Tuesday, June 12, 2012

YA Author Interview: Julianna Baggott

Please enjoy my interview with the VERY talented author Julianna Baggott.
ELLZ: Pure, your post-apocalyptic novel, introduces readers to Pressia Belze. How would you describe your heroine?
JB: Pressia knows only this ashen post-apocalyptic world, but she finds beauty in it. That was one of the great challenges and joys of writing from her perspective. What endures the apocalypse? Love, hope, art, faith, kindness? She is also physically haunted by the detonations, which caused fusings. Pressia was holding a doll when the bombs hit and so her hand is fused to the head of a doll.
ELLZ: Where did you get your inspiration to write Pure?
JB: It's never one golden moment of light and insight. It's always an accumulation of many details, images, ideas, notions, dreams, nightmares, fears, desires, the muddy silt of the subconscious... PURE also rose up out of failure. There short stories that simply weren't working, though the characters wouldn't go away. And there was restlessness. I wanted to do something much bigger and more ambitious than my previous books. A convergence of all of these disparate impulses. 
ELLZ: Do you anticipate Pure to be a stand-alone or a series?
JB: It's the first in a proposed trilogy. FUSE will be published this time next year.
ELLZ: Aside from being an accomplished author with 17 published books under your belt, you are a poet and a professor. Has this been an aspiration of yours since you were young or did your realize your potential along the way?
JB: At ten, I wanted to be a playwright. At 21, I was only interested in being a short story writer. At 26, I started to write poems. At 29, I wrote my first novel. A few years ago, I started to write a lot of essays, social and political commentary. I've written screenplays along the way. As for teaching, I've always been the type. I feel of use when I'm teaching in an immediate way that I don't have while writing. 

ELLZ: You write a variety of genres. Do you find it difficult to change your "voice"? Do you do much research for your books?
JB: The voice comes first and the decision of what genre comes much much later. It's surprising how very much research a novel will take -- and the very strange places it lands you. I love research because it manhandles plot. It's a great bully and inspiration. 

Julianna, thank you for taking the time to visit with me today. Congratulations on the release of PURE and I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

For more information, visit Julianna Baggott at her website.
Missed my review of Pure? You can find it here!

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