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Kayleigh G was me, once - a little girl growing up in Boston - where, fifty years before, my Gran'pa Patrick had gotten himself killed trying to start a communist revolution, while stepping out to the ballgame on Saturdays with my Gra'ma Mary.
Then, one night when I was 7 years old, my dad didn't come home.
A few weeks later, we moved south to Fairground, on the hurricane coast of North Carolina - where I became Kayleigh E.
And that is how I'd have stayed, I guess, if I'd never taken a trip to Atlanta - the city on the railroad tracks, where the paths become the crossroads.
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I never planned to write a novel - it just sort-of happened, while I was sitting on a plane, waiting for take-off at Hartsfield (now Hartsfield-Jackson) Airport in Atlanta, GA - I took out a pen and started writing what became the third chapter of The Long Reason Why Kayleigh G Loved Baseball.
I was very influenced by the work of Kate Atkinson, especially Behind The Scenes At The Museum, which in some ways (I flatter myself to think) is similar to Kayleigh - a series of short stories woven around a family history, spanning 100 years - starting in London in about 1900, via Boston, MA in the 1930s and 1970s, and ending in the North Carolina, around 2000.
Is it a "true story"? (In big inverted commas?) Am I Kayleigh? No, not really! But many of the historical characters were real - one of my great grandparents was born in Clerkenwell Workhouse in London when his mother was fifteen; and my father's father sold newspapers outside of a tube station.
Kate Blunden was born in London, Engand in 1971.
After graduating from Essex University, she lived for some time in Atlanta, GA, working for the US railroads. It was while living in Atlanta that she began work on The Long Reason Kayleigh G Loved Baseball.
Her great-grandfather was the renowned First World War poet Edmund Blunden.
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