Born in 1970 in Bedford, England, Stroud began to write stories at a very young age. He grew up in St Albans where he enjoyed reading books, drawing pictures, and writing stories. Between the ages seven and nine he was often ill, so he spent most of his days in the hospital or in his bed at home. To escape boredom, he would occupy himself with books and stories. After he completed his studies of English literature at the University of York, he worked in London as an editor for the Walker Books store. During the 1990s, he started publishing his own works and quickly gained success.[clarification needed]
Stroud lives in St Albans, Hertfordshire, with his two children, Isabelle and Arthur, and his wife Gina, an illustrator of children's books.
On March 21, 2012, Jonathan announced a new project via his blog – Lockwood & Co..
In 2013, Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase was released, and quickly achieved high critical acclaim, with Rick Riordan calling Stroud a "genius". The sequel, The Whispering Skull, was released in September 2014.
A third novel, titled The Hollow Boy, was announced through a competition orchestrated by Stroud, asking readers to send in an idea for a Ghost to feature in the third story.