Welcome back to the Colorado is for Writers interview series! Every other Tuesday, I talk to different Colorado-based authors about their work and their connections to this beautiful state. Today, I am thrilled to welcome prolific picture-book author Natasha Wing!
Natasha is the author of the “Night Before” series of picture books, which include several titles (like THE NIGHT BEFORE PRESCHOOL,THE NIGHT BEFORE KINDERGARTEN, and THE NIGHT BEFORE FIRST GRADE) that are perfect back-to-school reads. You can learn about these books and more at her website. Let’s get to know Natasha!
First things first: Colorado native or transplant?
Transplant. I moved here three years ago with my husband from northern California. He retired early and I can write anywhere, so we were looking for a place that was sunnier than the foggy California coast. He’s a mountain bike rider and I like to hike, so we chose Fort Collins.
Tell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!
I have a series of books based on the beloved The Night Before Christmas story. It’s a paperback series with holiday and school-themed stories. With school about to start up, there are three titles about preschool, Kindergarten and first grade.
Parents have e-mailed me that the books have been conversation starters for them and their kids, prompting to talk about what to expect on the first day of school. And since the stories rhyme, kids love them! There are schools that use my Night Before books as a welcome present for kids, which I think is such a great idea. It’s cool to think little Kindergartners across the country are reading my book and are excited about going to school.
What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?
I write in a spare bedroom upstairs that’s been converted into my office. I overlook open fields, which (until a new subdivision goes in someday) are peaceful to view. To the left in the distance is the Anheuser-Busch plant. To the right is a glimpse of Richard’s Lake and a peak of the Rockies.
What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?
There are many things! I love that I live where the library is open seven days a week. Plus, the library has many programs for writers. It’s wonderful that we have a city-wide Fort Collins Reads event where citizens are encouraged to read one book and discuss it. This year, it’s In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson. He wrote one of my all-time favorite books, The Devil in the White City, so I’m excited to go see him when he comes in November.
Also, I’m glad to have a regional chapter of the professional children’s writers organization I belong to, the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, right here in Fort Collins. Then there’s Rocky Mountain National Park in the fall, with its liquid yellow aspens that have inspired me to write some haiku (not published, though). People here are friendly, too, so I feel like I’ve met a lot of writers who are kind and generous with their advice and support. That’s a lot of best things!
Thank you, Natasha! How wonderful to know that your books are helping kids get ready for their first days at school.
Readers: Can you remember a book from your childhood that helped you prepare for a big life event, like a first day at school? Please share in the comments!
Great interview! I met Natasha at a conference a few years back at her author table and bought 2 of her “Night Before…” books (Halloween and Thanksgiving). Charlotte loves them! As for life event books, I remember reading the event-appropriate Berenstain Bears book before going to the doctor and dentist 🙂
Ooh, the Berenstain Bears definitely helped me through those life events, too. Great choice, Jess! 🙂
My family belonged to the Dr. Seuss book club, so they helped me learn to read and get ready for school.
Great interview! How wonderful to live so close to such an active writing community, but to still have a view out the window like that!
As for key preparatory books in my childhood, 10 Good Things About Barney was pretty important when it came to the death of pets. Actually, I think it still helps me even as an adult.
My son and I love Natasha’s books! And I love FC Reads too… I agree that Colorado has a warm and creative community of writers.