Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? I write because I believe I have something to say, and I hope my work might touch a reader, might help them see the world differently, and yes, even entertain them. I think fiction, my primary area, is important because it creates a one-to-one connection with the reader across time and place.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? I kind of call B.S. on the idea of writer's block. I often just push through, reminding myself that it's okay to write a lousy first draft. When I find myself really stuck, it's usually because there's a fundamental flaw that needs to be addressed--in plot, in character, in situation... In those cases, I pause to re-evaluate decisions I've made in a manuscript.

What is your favorite time to write? I like to write in the mornings and again in the late afternoon. In the mornings I feel fresh and new ideas tend to flow better.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? When you're deep into a fifth or eighth draft, and you find yourself dragging and your energy slaking with the burden, it's time to find a gift for the manuscript. A gift to yourself and your reader to re-energize you and add a new spark for the manuscript.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? There are big, world-changing topics that want a writer's hand. Global warming and environmental issues, racism, financial injustice to name a few. These things are non-trivial and they pose great challenges for creating art that challenges the status quo and asks the reader to rethink their lives.

John Young's Fire in the Field and Other Stories is out now with Golden Antelope Press.