Skulduggery Pleasant has just won the Red House Children’s Book Award - the only national children’s book award to be chosen exclusively by children.
Landy was working on his farm in Ireland a few years ago and writing low-budget Irish zombie movies when the character, a wise-cracking, sophisticated detective in the vein of Philip Marlowe, popped into his head.
"I just had the two words - 'Skulduggery Pleasant' - but he immediately told me who he was and what he was," said Landy. "I haven't a clue how he appeared but I'm really glad he did.”
The first book to feature Pleasant swiftly followed and was an instant hit with children around the world. The second, Skulduggery Pleasant: Playing with Fire, has just been published, with a further seven in the series planned.
The Red House Awards are now in their 28th year. This year over 165,000 votes were cast through the Federation of Children's Book Groups. The awards have a record of being the first to spot the future big names in children's writing - it was the first major award to be won by Roald Dahl (1983), Jacqueline Wilson (1996) and JK Rowling (1998).
Find out more about Skulduggery Pleasant at his website here.