Fern Michaels is the pen name of Mary Ruth Kuczkir, who was born in Hastings, Pennsylvania on April 9th, 1933, weighing only four and one-half pounds. Because of her small birth weight, Michaels' father nicknamed her "Dink," for "dinky little thing. Her family and friends still use the nickname. As a child, though, others referred to her as Ruth. Once she entered the business world, she became "Mary."
Michaels married, moved to New Jersey, and had five children. When the youngest entered school in 1973, her husband told her to get a job. Because she had no idea how to get a job, Michaels decided to try to write a book. Her husband was not very supportive of her efforts, and is consequently now an ex-husband.
Although her first manuscript did not sell, the second did. Since then, Michaels has sold over sixty books, many of them New York Times bestsellers. She has been quoted as saying that she loves breathing life into her characters. She also loves writing books about women who prevail under difficult circumstances, which she feels reflect her struggle for success early in her career. For her efforts, she has been inducted into the New Jersey Literary Hall of Fame.
When she was a girl, Michaels' grandmother told her "when God is good to you, you have to give back". With this in mind, she founded the Fern Michaels Foundation, which grants four year scholarships for deserving students. In addition to that, she has also helped establish pre-school and day care programs with affordable rates for single mothers.
Michaels currently lives in Charleston, South Carolina in a 300 year-old plantation house listed in the Historic Registry. She claims to share the house with a ghost named Mary Margaret (which had also been documented by the previous owners). Mary Margaret is said to leave messages on her computer.