Joseph Henry Delaney is a British author who works in the fantasy and science fiction genres. He is best known for his series The Last Apprentice (also published in the UK as The Wardstone Chronicles).
Delaney was born in 1945, in Preston, Lancashire, England. Growing up he says that both he and his brother had the same recurring nightmare about a cold, shadowy creature picking them up and carrying them into the darkness—an experience that probably explains why he writes dark fantasy today. He attended the prestigious Regent House Grammar School in Newtownards, Northern Ireland (which has apparently come down with "Delaney fever" in recent years, displaying his picture in several places). He later attended Lancaster University.
After serving for a while as an apprentice engineer, Delaney decided to become an English teacher at Blackpool Sixth Form College, where he helped start the Media and Film Studies Department. During his time there he also began writing. His first novel, written under a pseudonym, was unsuccessful; his later works were all written under his real name. He finally achieved his greatest success with his The Wardstone Chronicles series.
The series (often called "the Spook stories" for simplicity) stars a young man named Thomas Ward who, as the seventh son of the seventh son with a magical mother, has various supernatural powers. The series is set in "the Country," a land clearly based on Delaney's native Lancashire. The popular series currently has eight main books and three supplementary ones, and the first story is set to be adapted into a movie called Apprentices (currently set for release in July 2013).
Delaney eventually retired from teaching in order to pursue writing full time. He has three children and seven grandchildren.