The skull beneath the man
Updated: Feb 10, 2020
After the conclusion to long running and popular children books series Skulduggery Pleasant, many fans were left wondering what would come next for author Derek Landy, and what his secretive 'Project X', which he mentioned in his blog, could possibly be.
When Demon Road finally hit the shelves, the first book to Derek Landy’s new series it had been waited for with baited breath by fans across the globe.
Derek Landy is a renowned writer of children’s books, for age groups between 9 and 14, but Demon Road stands as his debute into YA fiction. His Skulduggery Pleasant series is dark, tense and thrilling; creating a fantasy world of humour, horror and mystery that tempted readers of all age groups, and left a high-bar for his new adventure.
However before the Skulduggery Pleasant series Derek Landy was far from famous. Landy failed his Leaving Cert, repeating it only to get kicked out of Animation College for not doing any work, at which point he returned to his family home, living with his parents on the family farm, where he spent practically every day picking vegetables. This was a return to the life he had lived during his summers as a schoolboy, and after leaving college he further spent 10 years working on the family farm. He had little to show for his efforts aside from a £10,000 credit card bill. During this time Landy wrote and produced two screen plays, which became largely unsuccessful zombie films for the Irish market and produced virtually no income.
Things finally changed in 2005 when he came up with the idea for the Skulduggery Pleasant series, as Landy said in an interview with the Independent; “In the summer of 2005, when I got the idea for Skulduggery, I spent six months putting in everything I always wanted to write about. I didn’t know if anyone was going to read it, like it or publish it. I had the best time writing it.” To Landy’s luck after only three weeks of his book being sent out to prospect publishers a buzz had grown around his book and the offers started to flow in. Landy was soon offered an advance for £1m from his present publishers HarperCollins.
His first book ’Skulduggery Pleasant’ sold over a million copies in the UK and Ireland alone, and by the time he published his fifth book ‘Mortal Coil’, Landy had sold more than 17 million books in 33 countries around the world. Since the very first book, Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series have won many awards, including the Bord Gais Irish Book of the Decade.
When Landy launched Demon Road at the 2015 Edinburgh Book festival he talked about his fears that the new series would see a drop from his previous readership and a loss of some fans, but he stepped into the new venture with as much glee and enthusiasm as ever.
With the second book to Demon Road coming out in 2016 the loss of readers which Landy feared is yet to be seen.