Wylly Folk St. John was born in Ehrhardt, South Carolina in 1908. Her parents expected their first child to be a boy and the name, William Michael Folk, was decided long ahead of the baby’s birth. Her parents saw no reason to change their plans when their firstborn baby proved to be a girl. Growing up her nickname was pronounced as “Willie.” To add sophistication she changed the pronunciation to “Wylie” (like the coyote) when she started college.
She graduated from the University of Georgia, magna cum laude, with a degree in journalism in 1930. She then married her husband Thomas St. John and her only child, Anne, was born in 1934. Starting in the late 1930s, she wrote for The Atlanta Journal’s Sunday magazine for 15 years. She authored ten mystery novels for children during the 1960s-70s.
Wylly Folk St. John was Georgia Author of the Year in 1973 and again in 1978. She was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for the Edgar Allan Poe Award in 1973. She lived to the age of 77 and is buried in Social Circle, Georgia. An in-depth biography, written by her great-granddaughter, is an afterword in The Ghost Next Door.