Sharon Kay Penman (born August 13, 1945) is an American historical novelist, published in the UK as Sharon Penman. She is best known for the Welsh Princes trilogy and the Plantagenet series. In addition, she has written four medieval mysteries, the first of which, The Queen's Man, was a finalist in 1996 for the Best First Mystery Edgar Award. Her novels and mysteries are set in England, France, and Wales, and are about English and Welsh royalty during the Middle Ages. The Sunne in Splendour, her first book, is a stand-alone novel about King Richard III of England and the Wars of the Roses. When the manuscript was stolen she started again and rewrote the book.
Her work is generally well received, with the more recent novels reaching the New York Times Bestseller List. Critics have praised her meticulous research of settings and events presented in her fiction, as well as the characterizations.
Born in New York City, Penman grew up in New Jersey. She received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in history. She also received a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Rutgers University School of Law, and worked as a tax lawyer before becoming a writer. While a student, Penman researched and wrote The Sunne in Splendour that chronicled the life of Richard III. When the 400-page manuscript was stolen from her car, Penman found herself unable to write for the next five years. She eventually rewrote the book and by the time the 936 page book was published in 1982 she had spent 12 years writing it, while practicing law at the same time. Of practicing law, she admits she "considered it penance." Penman lives in New Jersey, and in the early 1980s moved to Wales to research her second book, Here Be Dragons. She has a second home in the Welsh mountains where, she says, the history inspires her and provides material for her novels...
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