Authors: Madeleine L’Engle
Where do you write your books?
Anywhere. I write in longhand first, and then type it. My first typewriter was my father’s pre–World War One machine. It was the one he took with him to the war. It had certainly been around the world.
What is the best advice you have ever received about writing?
To just write.
What’s your first childhood memory?
One early memory I have is going down to Florida for a couple of weeks in the summertime to visit my grandmother. The house was in the middle of a swamp, surrounded by alligators. I don’t like alligators, but there they were, and I was afraid of them.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Being in my room.
As a young person, whom did you look up to most?
My mother. She was a storyteller and I loved her stories. And she loved music and records. We played duets together on the piano.
What was your worst subject in school?
Math and Latin. I didn’t like the Latin teacher.
What was your best subject in school?
What activities did you participate in at school?
I was president of the student government in boarding school and editor of
a literary magazine, and also belonged to the drama club.
Are you a morning person or a night owl?
What was your first job?
Working for the actress Eva La Gallienne, right after college.
What is your idea of the best meal ever?
Cream of Wheat. I eat it with a spoon. I love it with butter and brown sugar.
Which do you like better: cats or dogs?
I like them both. I once had a
wonderful dog named Touche. She was a silver medium-sized poodle, and quite beautiful. I wasn’t allowed to take her on the subway, and I couldn’t afford to get a taxi, so I put her around my neck, like a stole. And she pretended she was a stole. She was an actor.
What do you value most in your friends?
What is your favorite song?
“Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes.”
What time of the
year do you like best?
I suppose autumn. I love the changing of the leaves. I love the autumn goldenrod, the Queen Anne’s lace.
What was the original title of
A Wrinkle in Time?
“Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which.”
How did you get the idea for
A Wrinkle in Time?
We were living in the country with our three kids on this dairy farm. I started reading what Einstein wrote about time. And
I used a lot of those principles to make a universe that was creative and yet believable.
How hard was it to get
A Wrinkle in Time
I was kept hanging for two years. Over and over again I received nothing more than the formal, printed rejection slip. Eventually, after twenty-six rejections, I called my agent and said, “Send it back. It’s too different. Nobody’s going to publish it.”
He sent it back, but a few days later a friend of my mother’s insisted that I meet John Farrar,
the publisher. He liked the manuscript, and eventually decided to publish it. My first editor was Hal Vursell.
Which of your characters is most like you?
None of them. They’re all wiser than I am.
THE L’ENGLE CAST OF CHARACTERS
Books featuring the Murry-O’Keefes:
A Wrinkle in Time (WT)
A Wind in the Door (WD)
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (STP)
Many Waters (MW)
The Arm of the Starfish (AS)
Dragons in the Waters (DW)
A House Like a Lotus (HL)
An Acceptable Time (AT)
Books featuring the Austins:
Meet the Austins (MA)
The Moon by Night (MN)
The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas
The Young Unicorns (YU)
A Ring of Endless Light (REL)
Troubling a Star (TS)