When I was a child, I wanted to be a forest ranger, or a professor, or a cowgirl galloping across the plains. Maybe a painter or a violinist or a business executive flitting around the world.
Daryl Burkhard, author of the middle-grade novel, Riddle in the Mountain
The author, Daryl Burkhard
At age 8, I told my father I would be the first woman on Mars. I wanted adventure. It never occurred to me to write one.

It wasn’t until I was in college that I considered writing a story. I loved children’s books. I loved good stories. I thought it would be fun to create one. The problem was I didn’t know how. More importantly, I didn’t think I could. Studying science and math, and later business, felt much safer.

So I earned a B.S. in Biology, a MAcc in Accounting, and a M.S. in Natural Resources Policy and Planning. I became a business woman and a biologist. In high school, I played the violin and later took vocal lessons and sang. I learned to ride horses. On my vacations, I followed my wanderlust and hiked the Inca Trail, explored neo-tropical jungles, and rafted down rushing rivers. I gawked at the Kremlin in Russia, shopped at Harrods in London, and photographed lions and elephants in Kenya. I had a blast.

Still… something was missing.

I wanted to write. I wanted to create a story.

At the age of 44, I bit the bullet and began. I took courses on writing for children, attended conferences and seminars, and joined a writers’ group full of talented individuals. Keeping my fingers crossed, I wrote my first chapter. Drawing on childhood memories, research, and an active imagination, Riddle in the Mountain slowly took shape and evolved. Draft after draft littered my floor. Finally, after several years, the story came to fruition and, in 2005, I became a published author.

If you dream of writing but have never written a novel, penned a short story, or even drafted a poem, have faith. There is no time like the present to begin. As Confucius once said, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Take your first step.

I still haven’t gone to Mars. I suspect that I will have to forgo that one, at least for this lifetime. Or maybe… I could write about it. There is more than one way to have an adventure.

Daryl Burkhard was born in Boulder, Colorado. Surrounded by rugged mountains and sweeping plains, she spent her early childhood hiking through pine shrouded forests, exploring decrepit old shacks, and peering, very carefully, into the dark cavities of abandoned mines. Her world was filled with tales of cowboys and Indians, freight wagons and railroads, gold and silver, and, at times, sickness and death. But there was magic, too. Through her sister’s imagination, aspen groves became fairylands. Through her father’s, a circle of rocks became a wee folks’ dancing ring. Western lore blended with Otherworld magic and became the foundation of Riddle in the Mountain.

When Daryl was nine, her family moved to Athens, Georgia where she discovered Piedmont woods and salt grass marshes, learned about the Civil War, and acquired a Southern accent. After graduating from high school, she attended Michigan State University where she earned a B.S. in Biology/Entomology. She continued her studies at the University of Georgia where she switched her major and earned a Master of Accountancy. Yearning to return to the West, she took her first job as a Certified Public Accountant in Denver, Colorado.

After nine years of working as a tax accountant, Daryl chose to combine her science and business background. She returned to the University of Georgia to earn a M.S. in Natural Resource Policy and Planning and a Certificate in Conservation Ecology and Sustainable Development. She then worked as a conservation biologist, again in Colorado, in an effort to preserve the West’s vanishing open spaces until her love of story pulled her away to write. Today she lives in Athens, Georgia, near her parents, and is working on the several stories swirling in her head.

You can contact Daryl by email at: daryl@darylburkhard.com.

©2006 Daryl Burkhard. All Rights Reserved.