Plano’s stories that sell: John Yarrow and “Future’s Dark Past”

John and Leanne Yarrow
John and Leanne Yarrow met on a blind date through a coworker when they were both teaching for Carrollton ISD, and have now been married for 36 years. Photography Hunter Lacey

Plano neighbor John Yarrow’s first sci-fi stories seemed too far-fetched for editors’ liking. In the ’90s, he dreamed of artificial intelligence and gene splicing. Now, the technology in his stories comes to realization almost faster than he can publish.

John started writing in college, where he wrote several novels before graduating and settling down to start a family. While his kids were in school, he taught computers and English while coaching at Carrollton ISD. Intrigued by quickly changing technology, he went on to get his master’s in cognitive systems, which applies cognitive science to computer systems.

The knowledge he gained in that degree inspired a series of unpublished sci-fi novels that John calls his “learning novels.”

“They said that mainframes would never be able to be broken into and gene splicing would never happen, so [the books] were just unrealistic,” he says.

Fast forward nearly 30 years, and John’s wife Leanne is his right-hand woman, giving input on and editing his stories.

“I’m like the chief storyteller, and she’s the chief content manager,” John says. “She’s touched pretty much every word in a story or novel, and she’ll help rearrange it and sometimes write additional material to go into it.”

John’s latest book, Future’s Dark Past, is his first published work. He signed with publisher The Story Plant before the COVID-19 pandemic, and he was able to work on the second and third books in the series while waiting on publishing to resume after the pandemic.

Future’s Dark Past is the first in his Time Forward sci-fi trilogy featuring a woman who endures genetic modifications to become a time traveler in a post-apocalyptic dystopia. The woman is thrust into the 21st century, where she is partnered with an AI scientist to attempt to fight destructive forces across the continuum.

Though the book has only been out a few months, it has already amassed 4.8 stars with nearly 100 reviews on Amazon, where reviewers describe it as a “grab-you-by-the-throat” novel that “keeps you wanting more.”

According to John, technology has progressed so much since starting the book that he’s had to move dates backward up to 10 years, and that isn’t always a good thing.

“The whole concept was to make people think about what we are doing to our future now,” John says. “Could we do something different? What are we focused on? That’s really going to make people stop and think about how if we don’t change the way we’re acting, talking and working together then this could really happen.”

A novella that serves as a half-sequel to Future’s Dark Past will be published this fall. The second novel, Time Unfolded, in the series is scheduled for release in winter of 2024. Future’s Dark Past is available now at or on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indigo or Indie Bound.

Future’s Dark Past book
John’s latest book, Future’s Dark Past, is his first published work. Photography Hunter Lacey
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