Author Lesley M. M. Blume Lives Inside Her Imagination - page 2

By Shelby Meyers on January 31, 2007

Lesley M. M. BlumeBlume tried to make each scene plausible, weaving authenticity in and around her fictional storyline. She researched and spent time fact checking even Queen Elizabeth's history of dog breeding so the infamous Somerset exploit at the Royal Dog show would be believable.

"I just love the idea that a real character can appear in a work of fiction, and I like having a lot of magical realism in my work," she said.

Shifting from fact to fiction was quite effortless for Blume, who wowed publishers with the very first version of her manuscript.

"I went about it very naïvely," she confessed. "I had an idea and just decided to write it. It was subject matter that was very dear to me, and that made the transition a lot easier."

With a background that even includes training for war reporting, Blume's career change into children's literature may seem unlikely, but she has her reasons.

"I just think kids are extremely sophisticated, they call shots like they see it," Blume said. "I really admire that and it's very refreshing to write for that audience."

Her next book titled, The Rising Star of Rusty Nail, is set in a small, cornfield town on the border of Iowa and Minnesota and is about a young piano prodigy, Franny Hansen, who was directly inspired by her mother.

"My mom had this gorgeous childhood," Blume said. "She played in cornfields and the people she grew up with, you can't make these people up. It was a childhood that I very much enjoyed spending time inside."

Often children with a real talent see it as more of a hindrance than a blessing, according to Blume. The story of Franny depicts that struggle and what can happen when a musically inclined Russian woman enters the picture and stirs up a stubborn town.

"She has this amazing gift and there's no way for her to develop it," Blume said. "Nobody understands it and nobody welcomes it until this Russian woman moves to town who can forward that talent."

Set in the 1950s, the story touches on deep topics like witch hunting and pursuing the American dream, but Blume reassures readers it is not as heavy as it sounds.

"It's actually really absurd in a way that only a small-town book can be," she said. "It's very funny, very peculiar and it's very special to me too, because it immortalizes a childhood of my mother's. I'm very fond of it."

Blume is currently finishing her third work of fiction, about an elite southern family that is dealing with complicated legacies and a dwindling fortune during the Depression.

"It has humor in it, but it's a very dark book," Blume said. "It takes place in flashbacks during the Civil War [as] this family tries to reconcile the fact that their position in society was based on something very bloody and horrible — slavery."

Naturally, Blume jumped right into researching the topic, sculpting an imaginative, yet believable world by spending time on Louisiana plantations and even in a haunted antebellum mansion.

But despite her haunting experience, Blume still enjoys every minute of her job.

"I really love doing this. I really do," she said. "Basically, my editor has commissioned me to live inside my imagination. I feel like I do see things in a relatively unique way and to channel that into fiction has just been incredibly rewarding."

As she continues to think of future escapades, Blume has one simple goal in mind.

"Have the writing be intelligent, let it say something to people, and let it be memorable," she said.

In the words of Cornelia Street Englehart, that sounds positively galumptious Ms. Blume.

For more on Lesley M.M. Blume, be sure to visit her official Web site -