An American writer and conservative political activist, she is best known for her 1985 novel, The Beans of Egypt, Maine. Her other works include The School on Heart's Content Road (2008) and Merry Men (1994).
She worked as a waitress, hospital floor scrubber, tutor, canvasser, teacher, social worker, and school bus driver.
A staunch defender of the Second Amendment, she kept an AK-47 in her house.
She settled in Maine with her husband, Michael Chute. From a previous marriage, she had a daughter named Joannah.
She and Alden Nowlan were both Guggenheim Fellowship recipients.