Writer Interviews: Joyce Yarrow

Posted by on March 19, 2013

Joyce Yarrownew


Today I am featuring an interview with Joyce Yarrow.

Here is what the publisher says about the book:
CODE OF THIEVES should appeal to fans of Sue Grafton. It features a quirky female P.I., a poet in her spare time, who goes on a personal quest to clear her Russian-born stepfather of murder and to find out who is sending him threatening notes in Russian nesting dolls (matryoshkas). The Seattle Post Intelligencer has called Ms. Yarrow a new “Mickey Spillane.”

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

My routine varies, depending on how much research a book requires and how much time my subconscious needs to absorb new ideas and settings. Once I feel grounded, I write every day for at least 3 hours. I end each session by starting a new scene with a strong lead-in paragraph that sets me up for the next day’s work.

2. What do you do if you get writer’s block?

I don’t believe in writer’s block. However, if I feel burned out, I go to a noisy coffee house and let the white noise energize and drive me inwards.

3. Who do you read, or recommend other writer’s read, in regards to craft?

My favorite book on the writer’s craft is The Writer’s Chapbook: A Compendium of Fact, Opinion, Wit, and Advice from the Twentieth Century’s Preeminent Writers, edited by George Plimpton. I find it fascinating how all these authors have such radically different writerly ways.
I also recommend Lajos Egri’s, The Art of Dramatic Writing and The Writer’s Portable Mentor by Priscilla Long.

4. Who do you read for fun?

Since my WIP is set in India, for the past two years I have had tremendous fun reading the classic Indian epics, as well as books and essays by modern Indian authors—Arundhati Roy, Aravind Adiga, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, and my good friends Saborna Roychowdhury, Arindam Roy, Santosh Bakaya and Bhaswati Ghosh.

5. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Tell us about it.

I grew up in the SE Bronx, in a violent neighborhood terrorized by gangs. The library was my refuge and in my teens, writing poetry and stories came to serve me in the same way. To portray the other, one must stand above the fray have a certain compassion and distance.

6. What advice would you give an aspiring writer?

Don’t settle for being an aspiring writer! Everything you need is already inside you. Give way to your passion for expressing ideas and deep feelings in words and don’t look back. Conquer your fear of new beginnings. Also beware of pragmatists.

7. What do you think is the most important skill to have to succeed as a writer?

Visualization. If you have a clear picture in your own mind you can draw one with words that will entrance your reader.

8. What is your favorite food and/or drink?

Ethiopian/French food and the occasional G & T.

9. Do you have a favorite book or movie?

No, since I am fickle and this changes over time. At this moment, the film Brother Sun Sister Moon directed by Franco Zeffirelli comes to mind. Beloved books include, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, anything by Ruth Rendell or George Simenon, The Magic Mountain by Thomas Mann, and most recently An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anaradha Roy.

10. Is there anything I didn’t ask you that you’d like to share?

Hmmmm. I believe the question of why we write informs our decisions about how we go about it. Our storytelling may be driven by a desire to explore what it means to be human, to uncover hidden motivations in dark recesses of the psyche or reveal transcendent nobility in light-filled rooms. Each time I begin a new sentence there is someone in the world doing the same. I belong to a continuum of seekers and it makes me both humble and proud.


You can find Joyce’s book here:



2 Responses to Writer Interviews: Joyce Yarrow

  1. Bhaswati Ghosh

    Honest, sincere interview, reflecting the author’s maturity as well as humility in how she perceives and expresses the world around her.

  2. Joyce Yarrow

    Hi Kristi – thank you so much for hosting this interview and introducing my work to your readers.

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