Even as a small child, Shirley dreamed of being a writer. Born in Los Angeles, California, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area at a young age. She obtained her BA degree in Radio Television, while working as Traffic Manager, scriptwriter and director for KNTV, a local ABC affiliate station.
During final's week her senior year of college, she came down with a severe case of "see-the-world-itis". So, instead of studying for her exams she interviewed with various air carriers, settling on Pan American World Airlines (no longer around, but unmatched when it was!) where she would fly to the Orient and South Pacific. Never one to waste a great opportunity, she used her travels to fill notebooks with ideas, storylines and snapshots for future novels.
Juggling marriage, children, teaching guitar, as well as playing and singing in a rock group, Shirley wrote a syndicated newspaper column while working up the courage to tackle that first novel. To her surprise when she finally did write it, it actually sold! To date, she's written fourteen books, including ten contemporary Harlequin/Silhouette romances published under the pseudonym Erin Ross. During her "romance years", she won several awards, placed #5 on Waldenbooks' national bestseller list, and was nominated as "Best Desire of the Year" by Romantic Times!
Currently, Shirley is hard at work on an historical mystery series for St. Martin's Press. The first book in the series, MURDER ON NOB HILL (6-2004), features Sarah Woolson, a feisty nineteenth-century female attorney (Sarah would have been the third woman attorney in the state of California) who squares off against an all-male legal establishment. Sarah soon finds herself fighting to save the life of her first client, a wealthy and beautiful young society matron accused of a number of mysterious murders. The second book in the series, THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS (7-05) sold out its first hardcover printing in seven weeks. The third book in the Sarah Woolson series, THE CLIFF HOUSE STRANGLER, was released in July of 2007, and also sold out its first hardcover printing in less than eight weeks, as did the fourth book in the series, SCANDAL ON RINCON HILL. Book five in the series, DEATH ON TELEGRAPH HILL, will be released on October 16, 2012.
Together with her screenwriting partner, Nancy Hersage, Shirley has written and sold television scripts to NBC, CBS and ABC. Their movie, "THE BABYSITTER'S SEDUCTION," starring Keri Russell, Stephen Collins and Phylicia Rashad, originally aired on NBC, is available in DVD and VHS format, and continues to play regularly on the Lifetime Channel. Their current project, "THE WAR MAGICIAN" was recently bought for Tom Cruise by Paramount Studios, and their story, "LILI" is being produced for the Canadian Broadcast Corporation.
Until her writing career started taking up all of her time, Shirley volunteered at an abused women's center (answering the emergency hotline phones), where she learned first-hand that domestic violence is every bit as serious a problem today as it was in the 1880s. According to Shirley, "Some things just don't seem to change, no matter how many years pass."
Among other groups, Shirley is a member of Novelist's Inc, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, The Historical Novel Society, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers' Association, Willamette Valley Writers and the Oregon Writer's Colony.
Shirley and her husband Bob divide their time between Eugene, Oregon, and Incline Village, Nevada.
Shirley loves to hear from readers and answers all e-mails and letters personally.