Maggie Shayne (b Margaret Benson) is an American author of more than 40 romance and paranormal novels. She has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA Award. In addition to her work as a novelist, Shayne is active in the Wicca religion, and is the High Priestess of a coven she founded.
Maggie Shayne was born and raised in a rural area near Syracuse, New York. She left high school to be married when she found herself pregnant at sixteen.
Even as a child, Shayne liked to tell stories and rewrite the endings of some she had read, as well as those of the horror movies she loved to watch. Her first attempt at a novel did not come until she was older, when she wove a story in her head while trying to comfort a sick baby. Because she had been in the mood to read a romance novel that day, the story she envisioned was also a romance. Within days, she had transferred her story to paper, writing longhand on a yellow pad. Realizing that if she ever planned to be a published writer she would need a typewriter, Shayne took a job watching a neighbor's horses so that she could earn the money to buy her first typewriter. She soon finished three manuscripts, which she was unable to sell. Her fortunes changed when Harlequin launched their Shadows line. Shayne sent a query letter to let them know that: "I'm just jumping up and down; so happy that you have created a line especially for me!" Although the editor rejected her first book, Shayne's enthusiasm impressed her enough that she asked to see more novels, and purchased the second. That novel became the first of Shayne's Wings in the Night series, which was so popular that Silhouette asked Shayne to continue writing the series even after the Shadows line was closed.
Since then, Shayne has had over 30 novels published, including category romance, contemporary western romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, and time travel romance. She has written for the Silhouette Intimate Moments line and Silhouette Romantic Suspense and for five single-title publishing companies (Avon Books, St. Martin's Press, Penguin Putnam, Spilled Candy Books, and MIRA Books). Her paranormal romances seamlessly "combine the hearts of two such diverse genres as romance and horror" which proclaim that "the key is the redemption of the monster by the sheer power of love." Many of her novels "[blend] mysticism into everyday life in a good vs. evil scenario."
As a sideline, Shayne also worked as a writer for the soap operas Guiding Light and As the World Turns, and even considered accepting the position of co-head-writer before deciding to devote her time to her novels. Her own novel, Eternity, has also been optioned for film.
Her novels have appeared on the USA Today, Booksense and Waldenbooks bestseller lists, and Twilight Hunger reached Number 32 on the New York Times Bestseller Extended List. Many of her books have been chosen by Doubleday Bookclub, the Mystery Guild, and Rhapsody Bookclub. On her thirteenth nomination for a Romance Writers of America RITA Award, Shayne finally won the prestigious award, which is the romance community's equivalent of an Academy Award. She has also won three Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine.
Shayne is very interested in the culture and religion of ancient Sumer, and includes some of her research in her novels, including Destiny. After several years of study at the Black Forest Clan, a chartered Wiccan seminary, Shayne has become a High Priestess and an Elder in the Wicca religion, and has been licensed as a minister. Shayne has founded her own coven, the Hawks of RavenMyst, in a "tradition" (similar to a denomination), known as the RavenMyst Circle, that she helped found.
Shayne and her husband have been married for more than twenty-five years and have five grown daughters. They live on a farm in New York.