Mary Josephine Dunn was born 22 September 1947 in Lancashire, England, UK. At the age of eleven she went to an all-girls boarding school, Layton Hill Convent, Blackpool. At sixteen, she wrote her first romance, with a medieval setting, completed in installments in an exercise book. From 1966 to 1970, she obtained a degree in English history from Keele University in Staffordshire, where she met her future husband, Ken Beverley. After graduation, they married on June 24, 1971. She quickly attained a position as a youth employment officer until 1976, working first in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, and then in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.
In 1976, her scientist husband was invited to do post-doctoral research at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. When her professional qualifications proved not to be usable in the Canadian labour market, and she grew up their two sons and started to write her first romances.
Moved to Ottawa, in 1985 she became a founding member of the Ottawa Romance Writers’ Association, that her “nurturing community” for the next twelve years. The same year, she completed a regency romance, but it was promptly rejected by a number of publishers, and she settled more earnestly to learning the craft. In 1988, it sold to Walker, and was published as "Lord Wraybourne's Betrothed". She regularly appears on bestseller lists including the USA Today overall bestseller list, the New York Times, and and the Publishers Weekly list. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Golden Leaf, the Award of Excellence, the National Readers Choice, and a two Career Achievement awards from Romantic Times. She is also a five time winner of the RITA, the top award of the Romance Writers Of America, and a member of their Hall of Fame and Honor Roll.
Jo has now moved back to England and lives in Yorkshire.