Friday, December 17, 2010

AN INTERVIEW WITH LESLEY M. M. BLUME Author of Modern Fairies, Goblins, Dwarves, and Other Nasties

1) What gave you the idea for writing this book?

When I was a little girl, the idea of an invisible but ever-present fairy realm obsessed me. I read countless books on the topic and tried to learn old-fashioned ways to see fairies and get whisked off to fairy realms. But nine times out of ten, I couldn’t find the ingredients for the spells these books described (what fourth grader has access to the shavings of agate stones or hemlock?). So many years later, I came up with the idea of writing a book that helped modern-day readers connect with the fairy world through easy contemporary means.

2) Have you always had an interest in magical/mythical creatures?

Yes – they were always so much more interesting to me than people. My particular fixations were winged fairies and mermaids – and usually the nastier, the better.

3) Why didn’t you include gargoyles since it is set in the city?

I actually do allude to the fact that “Avian Fairies” live in the famous carved gargoyles jutting out from the top of the Chrysler Tower; the illustration of this habitat is one of my favorites in the book.

4) Did you use famous landmarks/buildings to make the child better able to see the environment of your stories or because you liked the locations?

I wanted to impress upon my readers that fairy life can be found in the most famous of landmarks and the most private of homes. They live in the Liberty Bell, the Algonquin Hotel, in Central Park, and so on – but they also might just be dwelling in your kitchen cupboards. It’s just a question of retraining your eye to “see” them.

5) There are quite a few “mean” fairies in this batch of stories. What made you focus on them?

Much of the traditional fairy lore I read as a child showed that the fairy world was tinged with danger. I found – and still find – this titillating. It’s all tied in with fear of the unknown – and also, the real world itself is not always such a nice place. Real life doesn’t always deliver the exact results you desire. I wanted the fairy realm to reflect that as well. Finally, let’s not forget that traditionally fairy tales have been very dark and in MODERN FAIRIES I revisited the genre’s roots.

6) This is a combination guide book and fairy tale series. What motivated you to do it in this form?

I wanted it to be both literary and practical. On one hand, I wanted to create a collection of old-fashioned short stories with modern settings, but I also wanted to give young readers ways to connect with the depicted fairy world using objects they could find in their own households. The field guide aspect of the book is meant to help readers connect more actively and personally with the material.

7) How hard was it to find the right illustrator?

No. David was the only person on the planet who could have illustrated this book. The moment he showed me his sample illustrations (all of which made it into the final book), I knew that I was seeing something both fresh and electric but also wise. That sensibility of old-meets-new is the core of MODERN FAIRIES and David’s work epitomizes it.

8) Do you have more books planned? Will they be fantasy too?

David and I are working on a book for release in 2012. It’s about the ancient animal world, and yes, there’s a heavy fantasy and myth component to it. I’m very excited about it.

This is a fascinating book, be sure to check it out.  It just might make you take it home with you...

Here are the two remaining sites on this blog tour - you can read more about this book on them:

Sunday, December 19th – The Reading Zone

Monday, December 20th – SUVUDU

Happy reading!

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