Book Nerd Interview
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. Film rights for her forthcoming novel PURE have been acquired by Fox 2000. The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, written under pen name Asher, was published in spring 2011. There are approximately 50 foreign editions of her novels to date.
Julianna began publishing when she was twenty-two and sold her first novel while still in her twenties. After receiving her M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, she 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 Best Book of 2006 (Kirkus Reveiws) optioned by producer Richard Brown and adapted by Keith Bunin with Matthew Warchus set to direct.
Her Bridget Asher novels include The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, The Pretend Wife, My Husband's Sweethearts. More info can be found at her Bridget Asher blog.
She also writes bestselling novels for younger readers under the pen name N.E. Bode as well as under Julianna Baggott. The Anybodies trilogy was a People Magazine pick alongside David Sedaris and Bill Clinton, a Washington Post Book of the Week, a Girl's Life Top Ten, a Booksense selection, and was in development at Nickelodeon/Paramount; The Slippery Map (fall 2007), and the prequel to Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (2007), a movie starring Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman, and Jason Bateman. For two years, Bode was a recurring personality on XM Sirius Radio.
Julianna's Boston Red Sox novel The Prince of Fenway Park (HarperCollins), was published in spring 2009. It is on the Sunshine State Young Readers Awards List for 2011-2012.
The Ever Breath (Random House) was published in December, 2009.
Baggott also has a highly acclaimed career as a poet, having published three collections of poetry and having been published in the best literary publications in the country, including Poetry, The American Poetry Review, and Best American Poetry in 2001, 2011 and 2012.
Baggott's work has appeared in over a hundred publications, including the The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Glamour, Ms., Real Simple, and read on NPR's Here and Now, All Things Considered and Talk of the Nation. Her essays, stories, and poems are highly anthologized.
She is an associate professor at Florida State University's College of Motion Picture Arts.
In 2006, Baggott and her husband co-founded the nonprofit organization Kids in Need - Books in Deed, that focuses on literacy and getting free books to underprivileged children in the state of Florida.
I was a huge Roald Dahl fan. I love his version of odd.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I was once an excellent field hockey player.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
That the best education happens at your own dining room table.
What was your inspiration for Pure?
There were too many to count. The myth of inspiration is that it takes just one molecule for a whole world of a book to be born. Perhaps true for other writers. For me, it takes thousands ...
What part of Pressia did you enjoy writing the most?
I enjoyed finding her -- in that ashen cabinet with the doll-head fused to her fist. I knew that her grandfather was there with the fan lodged in his throat and his one stump. I just didn't know who they were or the world around them. My own grandfather was a double amputee from WWII. He had one stump above his knee and one below. His appearance in this book is a real gift for me as a writer.
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
FUSE comes out in February -- it's the follow up to PURE. There's a third book in the trilogy as well, BURN. I'm at work on that now.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
Always. It's why I can't open the pages and read them. And when I give readings I mark up the texts terribly.
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
One of my novels is based on the life of my grandmother. She read it and cried. She was sitting in a chair in the kitchen. It was hard for her to stand. I knelt down on the kitchen floor, and she held me, crying. She told me I'd gotten it right.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
I'm not good at lying. I'd find a way not to answer than to lie. Though, I think my SAT scores have gone up over time. I wonder what they really were.
Who was your first boyfriend?
He was named Kevin. He was a year older and played soccer. And had a fake tooth because it'd been knocked out by an older sibling, I think.
If I came to your house and looked in your closet/attic/basement, what’s the one thing that would surprise me the most?
Well, it's in our living room -- a full-sized headless gold-painted mannequin with beautiful ceramic body armor strapped together with leather. My 17 year old daughter is a sculptor and potter. She made it. It has a bony spine back and high collar and, well, it's striking.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
I was a bike messenger in NYC for a theater company for a very, very short time. Basically, my older sister was my boss. It was an internship and she had me get on her bike and run things to other offices. It was a disaster. People were yelling at me from cars. I hit a yuppie (this was back in the day when people used the term yuppie)... It was not my strong suit.
What book are you reading now?
A forthcoming YA novel by Leslie Stella. It's called Permanent Record.
Where can readers stalk you?
On Facebook -- http://www.facebook.com/JuliannaBaggott?ref=ts
On Twitter -- https://twitter.com/jcbaggott
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.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse 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.
There are two sides of the story. Pressia lives outside of the Dome and Partridge who lives inside. Now that someone has been setting off a series of atomic bombs, both of their worlds have been rocked. Pressia wants a life inside the Dome away from poverty, hunger, diseases, radioactive and the stable reminder that death is near, while Partridge dreams of freedom that he cannot obtain inside the Dome’s very strict rules. The plot is very intriguing and makes the reader’s brain go into full-gear.
Baggott’s description of this world is simply amazing and dynamic with magnificent and unforgettable characters. The plot introduced many twists that were shocking and made the book even more exciting to read. Pure is the perfect mix of romance, heartbreak, suspense, and adventure. Readers will end this book with an undying desire for the next installments in the series.