Juliana Baggott, bestselling author of the post-apocalyptic novel PURE, discusses the inspiration for her novel, and the unexpected supporter she had who encouraged her to keep writing this story. Julianna and her publisher also have a special opportunity for readers in celebration of the paperback release of PURE, to win a Pure Party Pack, see full details below!
I’ve said that the one thing that makes writing a novel easier --- and writing a novel is never really easy --- is imagining that you’re whispering the story to one other person, just one, and that you’re whispering it urgently.
I had pieces of different projects strewn around, but none of them were working --- not on their own, not when I tried to push them together. And then one day, I wrote a small riff from the perspective of a girl with a doll-head fused to her fist. I didn’t know why the doll was fused to her and I didn’t know why she was hiding in a cabinet in the back of a burnt-out barbershop. But as soon as she started to have a voice, I wrote quickly.
It was only a page or so. She was about to be hunted down. They will come for you when you’re out in the Rubble Fields. They will steal you from your bed … I knew she was afraid, with good reason, but I didn’t know where I was going with the page.
I don’t usually read things aloud to my daughter. I have four kids and although some of my novels are for younger readers, I don’t ask them to read my work. It surprises people, but I think that my kids prefer to see me as their mother. The author voice in their heads would complicate matters. (My kids have had books of mine assigned to them in school, which causes this strange feeling between us. My kids look at me like, “Who are you? Is this what you do in your office all day? Make this stuff up?”)
But this time, my daughter --- then maybe around 14 or so --- was in my office. So I read it to her. She’d read bits and pieces of my work and had been forced to hear me read at different events. After I was finished reading the page, she said, “That’s the best thing you’ve ever written. You have to write that book.”
I was stunned. Not only was it a rarity that she compliments my work, she’s also a vicious critic of books in general. From then on, my daughter pushed me for pages, kept asking about Pressia; she goaded me when I needed goading. I wrote the book not only for her, but because of her. I found my ear to whisper the story into. She gave the telling its urgency.
To celebrate the paperback publication of PURE, Julianna Baggott and Grand Central Publishing invite readers to visit http://www.juliannabaggott.com/ and start planning your Pure Party! The first 50 US book clubs to sign up will receive a Pure Party Pack that includes
- A signed copy of Pure
- A Pure drawstring backpack
- Wearable “fusings” and stick-on tattoos – dress up as a wretch!
- A wind-up butterfly
- Pure buttons
- A raffle entry to win a special Pure prize
- A $20 pizza gift card (first 25 clubs only!)