Sep 12, 2008


Today, dear readers, I'd like to introduce you to Danielle Younge-Ullman. I met her via the delightful Debutante Ball. And, now she's here to visit. Danielle has a BA in English from McGill, has worked as a professional actor in Toronto, and has completed two novels and three plays. Her play, 7 Acts of Intercourse, debuted at Toronto's SummerWorks Festival in 2005 and her debut novel, Falling Under, has just come into the world. She lives in Toronto with her husband, daughter and dog. Please welcome Danielle Younge-Ullman.

Guth: Tell us what you write, what you have written and how you do it?

My debut novel is called Falling Under, and it’s about a reclusive (read agoraphobic) young artist whose carefully constructed world starts to crumble when she falls in love. The story follows her as she throws herself back into “normal” life with no preparation, therapy, etc, which of course brings on all kinds of problems and sometimes-funny, sometimes no-so-funny neuroses. The story of her tumultuous childhood and teenage years, told in second person, is woven into the present day story and of course the whole thing builds to some big revelations and the choices she has to make about her past and moving forward.

The writing is kind of literary and edgy, with elements of women’s fiction mixed in with my love of experimenting with words and the rhythm of language, which I got from studying classical theatre and being a (mostly miserable) actor throughout my twenties. Oh, and there’s a lot of sex in the book, of the fraught, intense variety—people seem to be responding to that.

I wrote one book before Falling Under—a book that will remain in my drawer—and I’ve also written three plays. My one-act, 7 Acts of Intercourse, was produced at Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival in 2005. I would like to get back to writing plays at some point, but fiction is my focus for now.

How do I do it? Painfully! Honestly, I have a messy process that involves tons of outlining, followed by writing until I’ve gone disastrously off course, getting stuck, re-doing the outline, writing again until I’m so far off the map, I have no idea what I’m doing, writing yet another outline based on the new information…and on and on, until the book is done. I have a deep envy of those who have a smoother, more organized process.

Guth: What grand things are next for you? What would you, we're talking dream gigs and adventures here, love to be next for you?

Well, due to the torturous nature of my “process” (see above) my grandest dream at the moment is to finish my next book.

Really though, I’d love the chance to hole myself up somewhere beautiful for a month or two and write all day, every day, coming out only to eat, walk, do yoga and spend time with my family. This would, however, require full time child-care, a dog walker and a host of other factors I can’t quite imagine pulling together at the moment.

On the flip side, I have a dream of doing a book tour across North America with my husband, daughter and dog in an Airstream (I love those silver bullets, but I am an urban girl with zero trailer experience…). In my dream, we can actually hire someone to drive it for us and we go to a ton of funky, tiny book stores (as well as the big ones) all across Canada and the U.S. and write articles about the whole process which are bought by the New York Times. Also in this dream, I get to meet in person the many amazing readers and writers I’ve come to “know” online.

If I could do both of these things, my introvert and extrovert sides would each get what they want!

Ooh, one more thing: I’d like to do a project using more than one form of writing and or media—ie playwriting and/or performance with literature, fiction with non-fiction, literature with painting and/or music…I’m not sure what that would be, but I’m looking for it.

Guth: What Smiths or Morrissey song or lyric sums it up for you right now?

Anything is hard to find When you will not open your eyes When will you accept yourself?

Now, you know what to do next, readers dear. Head over to Good Reads, then to Shelfari and then over to LibraryThing and claim and rate her books and show her some love. Also, swing by her website and look at all of the wonderfulness over there, and check back often to see when she'll be where. And, when you hear that she is reading in a place near you, do try your best to attend.

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