Regional author publishes 7 children’s books in one month
Series is a way for Norton to connect to grandchildren
John Norton has a problem: he can’t stop writing.
The author has been typing away over the years, and his hard work culminated in publishing seven books in November. Four are illustrated children’s books, and three are for middle-grade readers.
“I can’t seem to turn it off. I just have the need to write this stuff out,” Norton said. “It’s who I really want to be and am right now.”
The children’s books are known as the Birthday Series, and it is currently made up of “When Is Santa’s Birthday?,” “Dear Tooth Fairy, is Today your Birthday?,” “Rudy, Santa’s Ninth Reindeer” and “Henry, The Spare Parts Dog.” For slightly older readers, there’s The Eva and Buckskin Charlie Series, which has the prequel “The Fortunate Teller on the Train,” “Eva’s Secret Name” and “Eva’s New Older Brother.”
The 79-year-old, who has had multiple jobs throughout his life and was previously a biochemist and antiques dealer, only began pursuing writing about five years ago. While driving a delivery truck full of antiques, he sought a distraction away from the monotony and started writing songs about the business. Norton said they were a hit with his colleagues.
That creativity then eventually morphed into stories. Originally from Maine, Norton said long winters in the coastal state breed storytellers. Norton lived in North Carolina for the past 12 years, and he moved to Kremmling a little over a year ago to be closer to his children and grandchildren.
Missing his grandchildren is why he wrote children’s books in particular. The character Eva is actually named in honor of one of them, and he set it in Colorado so that she’d be familiar with the location.
“They were just so damn far away, that it was a way to communicate with them,” Norton said.
“Dear Tooth Fairy, is Today your Birthday?” is also inspired by his grandchildren. Norton said one night his youngest took the dress off of her favorite doll and put it under her pillow so the tooth fairy would have something nice to wear after collecting her tooth.
While “When Is Santa’s Birthday?” is a revised edition, the other three children’s books are brand new.
“I seem to write very fast,” Norton said. “… I could almost write one of those a month. They just seem to happen. I have two — really three more in the pipeline if I have the funds to have them illustrated.”
Lauren Rieth, who he connected with online, has done most of his illustrations.
“It’s been fun to work with her,” Norton said. “She finds things in my writing and imagery that I didn’t know was there.”
Norton writes some contemporary novels for adults, as well. His first is called “Escort Service.” It is about an author on a book tour flying into Boston from California, and there is miscommunication about his media escort, which is like a travel guide or concierge, for the other sort of companion. Not yet published, a sequel is already in the works, as is a novel about his current job working at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Silverthorne.
The first three entries of the Eva series are also revisions. Norton said this time around, he rewrote the story to make it more exciting and adventurous. Set in the 1860s, it is about a girl from Maine moving out to Colorado and experiencing life in the West. Four more titles are planned, in addition to an eight-part series set decades later.
Called, “The (Extraordinary) Adventures of Eva Rose and Gramps,” the story begins in Denver in the 1930s before the start of World War II and follows the granddaughter of the original Eva. The first in the series is slated to come out in January 2024.
In the meantime, Norton hopes to travel around to bookstores, libraries and schools. He turned “When Is Santa’s Birthday?” into a one-act play for children last winter and hopes to follow up with more performances this holiday season.
“We blocked it out, and I had the kids walk through it and read. It turns out it is a lot of fun,” Norton said.
The self-published books range in price for $5.95 for e-books to $13.95 for paperbacks. All four e-books in the Birthday Series can be purchased for $11.90. Visit JohnNortonWriter.com to order.
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