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’m happy to welcome debut picture-book author Suzanne Nieman Brown to the blog!
First things first: Colorado native or transplant?
Transplant. My boyfriend and I road tripped up here to ski and snowboard with friends way back in the early 90’s. (Wasn’t that just a few years ago…?!) That boy and I married, realized our hearts belonged to the mountains, and moved here as fast as our careers would allow. We left once for grad school but returned a few years later. That was 14 years ago! Since then, we welcomed our daughter and son, adopted many animals to join our family, and turned native. *WINK* Even though I’ve lived in six states and explored 17 countries, Colorado is my home. My treasure always waiting for my return.
Tell us a bit about your book(s), published and/or in progress!
My first book, THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN SKI COUNTRY, was just released! *YAY!* I wrote a version of this story when our daughter was born. I wanted her to have a Christmas book that reflected where we lived. With snow and elk and a Santa that loves to ride! Every Christmas our family read it. Every Christmas my son asked when I was getting it published. And every Christmas I tweaked it just a little bit more.
Last summer, I was talking to a publisher about another project when she mentioned they were looking for a Christmas book. I sent mine to her. She loved it and wanted it! And then I had a wonderful opportunity. My publisher asked me to find my own illustrator! I found Dana Schlingman through SCBWI. She and I worked closely together on every page to make my words and her watercolor pictures (by HAND, not digital!) blend seamlessly into a beautifully illustrated storybook.
Here’s the press release description:
There’s a new Santa in Ski Country and he has magic up his…well, ski vest! Santa rides a snowboard, crashes his resort-named elk into a hot tub, and wants to bring fresh powder for Christmas Day. But oh, no! Santa’s magical Icicle Star is melted! So Little Andy and Santa’s dog, Cocoa, bravely trek past frozen waterfalls, mountain animals, and sleeping aspens on a beautifully illustrated adventure to find a new Icicle Star. Will they find it in time to give Ski Country a white Christmas? Check out a sneak peek at sbrownbooks.com
I am also working on a middle grade novel that ties in with my other job as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist. More to come soon!
What’s the view like from your favorite writing space?
In two words? Nature. Animals.
In many words? Fluffy horses snoozing in the warm sun. Ribbons of mountains: dark green in the summer, speckled gold in the fall, and icy white in the winter. Our sweet dog, Lulu, upside down and fast asleep under my feet or zealously barking at the wild elk, turkeys, coyotes, deer, and bears that wander through our property. Smiling photos of my hubbie and kids on our many adventures. And my cold mug of minty green tea.
What’s the best thing about being a writer in Colorado?
The views! The seasons! The animals! I can’t pick just one thing. *SMILE* If I’m stuck in my writing, I take Lulu for a hike. In the quiet forest or stark mountaintops, my mind opens wide and the ideas flow.
Suzanne, congratulations on your debut, and thank you so much for sharing a peak inside the book and a peak at your views (which, I must say are spectacular)! Good luck with your middle grade project!
Readers: Keep an eye out for THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS IN SKI COUNTRY in bookstores all over ski country…and in the meantime, why not follow Suzanne on Twitter? 🙂
Tara, I love this series! Suzanne, I love your views! Horses running beneath snowy spruces… how do you keep your eyes on a computer screen? What a wonderful idea for a children’s book and a great story of how it came to be published. Best of luck, and hope we get to meet someday. Up on your beautiful mountain, maybe! 🙂
Thanks, Maryanne! My eyes do wander often! 🙂 I look forward to meeting you, too!
What a great idea for a Christmas book! The views from your writing space are GORGEOUS. Congrats on your debut (and the MG novel you’re writing!)!
Thanks, Jess! 🙂
Thanks Tara for the interview! I am very lucky to have those views! Come visit any time!
I may well take you up on that, Suzanne! Thanks for doing the interview–it was really fun to get a glimpse inside the book. I wish you lots of success with it!!
I have read this book and it is absolutely AMAZING! The story is one that always stays in your heart, giving you some joy with a side of snow no matter what, and the pictures are so detailed, bringing out the excellence in Colorado! 😀 I love to go back through and look at all the perfect, tiny, little details that match the exceptional poem! Now, in the summer time, when I am missing snow, I will have to pull your book back out, imagining myself there! 😉
Your photos are glorious! It must be hard to keep focused, but I assume that the word around you is what gives you inspiration! 🙂
I love your story!!
Congratulations on this big accomplishment! 😀