An American fiction writer, she is best known for her 2001 novel, Bel Canto, which tells the story of a group of high-ranking executives who are held hostage by terrorists. Her other works include The Patron Saint of Liars (1992) and Run (2007).
She attended the famous Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. She published her first novel, The Patron Saint of Liars, in 1992.
She worked at Seventeen magazine for nine years.
She was born in Los Angeles, California, and she was raised primarily in Nashville, Tennessee. Her mother, Jeanne Ray, was also a novelist.
She published a story in Oprah Winfrey's magazine, O.