter would only go back to 1906- because for NORMAL people, there’s not much point in having any earlier options available. It wasn’t a box in which you could input whatever year you wanted- you had to tick the years available. Unfortunately, what has happened since then is that various publishers and websites take the 1906 year as the ACTUAL year of his birth, without checking with me first.

But rest assured, Skulduggery is over 400 years old. I’m not going to give any specifics here as to exactly when he was born, or when he died, or how long the war lasted, because those are details to be given out in the actual books themselves.

Speaking of ages, Flaring asked “If Skulduggery was in his sixties when he died- but looked in his thirties... then why is Tanith in her eighties and looks in her twenties?”

The answer is easy- because Tanith is very young-looking for her age...

Naomi made an excellent point, about the magical war coinciding with mortal wars. When mortal wars- such as WW1- broke out, it gave the sorcerers free reign to fight in the open in certain countries. This has always been in the back of my mind, but I don’t know if we’ll be seeing any examples, or hearing any stories, of this in the books themselves.

Now, onto movie questions. We are STILL in script mode, trying to make it better and better, and until we get the script right, there will be no decision taken on whether the movie will go ahead. What you’ve got to keep in mind is that this process could go for another few YEARS- or we could end up with a great script in a few months- or we might NEVER get a script that everyone likes...!

If and when it IS made, however, it WILL be live action- NOT animated. There will, of course, be a huge amount of special effects work, but it will be real actors on a real set. As for how Skulduggery himself will be rendered, I don’t know yet. Neither do I know what actors will be involved, or what director will end up making it. I do have my wishlist, but I’m not sharing it with anyone...

As for any video games, or indeed other cool stuff like toys and T-shirts, that’s all wrapped up in the movie stuff. Basically, if the movie goes ahead, we’ll probably get those things as well. If not, er... we won’t. Occasionally there’ll be some merchandise that will be given away to promote a new book, but these things are all free, and only a limited quantity will be available. There were some cool torches a while ago, and some keys rings and T-shirts, so my advice is if you EVER see any of those things, GRAB THEM WHILE YOU CAN!

There have been a few questions about writing, about whether or not to plan your outline before getting down to work.

I have a vague outline before I begin- I write down the things I need to happen in terms of moving the story forward, and also I write down what the characters have to go through. A lot of it I keep in my head, where it rolls around and changes and gestates and mutates, and only when I write those scenes or those chapters does it actually begin to take shape.

It’s a fun way of working, because it’s very loose and it allows me space to improvise and do whatever I want... Hold on, dumb dog is barking about something...

Okay I’m back. Sherlock was barking at his tail, from what I can see. It probably took him by surprise. (He’s not very bright.)

Where was I? Yes, writing. For the series as a whole, I know what has to happen in every book. I don’t know the PLOT of every book, but I know what each one is about. For instance, I might have a note beside Book Six, which would be something like “Valkyrie learns X about herself, while Skulduggery tracks down Y, which will lead to Z.”

I think you’re probably going to need to plot out MOST of your story when you’re starting out as a writer. When I was writing Skulduggery, however, I had a few years of writing scripts under my belt, and because of that I had developed a natural rhythm for telling stories. But until you find that rhythm, you’re going to need all the help you can get to take the story you want to tell and present it in its leanest, most economic and effective form.

Irresistibly Evil- that story you’re working on sounds pretty interesting... If you have writer’s block, you just have to relax. I like the fact that you’re watching loads and reading loads- that’s how I deal with something like that. I take long walks, daydream, let myself be encouraged by other movies and books, and eventually you’ll settle back into your rhythm.

Now for some of the more RANDOM questions you’ve asked...

The back cover will be presented once Tom has finished with it...! Trust me, it’s awesome. It gives us our first look at the Big Bad of Mortal Coil.

My favourite colour, er, blue.

I have never eaten a tim-tam. I’m not even sure such a thing exists.

I’d love if Skulduggery turned into a comic- but because I love comics so much I’d have to get involved in that process in a huge way, and I’m not sure I have the time at the moment.

The Bentley is BLACK.

Rachel- I haven’t yet decided on whether or not the Bentley has made its last appearance. If I can find a replacement car that’s as cool, no problem, but if I can’t...

Skyril, I swear, New Orleans would be my first port of call if ever I get down Louisiana way!

Hiya Josie- that’s right, I never DID reply, did I? Okay, I’ll have to find that letter and write you a reply.

There aren’t any werewolves in Skulduggery’s universe YET... I did have one character who was KIND of a werewolf but I cut him out. He MAY reappear, so that’s all I’ll say about him.

Roisin asked if I was born awesome or did it develop over time- the answer is a bit of both. I was born awesome, and I’ve just gotten progressively awesomer.

Pirates or ninjas? Ninjas. DEFINITELY.

Elly! Happy belated birthday!

As far as I know, there are no plans to release Dark Days in the States. That doesn’t mean it’ll never happen, just that we haven’t signed a contract yet. If I were you, I’d bite the bullet and order it from Amazon UK...

Vampires have last names, yes they do. We just haven’t heard them yet.

Ally Pally asked a few questions...

Yes, I watch Glee.

No, I don’t watch Britain’s Got Talent.

I get recognized in public SOMETIMES- not often, thank God. Fame, even the small amount I have, is not as nice as you might think.

I have a perfectly fine house- if it were any bigger I’d be rattling around in it like a pea in a tin can. Or, er, something.

Oh, and the Caramelldansen is HILARIOUS.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Award? For Me? Oh Goodness...

Yes, yes, it’s true... I truly am a golden god.

Thanks to you, my minions, Skulduggery Pleasant has been voted Best Irish Book of the Decade- something which kind of took me a little by surprise...! Not that I don’t think it IS the best book of the last ten years- because I do, I do!- but because I never thought a book for younger readers would actually win. It’s been quite a hectic few days, what with interviews, statements, more interviews, video games...

Naturally, I don’t need anything to add to my ego- which is healthy enough as it is, thank you very much- and so the biggest kick I got from this whole thing is that now, finally, I have proof that my Munchkin Army and my Ninja Leprechauns really are as powerful as I imagined.

Soon, we will strike.


I’m compiling a list of common questions you’ve been asking in the comments section, so the next entry of this accursed Blog will probably be spent answering them. In the meantime, please enjoy some zombies,, brought to you by my very good friend Jay. I think a few of you will definitely find these cuddly creatures of the undead to your liking...

Also… happy belated birthday Odile! (One of these days I’m going to be on time with birthday wishes, I swear I am...)