Janelle Diane Williams was born June 28, 1944 in Athens, Georgia. She graduated from Athens High School in 1962, and spent the next three years as an orthodontic nurse in Athens. In 1965 she married Michael Taylor. They have two daughters, Angela and Alisha.
Taylor went back to work as an orthodontic nurse from 1969 through 1972. In 1977 she decided she would like to try to write a book. Even as she was attempting to break into publishing, Taylor decided to further her education. She trained to be a Medical Research Technologist at the Medical College of Georgia from 1977 through 1979, and then immediately began to further her studies at Augusta State University. In 1981, Taylor sold her first book. After the sale of her second book shortly thereafter, she withdrew from college to become a full-time writer.
Taylor and her husband live on a seventy-nine acre retreat in Georgia.