Julianna Baggott Has a Novel Coming Out Next Tuesday [FIERCE ANTICIPATION]

Fiercely Anticipating Awkwardness

This is what people don’t necessarily know: publishing a novel is socially awkward. (Okay, most everything I do is socially awkward because I’m socially awkward, but I don’t think I’m alone on this one.) Friends and family don’t know what to say. If they haven’t read the novel, they’re embarrassed. If they have read it (even the sometimes nudie bits), they’re embarrassed. In general, I’m embarrassed because publishing a novel seems to declare: I think I’ve got about 300 pages worth of smart, funny, interesting stuff to say that deserves to be bound with glue and sold at round tables, which is pretty uppity.

So THE PROVENCE CURE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED (written under my Bridget Asher pseudonym) pubs on Tuesday. I am fiercely anticipating weird conversations and making blanket apologies for no real reason. And just when I see someone holding my book and approaching me (perhaps at some kind of backyard bouncy-house birthday party event) and just as I hold up my hand and start to put her mind at ease – It’s okay if you haven’t read it! You don’t have to comment! Let’s pretend this never happened! – the woman will grab me by the hand and her eyes will be brimming, and she’ll tell me that the book broke open something inside of her or gave voice to something she hadn’t yet given voice to or that it touched her. These moments always catch me off guard, and as the person is saying, “Thank you,” I’m saying, “You’re welcome,” but what I really mean is thank you.

I Kinda Want To ….

I kinda want to put all of my furniture in the front yard. It’s this strange inexplicable desire that hits me sometimes. I don’t want to throw the stuff away, so does it come from a desire to shift everything in my life? Move without moving? Announce to the neighbors that I’ve lost it? Is it some desire to have my inner self – represented by my desire to buy uncomfortable Cleopatra-inspired benches – known in the outside world? Would we then live in the front yard? It feels like an urge to be more ephemeral. If it rained would we sit on the furniture in the rain? I don’t know.

I Wouldn’t Lick Doorknobs in a Doctor’s Office if You Paid Me.

I come from OCD stock. In fact, Abbot, the son of my narrator in THE PROVENCE CURE FOR THE BROKENHEARTED, has started washing his hands a lot and fearing germs and relying heavily on Purell. It’s been over a year since his father died. He still lives in fear and has a deep desire for control. Over the course of the novel, my narrator, Heidi, takes Abbot and her jaded 16-year-old niece to renovate an old family house in Provence. The trip shakes everything up. And Abbot isn’t cured, but he does confront the deeper issues of loss. Now, if I could confront my own deeper issues, I might one day be able to at least bare-hand a doorknob in a doctor’s office. For now though, I’ll just keep pulling down my sweater sleeve and opening doors that way. Thanks for asking!

Oh, and just in case you don’t believe I’m a fellow fierce nerd, here’s a recent family picture: