Nancy Derey Riley

Children's Book Author


About Nancy...

Nancy Derey Riley loves exploring-exploring nature, science, libraries, and hobbies. She grew up in northern Virginia and Colorado Springs, Colorado. She learned to camp, fish, garden, sew, knit, cook, and figure skate, and try her hand at many different kinds of arts and crafts. With an early interest in science, she attended to Colorado State University and earned a B.S. and M.S. in Wildlife Biology.

After college, she worked for 32 years with three federal agencies: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. She evaluated the environmental impacts of proposed land development projects on natural resources. She worked with private landowners and agencies to restore fish and wildlife habitat on private lands. But the most fun she had was working with children and school groups on schoolyard habitat projects.

She had the opportunity to hone her writing and art skills by developing and illustrating newsletters, educational materials, fact sheets, and other handouts. Born in Alabama, Nancy has lived in Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa, South Dakota, and New Mexico, and explored 47 states (Washington, Louisiana, and Mississippi are left). In 2012, she retired and lives with her husband in a log home on 35 acres of heaven in northern Colorado.

And a little bit more, straight from the writer herself:
I love creating-books, illustrations, art.
I love home DIY projects, especially tile work.
I love my family, my pets, and my friends (the order changes daily!).
I love everything about figure skating . . . except falling.
My blood type is B+ = Be Positive, not only a blood type, but an attitude.


Things I do...


Since retiring, she has delved into writing and illustrating children’s picture books. She’s an active member of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and the Colorado Independent Publishers Association.

Ice Skating

She's an adult competitive figure skater who is a bronze national medalist! Nancy truly shines when she is performing light entertainment and dramatic programs as well as ice dancing.


She loves explored the land every morning with her American Brittany, Scout. She has an American Paint horse named Quincy that loves treats. At her home she has wildlife including bobcats, elk, mule deer, wild turkeys, bald and golden eagles, rabbits, red foxes and many other bird species. 


Riley's rules for a good life

Life is too short to die an angry person

Don't hate

Don't deceive

use your intellect

learn about virtues & apply them to your life

never stop learning

Be kind


Guest Author Visits

For classrooms, schools, libraries, daycares or homeschooling groups! I have a brief, warm introduction of myself to my audience and preview your book of choice and then I read the book out-loud. At the end we can do a word search together or solve a morse code puzzle or discuss what plants and flowers would help the butterflies. 

Afterwards I can answer questions about how I come up with my ideas for books, how I get my thoughts down on paper, the process to get a book published and the joy I have in sharing my stories with you!

Awards Nancy Has Received

Author, Susanna Leonard Hill, offers several writing contests every year. These are fun events for children’s writers. In February 2020, Nancy Riley won 4th place in her Valentiny contest. That story (link to blog post here) was the beginning of Curiosity’s Discovery. 


Starting in 2017, The Rocky Mountain Chapter of SCBWI created their Golden Pen Award. The award was designed to showcase promising writers and the winner’s prize is paid tuition for the writers during the conference select one manuscript as a finalist for the award. The finalists’ manuscripts are sent to another region for final judging. Nancy was a finalist in 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2022.