Karen Essex was born and raised in New Orleans. She graduated from Tulane University, attended graduate school at Vanderbilt University, and received an MFA in Writing from Goddard College in Vermont. Essex's previous books include KLEOPATRA and PHARAOH, which she adapted into a screenplay for Warner Bros. Essex has adapted Anne Rice's novel THE MUMMY OR RAMSES THE DAMNED into a screenplay for 20th Century Fox, and she has also written a screenplay about Kamehameha (the first king of Hawaii) for Columbia/Tristar. Most recently, she has written a screenplay for Entertainment and Paramount Pictures in which Jennifer Lopez is set to star.
Also an award-winning journalist, Essex's articles, essays and profiles have been published in publications such as Vogue, Playboy, The L.A. Weekly, and L.A. Style. After being awarded highest honors from the Los Angeles Press Club for her thought-provoking cover story about the missing 1950's pinup icon Bettie Page, Essex co-authored the biography, BETTIE PAGE: LIFE OF A PINUP LEGEND. Essex is the first and only journalist with whom the reclusive Ms. Page has ever agreed to meet and cooperate.
Essex has appeared on The Today Show and A Word on Words, hosted by John Seigenthaler, as well as other PBS and NPR programs. She's lectured at the Chicago Museum of Art, and extensively at universities. Her books are taught in many college courses from creative writing to history to women's studies.
Essex's novels have been published in twenty languages. She lives in Los Angeles.