Interview (& Giveaway): Julianna Baggott, author of Pure

I’m so excited to have Julianna Baggott on the blog today! Her brand new dystopian fantasy, Pure, is out today, and she was kind enough to answer a few of my questions! Also, up for grabs is one copy of Pure to one lucky winner, so be sure to check out the giveaway details at the end of the post.

Please welcome Julianna to the blog!

Julianna, you’re a very accomplished writer, with more than 17 titles in print under your own name, as well as a couple of pen names, and began publishing at only 22! Did you want to be a writer, even as a child?
I wanted to be a playwright. My oldest sister was an actress living in NYC by the time I was ten so I went to a lot of theater — a lot of those theaters were so small that if you had to go to the bathroom, well, there was only one. Backstage, so you’d have to interrupt the actors. I knew the nervous smoker in the back was the playwright, in charge of the words. I wanted to be in charge of the words. But then I realized in college that you have to rely on the actors. Novels were much more manageable than actors.

Your brand new novel, Pure, is out today! Can you tell us a bit about it?
It starts with Pressia, a girl who’s survived the Detonations, and is hiding in an ash-choked cabinet — a girl with a doll-head fused to her fist. Partridge survived the Detonations in the safety of the Dome. When he learns that his martyred mother may actually be alive, he has to try to find her. From that moment on, Pressia and Partridge’s lives are set on a collision course.

What are some of your biggest literary influences?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez was the most profound early influence. I read One Hundred Years of Solitude at 17 and it was the most brilliant thing I’d ever read. I loved playwrights, too — Sam Shepard, David Mamet … They were gods in my house growing up. Eventually, I found poetry — Seamus Heaney, Margaret Atwood, Adelia Prado, Marie Howe, Olena Kalytiak Davis, Bridget Pegeen Kelly… And I fell for the tight imagistic burst of poetry.

What is one of your most unusual writing quirks?
Some books require being low to the ground. I can’t explain it. But some books, when you think of them, you can’t be sitting upright in a chair. You’ve got to get low. PURE, when visualizing it, well, I wanted to be closer to the dirt.

If you could read one book for the first time again, which one would it be?
I’ve found that when I pick a book up that I read twenty years ago … it is new. It’s startlingly different than the emotional stain it left. Sometimes disappointingly so and sometimes it’s new in a way that makes it even more compelling.

What’s on your nightstand right now?
After the Snow — a new novel, a debut, in fact, by S. D Crockett.

In addition to what must be a busy writing schedule, you also teach creative writing at Florida State. How do you balance teaching and writing?
I’m on leave now, but even still I continue to work with my graduate students as they work on their dissertations which are often novels, memoirs, collections of stories. What gets squeezed out is reading the new published novels I’m dying to read. My eyes have burned through my own work, the students’ works, and my eyes are simply tired. I read and read and yet don’t have enough time to read.

I read that you and your husband founded the non-profit, Kids in Need-Books in Deed! Can you tell us more about that?
It’s a small non-profit housed in the FSU Foundation. We get new and lightly used books to underprivileged kids in the state of Florida — mainly through book drives but also donations. We arranged for kid book author Laurel Snyder to read to 300 school children at a Title I school this fall, donating her time. Kids in Need — Books in Deed was able to get every child a copy of one of her books. We move books around and, finally, into kids’ hands.

How do you like to spend your free time, when you’re not teaching and writing?
I have four kids. When I’m not working, I’m still swamped. I’ll say this: when I’m in the car, I sing along to the radio. That’s about it.

Is there any other news of upcoming projects or events that you’d like to share with us?
Pure is out now. Book two, Fuse, is in the works and scheduled to come out this time next year.
Keep up with Julianna: Website | Twitter | Pure Website | Facebook

Read my review of Pure

1. You MUST fill out the form below (lots of chances for extra entries!)
2. Giveaway is for 1 copy of Pure by Julianna Baggott to 1 winner.
3. Giveaway is open to US/Canadian addresses only
4. Must include a valid email address
5. You must enter on or before 2/16/12
6. Please see my Giveaway Policy.
7. Book kindly provided by Grand Central Publishing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Wonderful interview :)And I’d have to agree with Julianna Baggott about the feeling you feel when you read a book you haven’t read in a few years.

  2. Enjoyed the interview and look forward to Pure as well.

  3. Thank you for the giveaway!

  4. Great interview. I like singing to the radio as well. It is a de-stresser if you think about it 🙂 I’m really excited for Pure!!

  5. Margaret Atwood is just phenomenal. A definite inspiration to all. Thanks for the fabulous interview.

  6. Looks very interesting! I’ve heard wonderful things about it so far.

  7. Great interview! I had no idea you taught at florida state?! I just graduated from FSU in 2010. I go to FSU law school right now! This is so cool!!

  8. Thanks for getting this interview. I find Julianna Baggott very interesting and she’s beautiful as well.

  9. I totally understand what you mean about being near the ground to write the book. It makes sense. Sometimes I can only write on a pad to get my ideas across no amount of using a word doc will take it.

    Great interview!

  10. This book sounds good, thank you for the chance to win =)

  11. Thanks for the great interview and giveaway! I hadn’t realized Pure was meant to be part of a series. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of my favorite authors, too. 🙂

  12. What a wonderful giveaway and excellent interview It always makes me happy when people give away books to kids

  13. I would love to read this. Thanks for the opportunity.

  14. sounds like a great book. I am hoping!

  15. I have been curious about Pure since I first saw the cover. I was reading a review the other day that gave me a little more insight into the book and my appetite was wet and I have to say today I have been pushed over the edge 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us and for the awesome giveaway opportunity.

  16. Thanks for the giveaway. I really want to read this book. Please enter me in contest.

  17. Pressia’s world sounds fascinating. A bit dangerous but an adventure for sure.

  18. I’ve really wanted to read this book, so I’m really glad I’ve found this giveaway! I’m really excited… Thank you so much!!

  19. this looks great, thanks for the chance to win! (and the interview!!)

  20. Writing books, teaching at FSU, and running a non-profit? I don’t see any free time in there either. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway!

  21. Pure Sounds amazing. I’ve heard nothing but good things!

  22. Pure has been on my radar for the longest time. And I always remember Pressia and her doll-head fused fist. I found it disturbing, but brutally honest and brave. Thanks for the giveaway!

  23. Thanks for the great interview. It was great to get to know the author better. I just love the cover and wonder how did it come to be. Thank you for the giveaway as well.

  24. Thanks for the chance to win!!

  25. I enjoyed the interview. The book sounds very good.

  26. This is so cool – Kids in Need-Books in Deed. Such a great cause!

    Thanks for this great interview!

  27. that is a wonderful thing to do for kids! The trailer was a little creepy and left more questions for me! Which I guess is a good thing, because I want to read it now!

  28. Garcia Marquez is who started my love for reading!! I remember I was about 10 and my mom was reading 100 Years of Solitude so I picked it up because I wanted to be smart like her and it changed my life!

  29. I have heard some wonderful things about this book and I enjoyed your interview. Thanks for the giveaway.

  30. Hi! Great interview! This book sounds good! I really like the cover! Thanks for this giveaway!

  31. Chelsea Hornbacher

    This book is intriguing, Love to read it!

  32. Thanks for the interview. I am glad that i was introduced to this book. I would really like to read Pure.

  33. I really enjoyed the interview & so appreciate the chance to win a copy of ‘Pure’=)
    Thanks so much!

  34. Thank you for the excellent interview and of course, for the giveaway as well. I’ve been looking forward to this book for months. It has one of the best covers I have seen in a while and I can’t wait to see what the significance of it is.

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