Carolyn was born and raised in Southern California. When she was five, her family moved to Oregon. Carolyn graduated from high school in 1976 in Silverton, Oregon and enrolled at Oregon State University, where she majored in broadcast/speech communications. In 1978, she married her college sweetheart, Matt, and, in 1981, she graduated from OSU and moved to Portland. Carolyn worked as a producer for local television commercials.
On their sixteenth wedding anniversary, Carolyn and her husband welcomed their first daughter, Madeline Alexa. A second daughter, Olivia RoseAnne, followed four years later. While her daughters were small, Zane wanted to find a career that she could follow from home. In March 1993 she finished her first romance novel, The Wife Next Door,which was soon purchased by Silhouette. Since then, Carolyn has had almost 30 novels published in the Silhouette category lines, with over one million copies in print worldwide. Her work has been reviewed multiple time in Romantic Times, which describes her work as "diverting," although sometimes "light on conflict." Her books are "strong on humor, snappy repartee and passionate moments."
Two of her novels have been inspirational romances, written under the pen name Suzy Pizzuti. These were released in 1998 and 1999.