Penny McCusker was born and raised in southeastern Michigan, the seventh of nine children, whose claim to fame was reading five books a week in grade school. Needless to say, her obsession with the written word only grew from there — despite a short, and misguided, foray into the world of computer science (the "sensible" job path).
After earning her associates degree, she enrolled at the University of Michigan, and finally figured out that the reason she got those puzzled looks from the other computer programmers was because she wasn't really one of them. She changed her major to History and English — and then came detour number two, also known as marriage and childbirth. A son was followed by a daughter in 14 months, and then another son five years later.
At home, with no job and no night school for the first time in her life, she filled the kids' nap times and her evening hours with crafts; ceramics, macramé, stained glass and especially crocheting, for which she sold two original patterns for afghans. Ultimately, of course, those other creative pastimes didn't satisfy the need to write — or to get those voices in her head to quiet down.
With the help and support of one of her sisters, she began to write — and write and write and write — and finally sold her first novel in 1997. Four more followed, until that line closed down in 2001, and after a little hiatus — and yet another change of direction — she began to write humor, if only to satisfy her inner smart aleck. She placed second in the 2002 PASIC contest, Harlequin bought the story, and she's been happily writing for them ever since.
She still lives in Michigan, with her husband, three children and two dogs whose life of leisure she envies but would never be able to pull off. She works as an accountant by day, which feeds the side of her brain that craves order and normalcy. The rest of her time is devoted to writing whatever pops into the creative (and questionably sane) side of her brain. Her children and husband have come to accept this strange preoccupation she has with imaginary people. The dogs don't worry about it, as long as they're fed occasionally and allowed to nap on whatever piece of furniture strikes their fancy. Come to think of it, that pretty much goes for the husband, too.