Today we get to chat with Natasha Tarpley — creator of Opal Watson: Private Eye!
Opal Watson is a curious girl with a knack for solving mysteries in her neighborhood. If you haven’t checked out this series, you’re definitely missing out.
Natasha has authored many books for both children and adults. She made her podcast debut on Pinna with Opal Watson: Private Eye. We can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!
Check out our interview below.
Exclusive Q&A With Natasha Tarpley, Creator Of Opal Watson: Private Eye
1. Hi there! To start, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to work with Pinna?
My name is Natasha Tarpley, and I’ve been writing books for children (and adults!) for many years. I am always seeking out opportunities to try new things and to grow as a writer and creator. When I was approached by a Pinna producer to create a new children’s mystery podcast for Pinna, I jumped at the chance — even though I had never written a podcast before. The producer had seen my recently published children’s middle-grade novel, The Harlem Charade (a Scholastic production), a mystery set in Harlem, NYC. I love the mystery genre and was really excited to explore it in a new medium.
2. What led you to this career choice? Any advice for our readers who may be interested in pursuing this path?
I was a pretty shy and quiet kid growing up. I almost never raised my hand in class or spoke up. I was always afraid that I wouldn’t say the right thing; I didn’t completely trust my voice. I was also tall and kind of chubby, so I never really wanted to call attention to myself. But I loved to read. Books became portals that allowed me to learn about and explore people, places, and realms beyond my immediate reality. Reading also helped me to discover my own voice and to tell my own stories. I received a lot of positive feedback from teachers, family, and friends for my writing. This also helped me to feel more confident that what I had to say was meaningful and important. To this day, I continue to use my writing in all formats to tell stories that don’t always get told, and, especially, to celebrate and expand narratives around African American children and culture.
For those of you who might want to become writers or creators of any kind, first and foremost, I recommend believing in yourself and trusting your voice and your work. It’s very easy to get discouraged when you create work that is not always acknowledged by others. But you have to know that what you’re doing is important; that your story is unique, and that it matters. I would also suggest working on your craft — reading, listening to, watching, and studying as many examples of your medium as possible. Practice your craft — create something every day, even if it’s terrible. Stick with it, it’ll get better. And be curious. Be open to new and different experiences; explore your neighborhood or city and other cultures. This will give you lots of material to draw from in your creative work.
3. Okay, let's have a little fun! If you could travel anywhere in the entire world, where would you go and why?
My favorite cities are NYC and Berlin, Germany. I love visiting those places. I would also love to explore the African and Asian continents. Lastly, I’m also very curious about what it would be like to visit the Arctic Circle.
4. Do you have any furry (or scaly!) friends keeping you company while you work?
In one of my book bios, I say that I live with the ghosts of two cats. So, maybe this is an exaggeration. I’ve never actually seen ghost cats, but I do miss my two kitties, Manhattan and Summer, who died a few years ago. I still feel their presence, lounging on my desk like they used to do, as I write. I miss them a lot, though I am not sure if I will get a new pet any time soon.
5. Wrapping up, can you share where our readers can follow you to keep up with your work?
To learn more about my work, readers can check out my website, www.natashatarpleywrites.com. And listen to Opal Watson: Private Eye on Pinna!
Wrapping It Up
Natasha Tarpley is a gifted creator and we were so lucky to get the chance to sit down (virtually!) and speak with her. We hope you enjoy this interview as much as we did.
Listen to season 2 of Opal Watson: Private Eye out now!
We’re all ears!