KAREN ESSEX is the national and international bestselling author of five historical novels, including Leonardo’s Swans (2006), the story of the rivalries among the powerful women painted by Leonardo da Vinci. The novel was also a runaway bestseller in Italy and won the prestigious Premio Roma for foreign fiction. Her other historical novels include Stealing Athena (2008) and Dracula in Love (2010).
Her acclaimed biographical novels Kleopatra and Pharaoh are being developed into an international television series by Lions Gate Entertainment, with Essex attached as a producer and consultant. She previously adapted the books into a screenplay for Warner Bros. She has also co-created a series based on the young life of Alexander the Great in development with Georgeville Entertainment.
Essex adapted Anne Rice’s novel The Mummy or Ramses the Damned for James Cameron and 20th Century Fox, and has written a screenplay about the first king of Hawaii for Columbia/Tristar. She has written a pilot for Zoetrope and Viacom, a dance movie for Jennifer Lopez Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, and continues to develop a variety of film and television projects.
Essex’s articles, essays and profiles have been published in Vogue, Playboy, L.A. Weekly, L.A. Style, and many other periodicals. After receiving highest honors from the Los Angeles Press Club for her story on the missing 1950s pinup icon Bettie Page, Essex co-authored the biography, Bettie Page: Life of a Pinup Legend.
Essex was born in New Orleans, graduated from Tulane University, attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University, and received an MFA in Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. Her novels are published in twenty-nine languages. She divides her time between the U. S. and Europe.