Taylor was born in Chico, California, and has an English degree from UC Berkeley. She currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter. She always wanted to be a writer, but was 35 before she finished her first novel.
In 2004 she wrote a graphic novel for Image Comics, illustrated by her husband Jim Di Bartolo. Her first novel, Dreamdark: Blackbringer was published in 2007, the sequel for which was a winner of the 2009 Cybil Award. However, she is best known for the Daughter of Smoke and Bone young adult fantasy series. The first book in the series was chosen by Amazon as the Best Teen Book of 2011, and the sequel, Days of Blood and Starlight, was also on the list for 2012. Joe Roth is attached as producer for a film project of the first book in the series.