Author Interview: Julianna Baggott author of Pure

Can you tell me a little about yourself and your writing career so far?

Well, PURE is a huge departure for me, the collision of my wildest impulses. I've published 17 books -- some of which are under the pen names N.E. Bode and Bridget Asher, as well as three collections of poetry. I've also published social and political commentary in The New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, International Herald Tribune, ... I need to write. It's how I process the unwieldy world around me.

Can you tell us a little about Pure the first book in the Pure Trilogy?

Well, it's a post-apocalyptic, dystopian thriller. It's set after the detonations which have caused fusings. The main character -- now a 16 year old girl -- was holding a doll at the time of the detonations and the doll-head fused to her fist. Another character has birds embedded in his back. Another was doubling his brother on his bike and now, fused, he must carry his brother on his back for the rest of his life. There's also another character -- a "Pure" -- who's survived the detonations in a nearby Dome. These characters lives collide and intertwine and those elements make the book a thriller -- as well as the brutal landscape.

Where did you get the idea for Pure?

There's never just one idea but many. For one thing, I have four kids. And when holding infants -- for years on end -- it sometimes feels like they're fused to your body. The dollhead fist first appeared in an odd fabulist short story -- in the vein of Aimee Bender. The character wouldn't leave my mind and I wanted to write something with a big cinematic landscape. Eventually, I realized the world in which she belonged ... and why.

The cover for Pure (US) is beautiful. Who designed it and did you have much say in the designing of the cover?

I'm assuming the blue butterfly cover. (Different countries will have different covers.) The art department at Hachette created the cover. The photographer is amazing , and the mechanical butterfly on the back cover was created by Mike Libby ( Luckily, I didn't have to have much say in the cover. I loved it.

Why should we read Pure?

This is a hard question, not because I don't believe you should read PURE, but because saying you should feels like I'm touting it over all other books in literature. So I'm going to pretend that's not how my brain is interpreting the question, and I'm going to answer that I wanted to write something that was ambitiously cinematic in landscape and narrative scope, but something that was also intimate and hopefully poetic and imagistic. I hope I have and I hope you want to read it. I also wanted something that would resonate with the actual world. I hope that this work draws readers to true accounts of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, horrors we can't afford to forget.

Some fun questions!

Favourite book as a child and why? I loved Roald Dahl.

Favourite book as a teenager and why? I loved plays, actually, and went to a lot of theater. I loved TRUE WEST, YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU, MAMET. I was smitten by CANNERY ROW, a language thing, and mysteries. At 17, I read 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE and that was it for me. I was in deep.

A book you have read that has taught you a lesson and why? I don't know that I think of books in terms of lessons learned. I value any book that creates a real character -- so believable and true that you can't deny that humanity. This deepens our empathy -- for everyone -- and bleeds over into every day life.

A book/author you would reccommend to my readers? You likely know your Atwood, but maybe try her poems. Not as well known, and well worth it.

Pure is avaiable to buy now! I am currently reading Pure look out for my review in March!

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Pure: The Inner Circle:

1 comment

  1. Great post I really enjoyed Pure so it's fun to get to know Julianna and how she came up with such a unique world!