Patricia Gaffney was born on December 27 in Tampa, Florida United States. She is the daughter of Joem and Jim Gaffney. She and her brother, Mike, grew up in Bethesda, Maryland.
Patricia graduated from Walter Johnson High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, and also studied literature at the Royal Holloway College at the University of London, at George Washington University, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After college, Gaffney taught high school English for a year before pursuing a career as a freelance court reporter for the next five years. In 1984, Gafffney was diagonsed with breast cancer, which prompted her to live out her dream of writing books and living in the country. In 1986, she and her husband moved to rural Pennsylvania, where they continue to live.