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Glenwood grad publishes fantasy novel at age 21

Jenna Jordan
Special to the Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – Breanna Richardson is the first to admit that the odds are stacked against her when it comes to writing a bestseller.

“Chances are I will never publish another manuscript. Chances are I will never finish another book. Chances are I will never make it all the way,” said Richardson.

But low probability has not kept her from her dream yet. At 21, Richardson has already published her first book, a novel for young adults titled “Destitution,” and she’s working on more.



Richardson began writing “Destitution” as a sophomore at Glenwood Springs High School.

The story follows eight sisters who live in a fictional kingdom called Galli. The characters came from people Richardson observed around her in Glenwood Springs, and she credits her surroundings growing up in South Canyon with the inspiration for the setting.



“During the summer time, I spent a lot of time outside in the woods. In our main pasture where we kept our horses was a huge tree. It had these huge branches to sit on and lean against. It was a great place to be alone and let my imagination go wild,” said Richardson. “As I child, I had already built my Galli kingdom in my backyard, so the setting was easy to write about.”

Richardson finished the first draft by the time she graduated from high school in 2009. For the next two years, she stayed up late copying the story from notebooks onto her computer, edited the book and learned all she could about the publishing world.

“I sent 39 cover letters and 15 manuscripts to publishing companies. I got 13 denials and the rest no replies,” Richardson remembers. “I learned from my mistakes and absorbed all the advice from publishing companies. It was almost like I wanted to prove to myself that I could achieve something that all the statistics were saying I could never achieve.”

In the summer of 2011, Richardson finally got the response she had been waiting for. A small company called Martin Sisters Publishing was interested in publishing her manuscript. Richardson signed a contract, and the company began editing her story.

A year later, in June 2012, “Destitution” was available to the public. The Book Train in downtown Glenwood Springs stocked half a dozen copies.

But Richardson was not the first person to hold her own published book.

“My book was supposed to come out before I left abroad for a year to learn Spanish. But my editor’s family had a tragic accident and my book was delayed,” Richardson wrote, halfway through the year she is spending in Chile. On Sept. 27, she began a 10-day backpacking trip in Patagonia.

Despite the setbacks, Richardson is ready for more hard work.

“My parents have always told me that if I wanted to be an author that I would have to do it for myself and nobody else could do it for me. I really took their advice to heart,” she said.

While most of the work is on her shoulders, she is eager to point out she has had help.

“My older sister, Tiffany, edited my entire story with me and gave me suggestions. Currently, she is my literary agent and helps with the marketing. My younger sister, Mikaela, has read most of my stories and is the best critic.”

Richardson is not taking a break from writing while abroad. She is working on a couple of stories and writing about her experiences traveling around the U.S. and the world. One of her big projects is a prequel to “Destitution.” But she also has a backup plan.

“I hope to be a writer ‘when I grow up.’ However, I am also a realist,” Richardson said. She is enrolled at the University of Wyoming and is working toward a degree in secondary education in Spanish and in English as a second language. She also wants to get a master’s degree in counseling.

“I definitely plan on continuing writing and hopefully publish a couple more books, but I will be completely satisfied with my life if I don’t become a writer as a career,” she said.

But Richardson knows there’s a difference between being satisfied and living her dream.

“It would be pretty cool if I could live on a ranch and write books all day,” she added.


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