Danielle's first novel, FALLING UNDER, was originally published by Penguin/Plume in 2008 and now is finally available as an e-book!
I could rave about this book, which I first read in manuscript form--yes, I'm that lucky--but better to share some reviews from people who aren't her critique partner. ;)
Order FALLING UNDER
"Falling Under is one of the most compelling debut novels I have read in a long time. It is gutsy, emotional, sexually charged and, because of its second-person narrative style, unremittingly intense. Younge-Ullman writes her guts out, hurtling forward, pedal to the floor. The result is a gripping story, crackling with energy."Canada's National Post
"...Here's a debut novel that delivers. Extreme, and extremely well done!"Kim Alexander for XM Radio's Fiction Nation
"Fierce, erotic and absolutely fearless...Shocking and moving, Falling Under is edgy as a razor blade and unlike anything you've read before."-- Dame Magazine
"...an astonishing debut novel reminiscent of Janet Fitch's White Oleander...passages so beautiful they hurt. Younge-Ullman has a talent for turning the shadows of life into a thing of beauty, almost poetry..."--Curled Up With a Good Book
"Younge-Ullman has a unique and mesmerizing writing style. It is at once raw and gritty, eloquent and beautiful. Most outstanding is her ability to take the reader inside her character's head and heart, creating a unique and unforgettable reading experience"-- Literarily
"...a story told with great feeling and compassionate attention to how a sensitive person can find herself alienated from everything she needs to feel whole"Feast Magazine
"...hard hitting and explosive, with a raw energy that left me breathless."--Good Housekeeping.com
ABOUT FALLING UNDER
After growing up as the only child of bitterly divorced parents, Mara Foster has finally gained independence and is embarking on a promising career as an artist. But despite her success, she is fragile. Burdened by a host of fears and anxieties, Mara finds it difficult even to leave her house on most days. When Mara meets Hugo, the walls she has built around herself begin to crumble, and as she struggles to find a breakthrough both in her art and in life, she must come to terms with her own dark secrets in order to get a second chance at happiness.
Written in spare, crisp prose and marked by wry humor, Falling Under is a gripping contemporary urban tale of human weakness, friendship and hard-earned redemption. This emotionally resonant story of unexpected love marks the debut of a striking new voice in fiction.
GET TO KNOW DANIELLE
MAUREEN: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
DANIELLE: Like Water for Chocolate
MAUREEN: Oh, I love that too. What’s the first book you remember reading?
DANIELLE: The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe
MAUREEN: Clearly we have similar taste in books/movies. :) Where in the world would you most like to visit?
DANIELLE: I’m dying to go to Prague.
MAUREEN: Hiking boots or high heels?
DANIELLE: Oh dear. Neither. Ideally something in between that is attractive but not excruciating to wear!
MAUREEN: What are you reading right now?
DANIELLE: Keith Cronin’s Me Again.
MAUREEN: What hidden talents do you have?
DANIELLE: If I could only get a hold of one of the hoola hoops they had when I was a kid—they were heavier, or weighted differently than the ones you find now, and I could hoola hoop forever. My fellow 3rd graders were in awe. So, this a very, very hidden talent, since I can never demonstrate it.
MAUREEN: There's a gym near me that has hoola-hoop classes. Just saying. :) What was your favorite book when you were twelve?
DANIELLE: Something inappropriate for a twelve-year-old, I’m sure. I’d say Go Ask Alice and there was another one I loved called I Never Promised You A Rose Garden.
MAUREEN: Once again... similar tastes even at twelve. Would you rather sky dive or scuba dive?
DANIELLE: Scuba. I have NO DESIRE EVER to sky dive. In fact I have a powerful desire to make sure I never have to.
MAUREEN: There we're different. I've done both... Who’s your favorite villain?
DANIELLE: Only one?! Lady M from The Scottish Play (sorry, I’m a theater person, so I can’t actually say the names.) Marquise de Merteuil from Dangerous Liaisons, Iago, Dracula, The Wicked Witch of the West, Javert from Les Miserables
MAUREEN: What’s the most romantic thing anyone ever did for you?
DANIELLE: As kind of a joke, I’d sat with my boyfriend one summer night and given him a “quest”—a list of 27 things to learn/find before he proposed to me. We were really just joking (I thought) and he kept asking me to make the tasks more difficult, and all the while he was writing everything on a cocktail napkin. Over the next few months there were some mysterious deliveries to our condo, and a couple of days where he was out and I couldn’t quite figure out what he was doing. And then, just before the holidays, he presented me with a pull-along grocery cart full of stuff—items from the list—and proposed. Obviously I married the guy!
MAUREEN: Love that story :) What is something that not a lot of people know about you but you WISH more people COULD know?
DANIELLE: Well, I can be funny. I think it comes across in my writing, but you have to know me really, really well, I think, before you see it from me in person. I don’t purposely hide it, but I guess my sense of humor is shy—it only comes out in the right mix of circumstances.
MAUREEN: Which of your characters would you most/least to invite to dinner, and why?
DANIELLE: I would probably like to have Erik to dinner. But I would be suspicious of my motives if I did so. Mara’s mom would probably be the one I’d least want to have dinner with, though her dad is a close second, because they are just atrocious parents.
MAUREEN: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
DANIELLE:Yes, I read them and I do pay attention, particularly if someone has taken the time to write a well-balanced, thoughtful review. But if someone just didn’t “get” my work and didn’t like anything about it and is trashing it across the board, I have to just shrug that off because there’s nothing helpful or positive to glean from it. Fortunately I’ve very rarely come across that kind of review.
GOTTA ASK -- GOTTA ANSWER ☺
MAUREEN: Mara, your main character is a visual artist. Did you ever study art?
DANIELLE: Nope. Not only have I never studied art, I am pathetically lacking in talent. Already my five-year-old draws better than me. But I LOVE art and part of why I made Mara an artist is so I could experience being an artist. (Look for books with singers and mathematicians coming up in the future, since I’m lacking in talent in those areas too.)
DANIELLE ASKS READERS:
Without putting in any spoilers for people who have not read the book, I am always curious, when people have read Falling Under, about what they think is going to happen to Mara in the future. I’m also interested in how people perceive the tone of Falling Under. Some readers comment on the intensity of it, some on the “dark” aspects, but I also have the occasional person commenting on how funny it is. It really feels like it’s different for every reader.
Danielle will give a free e-book copy of Falling Under to a random commenter on this post. Comment must be made by November 1, 2011 and will be drawn using random.org. Prize will be awarded via a Smashwords gift certificate.
KEEP IN TOUCH WITH DANIELLE HERE: