About Me

Nicola Joy Burggraf


I was born in 1969, the year man first landed on the moon and Sesame Street was first aired on TV. This is quite apt, as I am forever seeking adventure and love the colourful characters that enter my world on a daily basis.  

I grew up in the West Midlands, England in a traditional family setting with two brothers and two dogs. My creative nature was quite evident from an early age and I was convinced that my parents were Jennifer and Jonathan Hart and my life was going to be filled with love, success and fairy tale endings. I eventually learned, at the age of 16, that reality exists and life continually throws curve balls.

After spending my late teens dabbling in various career paths, becoming a trained chef, a sales administrator and a music teacher, I plunged into the academic world and became a qualified teacher of Religious Studies and Philosophy. I loved teaching and it lent itself well to developing my creative side.

In 2002, I took a huge gamble on love and moved to Germany to be with my very own (German) Jonathan Hart. 

Luckily, my teaching career continued into the International sector and flourished alongside my home life. My new job allowed me to nurture my two passions, creativity and people. I wrote and directed many school plays, mentored new teachers, developed and ran teacher training and gained a Masters in Educational Management and Leadership. After eight years, I was promoted to the role of School Director and remained in that role for five years. Working in an international environment enriched my life and I gained many new friends from different religious and cultural backgrounds; global friendships that are timeless.

In August 2013, I decided to divert my energy and passion to writing fiction full-time. I had always written stories as a hobby but felt the time was right to hone my skills and fulfil my potential as a writer. The only possible way to accomplish this was to "retire" (as someone so kindly put it) at the age of 44 and make the time to work hard and explore my creativity with conviction.

I now live in a small German village, on the outskirts of the beautiful Eifel region, with my very patient husband, an enormous Walnut tree and seven coffee machines. When I'm not writing, I love to read, cook, bake, work in the garden and procrastinate whilst cleaning windows. 

I write short stories under the pseudonym, Tessa Castello. My first collection, Short Stories for on the go, is available on Amazon. I'm currently editing my d├ębut crime novel which will be published under my real name - N.J.Burggraf.

pending my late teens dabbling in various career paths, becoming a trained chef, a sales administrator and a music teacher, I plunged into the academic world and became a qualified teacher of Religious Studies and Philosophy. I loved teaching and it lent itself well to developing my creative side.
In 2002, I took a huge gamble on love and moved to Germany to be with my very own (German) Jonathan Hart.
Luckily, my teaching career continued into the private sector and flourished alongside my home life. My new job allowed me to nurture my two passions, creativity and people. I wrote and directed many school plays, mentored new teachers, developed and ran teacher training and gained a Masters in Educational Management and Leadership. After eight years, I was promoted to the role of School Director and remained in that role for five years.
In August 2013, I decided to divert my energy and passion to writing fiction full-time. I had always written stories as a hobby but felt the time was right to become the best writer I can possibly be. The only way to do this was to enter the writing world and apply myself 100% to the task.
So here I am, my bottom firmly seated on my final career stepping stone, doing what I was born to do: nurturing and exploring my creativity and writing it down to share with the world.
I now live in a small German village, on the oe and my George Clooney coffee machine.
Currently, I am seeking an agent for my debut crime thriller novel, Betrayal and am compiling a book of short stories, which I will self-publish in 2015.