Danielle Younge-Ulman

Today I'm extra super excited to introduce Danielle Younge-Ullman.

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. ;)


"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


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.


Danielle Younge-Ullman is a novelist, playwright and freelance writer. She took her BA in English, with a major in Theatre, at McGill University in Montreal. She then returned to her hometown of Toronto to work as an actor for ten years, before turning her attention to writing. Her one-act play, 7 Acts of Intercourse, debuted at Toronto's SummerWorks Festival in 2005. Danielle lives in Toronto with her husband, two daughters, and their dog, Finny. Falling Under is her first novel.


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.


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.)


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.


Website: http://www.danielleyoungeullman.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/DanielleYUllman


  1. Welcome to GLIAS Danielle. Much success on the re-release. I haven't read Falling Under, but I will answer that I always continue the story I've just finished in my head.

    And what a wonderful gift to give a different story to every person who reads your work. That's like giving each reader exactly what they want. Way to go!


  2. Thanks for posting, Angi! I also find the good stories stay with me, and I, in turn, want to stay with them.

  3. Thanks again for doing the interview, Danielle! It is interesting how different people read Falling Under differently. I'd say it's both intense and funny. It's been a while since I read it (must get on that!) but the scenes that stuck with me where both the ones where she's so clearly unable to face her feelings that she acts out in some slightly self-destructive way... and the scenes where the interplay between her and the other characters is bitingly funny.

  4. No problem, Maureen! I just realized, people should know they don't need an ereader to read an ebook--there are free Kindle apps that let you read on your computer, and the book can also be downloaded as a PDF, if that is what the winner wants.

  5. Danielle, I don't think Javert is a villian. Of course, I haven't read the book, just seen the musical. He's trying to uphold the law and isn't swayed by the fact that it's inconvenient for Valjean to obey.

    Thenardier is much more villainic. :)

  6. Good point about the multiple ways to read e-books!

  7. Abigail, you have a point. But he is SEEN as the villian (by some) and is definitely the major obstacle to the hero. I think I named him for the very reasons that you're stating, though--if Javert IS a villian, or serves the same purposes as a villian, he's a multi-layered and complicated one, which makes him a great character!

  8. Unfortunately, I have nothing to contribute since I have not read the book, but I have to say: AWESOME REVIEWS, DANIELLE!

  9. Maureen and Danielle, fabulous interview. Gosh, Danielle, when I read your reviews and I read the blurb, the book sounds intense. Love that you combine humor. Too dark would be painful. You probably used humor to lighten the mood at time. I can't wait to read it. The cover, the blurbs, Maureen's recommendation, can't wait to read it. Now... let's see if Google lets me sign in!


  10. Hi Donnell! Yes, humor is crucial, I think. And my sense of humor is at its best when things are at their worst, which translates well into fiction. Thanks for stopping by!

  11. The two most common types of home gyms are universal and free weight home gyms. Universal home gyms can be used to exercise every muscle group in the body, while free weight home gyms are usually less versatile. Universal home gyms on the average are more expensive and take up more space than free weight home gyms. Both universal and free weight models can be the best depending on what the consumer is looking for.

    MyoCalm MyoCalm

  12. Tampa is ranked as the largest seaport in the U.S.A. and consists of four counties namely Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hernando County. All types of housing units can be found in Tampa. tampa personal injury attorney