An American writer of Appalachian-themed works, she is best known for her Ballad series and for her Elizabeth MacPherson books. She also wrote the Jay Omega novels and several short story collections.
She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and subsequently attended the graduate English program at Virginia Tech.
She won the Agatha Award, the Anthony Award, and the Edgar Award.
Born Sharyn Elaine Arwood, she grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina. She later married David McCrumb.
She studied at Virginia Tech, where Fred Daguiar once taught English.