I agree with… Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris “When I think about why I write, I don’t think it’s very easy to quantify. I’ve always read, and I’ve always written. As a child, it seemed the most natural thing to do. But I grew up in Barnsley in Yorkshire, where I didn’t think people could actually have something like a career in writing.”
Excerpt from an interview with Joanne Harris [published March 2nd, 2014] ‘The Sunday Times Magazine’ 

Joanne Harris

[photo: Kyte Photography]

Absolutely, this sounds like my beginnings as a writer. I too grew up in Yorkshire, not Barnsley but the East Yorkshire coast where the winter wind is so strong it can knock you over. I too read and wrote voraciously as a child, everyone said I would become a teacher [as Joanne Harris did]. But I decided that to become a writer I must become a journalist first. I clearly remember an interview with the A’level careers officer. I told her what I wanted to do and she frowned, “Well you can stop dreaming about that, only the top 2% get to do a job like that. You need to be more realistic.”

Suffice to say I ignored her. I went to university in London [the first from my small secondary school to do a degree in English], did unpaid Christmas work at my local newspaper at home, the Scarborough Mercury, and became a business journalist. It took me 30 years until I had the chance to write fiction. So when the chance arrived, I took it.Joanne HarrisRead the Sunday Times Magazine article here
Click here to visit Joanne’s website.

If you agree with Joanne Harris, perhaps you will agree with:-
Roddy Doylesnappy dialogue is the best way to keep the momentum going
Frederick Forsythall authors are only half in the room
Maggie O’Farrelldo not allow yourself to be distracted

Joanne Harris


‘A Pocketful of Crows’ by Joanne Harris [UK: Gollancz]

And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
I’ve always read, and I’ve always written: I agree with… @Joannechocolat http://wp.me/p5gEM4-PC via @SandraDanby #amwriting


  1. I love Joanne Harris’ work, and have read most of her books. She weaves great story with wonderful characters and is a worthy writer to emulate. She knows what she’s writing about, I appreciate her expertise. Always feel I can trust her.
    Good for you, Sandra, that you are on your writing way, but of course, you’ve been journeying your whole life. Best to you on this endeavor.

    • Thx Shari, it’s interesting what you say about trusting the writer to tell the story. I’ve read a couple of books lately where I feel the story has no real research behind it, no deep thought just an eye-catching idea. And that makes me feel sad for the waste, for what the novel could be. Ah well. SD

  2. Reminds me of my college professor who, upon learning that I was majoring in English, asked me, “So you plan to teach?” I said no, and she asked what on Earth I planned to do. I said, “I figure I’ll work in an office during the day, and at night I’ll work on my writing.” And that’s just what I’ve done. Seemed as good a plan as any.

    • Absolutely. Everyone assumed I would teach because I was good at English, and because my elder sister was a teacher. No stereotypes there then! SD

    • Thx Margo. I’ve been a fan of Joanne Harris since ‘Chocolat’. And then I found out she was from Yorkshire too, so she has been an inspiration. SD

    • Was a business journalist for 30+ years: reporter, features editor, editor, managing editor, publisher, content director etc etc. Now writing fiction full-time. My first novel ‘Ignoring Gravity’ is part of the ‘Britain’s Next Bestseller’ launch on March 28, 2014, and I’m halfway through writing the sequel. Check out BNBS Books at http:/www.britainsnextbestseller.com/. Lots more posts to come here about the launch! 🙂 SD

  3. Good for you Sandra – I also grew up in a place where becoming a writer wouldn’t have even been thought of – NE of England. I didn’t pursue writing as a career, but ended up in a related profession, as a librarian and continued writing all the while.