How Sisterhood Shaped My Writing by Julie Pennell


[Note from Frolic: We’re so excited to welcoem author Julie Pennell to the site today! She’s talking all things sisterhood. Take it away, Julie!]

Jo March in Little Women said it best: “I could never love anyone as I love my sisters.”

Growing up with my older sister Jill definitely had its memorable moments. I’ve got a scar on my forehead from the time she chased me around the coffee table (I think the mark gives me character.) She still gets beet red thinking back to the time I secretly led her high school boyfriend into the room while she was testing out our new karaoke machine (I’m sure it was her out-of-tune singing that made him fall in love with her, of course.) And I can always count on her to be brutally honest with me (sometimes to a fault, but always constructive.) 

No matter what we’ve done or said to each other in the past, though, I couldn’t imagine life without her. She is my best friend, and our relationship is something I’ll cherish forever. 

I think the bond of sisters is so special, which is why I chose to focus on it in my new novel, Louisiana Lucky.

The story follows three sisters who are all down on their luck and get a huge miracle when they win a mega lottery jackpot. There’s obviously a lot of celebrating in there (I mean, they win $204 million—pop the champagne!), but one of the things I hope readers will celebrate the most is the sisterhood depicted on the pages. 

While I love a good romance, don’t get me wrong, there’s something so heartwarming about reading a story about the relationship between women. When you can completely be yourself around each other, share secrets without fear of being judged, and make belly-laugh memories together, you know you’ve won the sisterhood jackpot. 

And sisterhood doesn’t have to be defined by blood either. Sisters can be formed outside of the family tree. 

When I moved from Louisiana to New York City after college, my out-of-state family became a group of nine other girls my age who were going through the same new experiences as I was. A decade later, all of us are now scattered across the country, and we still text each other regularly about everything from buying new houses or having new babies to how the Instacart shopper thought a pineapple was a good substitute for a banana. 

One thing I love about both my actual sister and my group of girlfriends is that no one has ever tried to deliberately hurt another. (I mean, yes, my sister gave me that scar on my forehead, but I like to believe it wasn’t on purpose.) 

And that’s my one personal rule when writing about sisters or friends, both in Louisiana Lucky and my first novel, The Young Wives Club: no one purposefully tries to bring another one down. While I know that sisters can be cruel to one another in real life and in literature, for me, I believe if that’s the case, they’re encompassing the spirit of enemies, not sisters. 

And right now, we need to uplift each other as much as possible. These days, women have enough to fight already. We don’t need to be fighting each other. 

Louisiana Lucky is my love letter to sisterhood, and I hope readers will come away with their own celebratory feelings of the supportive women in their own lives. 

About the Author:

Julie Pennell was born and raised in Louisiana. After graduating from college, she headed to New York to work at Seventeen magazine. She currently lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two young sons, and is a regular contributor to Her writing has also appeared in The Knot, In Style, and Refinery29. She is the author of The Young Wives Club and Louisiana Lucky.

Louisiana Lucky by Julie Pennell out now!

Lexi, Callie, and Hanna Breaux grew up in small-town Louisiana, and have always struggled to make ends meet. For years, they’ve been playing the lottery, fantasizing about how much better life would be if they had the money.

For Lexi, it means the perfect wedding; for Callie, it means having the courage to go after her career dreams; and for Hanna, it means buying a house that isn’t falling apart and sending her bullied son to private school. When the incredible happens and the Breaux sisters hit it big—$204 million dollars big—all their dreams come true. Or so they think. Because it’s actually not a cliché—money isn’t the answer to everything, and it often comes with problems of its own.

Heartfelt, engaging, and featuring characters you’ll root for from the first moment you meet them, Louisiana Lucky is a satisfying page-turner from a rising star in women’s fiction.

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