Virginia Coffman was born in San Francisco, California, and began writing movie reviews for the Oakland Tribune in 1933. She graduated from the University of California-Berkeley in 1938, and then worked as a screenwriter for several Hollywood studios. She worked on many television scripts as well as doing some acting herself. She published her first novel, Moura, in 1959, and by the 1980s was acknowledged as the author largely responsible for setting off the Gothics craze of the 1960s. She was a prolific author who published more than 90 titles in her lifetime under several pen names.