Thursday, May 5, 2011

Julianna Baggott

Julianna Baggott's latest novel, written under her pen name Bridget Asher, is The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted.

From her Q & A with Caroline Leavitt:

The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted is a novel about the curative powers of place. Do you consider yourself a writer who focuses on place? How does place figure into this novel and your work, in general?

When I read one of the first reviews of the novel -- from Kirkus -- I was struck by the phrase "unabashedly romantic." It seemed like a suitable commentary on the differences between American and French culture. Americans are, generally speaking, "bashedly" romantic; and the French are insistently romantic. The first sentence that came to me in writing this novel was "Grief is a love story told backwards." I wanted to tell an unabashedly romantic novel about that grief, about a woman finding herself again, returning to her senses.

One of the most important things about living somewhere foreign to you is that you can't take for granted what you're seeing, hearing, tasting. It's how we should always live -- no matter where we are -- fully awake to the world around us. But sometimes we shut down to that world. I wanted to describe a character opening up to it. France has always held a certain power over me. I started learning the language at ten when my father was considering a transfer to Geneva. My French is bawdy -- I learned most of it in Parisian bars when in my early twenties -- and I love the language and the food and their unabashedly romantic natures.

You write novels for adults, younger readers, collections of poetry, essays, under your own name as well as two pen names. Talk to us about genre-hopping and writing for different audiences.

Every genre has its burdens, and each demands all of my imaginative efforts. When you write a character over the course of a novel, you are engaging, deeply, in the practice of empathy. Whatever genre and for whatever...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Bridget Asher's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Pretend Wife.

--Marshal Zeringue