"All of my books now come from readers' ideas.""For a while, people couldn't understand why I'd find them so fascinating, but I'd rather go to a trial than to a Broadway play. Now that we have Court TV, they see what I mean.""I always say that bad women are fewer than men, but when you get one, they're fascinating because they're so rotten.""I always want to give the victim a voice.""I want to warn potential victims. Many of them are women, and many of them are battered women. It's a cause for me. When I look back, though, so many of the books I've written are about wives who just couldn't get away.""I'm publicizing the book that's done. I'm writing the book that's in the hopper, and I'm doing a little advance research on the book to come.""Lazy people tend not to take chances, but express themselves by tearing down other's work.""Some writers hate to go to trials, but I love trials.""The why of murder always fascinates me so much more than the how.""Try to open up your mind a little, and move away from rigid opinions of what people should do and be - unless you have been there."
Ann Rule was born on October 22, 1935 in Lowell, Michigan to Chester R. "Stack" Stackhouse and Sophie Hansen. Her mother was a school teacher, specializing in developmentally disabled children and her father was a basketball, football and track coach. Due to her father's career, they often moved as she grew up.
Ann was surrounded by family following careers in law enforcement. Her grandfather and uncle were sheriffs in Michigan, another uncle was a medical examiner and a cousin was a prosecutor. She spent her summers with her grandparents doing volunteer work in the local jail.
She eventually graduated from Coatesville High School then attended the University of Washington. She majored in creative writing, along with minors in criminology, penology and psychology. She extended her education for two more years at High Line Community College by taking criminal courses such as crime scene investigation, to include photography, police administration and several others. She continues her adult education in criminal studies to this day and even teaches courses herself.
She presently lives in the Puget Sound area of Washington state and is a mother of five and a grandmother of three. Her daughter, Leslie Rule, is also a published author.
Early in her career Ann Rule wrote for several publications geared for women, often focusing on topics related to health and mothering. She later wrote for the magazine True Detective under the presumably male nom de plume "Andy Stack". When she started writing for the magazine in 1969, the editor suggested she write under a male name in order to be taken seriously as a crime writer despite having a short stint as a police officer herself (with the Seattle Police Department). After proving her ability in several magazines, including Master Detective, Inside Detective, Front Page Detective, and Office Detective she was invited to start writing under her own name, but decided to keep the pen name at that time in the interest of protection for herself and her family from her subjects.
She came to prominence with her first book, The Stranger Beside Me, about serial killer Ted Bundy. At the time she started researching the book, the murders were still unsolved. In the course of time, it became clear that the killer was Bundy, her friend and previous colleague on the suicide hotline at the King County Crisis Clinic. She has also met and interviewed a number of other serial killers in the course of researching her books.
She wrote The Stranger Beside Me under her own name. However, her next three books (The Lust Killer, Jerry Brudos; The Want-Ad Killer, Harvey Carignan; and The I-5 Killer, Randall Woodfield) were written as Andy Stack at her agent's advice since she had been offered very little advance for them. Once she had established popularity under her own name, later editions of the books listed her as the author and sold much better.
Rule, who lives in the Seattle suburb of Renton, has been writing fulltime since 1969 and has published more than 20 books and 1,400 articles, and she also teaches seminars to law enforcement groups. She was also part of the task force that created Vi-CAP, a computer tracking system designed to identify serial killers. Although some of her cases have been high-profile, she says she prefers the "sleeper" cases, not wanting the reader to know the ending before picking up the book. She also tries to keep in touch with the families of the victims, and sometimes will add an update to a later edition of a book to include new information.
In 2008, The Library of America selected Rule’s story “Young Love” from the book Empty Promises for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime writing.