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Jennifer Richter making a goofy face while looking through binoculars

I was a shy and somewhat awkward kid. I also had LOTS of interests. At some point I wanted to be either a detective, ballerina, astronomer, or international woman of mystery. Strangely, even though I loved books and enjoyed writing, “writer” never made it to that childhood list of career aspirations.

Here’s what actually happened: I went to college, majored in political science and economics, minored in German, and ended up becoming a Foreign Service Officer. (So the international woman of mystery sort of came true). During my first and only overseas tour, I worked as a consular officer in Frankfurt, Germany. There I met my husband, a German national. After that tour, I worked at the State Department headquarters in D.C. before ditching diplomacy for life in a Florida beach town.

Next, the drifting years. I worked as a social studies teacher, then as an investment representative. I pursued an MBA but gave that up pretty quickly (what was I thinking?). All along, my early love of writing kept bubbling up, and at some point I asked myself, “Could I actually do this? Could I be a writer?”

So I started taking jobs that had something—anything—to do with writing. I was an editorial assistant for a community newspaper syndicate and even shelved books at a library! After moving back up north, I ended up in the world of closed captioning, which then led to my first creative writing job. For seven years, I wrote video description scripts for movies, TV shows, and other video.

Then in August of 2022, after 20 years of submitting all kinds of writing and being rejected hundreds of times, I got an email out of the blue that changed everything. A novel that I’d submitted to Holiday House way back in January had caught an editor’s eye. And even though that story wasn’t the one that ultimately got picked up, it led to one of my other novels (I’d written four by then) being acquired for publication.

I’m still shy and somewhat awkward, although I've long figured out how to hide my shyness, and I wear the awkwardness as a badge of honor. I also still have a ton of interests. I’m just working them into my stories now.

eastern towhee singing on a branch
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