John was born in Newcastle on Tyne, England but at the age of eight his family moved from the 'London of the North' away from civilisation to a hill farm in the wilds of Northumberland.
'Our farm had no electricity, no phone, no flush toilet, stone slab floors and the water supply ran down a field in an open ditch'.
School was two miles uphill in the village of Carrshield. John rode there on his bicycle; hard on the way to school but easy on the way home.
At 11 he was sent away to a private boarding school - it was either that or face a 24 mile journey by Land Rover each day. College followed and John qualified as a chemistry teacher.
For 11 years he taught chemistry but John was frustrated by having to teach the 'standard' stuff. 'Nothing I taught was developed after 1920' he said.
In 1981 he was given a computer to investigate and immediately found them fascinating. 'It was all new and developing rapidly'. Over the next few years he gradually moved over from teaching science to teaching Information Technology.
In August 1997, while in a Yahoo Internet Chat room, he met Shelia and immediately was struck by their common tastes. 'We liked the same music and books, shared the same views on life, had a common interest in science and technology and liked fiddling with gadgets - especially computers. We even went shopping on the same day and bought the same colour toothbrush.'
Shelia and John met in person in December 1997. The plan was for Shelia to stay for up to six months but UK immigration had other ideas. They allowed her to stay just one month. By the end of the month they knew their future was together.
John joined Shelia in the US in April 1998 but disaster struck. He found himself stranded, with little money or a means to return to the UK. Since the UK would not let Shelia live in the UK and the US would not let John stay in the US they ended up in Canada where for three years they struggled to make ends meet by building Web pages on the computer they bought.
In 1999 they married and in 2001 they returned to the UK after finally getting Shelia a residence visa.
They lived in London for six years but finally returned to the North to pursue a career in writing. John did much of the research needed for 'A Vested Interest', wrote the technical bits and after thinking about it for almost a year wrote the original ending ending which still hasn't been re-used yet.