I’ve written since I was a boy growing up in Leeds. It all really began with a three-paragraph school essay telling a tale of bomb disposal when I was 11. Like a lightbulb switching on, it brought the revelation that I enjoyed telling stories. Along the way came diversions into teenage poetry, and my other great love, music, as both a bassist and then a singer-songwriter-guitarist.
At 21, I moved to the US, and spent the next 30 years there, returning to England in 2005, and finally full circle to Leeds. I’ve made a living as a writer since 1994, initially as a music journalist, specialising in world and roots music. These days there’s far less of that, but I still produce a few articles and several reviews a year. I authored The NPR Casual Listener’s Guide to World Music, a volume that’s now long out of date.
My first novel, The Broken Token, came out in 2010, featuring Richard Nottingham, Constable of Leeds in the 1730s (there was a real Richard Nottingham, and that was his post, although it was probably largely ceremonial). There have been five more books in the series, and a six, Free From All Danger, will appear in October 2017. Cold Cruel Winter was named one of the Best Mysteries of the Year by Library Journal. The audio version of The Broken Token was one of the Independent on Sunday’s Audiobooks on the Year.
My Victorian series is set in Leeds in the 1890s and features Detective Inspector Tom Harper. Gods of Gold is the first volume, followed by Two Bronze Pennies, Skin Like Silver, The Iron Water, and On Copper Street. The Tin God is set to appear in May 2018.
I’m also the author of Solid Air – The Life of John Martyn, a biography of a man whose music I’ve loved since the 1970s.