An Interview with Lesley M.M. Blume, Author of Modern Fairies...
For everyone who ever believed in fairies, here's a book for you. Think of it as Tinkerbell meets Manhattan. Book Divas had a chance to talk to Lesley M.M. Blume's about her new book Modern Fairies, Dwarves, Goblins, and other Nasties: A Practical Guide by Miss. Edythe McFate.
- Check out the interview below and the book trailer here.
- Also, enter Book Diva's Modern Fairies Book Giveway for a chance to win your very own copy of Blume's new book.
1. We have heard that some amazing art work is included in the book and have checked out your website to see some images. How has your experience been collaborating with the illustrator, David Foote? What do you think these illustrations add to your book?
David is amazing. We were introduced by a mutual friend from Vogue, and when he showed me some sample illustrations he’d created for MODERN FAIRIES, while it was still being written, I knew that he was the only person who could do the concept justice. He’s got the same flair and tenor as Edward Gorey and Tim Burton, but his work is unique within that category. It also matches my writing perfectly, for we’re both concerned about balancing sharp sophistication and childlike tenderness at the same time.
2. Growing up, what stories were told to you about fairies, dwarves and goblins? Were there any particular books that stand out as childhood inspirations for your current release?
I read a LOT about fairies, mermaids, and other mythical creatures growing up. The Hans Christian Andersen tales made a particularly indelible impression—they were beautiful, poignant, and always carried an undercurrent of injustice or cruelty. I’ve resurrected a lot of his themes in all of my books for children.
3. The book is a collection of short stories written from the knowledgeable perspective of Miss Edythe McFate. What are some of the first steps you take when beginning to dream up the characters for your next book?
I hope this doesn’t sound hokey, but characters just introduce themselves to me – sometimes even while I’m already in the process of writing. For example, in regards to my third novel, TENNYSON, I’d never planned to include a character named Zulma. But once I began the book, she just sashayed right into the house I’d created on paper and became one of the book’s main characters. Similarly, Miss Edythe just occurred to me, fully formed, one day and I started writing MODERN FAIRIES. It’s not unlike Athena springing fully-grown from Zeus’s head one day.
4. Modern Fairies is advertised for the grade school audience. What do you think the teen and young adult audience would find appealing about your work?
Well, I hope that they find my lack of condescension appealing. I try to take subject matter that will be fascinating to that age group, and yet give it to them straight, without any girlish sugarcoating. Reviewers and readers alike have noted this about my writing.
5. As a writer, you have a diverse range of experiences, from working at ABC News to being a style editor at The Huffington Post to writing children’s books. How have you managed to move between these worlds and what advice do you have for young adults interested in the writing profession?
Everything I do entails storytelling – that is the common thread. Yes, I do write a lot about fashion – but it has more in common with children’s literature than you might think at first. At their best, both realms deal with fantastical expressions of creativity and imagination. I despite overly literal contexts, so I’m temperamentally well suited to these arenas.
In terms of advice, the best things you can do as a young aspiring writer: 1. Read everything you can get your hands on, 2. Practice, practice, practice – EVERY DAY (a journal counts!), and 3. Train yourself to be a keen observer of unusual details. Follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way.
6. Edith Wharton, the first woman to receive a Pulitzer Prize, is one of your heroines and we are curious to know if and how you used her influence in your new book or in other writings?
I actually came to know and love Edith Wharton later in my life, so I can’t say that she influenced my earlier writings. She is so beyond my strata of talent that I couldn’t hope to emulate her even in the most literal sense. But she remains a beacon of inspiration to me; I think that she, Robert Penn Warren, Vladimir Nabokov, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez are the finest writers I’ve ever read. Such incredible, joyous, almost savage virtuosity – it makes my heart pound just to think about them.
7. We would love for you to share with our online community how you think you are a Book Diva!
Hmmm. I am just such a voracious reader, and am so bossily greedy about the books that I love. Does that make me a Book Diva? I suppose that it does!
About the Author
Lesley is an author, journalist, columnist, and cultural observer based in New York City, where she was born. She did her undergraduate work at Williams College and Oxford University, and took her graduate degree in history from Cambridge University, where she was Herschel Smith fellow. Blume has authored three critically-acclaimed children's novels including Tennyson and Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters.
- Get your copy of Modern Fairies today!