Cheyenne Richards is a writer, sailor, and founder of Your BETTEREST. The Prisoner's Apprentice is her first novel.
She loves pretty much everything on the planet except Swiss cheese. Full of contradictions, Cheyenne is a tomboy who loves polka dots, a Palo Alto native drawn to the past as much as the future, and an outdoors-loving bookworm who’s most at home under a cozy blanket with a good read. She's lived in California, Australia, Singapore, and Mexico, with her boyfriend aboard a small sailboat named Pristine.
Cheyenne has been telling stories since before she could write her name, including several early ones about how Aunt Bonny ate the pickles, left the top off the toothpaste, and knocked over the crayons—not realizing Aunt Bonny lived 200 miles away.
Over the years, her honesty improved, and eventually so too did her stories. Umpteen novel starts and one full manuscript went into the bin where they belonged, but decades of writing group feedback and classes with luminaries from Ellen Sussman to Karen Joy Fowler to ZZ Packer finally left their mark. She was casting about for her next novel, intrigued by bits of family history, when she discovered an obscure reference to a previously unknown ancestor: Edward Rulloff, one of the most notorious serial killers of the 19th century. Her debut novel, The Prisoner’s Apprentice, published in 2021, is based on his incredible story.
For most of her life, Cheyenne’s sailing dream felt like pure fantasy. She didn’t grow up in one of those sailing families, didn’t have a clue how to sail, and could count on one finger the number of sailors she knew. The idea of learning to sail seemed as remote and absurd as learning to be a Kennedy. But when the dream refused to die, she finally asked herself what a first step would look like. Answer: Find out if she liked sailing.
A week later, her first class had her bronco busting a J-24 into 20+ knots in San Francisco’s infamous slot and the answer was unmistakeable. Oh yes! She adored sailing. She doubled down on classes, racing, chartering, and eventually teaching sailing herself. She read cruising stories, learned about diesel mechanics, weather forecasting, electrical systems, and got her USCG captain’s license. Along the way she met the love of her life who was—of course—a sailor, and they set off for Mexico on a Pacific Seacraft 37 named Pristine, blogging as they racked up 5000 nautical miles. Covid put a pause on crossing the Pacific so they decided to make the most of the opportunity to go all-in on the cruising life. They’re currently in the process of downsizing the house and upsizing the boat.