Chris Nickson
AUTHOR

Chris Nickson

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I've been killing people in Leeds (and a couple of other places) since 1730. In books, at least. It's my home, and I eventually moved back here in 2013. I feel the place in my bones. I know it. I love it. The Richard Nottingham books take place in the 1730s. He's the Constable of Leeds - as the real Richard Nottingham was - just as the town was becoming weathy on the wool trade. By the 1820s, the setting for the Simon Westow series, Leeds was an industrial town, with plenty of those dark Satanics Mills. Simon is a thief-taker, retrieving stolen items for money and often discovering danger along the way. He works with a teenage girl, Jane, who has a dark past of her own and a deadly, unforgiving way with a knife. By the 1890s, Leeds was a city, one of the great industrial centres of empire. It's where Tom Harper is a policeman, a detective inspector at first, then superintendent. His wife owns a pub in the working-class area of Sheepscar, and is very involved with the Suffragists. The books are crime, but relationships are paramount, as well as politics - strikes, racism against Jewish immigrants, the slow build of socialism and the Suffragettes. The series moves into the 20th century. A chornicle of a place and a family. I've also written about Leeds in the 1920s and '40s (Lottie Armstrong) and the '50s (Dan Markham). Different ideas, the same evolving place at the heart. I spent a little while living near Chesterfield, which gave rise to a medieval series set there, featuring John the Carpenter, who has a taent for solving killings. I lived in Seattle for 20 years, working as a music journalist. That inspired a pair of novels set in the music scene there: Emerald City and the follow-up, West Seattle Blues. Candace Robb, author of the excellent Owen Archer mysteries, said my books are "total immersion experiences in the underbelly of 18th century Leeds. Clever use of period slang and vivid detail bring to life the people, the culture, the gritty reality of early industrial culture, brutal and dehumanizing." Best-selling author Joanne Harris said my work has "a vibrant sense of living history, well-drawn characters..." Writing the novels has led to curious things - writing a couple of plays, one featuring a live jazz quintent, and being inolved in arranging a couple of exhibitions celebrating the march to women's suffrage in Leeds. I'm also the writer-in-residence for Abbey House Museum here. All from putting a few words on paper...
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