South Carolina Author
Margie Willis Clary
" I always like to put three generations in my books. I believe a book is good when it has a young person, a middle-aged person, and an older person from the same family."
"Children should learn family stories and practice telling them. They can learn so much from the older generation."
Margie Willis Clary
A Visit With Mrs. Clary
A Chat With Mrs. Clary
Margie Willis Clary was born in the Piedmont section of South Carolina. Her father was a Baptist minister.
After graduating from Furman University with a Bachelor Degree in Education, she taught in Greenville County until moving with her family to Charleston in 1965. She received a Master in Education from the Citadel and taught on James Island until her retirement in 1988.
Since retirement, Margie has worked as an adjunct professor at the Citadel and at Charleston Southern University. As a storyteller, Margie travels throughout the state working in schools as an artist-in-residence with the South Carolina Arts Commission. She presents workshops, both locally and statewide on the use of literature and storytelling in curriculum. She also is available for "Meet the Author" presentations and storytelling performances.
As a freelance writer, she has contributed articles to local and national publications. In 1990 she published a volume of poetry, A Poem is a Memory. Her first book of fiction entitled, A Sweet, Sweet Basket, was published in 1995 by Sandlapper Publishing and listed among Smithsonian Magazine's "Notable Books for Children."
Ms. Clary is actively associated with a number of national and local professional groups including the National Association of Storytellers, The International Reading Association, Delta Kappa Gamma International, The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, and state and local arts councils.
A South Carolina native, Ms. Clary has called the Charleston area home for more than thirty years. She and her husband live on James Island. They have two children and three grandchildren.
For further information, she can be reached at email@example.com.
Mrs. Margie Willis Clary visited our school this week, bringing with her a beautiful collection of books she has authored during the last decade.
7:00 AM Wednesday morning, a special group of students from each 5th and 6th grade team had the rare opportunity to attend a book breakfast with our author.
Throughout the day, teams joined Mrs. Clary in our multipurpose room. She told us about the making of her book Make it Three. It was fun actually hearing the author read a part of her book! Then, she told us a South Carolina lighthouse ghost story.
At lunch time, the Vikings Team's advanced language arts students had lunch with Mrs. Clary. She chatted with the students about the questions they had concerning writing, her books, and her life in general.
Click here for A Chat With Mrs. Clary
Searching the Lights
With the help of his
grandfather, Jim researches his favorite lighthouse for a school project and in the
process learns about the father he lost to the Gulf War. Includes brief histories of the
lighthouses of South Carolina.
Sweet, Sweet Basket
Continuing a tradition that
started in Africa, Grandma teaches Keisha how to weave a basket from South Carolina sweet
A modern day tale rich in history
and tradition. A wonderful tribute to the skill and dedication of the sweetgrass
basketweavers of Mr., Pleasant, SC who have preserved from extinction an age-old African
When Josh visits Charleston, South Carolina, he becomes fascinated with the history of the Confederate submarine, H.L. Hunley, which sank a Union ship in 1864, and he, his mother, and aunt move to Charleston in time for the raising of the submarine out of the sea.
Links to Works by Margie Willis Clary and Related Topics
Lighthouse.org talks with Mrs. Clary about Searching the Lights.
The Morris Island Lighthouse
The Morris Island Lighthouse Project
Student: When did you start writing?
Mrs. Clary: I really started writing when I was young. I wrote as a child as often as possible.
Student: Which is your favorite book?
Mrs. Clary: I like my book Sweet, Sweet Basket the best.
Student: How did you decide on the name Make It Three for your third book?
Mrs. Clary: My editor approached me about writing a children's book on the Hunley, so I gave it a try! There are two sets of threes: First, there were three Hunley accidents in which men were killed. Second, there were three characters in my book.
Student: How did you get your main characters for Make It Three?
Mrs. Clary: At first, I decided my child would be from Beaufort, South Carolina, and that the three characters would be the boy, his mother, and his father. My editor felt that a boy from Beaufort would be too familiar with the Charleston area to make this story. So she suggested that Union in the upstate of South Carolina would make a better hometown. Then, we decided that a complete family was too stereotype, so we changed the characters to a boy, his single-parent mom, and his great aunt. This gave me the opportunity to include three generations. I always like to put three generations in my books. I believe a book is good when it has a young person, a middle-aged person, and an older person from the same family. Children can learn so much from the older generation.
Student: Do you go visit the places you write about?
Mrs. Clary: Yes! I spent a day in a house with a lady who weaves sweetgrass baskets. I learned a lot from her about the history of this beautiful craft. I also attended as many functions as I could related to the Hunley. I read as many accounts in the newspapers as I could about what people saw and felt as the story of the Hunley unfolded. In fact, I've been to the grave of Lt. Dixon many times.