Carolyn Hart was born Carolyn Gimpel on August 25, 1936, in Oklahoma City. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1956, the same year that she married Philip Donnell Hart. The couple would later have two children. Growing up in Oklahoma in wartime convinced Hart of the immense importance of newspapers and spurred her ambition to be a journalist. She was a reporter for the Norman Transcript and an editor of another journal before she became a freelance writer in 1961. She taught at the University of Oklahoma School of Journalism and Mass Communications from 1982 to 1985. Although she ultimately became a mystery writer, her enthusiasm for journalism has not waned, and this interest led to her award-winning novel Letter from Home (2003), which, she said, was her book about home and about journalism as well.
Hart has been active in crime writers’ associations; she was president of Sisters in Crime and national director of Mystery Writers of America, and she belongs to many similar organizations. Hart has written more than thirty mysteries and has received Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.