John Wheatcroft was brought up in Manchester but has spent most of his adult life in Yorkshire where he has gone native, apart from his support for Lancashire CCC.
As a teenager, he considered going into the Church before accepting reluctantly that lack of faith barred him from that path. After a brief flirtation with librarianship he has spent most of his working life as a journalist and has done pretty much every job on the editorial floor at one time or another. He was the editor of two weekly papers, the Todmorden News and Hebden Bridge Times during the 1980s. At the York Press he once wrote the Easter message when a vicar let the paper down by failing to send his copy. “It was my most inspirational ever piece of writing,” he recalls.
Since leaving the Press, his freelance assignments have included working on a book about management for an entrepreneur who couldn’t finish it (“where would I be without people who can’t meet deadlines?”) and creating lesson plans for tutors in US business studies colleges. He has been a football reporter for local radio stations and has also had a couple of excursions into teaching in further education and at a Category C prison during one of his many mid-life crises.
He studied English Literature at Hull University during the 1970s and returned a few years ago to do a Masters degree in British Cinema for the sheer fun of it. His favourite films are A Matter of Life and Death; It's a Wonderful Life and Les Parapluies de Cherbourg.
A return to old interests seems to be a feature of his current life. He has recently made a triumphant return to the tennis courts after ten years out, and is now trying to revive his French after a four-decade break. [Evidenced by John’s recent change to Here in the Cull Valley, adjusting seront to soient. (Future Simple to Present Subjunctive - incidentally there are pages of arguments by French writers as to where or when not to use either form of the verb ‘to be’.) One is left wondering why even the French bother to learn French. Ed.]
A teenage obsession with modern art has stayed with him. A mural by Mark Kesteven in the style of Italian surrealist Giorgio di Chirico holds pride of place in his dining room and was a miraculous survivor of the December 2015 floods in York.
He is interested in Russian history, especially the Soviet Union, and this is reflected in the novel he is now working on, Rocket Boy. John first visited the USSR in 1979 when he inadvertently started a brawl in a Moscow restaurant.