What I Want: First Posting
Consider this an all new feature here at Fuse #8. It's the official What I Want update. I hear about a book from a publisher and suddenly I want it. Today's comes from the most recent online PW Child Bookshelf under a section entitled, "What I'm Working On". Get a load of this...
Michael Stearns, editorial director and foreign acquisitions manager,Why am I so obsessed with this? I love walking skeletons. Honest-to-god I think they're completely groovy. Remember those old Piers Anthony Xanth books? Contained a skeleton. A couple picture books, The Nightmare Before Christmas, the character of Bonaparte on Owl TV, and some Halloween Disney shorts (to say nothing of Pirates of the Carribean) have skeletons too, but I've always felt the genre was ripe for kidlit plucking. That and I really like Grant & Hepburn comedies.
HarperCollins Children's Books
At the moment, I'm putting the final polish on Derek Landy's Skulduggery Pleasant (April 2007), which I am sort of unreasonable about. When the manuscript first came in, I took it home and read it overnight, pausing in my reading only to call up friends so that I could read passages aloud to them, cackling all the while. This was annoying, as you can imagine. Six months later, I still call people up to read them selections from the book. As you might expect, I have far fewer friends who will put up with this behavior from me anymore.
Why do I go on at such length? Well, Skulduggery Pleasant is my kind of hero: ace detective, snappy dresser, razor-tongued wit, crackerjack sorcerer, and walking, talking, fire-throwing skeleton. Did I mention that? Right. The lead character is a skeleton. (His physical resemblance to me is purely coincidental.) He has come back from the grave to fight evil—he's just that swell of a guy—and he teams up with a highly unusual 12-year-old girl named Stephanie. As the two fend off hit men, monsters of all sorts, and other nasty surprises, they form the most memorable duo ever to grace the page (think Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant—if Cary Grant were a skeleton and Hepburn were 12, and—well, you get the idea). I grew up on fantasy stories, adventure tales and screwball comedies, and at last I've found a book that manages to be all of these things at once.