John Raynor: Biography

John Stephen Raynor was born in 1944 in Oldham, Lancashire. He was the second of three children born to Alan and Betty Raynor. At the age of two, John was found to have a serious eye condition, Retinitis Pigmentosa, which would eventually lead to blindness. He was a sickly child and at the age of Eight, lived apart from his family in the seaside town of Fleetwood, Lancashire, where it was thought that the environment may be beneficial. There was an improvement in his health and he returned to his family after nine months. As a rebellious ten-year-old, he ran away to the friends he had made in Fleetwood, but suffered the wrath of his father who brought him home. Although his education improved while at school in Fleetwood, his standard was not high enough to pass the eleven-plus examination. He attended Hathershaw Technical High School, where he took an interest in mathematics and science.

At 15, John wanted to leave school and start a career in electronics at Ferranti in Hollinwood.

He failed the entrance examination and instead ended up as a junior draughtsman at a local architectural practice, Tom Hayes and Company. In 1965 he moved to Oldham Borough Architects, where he met Marie, who became his wife in 1967. Since he left school without any qualifications, he studied in the evenings and passed 5 ‘O‘ levels. He then took a 4 year sandwich course at the College of Building in Manchester, where he qualified as an architectural technician. He gained employment in the architects’ department at the North West Regional Health Authority. John and Marie moved to Prestwich in Manchester, where they had a son, Mathew, in 1971. It was around this time, that John developed an interest in writing fiction.  He was successful in a short story competition, which inspired him to keep writing in his spare time.  While working at the Health Authority, John continued his interest in electronics when asked to study computer programming for the department. He soon became a highly proficient programmer, developing applications for architects, engineers and quantity surveyors.  He was promoted to the position of computer co-ordinator.

In 1978 he formed his own computer company, Computential. In 1980 he became self-employed and spent long hours building up his business and finding new clients. In 1983 the family moved to Sale in Cheshire, where he continued to build up his business. The work took its toll on his marriage and the couple separated in 1989. His business was thriving, but this was a difficult time, when he suffered a mid-life crisis.  During this emotionally-charged period, he wrote a number of short stories, two of which were broadcast on Greater Manchester Radio. Unhappy with his solitary lifestyle, he began looking for a new person in his life. In 1991 he thought he had found the right woman, but after sixteen traumatic months the relationship ended. He did keep a detailed diary of this troubled period in his life.

John travelled abroad and soon made friends in several countries, but it was the Philippines where he found his soul-mate. He married Aleth in 1993, but soon discovered problems in bringing her back to the United Kingdom because of British immigration restrictions. Eventually, he succeeded and in December, 1994 their son, James was born, just one month after they returned to the U.K. John wrote an autobiographical account of their immigration problems called, “Who wants to be British?” His happiness was complete when Aleth gave birth to their daughter, Kimberley in 1999. The rich culture of the Philippines, together with facts from his wife’s traumatic childhood, provided John with a wealth of material for his novel, ‘A Comfortable Death’ which took Eight years to write.

John has been registered blind since the age of 35 and relies on his computer with speech synthesis for both software development and creative writing.

After a period of 20 years had passed, John used the information from his diaries to publish, at the end of 2011, “A Chronicle of Intimacies” which explicitly detailed his time spent with Carol and followed this with “Who wants to be British?”, the two autobiographical books describing the most traumatic four years of his life.

At the end of 2015, John published his longest novel to date, “See All Evil” and decided to donate the royalties for this book to Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, as the research unit plays an important role in the story. There will be a sequel, following the adventures of Intelligence officer, Alex McCloud.

John, now in his seventies, continues to maintain computer software for his client, while still enjoying writing both adult novels as J. S. Raynor, and short stories for children, using his pen name of Christopher Carr.

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