Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Julianna Baggott

Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode. She has published seventeen books over the last ten years.

After receiving her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Baggott published her first novel, Girl Talk, which was a national bestseller and was quickly followed by Boston Globe bestseller The Miss America Family, and then Boston Herald Book Club selection, The Madam, an historical novel based on the life of her grandmother. She co-wrote Which Brings Me to You with Steve Almond, a Kirkus Best Book of 2006.

Baggott's new novel is Pure, her first horror novel, which divides future humans into two classes: those cataclysmically merged with animals, toys, and other people, and the dome-dwelling, authoritarian “Pures.”

From her Q & A with Roxane Gay at The Rumpus:

Rumpus: Pure, your latest novel, feels very timely and is nothing if not a cautionary tale about the dangers of nuclear weapons. How did the idea for this trilogy come about?

Baggott: My childhood was marked by the great fear of nuclear holocaust. We practiced our Civil Defense Drills, lining up in hallways, curled to the floor, but we knew we’d die or, worse, survive only to suffer radiation and slow death. Pure comes from that deep well of fear—a renewed fear these days. Later in the drafting, I started doing research on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. When people say that Pure is too bleak for them, I refuse to apologize. What we’ve done to our fellow man is far more horrific than anything I wrote. That said, Pure isn’t about the apocalypse. It is about what endures—hope, faith, love.

Rumpus: I read that you wrote Pure for your daughter. Do you always write books toward someone in your life? How does that shape your writing?

Baggott: You want the greatest trick for writing a novel? Here it is: imagine urgently whispering your story into one person’s ear—and only one. This one visualization will clarify every word choice you make.

Rumpus: What does it take to write a dark story? Do you ever fear darkness in your work?

Baggott: I don’t know when I’m writing dark. I don’t know when I’m writing funny or even heartbreaking. I’m always just trying to...[read on]
Learn more about the book and author at Julianna Baggott's website and blog.

Baggott also writes under the pen names Bridget Asher and N.E. Bode.

The Page 69 Test: Bridget Asher's The Pretend Wife.

The Page 69 Test: Pure.

Writer Read: Julianna Baggott.

--Marshal Zeringue