Handeland has wanted to be a writer since she was 10 years old. As an adult, she wrote her first book in a two-year span. It was chosen for publication.
Handeland has written over 30 novels. For St. Martin's Press, Handeland writes single-title paranormal suspense romance novels, some of which are written in first person narrative. She has also had several contemporary romance novels published in the Harlequin SuperRomance category line.
Handeland is a two-time winner of the Romance Writers of America's prestigious RITA Award, in 2005 for Best Paranormal Romance for Blue Moon and in 2007 for Best Long Contemporary Romance for The Mommy Quest. She has also been nominated seven times for Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Awards, winning in 2005 for A Soldier's Quest.