Friday, August 5, 2011

Author Interview: Julianna Baggott previews Pure

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interviewed over 20 authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13.  These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works.  Enjoy!

Photo credit: Laura Ciociola

PURE is an adult novel that's already getting tons of buzz, and Author Julianna Baggott is here today to add to that buzz with her preview.  The book is due to drop on February 8, 2012 (Grand Central Publishing/Hachette) and film rights have been optioned.

Here's the summary:

A dystopian novel about a society of haves, who escaped an apocalypse in a futuristic dome-covered city, and have-nots, who survived the nearly destroyed outside world. The have-nots are almost entirely marked or mutated in some manner. 

PURE centers around the story of Pressia, a 16-year-old survivor with a doll’s head fused into her left hand, and Partridge, an unmarked Pure who has escaped the Dome to find his mother, certain that she has survived the cataclysm.

The cover is mighty pretty:

And now ... onto the interview.

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?

People are drawn to compelling stories. We want conflict and resilience. We want to have hope. You can't get to hope without going through some hopelessness. There's no greater way to come to believe in resilience than knowing desperation. In other words, people want darkness because they want to truly appreciate light.  

If PURE had a theme song, what would it be and why? 
For me, while gearing up to write, I like the dark industrial sounds of The Smiths "How Soon is Now?" But a friend of ours saw the cover and sent me a few compositions from Yoko Shimomura from the video game "Kingdom Hearts," pieces like "Dive into the Heart," "Hollow Bastion," and, aptly, "End of the World," beautiful, moody, sweeping. 

What fictional character from another book would Pressia chose as her best friend and why?
I hadn't really thought of this really clearly and consciously, I don't think, until this moment -- and she isn't a fictional character, but we've read her words and the'vey moved us. She's made a huge impression on recent generations -- another girl from a book who had to hide. Anne Frank. (Of course, having Katniss as a bad ass on your side would always help.) 

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why? 
I haven't read as widely in this genre as you and your readers have. I wrote a novel about characters I loved and the writers I've loved for a long time helped me create this world -- from Aimee Bender to Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Margaret Atwood to Italo Calvino, Fred Chappell and Lewis Nordan. I recently did a YA summer reading round-up for NPR. Two of those titles deserve a much larger readership: Flip by Martyn Bedford and Karma by Cathy Ostlere. Neither are dystopic but both are dark and wild. 

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends? (you know, in case it ends next year)
Damn. That's a really brutal question. I suppose I'd like to be part of the resistance -- you know, the group that tries to stop the end of the world. That feels like a good cause. 

How does your novel stand out from other dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction out there?
Well, the world of PURE comes from the dark finery of my subconscious, the twisted parts of my own imagination, the things lodged in my memory, my take on the dystopic elements of our current world. It's mine, I guess, and so it is what it is. I hope it charges the imaginations of my readers -- contagiously. 

Visit the PURE preview website (includes excerpt of the first 7 pages)
Visit Julianna's website
Follow Julianna on Twitter
Add PURE to your GoodReads wishlist


Hermana Tiffany Garner said...

Thanks for the interview! Definitely excited to read this now when it comes out!

Rachel said...

I'm very intrigued. I think I'll have to get my hands on a copy when it comes out.

Rachel- Endless Reading

Amanda said...

I'm reading this right now and it's interesting to get this insight at the same time.

(loving the book, by the way)

Anonymous said...

I've had this on my to-read list on Goodreads for a while now. February 2012 can't get here soon enough. Great interview :-)

Thanks for the excerpt!

Tez Miller said...

a doll's head fused into her left hand

Holy feck, I didn't know about this bit - now I really am desperate to read this!

Zibilee said...

Ok, the premise of this one is so interesting to me that I am going to have to get it when it comes out, and that bit about the doll's head? Well that is just wonderful and weird, and intrigues me even more!

Julianna Baggott said...

Thanks for the questions -- I had a blast with them!
(It says Bridget Asher -- but it's Baggott here.)

Michelle said...

I'm so struck by the fact that dystopian reads are often times the most hopeful.