Joan Chase was born and raised in Ohio. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in philosophy and history and later enrolled in the Writing Workshop of the University of Vermont. After being turned down by several publishers, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia was released by Harper & Row in 1983 and went on to win numerous prizes, including the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award for first fiction by an American writer. Chase is also the author of The Evening Wolves (1990) and the story collection Bonneville Blue (1991). She lived in Massachusetts.