Biography

Kaya McLaren

Prior to being an author, Kaya McLaren had many diverse experiences that she continues to bring to her writing.

After earning her B.A. in anthropology, she worked as an archaeologist all over the western U.S. --- including Alaska and Hawaii, often living in her tent. Later, she became a massage therapist and worked in Sun Valley. When she was ready for another change, she pursued a teaching career that would last 15 years, and would take her to the Quinault Rainforest, the wheat country of North Central Oregon, the top of Snoqualmie Pass, and the Jicarilla Apache Reservation. She taught elementary, K-12 art, and K-5 music, art, drama and dance. During transitions, she worked as a program director at a summer camp, a wrangler on a dude ranch, a chairlift operator at a ski resort, a clerk in natural foods stores, a farmer in a garden greenhouse, and a technician in medical research and archaeological laboratories. Many of these experiences have found their way into her novels.

Although native to the mountains of Washington State, she now floats between the places that inspire her most --- the Rocky Mountains of the Southwest, and Baja California Sur, Mexico.

When she’s not writing books, she likes to kayak, ride horses, telemark ski, bicycle, swim, SUP, play bass, guitar and cello, and travel. Her dog Frida from the streets of Todos Santos now goes with Kaya just about everywhere.

Kaya McLaren

Books by Kaya McLaren

by Kaya McLaren - Fiction

As a young girl, Willow watched her mother leave their home in Washington State in a literal blaze of glory: she set the mattress of her cheating husband on fire in her driveway. With that, she and Willow set off to New Mexico. Willow’s eccentric mother believed in this new life and set about starting a winery and goat ranch. But for Willow, it meant initially being bullied and feeling like an outsider. Today, as a grown woman, Willow much prefers Los Angeles and her job as a studio musician. But things tend to happen in threes: her mother dies, her boyfriend dumps her, and she discovers she is pregnant. Can Willow redefine what home means for her, and can she make a go of the legacy her mother left behind?

by Kaya McLaren - Fiction

THE FIRELIGHT GIRLS is a story of three generations of women and men whose lives are pieced back together when they return to the place that made them who they are: a summer camp on Lake Wenatchee in Washington State. When they learn that the camp’s future is in jeopardy, Ethel and Ruby send out the alarm, reuniting campers and staff to save the place that was so instrumental in all of their lives. 

by Kaya McLaren - Fiction

Jill Anthony finds her husband in bed with another woman; Lisa Carlucci is sick and tired of having meaningless sex; and 10-year-old Cassie Jones no longer believes in anything anymore after losing her mother to cancer. The lives of these three people, who are at the crossroads of heartbreak and healing, will be changed one winter in Sparkle.