Group: All Things ScribeSlice

Linda Pendleton's Interview of Don Yarber

Friday, July 8, 2011
Interview With Author, Don Yarber

I’m pleased to have this interview with Don Yarber, author of the Kip Yardley Mystery Series: "Bodies and Beaches," "Corpses and Canyons," and "Death and Deep Waters," featuring Los Angeles Private Detective Kip Yardley.

Linda: Welcome, Don. These are two of my favorite questions I like to ask of writers: Did you write as a kid? When did you know you wanted to write?

Don: I was one of those kids that learned to read at an early age and consequently read everything I could find. My father and grandfather used to sit with their feet propped up on an old coal burning pot-bellied stove telling stories of “coon hunting” and fishing. I listened. As I grew older I wanted to tell stories like they did. I guess I was 8 or 9 when I started writing my own versions of some of their tales. I also wrote poems.

Linda: Would you share who has influenced you the most in your life? And why?

Don: My Aunt Mary (Burns) Allen. She bought me my first book, “Robinson Crusoe”. And at a point in my life when I was headed down the wrong road, gambling, drinking, and running with the wrong crowds, she told me that I’d never amount to a “hill of beans” if I didn’t go back to school. I took her advice and thank God every day for it.

Linda: What books do you believe have influenced your writing? Favorite author/authors?

Don: No doubt the “Shell Scott” mysteries by Richard S. Prather. I’ve read all of them. Favorite authors today are: Michael Connelly, Ken Follett, James Lee Burke, Elmore Leonard and John Grisham. Of course I like the “older” writers too: Don Pendleton, Mickey Spillane, John D. MacDonald, and Ellery Queen. Mark Twain has to be up there near the top too, as well as Edgar Allen Poe.

Linda: Tell us a little about your character, Kip Yardley and what inspired you to write these stories.

Don: I guess since college I’ve wanted to write a PI novel in the style of RSP [Prather]. The Kip Yardley character is a little like Shell Scott, sometimes bumbling, but smart and tough. I’ve drawn on the characteristics of Fletch (Ross McDonald), Shell Scott (RSP), Mike Hammer (Mickey Spillane) and pooled them to come up with Kip. The name “Kip Yardley” is a combination of Rudyard Kipling, another of my favorite authors, and Herbert Yardley, a code specialist in WWII who I have always admired.

Linda: Do you visualize your scenes as you write? Do you “walk” in your character’s shoes?

Don: I do visualize scenes but I’m not sure I’d want to “walk” in Kip’s shoes. He gets into enough trouble on his own. I’m not much of a “planner” and do not outline my books. I just write. As different action unfolds I let my imagination (thinking two chapters away) come up with what I want Kip to do next to solve the mystery. As I near the end of the book I sometimes have to really think about how I want it to end and will often devise more than one ending to see which I think the reader will believe. I then have to read back to make sure everything I wrote prior to that will agree with the ending. That’s where “re-writing” comes in. I may have to rewrite an entire chapter or completely insert a new chapter to make things agree with where I’ve taken the story.

Linda: Tell us about your next writing projects. Can we expect more Kip Yardley stories?

Don: I’m starting Chapter 8 in “Evil and Everglades” the next Kip Yardley mystery. In it, a Florida woman wins $114 million in the lotto. The next day she is found on the beach with her throat cut. The lotto ticket never surfaces. That is the mystery. Or is it?

I’d like to live long enough to get to the “Z” in the alphabetical names of the series. There is no “A” but there may be some day. I have another book, “The Sign Killer” that I’m almost finished writing, not in the Kip Yardley series, but a mystery none-the-less. Watch for it in the early spring of 2012.

Linda: My last question: What is your favorite quote?

Don: John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Being a Christian, I think that there is a far, far better place for all of us than this world can ever hold.

Linda: Thank you, Don, for taking time away from your writing to do this Blog Interview. I’ve enjoyed Kip Yardley, I like his humor and his adventures, and I’m sure your readers are waiting for more of Kip’s adventures and hopefully he will return soon. But in the meantime, I’m sure readers will enjoy reading the three novels in the series.

Don Yarber

12th October 2011

It was good to get to know you a little more Don :)

Harley Bailey

13th October 2011

Thank you for allowing it to be posted.

Don Yarber

12th October 2011

Thanks Linda for taking the time to write this interview. Don, this is a real treat to read.

Paul Day

13th October 2011

Thanks, Paul. For those unfamiliar with Linda Pendleton, she is the widow of the late Don Pendleton, creator of Mack Bolan and The Executioner Series. She is also a gifted mystery writer and has published several books in the realm of spirituality, a historical novel, and co-wrote some of Don's books. If this is advertising, please let me know and I will delete it. It's meant more as an introduction of Linda.

Don Yarber

13th October 2011

Good interview Don, nice to get a little insight into the life of one of our published writers here.

Deborah Boydston

13th October 2011

Its wonderful to get to know our fellow writers.

Annette Keachie

14th October 2011

hi don its good to get to know a little more about you and i have no doubt with the humor and spirit that you have you will live to write to the letter z and beyond

Andrea Neigel

15th October 2011

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