A Chat With Author Marc Brown

        Recently I had the chance to interview Marc Brown, the creator of the loveable Arthur character, which appears in 100 books, and the Emmy award-winning PBS TV show, now in its eleventh season. Not only was the Martha's Vineyard resident a relaxed and friendly phone conversationalist, he was also inspirational. So, I wanted to share with you his advice for aspiring writers. 
        Brown says he wrote his first book, Arthur's Tooth, in response to his oldest son's worry that he was the only one in second grade who hadn't lost a tooth. That was 30 years ago. Brown says it's not like success for him occurred over night. As a matter of fact, this author/illustrator also worked as a truck driver, soda jerk, actor, chicken farmer, TV art director, short order cook and college professor. He joked, "I got fired from most. Nothing else stuck." That resume alone can serve as inspiration for all the writers who work to pay the bills and write on the side in the hope they can one day support themselves solely as an author. 
        Regarding specific how-to tips, Brown reiterated what I tell writers all the time: read as much as you can and study how other people use words for kids. He also suggested keeping a journal or trying the Truman Capote method: Go to a public place and listen to conversations, training yourself to remember them, and then record all the dialogue later. Seems like a valuable lesson to try. 
        Brown also said that talented writers will find their way if they really want it. "It is a little harder to make it then it used to be. Beginning writers might benefit from having an agent who can help them get beyond the slush pile. Editors are very discriminating about who they take on. But success all depends on your drive in the end. I've watched people who had more talent than I do who gave up." 
        To learn more about Marc Brown, visit his Web site at www.marcbrownstudios.com.


Liza N. Burby
Liza is an award-winning journalist for some of the top publications in the country, a magazine editor, parenting speaker, children's book author and a motivational speaker/expert on getting your work published.