Jenny Crusie was born in Wapakoneta, a small Ohio town on the banks of the Auglaize River. She graduated from Wapakoneta High School and earned her bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University in Art Education.
Jenny taught pre-school until her daughter, Mollie, was born. When she returned to work, she taught in the Beavercreek public school system for ten years as an elementary and junior high art teacher while earning a master's degree from Wright State University in Professional Writing and Women's Literature; her master's thesis was titled A Spirit More Capable of Looking Up To Him: Women's Roles in Mystery Fiction.
She took a leave of absence from Beavercreek in 1986 to complete her Ph.D. coursework at Ohio State University in feminist criticism and nineteenth century British and American literature. She returned to teach high school English (American and British literature surveys, mythology, the Bible in literature, and college composition) for another five years, and during this time she also directed theater tech crews (sets and costumes) for the Beavercreek Drama Department.
In the summer of 1991, she began to research her dissertation on the impact of gender on narrative strategies, searching out the differences in the way men and women tell stories. As part of the research, she planned to read one hundred romance novels and one hundred men's adventure novels. The romance novels turned out to be so feminist and so absorbing, that she never got to the men's adventure fiction and decided to try writing fiction instead, quitting her job the following spring to devote herself full time to writing and to finishing the Ph.D., one of her riskier moves since she didn't sell her first book until August '92.
As the twenty-first century rolled around, Jenny began to experiment with collaborations beginning with Don't Look Down, a romantic adventure novel written with Bob Mayer that put into practice everything she'd studied about the differences in the way men and women write fiction in that long ago PhD dissertation. She went on to do two more collaborative romantic adventure novels with Bob - Agnes and the Hitman and Wild Ride - and collaborative paranormal novels with Eileen Dreyer and Anne Stuart - The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes - and with Anne Stuart and Lani Diane - Rich-Dogs and Goddesses.
In 2010, she returned to solo writing with Maybe This Time, her homage to The Turn of the Screw.