Fiction Fest: A conversation with ‘Treasure Blume’ author Lisa Rumsey Harris

Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume-web2x3“The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume” was released in November 2012 and is one of our many high-quality back titles.

The book’s author, Lisa Rumsey Harris, took a few minutes to talk to us about her book and other things, for which we are very grateful.

“The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume” is available in bookstores and on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com and BooksAndThings.com.

In a sentence, what is “The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume” about?

“The Unlikely Gift of Treasure Blume” is a quirky, clean, love story about a first-grade teacher with a family curse who falls in love with a divorced chef who works in the lunchroom at an elementary school.

What research did you have to put into the school cafeteria industry to write the story?

I found out a lot about foodlore while writing this book. I am not a foodie. But Dennis, Treasure’s love interest is. He thinks and talks in food metaphors, so I had to do a lot of research on food. (Sidebar: you can go to my blog to read more about my unfoodie confessions and get one of Dennis’s recipes at www.treasureblume.com). What I found out was that recipes and foodlore reveal so much about how people live and love. It was fascinating. And I thoroughly appreciate lunch ladies in a whole new way.

What’s the most joy writing has given you?

The best thing is that now people get to meet my imaginary friends. Honestly, Treasure and Dennis and Grammy Blume have lived in my head for so long that it’s startling to hear other people (like reviewers) talk about them. It’s surreal and crazy and fun, especially when people embrace them. I loved writing this book.

Who would you want to direct “Treasure Blume: The Movie” and why?

I’d like to see Penny Marshall, the director of “A League of Their Own” and star of “Laverne and Shirley,” direct it. I think she’d get the awkward but endearing qualities that Treasure has, and she’d understand the relationships between the female characters (especially Treasure and Grammy) as well as the relationship between Treasure and Dennis.

What about your writing routine would surprise us?

How late I write. I write from about 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. usually during the summer months (in fall and winter, I’m teaching and that absorbs my focus). During the day, I keep a notebook within reach so I can jot down ideas or scenes or dialogue. Sometimes, when my husband gets home early, he’ll give me a gift: several hours of uninterrupted daylight writing time. When that happens, I grab my laptop and run away from home.

What’s the last book you read?

I’m usually reading several books at once. Right now, I’m reading Anne Perry’s Charlotte and Thomas Monk series and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series. And I just finished Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Princess.

What’s your current work in progress?

I’m working on two ideas: a sequel to Treasure Blume and a new story that I’m very excited about.

What motivates and inspires you to write?

Honestly, I can’t not write. It’s always been part of who I am. I write to make sense of my world, and to lose myself in imaginary worlds. When I was seven, I won a young author’s award for my elementary school. Looking back, I realize that my story, titled Locked in the Room of December, was a bit edgy for a second grader. But instead of sending me to the school psychologist, they sent me to a writer’s day camp where I met real live published authors. Thanks, Mrs. Brim, for giving me that opportunity.

What’s “must-see” TV programming in your home?

Right now, I adore “Call the Midwives.” It’s about British midwives in the East End of London in the late 50’s. I love the heroism of ordinary women doing extraordinary things (like giving birth, and taking care of children in difficult circumstances).

What advice would you like to offer aspiring writers?

Keep writing. Turn off your internal editor and get it down on paper. Save everything you write. Then go back later, with your internal editor back on, and read it with fresh eyes.