The Judy Blume Radio Hour

May 4, 2016

Alicia Zuckerman spent some of her time reading Judy Blume's new novel inspired by a series of plane crashes -- on a plane over the Florida Keys.
Credit Alicia Zuckerman / WLRN

Judy Blume's latest book, “In the Unlikely Event,” came out in paperback this week. So we're bringing back this hour, which we produced when the book first came out last year. 

During an interview back then, she said this is her last big book project. "I'm 78," she said, "and there's a lot to do away from the computer." So she's now taken on another big project -- a whole bookstore. She and her husband George Cooper opened a Books & Books in Key West. They work there most days, doing everything that needs to be done in a bookstore -- bending, lifting, recommending ... she does probably end up signing more autographs than the average bookseller.  

She's not totally staying away from the computer. She has a brand new Tumblr this week. 

Here's more about The Judy Blume Radio Hour:

Judy Blume has been writing books for 50 years now, and she's created some of the most beloved characters in children's and young adult literature--Fudge, Margaret, Sally, Deenie, to name just a few from her 29 books.  

Judy Blume’s newest book,  “In the Unlikely Event,” was published last week, and it's for adult readers. It's based on a very freak series of plane crashes in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey when she was 14. The planes were all coming into or departing Newark Airport, and all three crashes happened within about a mile-and-a half from each other, within a 58-day-span during the winter of 1951-52. 

But Judy Blume insists the book is not about the crashes. It's about how the many characters in the book react to and grapple with the unfathomable and about how life goes on. 

Judy Blume complied newspaper stories covering the plane crashes into a big binder. She spent 5 years researching and writing her new novel, and she's glad it's done.
Credit Alicia Zuckerman / WLRN

Over the last couple of years, we've spent a lot of time talking about how her real life makes its way into her books: on Miami Beach, where she lived for two years--a time she calls the most important of her childhood, at the Miami Book Fair this past fall, and at her writer's studio at her home in Key West. That's what this hour is about. And there's even an appearance from two real-life Judy Blume characters. You'll also find out who Fudge is based on.   

WLRN's Alicia Zuckerman interviews Judy Blume at her home in Key West. During the Judy Blume Radio Hour, the author talks about her latest book, the years she spent living in Miami Beach and what's not next.
Credit Patricia Bollinger

(Note: this already happened.  On Monday, June 15th, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., Judy Blume and I will keep talking about her new book in Coral Gables, when she comes to Temple Judea on her book tour. You can find out how to get tickets here.  

For more on Judy Blume, check out the Sally J. Freedman Reality Tour. Alicia Zuckerman took a walk with Blume in Miami Beach to revisit the places and moments that inspired "Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself." Blume lived in Miami Beach for two years and calls "Sally J. Freedman" her most autobiographical book.

Correction: An earlier version of this hour stated that Peter and Linda Hornik live in Miami Beach. They live in Miami.