Danielle Younge-Ullman, one of my debut authors from 2008, proved totally fearless in her first novel, Falling Under. Writing with raw intensity, Danielle evoked feelings that are still remembered almost nine years later. Unfortunately, that review/presentation floats around the depths of cyberspace as explained in the introduction to Eileen Cook in a Q & A Profile.
During my retirement from book blogging, Lola Carlyle’s 12 Step Romance was published and today, Tuesday, February 21st, the author’s third novel, Everything Beautiful Is Not Ruined hits bookstore shelves and downloads on ereaders everywhere.
Although categorized in the YA genre, the book crosses over into contemporary fiction as the (Toronto) National Post claims, “Younge-Ullman writes her guts out, hurtling ahead, pedal to the floor. The result is a gripping story, crackling with energy.”
So who is this author?
Danielle Younge-Ullman’s “official” Bio:
Danielle Younge-Ullman is the author of the YA novels, EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED, and LOLA CARLYLE’S 12 STEP ROMANCE, and of the adult novel, FALLING UNDER. Danielle studied English and Theater at McGill University in Montreal, then worked as a professional actor for ten years. This was character-building time during which she held a wild variety of acting and non-acting jobs -— everything from working on the stage and in independent films, to dubbing English voices for Japanese TV, to temping, to teaching Pilates. She now lives with her husband and two daughters in an old house in Toronto.
Now let’s get up-close and personal with Danielle’s Q & A
Q. How would you describe your life in 8 words?
A. Full, chaotic, creative, challenging, warm, intense, joyous, funny.
Q. What is your motto or maxim?
A. May the force be with you.
Q. How would you describe perfect happiness?
A. Long hours in a comfy chair with a great book, snacks, and my loved ones nearby…ideally with their own books and snacks, even more ideally after a morning of skiing or swimming.
Q. What’s your greatest fear?
A.Q. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
A. Spain or Italy, in a little villa or Parador (historic buildings turned into government run hotels all through Spain and Portugal–Portugal would be great, too) or on a mountain top with great skiing.
Q. With whom in history do you most identify?
A. Always the artists, and of course the women, but no particular figure.
Q. Which living person do you most admire?
A. I’m really digging J.K. Rowling these days. Also the Dalai Lama. (But my husband just pointed at himself when I asked him for ideas so…a three-way tie?)
Q. What are your most overused words or phrases?
A. I had to cut many variations of “kind of” when I was line editing EVERYTHING BEAUTIFUL IS NOT RUINED.
Q. If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
A.Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Professionally, I would say this new book. Personally, my nearly 15-year marriage, and my two darling daughters–not so much having them in the first place, but (hopefully) raising them to be great people.
Q. What’s your greatest flaw?
A. Freezing/shutting down in the face of conflict.
Q. What’s your best quality?
A. Hard to say. I am warm and also a good listener, and I’m good at seeing both sides of an issue. (Husband says “decisive” and “empathetic”.)
Q. What do you regret most?
A. Every time I go down the road of regretting something, I then wonder if changing it would change where I’m at now–particularly if it would change who I’m married to and the children we have, and that stops me from feeling regret most of the time. But if I’ve hurt someone or wronged them, I can’t help regretting that. I do really wish I’d worn my headgear the first time I had braces, which would have prevented me from having to have them again. (And I think that’s a safe regret–doubt it would have changed the course of my life much…)
Q. If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
A. I would still be me, but super me–the best me, having accomplished all the things I’m always trying to accomplish…and I would add that magic healing power to the mix.
Q. What trait is most noticeable about you?
A. I have no idea! Shortness? Long, reddish hair?
Q. Who is your favorite fictional hero?
A: Garp from The World According to Garp, Anne from Anne of Green Gables, Count Alexander Rostov in A Gentleman in Moscow.
Q. Who is your favorite fictional villain?
A. Iago, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, Uriah Heap from David Copperfield
Q. If you could meet any athlete, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
A. Hmm. I admire many athletes but don’t have a big desire to meet any of them, as I suspect I would turn into a stammering dork. But…for the sake of my mom, I’d meet Wayne Gretsky, and I would tell him how much she has always admired him for being such a good guy.
Q. What is your biggest pet peeve?
A. Narcissism tied with cruelty. In the more petty category: people assuming I am “free” because I work from home. Even pettier: loud eating of chips or popcorn during quiet scenes of a movie or TV show.
Q. What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
A. Reading! But I’m also very fond of skiing, swimming, taking long walks in the city.
Q. What’s your fantasy profession?
A. Writer. (Except in my fantasy writing career it’s easier, more lucrative, and I am forced to travel to many exotic places for research.) Also, again, if I could be a writer/magic healer that would be fantastic.
Q. What are 3 personal qualities most important to you?
A. Kindness, sense of humor grit.
Q. If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
Q. What are your 5 favorite songs?
A. Never Doubt I Love by Melanie Doane, I Would Die For You by Prince, When Doves Cry by Prince, Over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz, Halleluja by Leonard Cohen
Q. What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
A. (Only 5? Not fair! Unable to comply…sorry…) Fugitive Pieces by Anne Michaels, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Until I Find You by John Irving, Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, What’s Bred in the Bone by Robertson Davies, The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman…okay, I’ll stop…but I don’t have a top 5, maybe more like a top 20.