BLOG TOUR! Interview with Julianna Baggott, Author of Pure

Posted February 7, 2012 by Asheley in Uncategorized / 17 Comments

Author Julianna Baggott

Friends, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have Author Julianna Baggott stopping by the blog today to answer a few questions. I’ve been so fortunate to be able to read her latest novel, Pure, and I absolutely love it. 

re is the first book of a planned trilogy. 

(Read my review of Pure HERE.)

Julianna, thank you so much for stopping by today! 

1.   For those readers who may be on-the-fence or yet undecided about reading Pure, can you describe a little bit about the book? Perhaps explain slightly beyond the synopsis…for example about the Pures and the Wretches?  

JB: I’d tell them to listen to you, first and foremost! But let’s say this was happening at a cocktail party and you were across the room, talking to someone about something else, and I was left there with a mushroom puff and this question, I’d say, “It’s a post-apocalyptic thriller. The wretches who have survived the detonations are scarred, burned, and even fused … In fact, the main character is a 16 year old girl hiding in an ashen cabinet. When the Detonations hit she was a little girl, and her fist was fused to a doll head. There’s also a boy who’s survived in the Dome, unscathed, like the the other Pures. When he finds out that his martyred mother might be alive, he escapes the Dome to set out to find her and these two lives are set on a collision course.” And then I’d pop the mushroom puff in my mouth and, trying not to sound muffled and garbled, I’d wave you over and ask you to talk to this fence-sitter.

me: I think I could sway the fence-sitter! 

2.   I read on your facebook fan page (here) that you read the early pages of Pure to your daughter.  You go on to say, “She told me it was the best thing I’d ever written and that I had to write this novel.” Can you describe how that felt to you as an author – to hear that critique from your own daughter? 

JB: Well, she’s snarky. She doesn’t generally love what I write. And so her urging me to write this novel meant a lot to me. The book is dedicated to her. For Phoebe who made a bird of wire. 

3.   I’m a HUGE fan of the post-apocalyptic and dystopian genres, but I have to admit that I’ve never read anything quite like this before. How did you envision a world so dark and gripping, where people who were lucky enough to survive were unlucky enough to be fused with plastic, metal, animals, bushes, and anything else they were close to? It’s shockingly brilliant. 

JB: It’s hard to say where it ALL came from, but much of it first came from having children. Infants and little kids are called offspring but there are times when they just don’t spring off. They feel fused. I have a short story called “Baby Mouth,” and, not giving anything away, this idea recurs in the book, among the Mothers. Actually, I wrote a spree of stories where people, in a contemporary setting, were fused to things. One was a doll-head. That image kept returning even after the story itself didn’t work. And Pressia eventually arrived to claim it.

4.  Even though I loved this book so much, there were times when Pure was so horrifying that I couldn’t help but cringe and so grotesque that I had to turn away. Did you ever have to take a step back from all of the fusion and survival to recharge for a while…or were you so immersed in telling the story that it never really bothered you?   

JB: I researched Hiroshima and Nagasaki for this novel. I had to. I couldn’t ignore the real effects and the real history of the atomic bombs. As dark as PURE gets, it’s nothing compared to the real devastation, loss, horror, and terror of the truth, of history. The novel itself and the research both burrowed into my dream life so I would often fall asleep knowing that I was going somewhere dark and ashen. I was very relieved when that lifted.

me: Wow. I bet you were relieved. That’s incredible. 

5.   Books written in multiple POV (points-of-view) are some of my favorites…Is it any more difficult to write from two points of view rather than from the perspective of just one character? Also, what made you choose this particular story structure for Pure?  

JB: The more points of view the greater the challenge to keep moving forward. You risk telling the same thing from different perspectives, which, actually, is the entire point of some novels, but not PURE. I felt I needed all of the voices to tell the entire story, fully. The narrative makes those demands. Although one perspective would have been easier in many ways, it wouldn’t have told much of the story here at all. 

NOTE: Pure is written from more than two POV’s. This is something I discussed in my review. I used the word two for the sake of the question.

6.   There are a ton of things I love about this book, but I have to admit that my favorite is by far the world-building. What sort of bookish elements do you seek out when you are reading a good book?  

JB: Like you, I want those gifts of imagination, yes. It’s why I loved the first Harry Potter. She was building a world and I delighted in those details as much as I did the plot line. Actually, more than the plot. The more I’ve written — PURE is my 18th book, including two pen names — the more I visualize before I write a scene for the first time. And with book two in the trilogy, FUSE, there will be scenes that I was first drawn to because a visual image appeared in my mind, a landscape — the way filmmakers scout locations, except these were locked in my head.

7.   Describe for us how it felt to learn that film rights for Pure were sold to Fox2000 Pictures? (Congratulations, by the way!)   

JB: It was a huge relief. There was a lot of action going on, things flying around, and then Fox2000 made their offer and the dust could settle. I’d met the producer years ago and thought very highly of her so that too was a relief. 

8.  On the back of the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) it reads: 


How do comparisons like this make you feel…Nervous? Excited? 

JB: They don’t really have anything to do with me, personally. I mean, it’s the publisher’s job to place the book in a context. Do I like the company? I sure do. But I want to earn it on the inside. So, that is where my relationship with the reader truly begins. I think readers understand this and hopefully don’t hold it against me, if you know what I mean.

me: I think it is well earned on the inside…Pure is solid on its own! 

Wow, Julianna! Thank you so much for the interview! 
I like that your daughter is snarky…
I’m quite fond of snarky people and,
well, let’s face it: because of her urging, I got to read Pure. 
So she’s pretty high on my list of cool people. 
Also – I am waiting on the edge of my seat for Fuse (Pure #2)! 

I’ve already read this book several times 
and I already want to read it again. I can’t wait 
until my non-blogger friends get to pick up their copies 
in the next few days! So much to discuss!

Thank you again for stopping by! 
It was a real treat to be able to have this little chat with you… 
Please stop back by anytime!
Visit Julianna’s blog HERE. Read about Pure on Goodreads


About Asheley

Asheley is a Southern girl. She loves Carolina blue skies, Ben & Jerry's ice cream, and NC craft beer. She loves all things history but prefers books over everything.

You can find her somewhere in North Carolina, daydreaming about the ocean.

Find Asheley on Litsy @intothehallofbooks!


17 responses to “BLOG TOUR! Interview with Julianna Baggott, Author of Pure

  1. Such a fantastic interview ladies, thank you! I can't imagine doing all the research on the atomic bombs and their effects, that would definitely make for some horrific nightmares when I closed my eyes. I think this is a book that will be visually stunning in film form, super excited to learn the rights have been sold!

    • Me too, Jenny! I think it is awesome that even though it wasn't pleasant to research the effects of the atomic bombs…and the effect it had on Julianna…she still kept writing and Pure was born anyway. I'm not sure I could've done that. I cannot imagine was is coming up in Fuse and the rest of the trilogy, because Pure just blew my mind. It was so, so good to me.

  2. Great interview! I love Pure and it's so great to hear someone else as fangirl about it as me. I have no one I can rant to about it. I am thrilled and can't wait for Fuse!

  3. Wonderful interview, Ash! I loved hearing more about her writing process, the characters, the plot, and just getting a feel for who the author is.

    Fabulous questions yielded equally fabulous results.

  4. Hey friend! Thank you! This has been one of the highlights of my bookish life, to interview JBaggott. Her answers were very insightful into her process, no?

    I'm so excited that you'll be reading this soon. You will LOVE this. This is a LISA BOOK.

  5. I agree! I think Pure is solid on it's own as well.

    AND that's fascinating — about her research on the cities affected by the atomic bombs, it must be absolutely heartbreaking to read about that.

    Also, her daughter sounds awesome. SNARK FTW!

    Great interview Asheley!

  6. I've read the synopsis and a bit of commentary on Goodreads, but I think this interview has me sold. I picked up the book and held it yesterday and Target and the finished copy is just lovely. Also wasn't aware that it was multiple-POV. Two I can see, but more than that? Eeeenteresting.

  7. Yes, there are four POV in this book. Sounds like a lot, but they are all well-worth it. Very interesting perspectives in this story…all very different. The ARC is lovely, I can't imagine what the finished copy looks like. I haven't seen one yet. This is a crossover, Cap, so you might enjoy it, although be warned that it is very Cormac McCarthy-ish. Which I mean in the BEST of ways. More Cormac than Suzanne Collins…

  8. If you choose to read her book, be aware that in addition to the graphic-ness, there's also quite a lot of language/swearing. In my opinion, I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone. Or at least anyone under 16.

    Marlene Detierro (Seward Fishing)

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