“When people say, Did you always want to be a writer?, I have to say no! I always was a writer.”– Ursula K. Le Guin
Once upon a time, an English major and a healthcare worker had a daughter. Raised between the library and the laboratory, she grew up incorrigibly curious about the universe. What she couldn’t explore in person, she discovered on paper: sci-fi, ecological mysteries, and nature-survival tales filled her bookshelf and her brain. She “published” her first story in a library essay contest at age six, aspiring to twin careers as both an author and something ending in -ologist (paleontologist, marine biologist, zoologist—the focus shifted, but the fascination never swayed.)
Alas, Higher Education forced the girl to choose between these dreams. The wiles of writing won. She earned a creative writing degree, planning to pursue journalism, but landed unexpectedly in a STEM job. And she thrived. Her ability to transform data into narratives made her an ideal translator between technical experts and lay customers. Best of all, the work provided inspiration for the kind of books she always adored, grounded science fiction novels with literary flair. She’s been writing happily ever after.
Spoiler alert: the girl is me! I’m J.K. Ullrich, STEM professional by day, author by night. I’ve written several novels and shorter works, even winning a few accolades along the way. When I’m not glued to a computer for work or writing, I’m usually exploring with camera in hand. Nature photography slows down the hectic pace of my life and reconnects me to my environment. Through a lens, I can see the world again through the eyes of that inquisitive barefooted girl. I hope sharing my images will kindle the same spirit in others: wonder at the marvels of Planet Earth, and fierce determination to save what’s left of it.
My other interests include running, playing music, reading, and baking ridiculous amounts of bread to fuel all my adventures. Learn more about me and my work in the interviews posts below. You can also follow my adventures in real-time on Mastodon @WildTypeWriter@universeodon.com.
- Suicide Earth podcast hosted by Van Carter, July 2021: Blue Karma and the Global Water Crisis
- Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America The Panel, Episode 4: “Cli-fi and Solarpunk”, September 2018 (live discussion with authors Laurel J. Stanley, Sam J. Miller, Matthew Kressel, and Diane Morrison)
- Guest feature on author Lawrence M. Schoen’s Eating Authors blog
- LibraryJournal interview with winners of 2015 Self-Publishing Awards, February 2016
- Shut Up & Read blog interview, February 2016
- Finalist interview in Shelf Unbound Magazine, Dec/Jan 2016 (page 24)
- Author interview on Reading7Mandy book blog, July 2015