Joseph Delaney dead: Spook’s fantasy series writer dies aged 77

Spook's author Joseph Delaney dies

Delaney has sold more than 4.5 million books (Picture: Penguin Random House/PA)

Joseph Delaney, author of the fantasy book series Spook, has died at the age of 77, his family has announced.

He died on August 16 “after an illness which he kept to himself and his family in his irrepressible style so that he could continue to write as much as possible,” according to a statement from publisher Penguin Random House on behalf of the family.

His first book, The Spook’s Apprentice, was published in 2004 and later adapted into the 2014 film Seventh Son, in which he starred Ben Barnes, Jeff Bridges and Julianne Moore.

His children – Joanne, Paul and Stephen – said in a statement: “Father loved to write and has been living his dream for the last 18 years as an author published by Random House and Penguin.

“His imagination knew no bounds and he could have continued to invent new and exciting stories for years. He enjoyed meeting fans around the world and hearing their thoughts on his books.

“We are very proud of what he has achieved. There’s a lot of Dad in his writing, and we see that on every page.

The author kept his illness a secret in order to “keep writing as much as possible” (Picture: Penguin Random House/PA)

“When we were little kids, Dad used to tell us very scary stories that shouldn’t have been told after dark! We are so lucky to have these memories.’

They remembered him as “a wonderful father and a deeply caring man with an infectious sense of humor, especially after a glass of red wine.”

Her statement concluded: “We hope his books will inspire children and adults to create their own stories and live their dreams. That would have made him happy.

“We would like to thank Penguin Random House and all the wonderful people who have helped him on his adventure and especially everyone who has read his books.”

His first book, The Spook’s Apprentice, received Hollywood coverage in 2014
Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnessstarred in Seventh Son (Image: Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic)

Following the success of The Spook’s Apprentice, Delaney left his job as an English teacher and went on to write 12 more titles in the best-selling dark fantasy series, The Wardstone Chronicles.

He wrote a further 17 books, mostly set in the same world, which have been translated into 30 languages ​​and won a number of awards including the Lancashire Book Award.

He has sold more than 4.5 million copies of his novels worldwide.

Ruth Knowles, Puffin’s Publishing Director, said: “The Spook’s Apprentice was first published just before I joined Random House Children’s Books (now Penguin Random House Children’s), and so Joe and his wholly unique blend of fantasy horror were a part of my entire professional life.

“I was so proud to have been his editor for many years.

“It was frustrating at times – we met up for a beer in Manchester and in response to my questions he would just smile and always remind me that he was following the writing method of ‘The Bram Stoker’ (which means nothing was ever planned or was planned in advance!), so I had to wait for answers – but of course it was also absolutely magical as the creatures and characters from its worlds slowly came into focus and journeyed into brilliant, terrifying adventures.

‘I hope he is now with the spirits of his beloved Lancashire and there is some delicious red wine on tap. We are very proud to release it.’

Delaney is survived by his second wife Rani, his two sons and daughter, and grandchildren.

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show business Joseph Delaney dead: Spook's fantasy series writer dies aged 77

Jaclyn Diaz

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