Some of Anderson's earliest memories are of hearing her mother type stories on an old typewriter, and then read the finished work aloud. With this inspiration, Anderson began writing her own stories as a child. Feeling that a career as a published writer was out of reach, however, she decided to major in accounting when she attended college so that she could help her husband Sid keep the books at his company. After realizing that numbers did not make her happy, and with her husband's full blessing, Anderson dropped out of college so that she could pursue a writing career.
Anderson's first four published books were category romance, under the Harlequin Intrigue romantic suspense line. Her subsequent single-title works have alternated between contemporary and historical romances. Many of her novels feature a character with a disability, be it physical or mental, and show the reader how those disabilities can be overcome. Animals are also a recurrent theme in her stories, with many books set on or near ranches. Romantic Times Magazine describes her novels as "moving, heartwarming,...celebrat[ing] the ideals of perfect love in an imperfect world. Her characters are complex, often conflicted individuals who triumph over substantial odds." Reader acclaims describe her books as funny, delightful, heartwrenching, beautiful, superb, and of classic proportions.
Her later novels, including Sun Kissed and Morning Light have reached the top 5 and 10 of the New York Times Bestseller List. She has been nominated nine times for Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Awards, her book Cherish was a Romantic Times award winner, and she has also been awarded one of their Career Achievement Awards.
Anderson, who is part Shoshone, and her husband, Sid, live on in Oregon. They have two grown sons. The pair love the wildlife on their pristine mountain ridge and greatly enjoy the solitude of their wilderness lifestyle, which is, Anderson says, a writer's dream. Their estate, heavily guarded by electronic surveillance, is off limits to hunters, providing all wild creatures sanctuary. Their three dogs are allowed to run at large on the property.
In May 2008, Anderson's Comanche Moon was reissued and placed on the New York Times bestseller list.