Jacquelyn Mitchard was born in Chicago, Illinois, the eldest of two daughters. She graduated from Rockford College with an English degree in 1973. She wrote for the Pioneer Press in Chicago before moving on to the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin, where she met and married editor Dan Allegretti. In 1984 she began work at The Milwaukee Journal, and her column "The Rest of Us" became nationally syndicated.

Mitchard wrote her first book Mother Less Child after having a nearly fatal tubal pregnancy. The pregnancy left her infertile. She then wrote two novels about Jane Addams. When her husband died of cancer, Mitchard adopted a fifth child, meaning she had five children altogether to support. Despite that fact that she was nearly penniless, Mitchard chose not to take the “sensible” approach and look for a high paying job Mitchard went to writers camp in order to write The Deep End of the Ocean, the plot of which had come to her in a dream. The first chapters of the book got her a $500,000 dollar book deal as well as offers to by the movie rights from Michelle Pfeiffer. Once published her book was chosen for Oprah's Book Club shooting it to the top of bestseller lists.

Books by Mitchard:

After writing The Most Wanted (also from a dream) Mitchard’s life took a strange and wonderful turn as her life mirrored that of her fiction. In the book one of the central characters, Annie Singer, falls in love with a carpenter-artist several years her junior. Chris Sornberger a carpenter 13 years younger than her, who was a perfect match to the character from the book came to re-tile her bedroom floor, and soon the were married within weeks. Sometimes life is really like a romance novel.

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