Jennifer S. Alderson


Jennifer S. Alderson was born in San Francisco, raised in Seattle, and currently lives in Amsterdam. Her love of travel, art, and culture inspires her ongoing mystery series, the Adventures of Zelda Richardson. Her background in journalism, multimedia development, and art history enriches her novels. When not writing, Jennifer can be found in a museum, biking around Amsterdam, or enjoying a coffee along the canal while planning her next research trip.

There are currently four books in the stand-alone series following the adventures of traveler and culture lover Zelda Richardson. In Down and Out in Kathmandu, Zelda gets entangled with a gang of smugglers whose Thai leader believes she’s stolen his diamonds. The Lover’s Portrait is a suspenseful “whodunit?” about Nazi-looted artwork that transports readers to wartime and present-day Amsterdam. Art, religion, and anthropology collide in Rituals of the Dead, a thrilling artifact mystery set in Dutch New Guinea (Papua) and the Netherlands. Her short story set in Panama and Costa Rica, Holiday Gone Wrong, will help fans better understand this unintentional amateur sleuth’s decision to study art history and give new readers a taste of her tantalizing misadventures.

Her travelogue, Notes of a Naive Traveler, is an account of her own travels through Nepal and Thailand. It is a must read for those interested in learning more about – or wishing to – travel to either country.

Review and discuss her books on Facebook (, Twitter (@JSAauthor) or Goodreads ( For more information about the author and her upcoming novels, please visit her website (

Smashwords Interview

What inspired this story?
In September 1999, just weeks before my twenty-seventh birthday, I flew to Kathmandu to volunteer for three months before backpacking around Nepal and Thailand on my own for another two. During my volunteer experience and travels, I sent weekly emails to family and friends describing all of the strange, exciting and beautiful things and events I’d witnessed or taken part of. It was my first trip abroad and such an amazing journey, yet so intense. Writing those messages was a great way to process everything. After I returned home to Seattle, friends kept asking me what I was going to do with the emails I’d sent. I was so focused on settling down and working full-time again that I hadn’t even looked at them since leaving Asia! Only after an acquaintance presented me with a bound copy of all of my texts and suggested I publish them as a traveler’s diary, did I finally decide to use my experiences as the basis for this book.
What are you working on next?
Stolen art and the Second World War play an important role in my second novel, The Lover’s Portrait (out in June 2016); the story of an American art student who finds clues to the location of a collection of masterpieces that had disappeared during the Second World War. The subject matter is directly influenced by my move to the Netherlands and choice to study museology at the University of Amsterdam. After arriving, I became fascinated by the Second World War, a topic I knew embarrassing little about. You can learn so much about that period simply by walking around Amsterdam; there are a plethora of monuments and signs commemorating resistance actions and Nazi retaliations spread throughout the city, not just at the Anne Frank House!

In a few days, I’ll be sending the final manuscript of The Lover’s Portrait off to my editor so she can proofread it. Yeah! As soon as the second novel is out the door, I’ll get back to finishing the first draft of my third novel, another art-related mystery. This yet-to-be-named manuscript’s plot was directly inspired by a few quirky facts I’d read about while working on an exhibition for the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam about Papua New Guinean bis poles collected by the legendary anthropologist Michael Rockefeller.

I’ll be the first to admit that my upcoming novels do differ dramatically from my first in style, genre and subject matter. I wrote Down and Out in Kathmandu: adventures in backpacking (December 2015) as a travel adventure for the ‘backpacker fiction’ genre because I wanted to do something with my own experiences backpacking through Asia and this was the best style for the story. The Lover’s Portrait is a mystery simply because it was the most effective means of sharing my fascination with the artistic and cultural history of the Netherlands in a way that I hope will reach and interest my readers!
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Jennifer S. Alderson online

Where to buy in print


Adventures of Zelda Richardson
An on-going stand-alone series following the adventures of traveler and culture lover, Zelda Richardson.


Adventures in Backpacking Box Set: Down and Out in Kathmandu, Holiday Gone Wrong, Notes of a Naive Traveler
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 128,820. Language: English. Published: August 15, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Get your passport ready! These exciting tales will transport you to exotic locations in Nepal, Thailand, Costa Rica and Panama for three trips of a lifetime. An eclectic mix of crime fiction, adventure and memoir guaranteed to satisfy – or perhaps ignite – any (armchair) traveler’s wanderlust. Read this box set now to find out which applies to you!
Holiday Gone Wrong: An Adventures of Zelda Richardson mystery thriller series short story set in Panama and Costa Rica
Price: Free! Words: 14,260. Language: English. Published: May 8, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Zelda Richardson is back on the road – destination Panama and Costa Rica. On her agenda: learning to scuba dive, exploring rainforests, and climbing a volcano. Not on her to-do list: capturing the attention of a drug dealer, buying illegal artifacts at a local market, or becoming the target of a tourism scam. Will she ever be able to go on holiday without it turning into an international incident?
Notes of a Naive Traveler: Nepal and Thailand
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 36,370. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Travel » Specialties & interests, Nonfiction » Travel » By region
Travel to Nepal and Thailand with me! Uplifting and motivating, this memoir will inspire readers to open their hearts and explore new destinations. A must-read for those interested in volunteering in, learning more about, or wishing to travel to Nepal and Thailand.
Down and Out in Kathmandu: A Backpacker Mystery
Series: Adventures of Zelda Richardson. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 87,030. Language: English. Published: December 28, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Adventure » Travel, Fiction » Mystery & detective » International crime
Zelda wants to teach children English and “find herself” in Kathmandu. Ian wants to get stoned and trek the Himalayas. Tommy wants to get rich by smuggling diamonds. How their stories collide will leave you on the edge of your seat!

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