I recently had the pleasure of Interviewing author Chris Nickson who after living in USA for 30 years has moved back to his homeland in the UK, he is a successful music Journalist, has had more than 30 books published and he has done Radio and is now writing a series of fiction novels as well. I hope you enjoy my interview with Chris as much as I did…


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1.Ok first off tell us a bit about yourself?

    I’m Chris Nickson. I was born and raised in Leeds, England, then moved to the US at 21 and spent 30 years there – 10 in Cincinnati, 20 in Seattle – before moving back to the UK, where I live in  Nottingham. I’ve made my living as a writer since 1994, working as a music journalist, and publishing non-fiction (mostly, but not all, quickie celeb biographies), doing some radio for NPR and more recently publishing fiction, a series of historical mysteries set in my hometown of Leeds in the 1730s.

    2.You have had a huge number of books published do you have a favourite ?

      I have two real favourites. Head and shoulders above the others is Cold Cruel Winter, which comes out in the UK in May. It’s the second in the Leeds series, and it still hits me powerfully – I can even find a passage in it where the writing seems okay to me!

      The other is the NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to World Music, a kind of rough guide encompassing all world music in a single volume. That was a lot of work, a lot of research and amazingly satisfying.

      3. You have written both Non Fiction and Fiction novels how do you find the creative process differs for each style ?

      Ultimately it’s always sitting there and typing. There’s no glamour to writing, it’s work, all work. The differences occur in that, with non fiction, you have everything laid out before you. You have to find out how to approach it and then lay it out – it’s more straightforward. Writing fiction is a bit of a high-wire act, and much of the time you don’t know in advance where you’re going, you’re just writing down the movie in your head and hoping it’s a good one.

      4. Do you read reviews of you work and if so do you let it affect your writing ?

      I’ve read reviews of my fiction. Does it affect what I do? No. That said, a good review will boost you. I’ve had a couple that have left me soaring. For two minutes, anyway. Then reality kicks in and you know you have to make the next one better.

      5. Have you got any moments or reviews that really stand out for you ?

      A couple. I was pleased with a starred review for The Broken Token in Publisher’s Weekly, even more so when my publisher said it was unusual for a début. And there was another review that said it was my leading character’s compassion that lingered. I loved that. And finally, one that realised that Leeds itself was a character in the book.

      6. Everyone approaches the creative process differently do you have any quirks or rituals to get you into the zone ?

      I set myself a goal of 500 words a day on the book. If I’m working on several books at once, that’s 500 on each of them. It’s not too much pressure and leaves ideas to trickle over into the next day. I work seven days a week. Other than that, no rituals. I haven’t sacrificed sheep or virgins. Yet.

      7. Being a music journalist you would have met some interesting characters in your time, is there anyone that really stands out in your memory ?

      Hmm, so much is done on the phone, to be honest. But there was a wonderful drunken night in New York with a couple of members of the Boo Radleys, long, glorious discussions with Irish fiddler Martin Hayes in Seattle, seeing so many of the Seattle bands in small clubs and meeting Peter Gabriel – one of my heroes – at WOMAD.

      8. When you write celebrity biographies are you brutally honest or do you hold back some details to protect the person you are writing about ?

      I no longer do them, at least not the celeb kind (I do have a book coming out in June on singer-songwriter John Marty, not a celebrity but someone whose music I love). When I did, a lot was held back. The aim was to appeal to people, not to lawyers. Often going through sessions with the publisher’s lawyer took longer than the line edit.

      9. After changing to fiction writing do you find the process more enjoyable ?

      I still write plenty of music journalism and always will. I love music, it’s important to me and it moves me. But fiction satisfies like nothing else, and in Richard Nottingham (who actually was Constable of Leeds in the period I’m covering) I seem to have a resonant character.

      10. And finally what are you working on now ?

      You mean apart from earning a living? I’m on the fourth book in the Leeds series, about 11,000 words in at present. Then there’s another novel, completely different tone, set in Seattle in the 1980s, and I’m finishing up the biography of John Martyn.


      Thanks for taking the time to speak to me Chris I really appreciate it and I look forward to reading the latest installment in the series !