Author Janice Holt Giles was born in Altus, Arkansas on March 28, 1905. She attended Little Rock Junior College and then the University of Arkansas. She married Otto Moore in 1923; they had one daughter together and divorced in 1939. She worked as a secretary for church congregations and in the field of religious education. She met Henry Giles on a bus in 1943 and they began a two-year courtship, mostly by correspondence because he was serving in World War II. They were married in 1945 and moved to Kentucky in 1949. This is where she started her writing career. Between 1950 and 1975, she wrote twenty-four books of fiction, non-fiction, and short stories mostly concerning Appalachian life and culture. While many authors wrote of desperate mountain communities saved by outsiders, she wrote of desperate outsiders who moved into mountain communities to help others, but found that the people there helped them instead. She also co-wrote some novels with her husband such as Harbin's Ridge. Most of her books were bestsellers, reviewed in the New York Times, and were selected for inclusion in book clubs. She died of heart failure on June 1, 1979.