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Patricia Gaffney
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Patricia Gaffney was born in Tampa, Florida, the younger of the two children of Joem and Jim Gaffney. With her brother Mike, she grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., and graduated from Walter Johnson High School. She earned a bachelor's degree in English and philosophy from Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, and also studied literature at Royal Holloway College of the University of London, at George Washington University, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

After college, Gaffney taught 12th grade English at East Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, "for one excruciating year. The kids were great, but they were bigger than me and I was scared of them." Returning to Chapel Hill, instead of finishing her master's degree in education, she took a job as a freelance court reporter, and pursued that career in North Carolina, Pittsburgh, and Washington, D.C., for the next fifteen years.

In January of 1984, Gaffney discovered a malignant lump in her breast. "I was positive I was dying; I gave myself five years. Time to decide, and fast, what to do with the rest of my too-short life." In the end, the decision was easy because it was what she'd always wanted to do: write books and live in the country. In 1986, she and her husband left Washington and moved to rural southern Pennsylvania, where they live today.

Then Gaffney began the first of what would be twelve published historical romance novels. The first, Sweet Treason, appeared in 1989 and won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart as well as other first-book awards. Six of her novels have been nominated for RWA Rita awards, and Wild at Heart (1997) was among ten finalists for the reader-nominated Favorite Book of the Year Award.

In June of 1999, HarperCollins published The Saving Graces, Gaffney's hardcover fiction debut. "Real life" definitely played a part in this story of four women friends, one of whom battles a cancer recurrence. "I've belonged to the same women's group for almost 20 years. Eight years ago, we lost one of our members to breast cancer. The Saving Graces tells her story, not mine." More than that, it explores issues of love, friendship, trust, and commitment among women. Gaffney says she hopes it speaks to the universal experience of women blessed with the gift of close friendships.

The Saving Graces enjoyed bestseller status on the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and other national lists.

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Photo: Patricia Gaffney
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