Carmel Valley resident thriving in second career as a best-selling author

Authors R. L. Stine and Douglas E. Richards. Courtesy photo
Authors R. L. Stine and Douglas E. Richards. Courtesy photo

By Karen Billing

Carmel Valley resident Douglas E. Richards left behind the biotech world and is enjoying the second draft of his life as a techno-thriller author.

His first book, “WIRED,” gained popularity as an e-book, ending 2011 as the #1 Kindle book in two categories.

The book spent time on the New York Times Best Seller list and, despite having been out for two years, it’s still among the top five in Amazon’s techno-thrillers and science fiction categories, and still sells about 100 books a day.

The online success of “WIRED” led to a book deal with Tor-Forge, an imprint of MacMillan Publishers. Richards' latest book, “The Cure,” was released on Sept. 17 — its shiny, embossed jacket on a printed hard cover was extremely exciting for Richards to see.

“The Cure” is a science fiction, techno-thriller mix that tells the story of Erin Palmer, a graduate student who goes into prisons to research psychopaths and possibly find a way to reverse their condition. The “fast-paced, breathless” novel takes place over one week.

“It’s been really, really fun. Also, I’m nervous because you never know…it’s always very stressful until the first 100 people read the book,” Richards said. “You can write a good book that you’re passionate about, but that’s not enough. You have to get lucky. I don’t know what the magic is but let’s hope I continue to get lucky.”

A book signing for “The Cure” will be held at the Del Mar Highlands Town Center’s Barnes & Noble on Sept. 29 from noon to 2 p.m.

Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Richards has lived in Carmel Valley since 1998.

He attended Ohio State to get his undergraduate degree in microbiology and then attended the University of Wisconsin where he earned his master’s degree in genetic engineering.


“I enjoyed analyzing data and I like to read the results of five years of research, but I didn’t want to be the one in the lab spilling stuff on myself, I don’t have the patience,” Richards said.

To change the direction of his career, Richards went on to earn his MBA at the University of Chicago and began working at the Eli Lilly IVAC medical devices company Bristol-Myers Squibb as the director of biotech licensing. He eventually moved to San Diego where he worked as the vice president of business development at Signal Pharmaceuticals and Acadia Pharmaceuticals.

Richards credits his kids for inspiring him to become a writer.

“I love to read, I was always reading and what really started my writing off was when I wanted to find science fiction for my kids,” Richards said.

He had found that for seventh and eighth graders there weren’t a lot of good options so he wrote a series of science fiction books for middle schoolers called “The Prometheus Project.” The series did quite well online and he was even invited to be a panelist at Comic-Con in 2010.

His books caught the eye of National Geographic Kids Magazine, who tapped him to write articles. The articles have now been translated into 12 different languages.



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