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
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
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
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
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!
Over at Kirkus: Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman
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