Harley is the youngest of eight children born to Joseph and Dorothy Kozak, an attorney and a music teacher, respectively, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. When Joe died a year after her birth, Dorothy packed up the children and moved first to North Dakota and then to Nebraska, to teach at the University in Lincoln.
Harley's first stage appearance was at age five in a college opera production of Dido and Aneas. In the fourth grade, she broke gender barriers playing the title character in Benjamin Franklin, and the following year discovered the joys of nepotism, performing on the educational TV show, Music With Mrs. Kozak.
In high school she was tap dancing with the Nebraska Repertory Theater, and the summer after her senior year, supported herself full-time with a whopping $55-a-week paycheck earned playing Indian Maiden #2 in The Legend of Daniel Boone in Harrodsburg, Kentucky.
With thirty-some plays to her credit, Harley at age 19 headed for the Big Apple and into the professional acting program at NYU's School of the Arts (now Tisch School of the Arts). After completing the program, she was cast in the feature film The House on Sorority Row. This enabled her to retire her waitress shoes.
Then came a trio of principle roles in soaps—Texas, Guiding Light and Santa Barbara—that came to a smashing halt when Harley's final character (a nun) was crushed to death by the giant neon letter "C." But that "C" gig had gotten her to L.A., where she went on to star in feature films and prime time television programs. Ten years later she began to write novels, have babies and acquire dogs, cats, fish, and rabbits—and the rest, as they say, is history.
Harley currently lives with her family in Southern California, where she's working on a piece of literary fiction, which is to say, a novel without a dead body. Meanwhile, she's added teaching, blogging and public speaking to her resumé, exploiting her checkered past.
2007 DEAD EX won the Nebraska Book Award
2005 Agatha Award—Best First Mystery Novel
2005 Anthony Award—Best First Mystery Novel
2005 Macavity Award—Best First Mystery Novel
2005 Toby Bromberg Award for Most Humorous Mystery
2005 Nebraska Book Award—Best Fiction
2005 Gumshoe Award Nominee—Best First Novel
2005 Romantic Times Nominee—Best Mystery Novel
2005 So. Cal. Booksellers Assoc. Book Award Finalist—Best Mystery Novel
2004 Romantic Times Nominee—Best First Mystery
2001 Rupert Hughes Fiction Prize, Maui Writers Conference
I Spit On Your Grave III
You Cast A Spell on Me
Magic in the Water
Taking of Beverly Hills
All I Want for Christmas
When Harry Met Sally
The House on Sorority Row
Primetime TV Series
Harts of the West
Bringing Up Jack
Highway to Heaven
The Amy Fisher Story
So Proudly We Hail
A Friend's Betrayal
The Android Affair
Titanic, the miniseries
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
A Streetcar Named Desire
Man of the Moment
Lost in Yonkers