Yet as beloved as she is — and she is beloved, just ask her husband of 35 years, George Cooper, who talks about fans he calls the “OMG criers” who come to her bookstore in Key West asking to meet her and then promptly burst into tears in her presence — she has never received the red carpet welcome from Hollywood when it came to adapting her books into films or television shows. And she tried.
At one point, Ms. Blume thought about moving to Los Angeles to work with the producer Edgar Scherick (“Shoot the Moon”), but her children were young and she was raising them in New Mexico. The megaproducer Aaron Spelling offered her $100,000 for “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” and another $100,000 for “Then Again Maybe I Won’t.” That didn’t come together, either.
“That was a lot of money back then,” Ms. Blume said.
In 2004, Ms. Blume rewrote the script for “Deenie,” a story about a 13-year-old with modeling aspirations who is diagnosed with scoliosis, for Disney, only to have it fall by the wayside when the studio switched its attention toward blockbusters. “There have been a lot of almosts, a lot of maybes,” Ms. Blume told The New York Times back then. Her son directed a film version of “Tiger Eyes,” but it didn’t do much to move the needle, grossing only $27,000 on tepid reviews.
“I was longing for somebody to say, ‘Judy, sweetheart, this is what we want to do,’” she says now. “I don’t know why things never worked. Eventually you just say, ‘Eh, you know, let me write my books.’”
But now, Ms. Blume said, she is finished writing. Her last book was the 2015 adult novel “In the Unlikely Event,” a fictionalized account of the three plane crashes that occurred in her childhood hometown, Elizabeth, N.J., in the span of eight weeks in the early 1950s. Her focus is centered on adapting her works into films and television shows. Armed with an agent who understands her influence and scrutinizes any potential collaboration, Ms. Blume is finally, it seems, receiving the proper recognition in Hollywood.