Laurell K. Hamilton was born in Heber Springs, Arkansas but grew up in Sims, Indiana, a hamlet with a population of about one hundred souls. Laurell's mother died in a car crash in 1969, after which time her grandmother held the household together. Her mother's death, her grandmother's role in raising her, and having grown up with no men in the home are "the three things that made me who I am," she says. She still believes she would have grown up to be a writer regardless.
Laurell says that it was her grandmother, Laura Gentry, who was responsible for Laurell's interests in things that go bump in the night. Mrs. Gentry related tales of horror originating in the hills of Arkansas, the state where she grew up. From those stories Laurell got this lesson: "Rawhide and bloody bones will get you if you aren't good."
When Laurell was 13, she discovered a short story collection titled Pigeons from Hell. "It was the first heroic fantasy I'd read. It was fights, swords, monsters. I decided not only did I want to become a writer, it was this I wanted to write." She chanced upon another book in the high school library, The Natural History of the Vampire. She read it so many times she nearly memorized it. It was sometimes suggested that her choice of creepy films and stories were unseemly since, after all, her girlfriends played with dolls.
To that Laurell says only: "I wasn't like most girls. "
Laurell does not shy away from sex or violence in her books. "I want a kiss to be so believable it give the reader shivers. Two things I do well in books are sex and violence, but I don't want gratuitous sex or violence. The sex and violence are only as graphic as need be. And never included unless it furthers the plot or character development."
Before her writing career kept her so busy, Laurell volunteered at an animal shelter. She also has a degree in both literature and biology. Laurell is a self-admitted technophobe, though she is learning to use email with help from her friends.
In 1994, Laurell published her first Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter book, GUILTY PLEASURES, and she hasn't stopped writing since. She has written nine additional Anita Blake books, and in October, 2000, began the New York Times bestselling Meredith Gentry series for Ballantine Books. She says she writes because to not write—even for her own enjoyment—would be like not breathing. It is just something she has to do. She now resides in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband, her young daughter, three pug dogs, and an ever-fluctuating assortment of fish.