Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

On the Shelf with Julianna Baggott

Julianna Baggott is a writer I've recently discovered but she's been around for quite
awhile-to some,she is better known as N.E.Bode,author of the children's series The Anybodies(coming soon to a theater near you),others are more familar with her poetry(
I particularly like the poem "Blurbs)and many more put her on their list of favorite
novelists with such books as Girl Talk,The Miss America Family and Madam.

Which Brings Me To You is her upcoming novel this spring from Algonquin. The plot
centers around Jane and John,whose Wedding Crashers intro leads them into being
rather unusual pen pals-sending"confessions" of past romantic failures. Julianna
cowrote this book with Steve Almond(who will also be interviewed in this very blog)
best known for his short story collections and the tasty travelogue,CandyFreak. For
now,it's ladies first!

1)You've written in many
genres-novels,poems,children's literature-
is there one that you prefer the best?

i like to cross-train. sometimes i feel like sprinting, sometimes long-distance through woods. so i like the

flexibility of having all the genres available. i have to say i love writing for kids. i never thought i would.

i was one of those snobs who looked down on it as a lesser genre, but not it seems like i'm allowed to be

more of an artist there than in the confines of contemporary American fiction.

2)Why did you decide to write Which Brings Me To You
with Steve?

the tagline "a novel in confessions" came to me. the idea for the novel was born with the back-and-forth structure
already set in its DNA. i knew i couldn't write it alone and so i turned to the writer i knew who really knew how

to write flailing love and who could keep up a good pace. almond.

3)Did you find it easier or harder to write a book
with someone
i have hissy fits when i write alone. i turn against the book at a certain point.

now i know that i prefer to do this alone. it's unbecoming to write with someone else. let me clarify: it isn't ever

easy to write a novel. and although steve and i started out really well, it was NOT smooth sailing. Our criticisms

of the characters started to sound a lot like criticism of each other. it got a little ugly, but that ugliness made the book stronger,

more interesting.

4)Did any of the confession letters start off as ideas
for other
stories or where they concieved only for WBMTY?

i had to write the opening, to woo almond to work on this book. but i knew i had two of my five sections done already (more or less).

my michael hanrahan story was first published in an anthology called LIT RIFFS -- actually, i'd say that was where Jane was born.

and my story about the frenchman -- Pascal Lemir -- was already written for the anthology SEX & SENSIBILITY. the others grew up on their own.

5)The Anybodies,your children's series,is now being
made into a
movie-how much input are you able to put into the

i won't have any input, to speak of, except if there's a spin-off TV show.

in that case, i have a voice at the table. but, of course, the visuals will have

already been established in film. people expect me to be all bent up about this,

but i'm not. the film will draw people back to the book, and i was in complete control there.

6)Do you think you'll team up with Steve for another


7)One of your poems is called "Blurbs"-if you had to
write one
for Which Brings Me To You,what would it say?

ha! this is such a clever question. i'd call it a literary experiment -- maybe even a vicious tennis match between two authors

bent on out-confessing each other. i'd talk about its frank sexuality, its desperate nature riding up alongside

its comedic nature, and its honesty. i'm sure i'd gush. that's the blurb genre -- and why the blurb will never

really make it as an artform.

Please check out Julianna's website linked in the title above-the poem"Blurbs" is
available there along excepts from her other works. Which Brings Me To You is a great
bittersweet blend of wit,passion and heart and my only regret is that the rest of
you will have to wait until spring to enjoy this very funny valentine.

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