Today, I’d like to welcome bestselling author Julianna Baggott, whose YA post-apocalyptic novel, Pure, came out last month and has generated a lot of buzz—including the acquisition of the film rights by Fox. It’s in my TBR pile, and I’m looking forward to reading it. You know how I like a good post-apocalyptic tale. Julianna also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode, and has published 17 books over the past ten years, with almost 50 foreign editions of her novels in print. She lives in Florida, where she’s an associate professor of creative writing at Florida State University.
Want a copy of Pure for yourself? Read on…
ABOUT PURE: Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost–how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run. . . . Those who escaped the apocalypse are unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss–maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her. … When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again
Now, let’s hear from Julianna!
Give us the “elevator pitch” for Pure:
After the apocalypse, the lives of a 16-year-old girl with a doll-head fused to her fist and a Pure boy who’s survived unmarked in a Dome collide in a novel about haves and have-nots.
It’s late in the book. It has to do with El Capitan, whose brother Helmud is fused to his back. If you’ve read the book, you’ll know, immediately, of what I speak.
Hardest scene to write:
The battle with Special Forces in the woods. Seriously, I’m so bad at math that it was hard to keep tally of the death toll.
What’s on your nightstand or top of your TBR pile:
I’m reading A GROWN UP KIND OF PRETTY, THE ORPHAN MASTER’S SON, THE MUSEUM OF ACCIDENTS, and BUSY MONSTERS.
Favorite book when you were a child:
It was really the height of Little House and I loved me some bonnets. But I’d have to say it was Dahl from the very start – the opening of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH forever imprinted on the wet cement of my cells.
Book you’re an evangelist for:
MOTHER OF PEARL by Mary Morrissey. I want it back in print, damn-it.
Book you’ve bought for the cover:
THE SWIMMING POOL – just last year.
Book that changed your life:
100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE, as a novelist, and WELLSPRING, as a poet.
Favorite line from a book:
My mother once quoted Shakespeare to her father while he was watering the garden. He was illiterate. She said, “Jacond day stands tiptoe upon the misty mountaintops.” And he thought about it, saw it in his mind, I suppose, and said it was beautiful, and she realized all he’d missed.
Book you most want to read again for the first time:
I actually started rereading 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE recently and it wasn’t the same. Everything was disorienting, like Marquez had rewritten the book while I wasn’t looking. I have a hard time rereading books and rewatching movies. A deep restlessness rises up in my bones and sometimes I have to pace.
Most horrifying moment while reading a book:
IT (by Stephen King) – a clown, right? I mean, it’s just a clown. You whistle. La la la la, no biggie. And then, what the hell? You slam it shut and hope for the fear to subside.
Favorite book about books or writing:
I don’t really read these. Certainly haven’t read any stem to stern. I believe in process, though, in knowing it deeply, and I admire Butler’s take on it in FROM WHERE YOU DREAM, and I love parts of King’s ON WRITING; I’ve read hunks of it and all out of order, one of those. I wrote a writerly boot camp that’s free for writers. It’s explained here and then you can follow it daily for a month, if you like the push-ups of it all.
Thanks, Julianna! Want to get a copy of Pure? Leave a comment and ‘fess up—you, too, find clowns creepy, don’t you? I never gave clowns much thought until I also read Stephen King’s It. OMG, Pennywise the Clown. You know the rest of the drill. One entry for comment, another for blog follow, a third for a Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and a fourth for a Tweet or Retweet. Be sure to include your email. Now…Go forth and comment!