John Needham

John Needham










Writing from the heart

I came to full-time writing very late. Not until I’d retired, in fact, when the imperative to actually earn a living from one of my passions was – thankfully – over. So now, with the necessity to produce commercially successful books gone, I simply write that which I feel inspired and interested in to write and offer it to you, dear reader, for your enjoyment.

Of course, writing in this rather self-indulgent way means that I’m probably doing so to fill a tiny niche, but there you are. But I’d rather do this and write passionately than be successfully dull. I hope that what I’m finally getting around to say in words, some of it a distillation of experiences, not all good but some splendid, from the tapestry of my life (acknowledgements for the metaphor to Carole King) touches you a little, or stirs a memory, or perhaps makes you smile.

At the moment I have three published novels, Convergence, self-published on Amazon Kindle, and Forebears and The Two of Us, published by Autharium. Convergence is partially autobiographical, although you’d have to read my autobiography too to separate truth from fiction. I’m making that true account available free, chapter by chapter, on my website: or at


I’ve also written but not yet published two non-fiction books: Caring and Repairing, the case histories of houses (my other passion) that I’ve renovated; and Little White Cottage, about the people who have lived in and my renovation of my final house deep in west Wales

 Forebears, is available to buy from Amazon and most large retailers, or at discount from the publisher at–2

The Two of Us has just been released and is available from Autharium and Amazon.

I do hope you enjoy reading my work.


 The idea for my second novel was triggered by a television documentary on the subjectForebears_jpeg_4 of human reproduction, and the interesting fact (well I think so anyway) that a female’s eggs – or the precursors of them – are created in the first few weeks of a female embryo’s development, so that not only is a future woman being gestated but the seed for fifty per cent of her child, or children, too. As the narrator remarked, ‘Truly, we are children of our grandmothers.’  This is not a novel concept of course – it’s been going on in the animal kingdom for millions of years – but it set me thinking about the idea of a continuum flowing through the female line of families

This isn’t really a ‘one of a series’ book, but there’s a slight connection to my debut novel Convergence in that I take the sister of male protagonist Martin in that book and have her write a diary throughout her life. Extracts from her journal are interspersed with the stories of her mother, her grandmother (and, fleetingly, her radically-thinking great-grandmother) and then down to her daughter until the female line is broken when that daughter has a son. The identity of the author of the main narration is revealed as a surprise twist at the conclusion.

So it is a family history running through almost all of the twentieth century to finish in the present day, exploring the changing social mores, particularly as they affect women, from socially pioneering Edwardian Suffragettes through Feminism up to the present. It’s also an anti-war polemic told from the female point of view. In one diary passage June (Martin’s sister) has been watching the siege of Sarajevo on TV and rages against the cruel snipers; ‘big brave men strutting around toting their vile firearms,’ and agrees with great-grandmother Eliza that it women ran things, the world would be a more civilised and harmonious and peaceful place; somewhere better for children to grow up in.

The Two of Us

Jim and Maureen Harrison ache to have a child. Glyn and Sioned Rees want a brother or sister for their daughter Lowri. But for both couples, further pregnancy is impossible. So what to do?

The answers to both their dreams are sucking their thumbs in the Strawberry Field children’s home in Liverpool: foundlings, twin baby boys. Glyn and Sioned adopt one, whom they bring up in Wales. Jim and Maureen adopt the other, rearing him in north Yorkshire.

 And so the boys are brought up in very different social and family environments, developing markedly different personalities and aspirations. But are they entirely different? After all, they are monozygotic: identical. Does their genetic commonality confer similar character traits deep down? John Needham’s third novel explores nature/nurture theory, weaving it into an absorbing, at times exquisitely moving tale of brothers.

Readers of his previous book, Forebears, will be re-acquainted with warm-hearted, buff, call-a-spade-a-bloody-shovel Yorkshire lass Helen, now taking a larger role, telling her story from an earlier time.

This gentle, compelling, sometimes poignant novel tells the boys’ stories in parallel as they grow to manhood, converging to a dramatic, heart-wrenching reunion that will wring your emotions dry.

A heart-warming tale of identical, foundling twin brothers separated as babies and adopted to be brought up in very different environments. The boy’s stories are told in parallel as they grow to manhood, converging to an unusual, emotionally-searing reunion.


I was born in Rutland, the smallest (it’s tiny) county in England. The first part of my childhood was spent idyllically (or so it seems in retrospect) in a village of limestone cottages; the second in the nearby Georgian town of Stamford. I began working life as a compositor, where I first became addicted to printer’s ink, before going to art college and training for a graphic designer and occasional copywriter.
Later I discovered another addiction: renovating old houses (and it won’t escape your notice that my novel Convergence is semi-autobiographical) and followed that noble calling for twenty years. The final chapter of my working life was spent landscape gardening.
Now blissfully retired in a village in Wales, I read a lot, write a lot and walk the gorgeous Welsh countryside with my doggy Best Friend Sali.

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