Nancy Bentley grew up in New Jersey, and graduated from Columbia High School and Lake Erie College, before trekking off to San Francisco where her first job was with the advertising agency Dancer, Fitzgerald, and Sample. The agency sat in what felt like the heart of the city – across the street from Ferlinghetti’s City Lights Bookstore, around the corner from Chinatown, and a stone’s throw out the back window to one of the most notorious bars in North Beach.
Travelling to Hawaii, she earned a Master’s in Educational Communications from the University of Hawaii, and created a series of audiovisual presentations for the Adult Furlough Program at the Hawaii State Prison. She moved to Colorado, where she received a Master’s in Library Science from the University of Denver and began working as a librarian, media specialist, and teacher.
Her writing began with a series of magazine articles for Colorado Fever, published by the Colorado Historical Institute for Children. She then authored a series of board books for young children with Price/Stern/Sloan, a picture book with Doubleday, and co-wrote a series of nonfiction books about writing for young children with Donna Guthrie for Millbrook Press. This was followed by a book about how to write reports without plagiarizing with Enslow Publishers.
She earned certificates from the University of Denver and Stanford University Publishing Institutes, followed by internships with Holiday House, a children’s book publisher in New York, for a couple of wonderful summers. Afterwards, she decided that writing was her dream job.
Her interest in filmmaking grew as she walked around Colorado Springs viewing the abundance of murals in the city and became aware of the city's rich history in the American mural art movement. She signed up with a documentary film bootcamp, directed by Tom Shepard, where she directed and produced "Talking Walls," a documentary film about the history of murals in Colorado Springs and the important need for public funding for the arts.
She went on to direct a documentary film about Colorado Springs’ oldest and largest community garden: "A Garden Experience: Growing Organic," available on Amazon Prime. She and her husband co-directed another documentary film about one of Colorado’s premier mural artists, Eric Bransby, "Eric Bransby, American Mural Artist." The film is available through Colorado PBS and Kansas City PBS stations.
More recently, she finished writing a middle grade historical novel about a second generation Lithuanian-American girl growing up during the 1950’s Cold War era who feels caught between her Lithuanian life at home and her American life outside and who is determined to uncover family secrets her family is keeping from her.
Nancy is currently working with a team of women on a documentary film about a unique tiny house project designed for at-risk youth.
She’s been a salesclerk, waitress, researcher, teacher, librarian, media specialist, coordinator of information and technology, naturalist docent at her local nature center, singer, writer and filmmaker. Each of these experiences has inspired a story and taught her that far more unites us as human beings than divides us.
Nancy lives with her husband in Colorado where she grows a large vegetable garden every year, sings in the shower, and reads every book she can get her hands on. She is grateful for the privilege of sharing stories on the page or in film that are important to her: stories about families and people, about different cultures, about exploring and protecting our precious and fragile natural world. Stories forever unfolding.