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Judy Blume: 'I’m not a great writer. But maybe I’m a really good storyteller'

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Suzanne Plunkett/AP

It’s been nearly 15 years since Judy Blume released her last adult-themed novel, but the author couldn’t shake this next story from her mind

In the Unlikely Event, which lands in stores June 2, follows a middle-aged woman who returns home to commemorate a tragedy that occurred 35 years earlier. The book is inspired by the harrowing events in her hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey, in 1952, when three planes crashed in a span of two months and resulted in the Newark Airport closing for almost a year.

“These events have lingered in my mind ever since,” Blume said in a statement. “It was a crazy time. We were witnessing things that were incomprehensible to us as teenagers.”

In an interview with the New York Times, Blume revealed how she heavily researched the actual events on Microfilm. Blume also shopped at the stores she imagined her characters would have—even ruminating over the jingles they would have heard or how they’d care for their newly-purchased items.

“I’m a storyteller — you know what I mean — an inventor of people,” Blume told the New York Times. “And their relationships. It’s not that I love the words — that’s not the kind of writer I am. So I’m not … I’m not a great writer. But maybe I’m a really good storyteller.”

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