GETTING TO KNOW ME:
The Truth and Nothing But The Truth–Well, Almost
Marlene Targ Brill, but I've had lots of nicknames through the years that I won't mention.
I was born in Chicago, Illinois. I lived my first three years in the same building where children's book author, Daniel Pinkwater, lived as a child. I think there was something in the water that two writers, three if you count my brother's college books, became authors.
September 27th. You didn't really think I'd tell you what year, did you? But my astrological sign is Libra, if that makes up for not telling the year.
Place I Grew Up:
Northwest side of Chicago in a neighborhood called West Rogers Park. I had a great time growing up there. A pack of us walked to school together and played outside after school. We climbed through hills and weeds in the many empty lots that dotted city blocks. Here we discovered exciting nature treasures.
My mom worked at home, and my dad owned a pharmacy, for a while one with a soda fountain. His newer store stocked a large comic book stand that kept me busy when my parents made me go to work with them. Guess they didn't trust me to stay home by myself.
Actually, there were too many events to recount. But my kindergarten year stands out. My kindergarten teacher didn't like us to talk. So she put tape over our mouth and a bag over our head when we chatted with classmates. Luckily, I never got caught. But one time the teacher punished the entire class for becoming too noisy before going home. She ordered the entire class into the cloak closet and closed the door! Glad school is different today—I hope.
I have one older brother, who never recovered from my joining the family. He's always been a tease, so I just had to get back at him by being annoying. To this day, he complains about my getting the bigger bedroom. What a whiner!
Place I Live Now:
I live in Wilmette, Illinois (near Chicago) with my family. Moving into our house was the first time I ever lived on the ground floor. Before that, I lived in apartments on the second or third floor. Imagine climbing all those stairs in roller skates or with a bicycle!
Who Lives Here:
I live with my husband, Richard, and our mischievous dog, Fluffy. He, I mean Fluffy, steals our clothes each night and moves them around the house. So my husband finds his underwear in the living room, and I find my robe in the den. You get the idea. Our daughter used to live here, too. But since she's grown up, she only visits.
Did I Always Want to Be a Writer?
I always liked writing and found writing came easily to me. In school, I did better on essay questions than short-answer exams that required lots of memory and little writing. I joined the school newspaper in elementary and high school. I liked to write stories about people and events. I was also a daydreamer in school, which was a problem sometimes. But I didn't think of writing until I was a teacher of children who had special needs. At the time, I found few materials to help my students, so I developed my own. I discovered I liked creating materials, writing, and designing stories and activities.
What type of books do I write?
Most of my books are nonfiction, the true stuff. But several are historical fiction, mixing real facts from history with details I add to the story, the fiction part. Many authors have their own idea of historical fiction. My historical fiction books are always about a real girl or boy from history and a real event that occurred in their life.
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. Why this simple kid's book, you might ask? This book is about me and my writing career. The story follows a boy who finds a carrot seed, and everyone tells him it won't grow. When I told people I wanted to write books, everyone told me I'd never get published. The boy eventually grew a giant carrot. I eventually published 72 books! So I say follow your dreams and never give up, even when others tell you that you can't do something.
Drawing, walking, baking cookies, going places with my family, and of course, reading.
If you think of other questions to ask me, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.