|Judith A. Jance is the best-selling author of dozens of mysteries. Born in South Dakota and raised in Arizona, she knew she wanted to become a writer by the time she reached second grade. That ambition was foiled, however, in the 1960s, when the University of Arizona denied her admission to its creative writing program because, as one professor told her, girls "ought to be teachers or nurses." Instead, she earned a bachelor's degree in English and teaching and a master's degree in library science. Her first husband harbored similar ambitions and was allowed into the program, after which, he "imitated Faulkner and Hemingway primarily by drinking too much and writing too little," as Jance has said. Ultimately, the couple divorced, and he later died from the complications of alcoholism. Jance supported her two children by selling life insurance, but in the early morning before they woke up, she began writing crime fiction. In 1985 she published her first book, UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY, which featured Seattle homicide detective J.P. Beaumont. He has since appeared in several more novels and is among Jance's most popular protagonists. She also writes a series revolving around Joanna Brady, the sheriff of a small county in Arizona, and another whose main character is an ex-journalist named Ali Reynolds. "One of the wonderful things about being a writer is that everything--even the bad stuff--is usable," Jance has said. She explained that years of being married to an alcoholic have helped her write about J.P. Beaumont, who has a drinking problem, and that her time as a single mother contributed to the back story she created for Joanna Brady. "And then there's the evil creative writing professor in HOUR OF THE HUNTER and KISS OF THE BEES," she has quipped, "but that's another story."