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.
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
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.
Most Traumatic Event in Childhood:
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 bags over our head when we chatted with classmates.
Luckily, I never got caught. But one time she punished the entire class
for becoming too noisy before going home. She put us in 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 27 and
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 you 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. Everybody has their own idea of historical
fiction. My historical fiction stories are always about a real character
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. It's about
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 67 books! So I say follow your dreams and never give up.
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.