About Graham J. Wood
My Dad has asked me, Becky Wood, his daughter, to write his author biography from my perspective.
Graham John Wood was born on the 9th June 1967 in Manchester, and spent his childhood in nearby Sale alongside a large and loving family of six. He is the third of four children, and when compared with his talkative sisters it became apparent that Dad was considerably quieter. Up until the age of five, he had great trouble expressing his feelings and found it difficult to string sentences together.
As a form of venting his frustration, he started to make up and write down stories of heroes and villains who lived in far off fantasy lands. Very quickly it became clear that his mind was neither empty nor dull, as his imagination rightly proved. His thoughts frustratingly being lost to a speech impediment, it was a combination of private elocution lessons and advice to read as many books as possible that led him to fall in love with fiction. Dad read everything and anything. When he read to himself, the impediment did not exist and this provided a massive confidence boost.
My Dad’s enthusiasm for reading encouraged his passion for writing and it was during his time at Ashton on Mersey High School when he created his first finished pieces of work. One of his favourites being a play he wrote named, ‘The Taming of the Shoe’, with this humorous parody of a Shakespearian classic winning him second place in a local Rotary Club competition. He excelled in school and at the age of 16 left for a job at Barclays Bank, but writing was still on his mind – with his first paycheque he purchased an electronic typewriter.
Dad worked at Barclays for an amazing 24 years that saw him move from local branch cashier to globetrotting outsourcing contract specialist, before shorter periods at HBOS and Lloyds. He married my Mum, Rachel in 1993, and with my brother Joe arriving first and I a number of years later, both his work and home life were taking off, but getting in the way of writing. His work was, however, giving him a rich tapestry of experience to draw from for the book ideas that were always racing around his head. The first inspiration for ‘Zein’ came to him whilst looking at the clouds through an airplane window on a business trip. He just saw it as a ‘different world’.
For two years after, Dad toyed with this idea with it at one point being a children’s novel about the ‘people who lived in the clouds’. His ideas steadily snowballed as he jotted down story lines and characters, with the plot thickening with every year. Leaving Barclays to work freelance, working mainly for Efficio Consulting in London, might have given Dad the opportunity to devote more time to his writing, but his life abruptly entered a new period of chaos when I became ill and ended up in intensive care recovering from open-heart surgery in the summer of 2012. The story of Zein was pushed from the forefront of his mind for a while during the endless tests and appointments leading up to the surgery. However, it was during the sleepless hospital nights that my Dad, to take his mind off the worry, started to think about the book again. The ideas came thick and fast during my recovery and in the January of 2013, he set himself a challenge to start the trilogy that would be Zein. Dad soon got into the rhythm of typing 4000 words a day in the hut at the bottom of our garden and in four months, his first book, Zein – The Prophecy was finished.
By Becky Wood
Although my daughter, Becky, would not like this fuss she was the inspiration behind writing my first book that had evaded me for over thirty years.
In 2012 Becky, at the age of fourteen, had open heart surgery at Alder Hey Childrens Hospital in Liverpool to correct a congenital heart defect that had previously remained undetected. This was a shock to all of us, only being picked up by Becky in a biology lesson six months previously when her friends were trying to find a pulse on her left-hand side. The lack of a strong pulse began a process starting with a visit to her GP and ending with heart surgery.
We thought that was the worse over, but later that year in October Becky was admitted into A&E in Wythenshawe after becoming unwell. Many tests and scans later it was diagnosed that Becky’s vascular abnormalities were not simply confined to her heart but also to her brain.
Fortunately, Becky’s body has ‘evolved’ since she was a baby growing collateral vessels around her heart and brain that has maintained the circulation of blood through her body, against medical convention. You could say this was her own ‘magics’ and frankly is what led me to develop the characters with special abilities within the book.
Becky is doing very well and this year graduated from Durham University with a degree in Psychology BSc. Becky is now working for Durham University's Fetal and Neonatal Research Laboratory.
We remain deeply indebted to Alder Hey and also Ronald McDonald House the latter providing us accommodation through the period of the operation and recuperation. On the launch of my book, I undertook to provide at least 50% of Book 1 sales to both these charities. On 19th June 2015 we provided cheques for £1000 to each of the charities and we hope, if book sales allow, to make further donations when we can. You can donate directly to the charities on the links below:
My beautiful brave daughter, Becky...