Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Julie Pennell Interview - The Young Wives Club

Photo Content from Julie Pennell

Julie Pennell grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she ate her weight in crawfish, used the word “y’all” a lot, and wrote a weekly Teen Scene column for the local paper. After graduating with a degree in journalism from Louisiana Tech University, she moved to New York City to work at Seventeen magazine and later Alloy Entertainment as a digital editor. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and is a regular online contributor to Teen Vogue, TODAY, and The Nest, among other publications. The Young Wives Club is her first novel.


What was your first introduction to literature?
I’ve loved books my whole life. My mom says that I made her read me multiple books a night when I was little. When I got older, I used to steal my older sister’s Baby-Sitters Club books. I think that was the first series that made me want to become a writer.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you? 
I wrote The Young Wives Club while living in Oxford, England, for a year. My husband got the opportunity to do research there so I quit my full-time job and joined him. It was truly magical. I’d write in gardens full of poppies and bluebells, old pubs, and cafés that looked out onto buildings from the 1600s! Little did anyone know I was writing scenes about crawfish and pickup trucks ;)

When did you write your first book and how old were you? 
The Young Wives Club is my first novel and I started writing it when I was 29. I’ve attempted a couple of other books before – I started writing one when I was a little girl called “Paradise Pink” (title inspired by a paint chip I found at Home Depot with my mom). It was about a little girl who wanted to redecorate her bedroom, but I didn’t get too far. I guess she never got her new bedroom either.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school? 
In college, my journalism professor used to run around the room shouting, “Show me, don’t tell me,” and I recite that phrase to myself at least once a day while I’m writing.

Did you learn anything from writing THE YOUNG WIVES CLUB and what was it? 
That writer’s block is a real thing and it comes when you’re on a major deadline! Haha! (But seriously…)

For those who are unfamiliar with Laura, how would you introduce her? 
Laura is a sweet girl who I think has her head in the cloud sometimes. Her heart is pure and she wants that perfect life, but she soon learns that what she thought were the right choices might be her downfall.

What part of Madison did you enjoy writing the most? 
Madison says whatever is on her mind, and it’s usually really snarky. I had so much fun with her lines – maybe because she gets to say what I wish I could say to other people sometimes – ha! I also loved watching her grow and mature throughout the book.

If you could introduce Gabrielle to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
Oh man, that’s a tough one. I think Gabrielle needs some guidance, especially in the beginning of the book. I’d probably put her with a motherly figure, someone who could give her good advice and steer her in the right direction. I know Tami Taylor from Friday Night Lights isn’t a book character, but she’d be perfect!

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know the most while writing THE YOUNG WIVES CLUB
Definitely the four main characters, Laura, Madison, Claire, and Gabby. I felt like these girls could be my friends in real life. I laughed with them, cried with them… cringed with them. I know they’re just figments of my imagination, but they felt so real!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? 
I’m so lucky that I’ve made a lot of writer friends throughout my career and I cherish all of their advice and support. So I like to think I have many mentors, and I’m so grateful for all of them.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be? 
There’s a story in every person. Pick up a pen and write it.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heartbreak, or having never loved at all? 
I’m a Libra and therefore a total romantic. I’d pick love with heartbreak every time. Even though breakups hurt like hell, we learn from every relationship, and each one makes us stronger.

When was the last time you cried? 
Every time I watch This Is Us. That show makes me ugly cry! It’s so good though.

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager? 
I really loved being a teen in the 90s – the boy bands were top notch and the teen magazines were in their prime. My walls plastered with those Tiger Beat posters. What a time to be alive!

What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen? 
My book cover! I got tears in my eyes when my publisher showed me the final copy. Besides the fact that it’s so delicious (I mean, that cake – right?!), I’ve wanted this to happen for so long that it felt like I was looking at a tangible version of a dream.

In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives.

Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.


“This sweet (but not too sweet) page-turning debut will appeal to fans of warm southern women’s fiction from authors like Rebecca Wells and Mary Kay Andrews. A really delightful book.” Booklist

“Pennell's debut novel shimmers with lively banter and the glitter of these young women's dreams…A light novel in which women take charge of their own happily-ever-afters.” Kirkus

"The Young Wives Club is as delicious as its cover! A heartwarming story about friendship, heartache, and self-discovery set in the kind of small Southern town I wish I'd grown up in. You will find yourself rooting for Claire, Laura, Madison, and Gabby as they navigate from girlhood to womanhood, learning what to keep, and what to leave behind. I loved this book!" ―Karen White, New York Times Bestselling Author of Spinning the Moon

"Four friends whose lives are varying degrees of perfect lean on each other in tiny Toulouse, Louisiana . . . It's uplifting to watch each woman come into her own–some via forgiveness, some via romance. This sweet (but not too sweet) page-turning debut will appeal to fans of warm southern women's fiction like Rebecca Wells and Mary Kay Andrews. A really delightful book." Booklist

"So satisfying—lots of laughing and crying! A wonderful read!" ―Amy Poeppel, author of SMALL ADMISSIONS

You can purchase The Young Wives Club at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you JULIE PENNELL for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell.


  1. My first airplane ride was to Florida with my mom to help my sick grandma.

  2. My first airplane ride was to Texas, as a little girl, to go visit my family. :)

  3. My first airplane trip was to Boston when I was in college, I think.

  4. I flew into Sydney to visit my sister.

  5. My first plane ride was in my dad's 2 seater Citabria that could go upside down, which he didn't do. He was a fair weather pilot and I had to watch for other planes going to Columbus to take 2 days of State Boards after graduation from nursing school.