Michael Jecks has always been fascinated by medieval history, but it was only after he decided to change his career that he was able to indulge his interest full time.
Born in 1960 in Surrey, he was at heart a countryman. His family went to Devon every Easter, and early on he knew he wanted to live in the county.
Originally he trained as an Actuary, but after demonstrating his abject inability to comprehend Economics or Life Contingencies, and accepting that he would never enjoy working out how many people may die in a given year, he changed career to become a computer salesman. In that, he was happily employed for thirteen years, with five years at Wordplex and another five at Wang Laboratories, selling office automation systems. Unfortunately his employers showed less dedication to his future than he to theirs, which is why he succeeded in packing thirteen jobs into thirteen years of selling computer equipment.
On honeymoon in 1993, he visited Fursdon House. Shortly afterwards he had the idea for a medieval murder story based on Fursdon and the destruction of the Templars, a terrible but exciting period in English history.
Shortly afterwards Michael was again made unemployed, and with the support of his wife and parents, he decided to try to write the novel, which soon became The Last Templar. It was finished in March 1994, and Headline bought it, initially commissioning two more in the series which has now grown to one of the longest-running crime series ever.
From 1999 to 2001 Michael was organiser of the Crime Writers' Association Debut Dagger. He has been a judge for the CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger, and has helped organise or judge a number of prizes in recent years. In 2004/5 he was the Chairman of the Crime Writers' Association.
He is a member of the Devon and Exeter Institution, the Devon and Cornwall Record Society, the South West Writers' Group, the Society of Authors, the Historical Writers' Association and other literary and local societies.
In 2007 Michael's twenty-first novel, The Death Ship of Dartmouth was short-listed for the Theakston's Old Peculier prize for the best crime novel of the year - a rare accolade for a medieval novel.
Michael founded Medieval Murderers as a performance group of authors, and was involved in their series of crime novels (more details of these collaborative novels here). He is also a popular speaker at festivals, literary events, libraries and after dinner engagements, at those times of the year when he is not writing.
Although he was once informed by Philip Gooden that no series can last beyond eleven titles, Michael sees no end to the Templar series, it being so strongly grounded in the most exciting period of English history. He does have many other interests and stories to tell, though, and is currently researching several different themes.
Michael and his wife live in a small village in northern Dartmoor with their children, plus a Bernese Mountain Dog and Rhodesian Ridgeback, with whom Michael walks over the moors and ancient tracks researching his stories. Often he will take a book to read while walking (with the unfortunate result that he was once witnessed walking into a telegraph pole).
A founder of Tinners' Morris, Michael has discovered a hitherto undeveloped delight in dancing mixed with strong ales.
He loves writing. "It is the only career for which I have been paid to daydream" he says, "and being able to write and entertain other people and earn a living at the same time is a marvellous way to live. I wouldn't change anything"