Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Author Interview with Julia Tannenbaum

We were lucky to interview Julia Tannenbaum after recently sharing about her debut book Changing Ways. How exciting to read a YA book that is actually written by someone in high school! We hope you enjoy learning more about the story behind the story. 

What inspired you to write Changing Ways?

Changing Ways was inspired by my struggles with mental illness. In eighth grade, I was battling an
eating disorder and depression. I was unable to talk about what I was going through and suffered in silence until I discovered writing. Writing became my voice and my escape. Without writing, I honestly don’t know if I would have found the strength to commit to recovery. Five years later, I decided I wanted to use my passion to help other people in the way that it helped me. I wanted to create a realistic, authentic story to spread awareness and understanding of mental illness. So that’s what I did.

How long did it take you to write Changing Ways?
It look me a little over a year to write Changing Ways. I started writing it over the summer of 2017, when my family was visiting a friend in California. I finished six months later, and then spent six more months editing until it was ready for publication.

What is your writing process like? Do you listen to music? Write in a special place? Edit as you go or write and then edit?

I’m a disorganized writer. I rarely write in chronological order; instead, I jump around a lot and cut and paste as I go. I usually wait until I’ve finished the entire manuscript to begin editing, although I do reread scenes and chapters along the way to make sure they flow. I love listening to music, as it helps me get in the right mindset. When I’m writing, I need quiet, and therefore do most of my work in my office.

What are some of your favorite books from childhood? Were there any specific authors who inspired you?

I’ve always been an avid reader. I used to go through at least two books a week. My favorite author is J.K. Rowling. She’s such an inspiration to me with her writing, success, and ability to overcome adversity.

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?

California. I was born there, so I’d love to move back when I’m older. I’m not a fan of winter and tend to hole up in my house when it’s cold outside—my moms can attest to that.

If you could befriend a character from your book, who would you befriend? Why?

I’d befriend Grace’s best friend, Lou, in a heartbeat. While a lot of Changing Ways is based on my own experiences, unfortunately, she isn’t. I’d love to have a friend like her; someone who accepts me for who I am, supports me in tough times, and just makes me smile.

Is there anything you’ve learned along your path to publication that you would like to share with new writers?

I’d encourage new writers to not be afraid to reach out for help. I’m self-taught, so initially, I was reluctant to let other people in. I was convinced that I could write and publish Changing Ways on my own, but over time, I realized that to make my book as best as possible, I needed to swallow my pride and get help. Looking back now, if it weren’t for my amazing team of editors, mentors, and marketers, Changing Ways certainly wouldn’t be in the place it is today.

Where can we purchase your book?

My book is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Changing Ways~ A YA Book By Julia Tannenbaum


Growing up sucks. Struggling to cope with the constant stress of school, her mother, and her confusing social life, sixteen-year-old Grace Edwards finds sanity in the most destructive of ways: dieting and self-harming. But just when Grace thinks she has everything under control, a classmate catches her cutting in the girls’ locker room, and Grace’s entire life is flipped upside down. Now she’s faced with the unthinkable – a stint in a psych ward with kids who seem so much worse than she is. After all, she’s not sick. She’s totally okay. She’ll never do it again. But the longer Grace stays, the more she realizes that the kids in the ward aren’t that different from her. Slowly Grace comes to terms with her mental illness, but as her discharge date crawls closer, she knows that the outside world is an unpredictable place . . . and one which whispers temptations about hidden food, dangerous objects, and failure to stay in recovery. ~Amazon

MEET THE AUTHORJulia Tannenbaum discovered her love for writing when she was thirteen, and since then has been featured in the anthologies Dear Mr. President, Girls Write the World, and Inside My World. Drawing from personal experiences, she often incorporates her struggles with mental illness into her fictional work. She is a currently a high school senior and lives in West Hartford, Connecticut with her family and four cats. Changing Ways is her debut novel.

We are so excited to feature Julia Tannenbaum on our blog and were lucky enough to interview her. We'll be sharing our interview with readers soon!

Has anyone else read Changing Ways by Julia Tannenbaum? Or have you read another A book written by a teen?  We'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Painting Mercy Release! (Orla's Canvas Book 2)

"Taking as her canvas the Civil Rights era in Louisiana, Mary Donnarumma Sharnick tells the affecting story of Orla, a remarkable young heroine with the soul of an artist. The novel is both a gripping look into a historic moment in American culture and a poignant coming-of-age story readers won't forget." - Chantel Acevedo, author of The Distant Marvels

Narrated by eleven-year-old Orla Gwen Gleason, Orla's Canvas opens on Easter Sunday, in St. Suplice, Louisiana, a "misspelled town" north of New Orleans, and traces Orla's dawning realization that all is not as it seems in her personal life or in the life of her community. The death of St. Suplice's doyenne, Mrs. Bellefleur Dubois Castleberry, for whom Orla's mother keeps house, reveals Orla's true paternity, shatters her trust in her beloved mother, and exposes her to the harsh realities of class and race in the Civil Rights-era South. When the Klan learns of Mrs. Castleberry's collaboration with the local Negro minister and Archbishop Rummel to integrate the parochial school, violence fractures St. Suplice's vulnerable stability. The brutality Orla witnesses at summer's end awakens her to life's tenuous fragility. Like the South in which she lives, she suffers the turbulence of changing times. Smart, resilient, and fiercely determined to make sense of her pain, Orla paints chaos into beauty, documenting both horror and grace, discovering herself at last through her art. ~Amazon

"Painting Mercy is emotionally resonant and a beautifully drawn portrait of complex, all too human characters grappling with the very notions of family, love, and home." -- Tom Santopietro, author of Why To Kill a Mockingbird Matters .

In Painting Mercy, the sequel to prize-winning Orla’s Canvas, Orla, now twenty-four, has been studying and painting in New York City. It is 1975. Saigon has fallen to the Communists, and Vietnamese refugees have been invited to settle in New Orleans by Archbishop Hannan, a former paratrooper and military chaplain in WW II. Orla’s childhood friend and forever confidant, Tad Charbonneau, is practicing immigration law in New Orleans, where he mitigates challenging adoption cases involving children, many of them bi-racial, recently airlifted from Saigon and in need of new families. On her way back home for Katie Cowles’ wedding and a summer painting in misspelled St. Suplice, Orla reconnects with Tad and contemplates her future. While she anticipates marriage and family with her undisputed soul mate, she discovers upsetting news about Tad’s sexuality and learns that her forty-three-year-old mother is pregnant. Adding to her troubling personal revelations, Orla becomes involved in the devastating costs of war for former GI and Katie’s brother Denny Cowles and Mercy Cleveland, a Vietnamese orphan who eventually becomes as essential to Orla as her art. Orla once again calls upon her art to make sense of loss and gain. Through her craft she reimagines how Love and Home might look, finally charting a future for herself she had not previously considered possible. ~Amazon

"Mary Sharnick reveals the true nature of an artist's heart, exposing the contrast of the human experience through the eyes of a young woman swept up in the scene." ~ Jess Haight, The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow

About the Author: Mary writes fiction and memoir. She mentors aspiring writers from middle-school to post-university levels, both on campuses and in private venues. Prize-winning ORLA'S CANVAS, Mary's first book with Penmore Press (2015), leads a quartet of novels in the ORLA PAINTS series. The second, PAINTING MERCY, was released by Penmore in September of 2018. Mary is presently researching for books three and four, THE CONTESSA'S EASEL and EN PLEIN AIR.  Mary's first two novels, THIRST and PLAGUED, both historicals set in the Venetian lagoon, were published by Fireship Press in 2012 and 2014, respectively. THIRST is being translated to the operatic stage by composer Gerard Chiusano and librettists Mary Chiusano and Bob Cutrofello. 
An avid Italophile, Mary enjoys researching on site in the country she considers her second home. Contact Mary at