Why is writing important to you and why do you think it's an important medium for the world? Since the beginning of time, we have told stories that illuminate our search for meaning in chaos. In my case, books provided an escape route from the violence surrounding me in a gang-ridden neighborhood. Eventually I found my own voice as a writer and created poems and stories that became my main connection with the world. Like many authors, I turned to writing for personal survival and through deep exploration of character discovered a path leading to more universal themes. For this reason, I see storytelling as an essential element, as important as oxygen in maintaining our health and well-being.

What are your tried and tested remedies to cure writer's block? When my conscious mind becomes disconnected from writing I try to reach a deeper level and re-spark creativity by listening to my dreams and reconnecting with the natural world. An hour of gardening or a long hike in the woods can save an entire novel!

What is your favorite time to write? If I can get started in the early morning, that’s my favorite time—but late-night inspiration also works well for me. Both are times when the world is quieter and deep thoughts can break through to the surface.

What's the best piece of writing advice you've ever received and would like to impart to other writers? When in doubt about plot the solution can always be found in further character development.

What excites you most about being a writer in today's age? It’s exciting to have direct access to readers through social media and I enjoy these interactions.

Joyce Yarrow's Sandstorm is out now with D. X. Varos, Ltd.