Brenda Chapman grew up in Terrace Bay, Ontario, a small pulp and paper community on the north shore of Lake Superior. She earned a Bachelor of Arts majoring in English at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. During her third year of studies, she took a course in creative writing and began writing poetry and short stories.
Brenda attended teachers’ college at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, earning a Bachelor of Education. Upon completion, she moved to Ottawa where she became a special education teacher. She taught reading, language arts and math to children, teenagers and adults for nearly fifteen years. To further her own studies, Brenda spent two summers at Ottawa University studying special education.
In Ottawa, Brenda met her husband Ted, and they have two daughters, Lisa and Julia. Brenda stayed at home while the girls were young, teaching part-time and taking courses in the Honours English program at Carleton University. While at Carleton, the university awarded her a prize for outstanding part-time student of English.
To take a break from writing English papers for university courses, Brenda began writing humorous articles for Homebase, an Ottawa magazine for parents at home. During this period, she wrote her first novel, Running Scared for her daughters as she made an about-turn in her professional life.
In 1997, Brenda left teaching to begin working for the federal government as a writer/editor. Subsequently, she worked in communications for the federal Department of Justice, a senior complaints and investigations officer in the Canadian Transportation Agency and a senior briefing analyst and senior communications advisor at Health Canada. She retired from her postition as senior communications advisor in the Department of Justice in 2016.
In 2001, Brenda’s article “True North” appeared in Canadian Living (August 2001). Brenda continued writing mystery short stories and novels while working full-time. She currently has fourteen crime novels published since her first release in 2004, that include the Jennifer Bannon young adult mysteries, the Anna Sweet novellas for adult literacy, the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedural series and three stand alones. Her books have been shortlisted for several major awards including the 2006 Canadian Library Association Book of the Year Award for Children (Hiding in Hawk’s Creek), two Golden Oak Awards for adult literacy (The Second Wife and The Hard Fall) and two Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards for novella and crime novel of the year respectively (My Sister’s Keeper and Cold Mourning).
Brenda is currently a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, Crime Writers of Canada, Capital Crime Writers. She served two terms as President of Capital Crime Writers of Ottawa and two terms as Past President.