Columbia Star

1963        Celebrating 60 Years      2023

Architect completes Strangers on the Shore

Stewart Blume

Stewart Blume

Stewart Blume has been doing architecture for decades, but he has always wanted to do just a little bit more. As a Clemson graduate, he majored in architecture but took a keen interest in literature and story telling. “I wanted to write a story that painted pictures with words but that wasn’t replete with four-letter words,” he said. “It is a mountain that I have wanted to climb.”

After about four years of writing and at the age of 74, he has not only climbed the mountain but also reached its summit and stuck his flag in its fertile soil. Strangers on the Shore , which will be released by Advantage Media on December 22, is his declaration of literary accomplishment not only to the world but also to himself. It wasn’t easy.

Blume said he had to do a lot of research before he wrote the book. You would think that the fictional love story of architect, Terry Forte, and his client, Maria Champion wouldn’t need any research, but Blume set the novel in Columbia in 1962. This meant knowing the key people and places of 1960s era Columbia in order to make the story historically accurate. Getting names and landmarks wasn’t the only problem.

Blume also faced an age-old literary problem: how do you to write a story that captures people’s imaginations, connects them to the characters, and entertains them in a way that no other writer has. This was the easy part for Blume because he decided to do what many writers do-write about what he knew. For Blume, this meant architecture. But this, too, posed a problem. How was he going to write a love story that centered around architecture, and furthermore, how was he going to convey the intricacies of architecture with people who have no knowledge of it?

For the first scenario, he made Terry Forte an architect. Simple enough. And for the second situation, Blume realized that “it’s like walking a client through a house. I wanted to let people know what architects do,” but he admits that there is a lot of architectural jargon. He assures readers, however, that they won’t be bogged down by it all.

“People should read the book because I didn’t follow the vogue,” Blume said. “I tried to do something different because I just got tired of the trash I was seeing and thought, perhaps, I could do better.”

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