An award-winning Southern author, she is best known for Love's Wild Desire and other romance novels with Louisiana settings. She published more than fifty Gothic, historical and mystery-romance novels over the course of her career.
She sold her first manuscript in 1970 and used the proceeds to purchase a greenhouse. Her earliest works were novels in the mystery and suspense genre.
She wrote under many different pseudonyms, including Patricia Ponder (her maiden name), Maxine Patrick, and Jennifer Blake.
She was born into a seventh-generation Louisiana family, and she married at age fifteen. She and her husband had four children.
She and Anne Rice are both well-known Louisiana authors.