Kathleen E. Woodiwiss was born in Alexandria, Louisiana on June 3, 1939. She is not as prolific as some authors, but her loyal fans eagerly await her well-researched historical romances. She was first encouraged by friends to finish her first novel The Flame and the Flower (1977), which she began writing because she could not find a romance that suited her taste. The novel, which combined a new eroticism with the conventional historical romance formula, was a success and influenced the entire genre to be more sexually explicit. As a busy mother who has raised three sons, Woodiwiss knows that her readers are seeking entertainment and escape, but the research she does also results in novels that portray historical periods with rich detail and fidelity. Woodiwiss's Shanna (1978) was the first historical romance to appear in trade paperback. More than 10 million copies of her books are currently in print. She died on July 6, 2007 after a long illness.