J J Salkeld is the pen-name of Richard Simpson, who was a national newspaper journalist and documentary film-maker before he turned to a life of crime. Crime writing, that is...
Based in Cumbria, Salkeld spent fifteen years covering the people, places and events that make the Lake District such a magical place, although his books chronicle the crimes and misdemeanours of the people who are left behind - when night has fallen, and the tourists have all gone home.
His three ongoing series are very different in tone, content and setting. The Lakeland Murders features detectives Andy Hall and Jane Francis, as they and their team tackle ugly crimes in some of Britain's loveliest locations. And though the crimes couldn't be more mortal these books aren't blood-soaked at all - although they don't flinch from addressing the consequences of crime, both for individuals and wider society.
Border City Blues, J J Salkeld's second Cumbrian crime series, is a very different kettle of criminals. Featuring Carlisle lass DS Samantha 'Pepper' Wilson, the first four books in this series tell one extended narrative - covering her battle with vicious crime lord Dai Young. Gritty, urban and violent, these 'Northern noir' novels are nevertheless shot through with dry humour, and address many of the issues facing Britain's police force in financially and socially challenged times.
And J J Salkeld's latest series - A Natural Detective - features reluctant private investigator Owen Irvine, a man who is as hefted to the Lake District landscape as the Herdwick sheep that live, above and all round him, high in the Kentmere valley. This series also features many characters from The Lakeland Murders, including DI Andy Hall, DI Jane Francis and DS Ian Mann.
Salkeld identifies a strong sense of place, along with evolving, well-rounded characters and an over-arching storyline - which transcends each individual book's plot - as keys to both series' international success.
Please message J J Salkeld via Twitter (@JJSalkeld1) or email JJSalkeld1(at)gmail.com. He's always happy to hear from readers, even when they're asking when the next book will be published. The answer to that one, he says, is soon...