Marty Rhodes Figley

Photo by Paul Figley

Marty Rhodes Figley is the author of sixteen books, mostly about her favorite subject—remarkable people from our country’s past. She earned her B.A. in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College. Marty, whose two children are grown, lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, Paul, and their Airedale terrier, Scarlett.


What was your favorite book when you were a child?

I loved horses and horse stories. One of my all time favorite books was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

"Beatrice Quimby’s biggest problem was her little sister Ramona."  
—Beverly Cleary, Beezus and Ramona

Who are your top three favorite authors or illustrators?

There are so many but here are three that come to mind:  E. B. White for his elegance, Jean Fritz for her fabulous way with history, and Judy Blume for being the first in so many ways.

Why did you want to become an author or illustrator?

I love children, remember my childhood vividly, and love to write. It was a natural progression.

Do you have any advice for future authors or illustrators?

Read voraciously in both children’s and adult literature. Writing is a craft—continually hone your skills. Joining a writer’s group in order to get feedback is a good idea. And always remember that publishing is a business, so approach it accordingly. Do your homework. Most importantly, if you feel you have what it takes, don’t give up.