Laurie R. King is a third generation Northern Californian who has lived most of her life in the San Francisco Bay area. Her background is as mixed as any writer’s, from degrees in theology and managing a coffee store to raising children, vegetables, and the occasional building.
King’s writing reflects her background—it is no accident that characters in her books spend time in the Bay Area and England (King’s other home) and are interested in theology, architecture, and travel (Her long autobiography goes into this relationship in detail.)
King started writing in 1987 when her second child entered school, and had her first novel published in 1993. Since A Grave Talent, she has averaged a book a year, winning prizes that range from Agatha (a nomination) to Wolfe (Nero, for A Monstrous Regiment of Women.) The characters of A Grave Talent, centering around inspector Kate Martinelli of the San Francisco Police Department, have appeared in five novels to date.
In 1994, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice was published, featuring young Mary Russell who becomes an apprentice, then partner of Sherlock Holmes in early 20th century England. Books in that series appear regularly, taking the duo and their cohorts on into the Twenties and around the world, winning admiration far and wide. These historical novels allow King to explore all sorts of ideas: the roots of conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan; feminism and early Christianity; patriotism and individual responsibility, while also having a rousing good time with revisiting the scenes of The Hound of the Baskervilles and Kim, setting a pair of Bedouin nomads down in a grand country house in England, and forging an unlikely relationship between two remarkably similar individuals who happen to be separated by age, sex, and background.
King also writes the occasional stand-alone novel—or, more or less stand-alone. Two of the books (Folly and Keeping Watch) share characters, Califia’s Daughters (written under the pseudonym Leigh Richards) may some day take its place within a trilogy, and Touchstone is being considered as the basis for a future series.