Patricia C. Wrede is best known for her Enchanted Forest Chronicles. They're amazing, feminist fantasy novels for young adults. She has three other series (Cecelia and Kate, Mairelon and Frontier Magic) along with novels that all occur in the same world (Lyra) and a handful of standalones.
She lives in Minneapolis, MN, but was born in Chicago, IL. She donated her archive to the Rare Books and Special Collections of Northern Illinois University. She maintains a blog, and goes to cons around Minneapolis (jealous!!).
Wrede worked as a financial analyst while writing her first five books. Then decided to go into writing full-time (which I think was a stellar decision, but maybe I'm biased). I love that she shows how writers often work first. It's never too late to become a writer. And you can still be a writer if you're working another job.
I still have several of her books to read, but I always want to return to the Enchanted Forest Chronicles to reread. I would definitely recommend her books to fans of fantasy and strong female characters.