anika headshot

Short version:

  • Live in Essen, Germany with my husband, two young daughters and the ghost of my New York-born cat.
  • From Michigan, USA
  • Have traveled in N. America, Europe, Africa and Asia.
  • My fiction is represented by the amazing Laetitia Rutherford from the Watson, Little Ltd literary agency in London. Also see my fiction site.
  • I freelance for private clients, radio, web, magazines and papers. Also see my LinkedIn profile.
  • Fluent in German, English native language.
  • BA Honors in International Relations, Michigan State University
  • Interned US State Department, Washington, DC
  • Masters in Journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, NY, NY.
  • Newspaper staff jobs at the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Chicago Tribune.
  • Moved to Germany because of my future husband and because why not? You only live once.
  • Co-wrote Lost to the World, the nonfiction account of art theft in Nazi Vienna, well-received in Austria.
  • Grew up playing flute. Honored to have been in the color guard in the  competitive marching band at Plymouth Canton High School.
  • For some reason, I love to back quiche. And cake. I jog a lot, but no marathons yet. I’m trying not to become too European, whatever that means. (I’ve been told it’s too late!)

Long version:

I’m from Michigan, USA. Suburban Detroit, car country.

These are the careers I thought I wanted when I was in high school: FBI agent, CIA agent, diplomat, journalist, novelist. I wish I could say I’ve done three of the five to keep you guessing.

I was close, though. Back before you could download everything from the internet, I wrote to the CIA (I don’t recall the exact address) and asked them for an application for a kind of “young agent” program. They’d help pay some college tuition if I worked summers for them and promised I’d join them after graduation. I remember two things about that application. It was thick. And it informed me that if I was accepted into the program, I couldn’t keep a journal.

I trashed the whole idea. I guess it was my subconscious telling me I’m a writer more than anything else. Even if it was only journals and little stories scribbled in the margins of my homework.

As we all know, writing doesn’t pay. So I decided to become a diplomat. I came pretty close to this too. My bachelors is in International Relations, and I traveled to Europe to study defense policy with the Atlantic Council and European Union issues in Brussels. Then came the ultimate experience — as intern at the State Department in Washington, D.C. A paid internship. See? Diplomacy was paying more than writing already!

Off I went to traipse around embassies slurping martinis with hunky foreign diplomats. Except I wasn’t old enough to drink. And the work wasn’t at all like that. It was. . .tedious. It was. . .odd. After a discussion with my boss about ambassadors whispering to themselves in bathroom stalls, I decided the entire US government was mentally ill.

The diplomat idea was trashed. This was unfortunate, since I had my IR degree in the pocket and didn’t know what else to do with it. Then I had a bright idea.

Journalism! Where writing pays!

This was the 1990’s. Thank God.

It was a Golden Age. I whisked myself off to Columbia University in New York, studied news reporting, magazine, radio, a bit of TV, some “new media” as it was called back then. I goofed off a lot and learned even more and loved it. I got a masters in journalism. Which makes me a journalist forever. I certainly paid enough for the honor.

And since it was the Golden Nineties, I had job offers right out of school. First stop — the Philadelphia Inquirer. Fascinating city, beautiful countryside. I miss it. Next stop — Chicago Tribune. Chicago is bar none the most beautiful city in the United States. I don’t care what everybody says about San Francisco. It’s Chicago. I miss it even more than I miss New York and Philadelphia.

My last address in the United States was in Oak Park, right over the Chicago border. From there, I left my country for adventure, love and stronger coffee in Germany. Somewhere I acquired a husband, two daughters, the ghost of my New York-born cat and an addiction to fresh air. And German bread. Yum.


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