Sharan Newman is a medieval historian and author. She took her Master’s degree in Medieval Literature at Michigan State University and then did her doctoral work at the University of California at Santa Barbara in Medieval Studies, specializing in twelfth-century France. She is a member of the Medieval Academy and the Medieval Association of the Pacific.
Rather than teach, Newman chose to use her education to write novels set in the Middle Ages, including three Arthurian fantasies and ten mysteries set in twelfth-century France, featuring Catherine LeVendeur, a one-time student of Heloise at the Paraclete; her husband, Edgar, an Anglo-Scot; and Solomon, a Jewish merchant of Paris. The books focus on the life of the bourgeoisie and minor nobility and also the uneasy relations between Christians and Jews at that time. They also incorporate events of the twelfth-century such as the Second Crusade and the rise of the Cathars.
The Catherine Levendeur mysteries have been nominated for many awards. Sharan won the Macavity Award for best first mystery for Death Comes As Epiphany and the Herodotus Award for best historical mystery of 1998 for Cursed in the Blood. The most recent book in the series The Witch in the Well won the Bruce Alexander award for best Historical mystery of 2004.
Just for a change, her next mystery, The Shanghai Tunnel, is set in Portland in 1868.
Newman has also wrThe Real History Behind the Da Vince Code (Berkley 2005) and the upcoming Real History Behind the Templars.