Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Events 'n' Things

Ooooh, I haven’t blogged in AGES….!

So, what’s been happening in my crazy, crazy life? Well, on the writer side of things, I’ve been doing a few events, including being a guest at the Prize day for Ardgillan College- a school pretty close to where I live- and Drogheda Grammar School- the school I went to.

Ardgillan was fun, with everyone ready to laugh at the nonsense spewing out of my mouth when I got up to make my speech. Which was nice of them.

Going back to the DGS, the school I’d attended from age 12 to 18, was a blast. Most of my teachers are still there, which is endlessly amusing. They pretty much look the same as they did 18 years ago. Wow. 18 years. That’s a VERY long time. I feel so, so old…

But I had a laugh, which is the main thing, and being invited back to make the speech at Prize Day was lovely. For years after school I always felt like a failure, because I was working on the family farm, writing in my spare time, but having nothing to show for it. Most of my classmates had gone on to college or apprenticeships or proper jobs, and there was I, working for my dad, growing more and more miserable.

The good thing about working for my dad, though, was that he understood my need to be a writer, and he tended to be amused instead of annoyed when he’d realize my mind was far, far away at any given moment. I daydreamed a LOT when I was on the farm- that’s how I wrote- and I’m lucky that he understood that.

That notion of being a failure diminished somewhat when I got two movies made, and then vanished entirely when I wrote Skulduggery. No longer did I have the urge to prove myself to old friends or teachers. It was like a massive weight was lifted from my shoulders, like something petty and nasty and selfish suddenly vanished from my mind. I still show off- oh dear GOD how I show off- but now I do it to amuse myself, not to brag or boast or to demonstrate that I've made it. Now I show off in order to watch the reaction on other people’s faces- which is FUN.

On Saturday I was at the Wicklow Arts Festival, an event that went very well, and I met so many cool people in the signing queue afterwards. Bradley gave me a book he’d published himself, there was an AWESOME Skulduggery-girl and Little-Valkyrie in costume, and two hilariously awesome girls came along in Skulduggery T-shirts they’d made themselves. We went WAY over our allotted time for signing but it was so worth it.

Event-wise, I have nothing on until Edinburgh in August, and then the Ireland/UK/Germany dates in September/October. Which means I have time to write! Yay!

My editor and agent should be getting back to me with notes on the second draft of Death Bringer in the next week or two, and I should be getting Laura’s notes any day now, so hopefully the next draft will be the last.

Once it’s finished, though, I still have work to do. There are a few Skulduggery-related things I need to take care of, and I’d really like to start a brand new, non-Skulduggery book- but then I’ve been saying that for YEARS and I still haven’t had enough time. Oh well- maybe THIS year…

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cats and Dogs

Because, sometimes, dogs just want to sit on cats.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Death Bringer

It is here! Finally! I present to you, my loyal Minions, the cover of Book 6- Death Bringer!

I'm trying to picture it on a shelf in a bookshop, with that glorious red and the silver, and the shiny foil around the title, and the sheer size that the book is going to be, sitting there, on the shelf, making all the other books tremble in fear...

As you can see, we went for a mid-battle shot of our two heroes, which is a radical departure from Tom's sketch that's all over the interweb. Tom always comes up with lots of possible ideas, so I'm always being sent sketches, and on the basis of those sketches we decide what works best. The final books in each trilogy are going to be mid-battle shots- we started it with The Faceless Ones, we're continuing it here, and we'll finish it with Book Nine.

AND we get to use a tag-line that I've wanted to use since Book Two - "Kicking Evil Very Hard In The Face". Oh I love that line. It's so long and unwieldy, whereas tag-lines are meant to be short and snappy. But Skulduggery, of course, just HAS to be different...

And as for the title, I think it was always going to be Death Bringer, even before I'd consciously decided on it. The second trilogy is a "two word title" trilogy- Dark Days, Mortal Coil, and now this one. The title style in the final trilogy will change yet again.

I really like this cover, I think Tom did an amazing job, and the fun doesn't even end here. At some stage over the next few months we'll be unveiling the back cover (which is ASTONISHINGLY good) and I hope to sneak you out a chapter before September.

I am just too good to you, I really am...

Thursday, May 5, 2011


The cover is finished! The cover is finished! Are you ready to see it? Are you??

Well, unfortunately I don’t ACTUALLY have it, but I’ve been assured that it’s finished and that it’s brilliant, and that I’ll be able to show you all tomorrow.


The cynical among you may begin to suspect that all of this is the result of bad planning and borderline incompetence on my part, as I had promised to reveal the cover oh, maybe two weeks ago.

However- the nice and the kind and the generous among you might recognise this as a cunning way of drawing out the mystery and building the excitement, and regard all these delays and missed deadlines purely as brilliant marketing on my part.

It is, of course, entirely up to you to decide which of these kinds of people you are- cynical and suspicious (boo!) or nice and lovely and so very pretty (yay!).

So, while we wait for the cover to be revealed tomorrow, I now have a Blog post to fill, and I want to mention a book I’m reading which I think is brilliant. It’s called Divergent, and it’s by Veronica Roth, a new American writer. I’ve read the first hundred pages here- http://browseinside.harperteen.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780062024022 - and I absolutely love it so far. It’s set in a Dystopian future- because those are ALWAYS the best kind- where the population splits itself into Factions according to their personality traits. People are always telling me I must read The Hunger Games- and I will, I swear I will- but Divergent grabbed me from the first paragraph, and now I’m pretty much helpless.

Aside from the great idea at its centre, this book is REALLY well written. I make no apologies for the fact that I’m a snob when it comes to the quality of writing- no matter how wonderful the premise, I simply can’t read it if the words don’t flow like they should or the characters aren’t genuine. I reckon I’ve improved as a writer since the first Skulduggery, and the later books are much better written than the first one (even if the first one remains my absolute favourite), but Miss Roth seems to have bypassed that awkward debut-writer stage completely. If she’s this good now, how good is she going to be in five books’ time? Scary good, is the answer.

If you’re looking for something new to read, click the link above and try it out.