Sandra Knauf was born in California in 1963, and grew up in rural southeast Missouri. As a teen she moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. She attended the University of Colorado, where she fell in love with writing in a Creative Writing class. She worked at a variety of jobs during college, including writing as a freelance writer for several local periodicals, and as a clerk/graphic artist for a printer. She graduated with an English degree (at almost seven months pregnant with her first child) from the University of Colorado and joined her husband in the family construction business.
Working at home as a bookkeeper for the family business, Sandra’s writing dreams endured. During this time as a new mother, Sandra began to become more interested in environmental topics and discovered the genre of garden writing. A passion was ignited—she had found her genre.
She knew that in order to write about gardening, she had to learn all she could. She started her own garden, became a master gardener, joined a garden club, learned about community gardening, attended beekeeping class, raised a menagerie of farm animals in the city with her young daughters, and began to study genetic engineering, global warming, and other environmental issues. Sandra wrote her first garden writing story in 2000, “The Chicken Chronicles,” a story about raising exotic breed bantam chickens in her backyard with her two young daughters. The story won a first place Paul Gillette Memorial Award for creative nonfiction.
During these early years, Sandra published stories about her experiences in GreenPrints, Colorado Gardener, MaryJanesFarm, and other magazines. She was a featured “Colorado Voices” columnist for The Denver Post one year and read her essays about gardening and politics on KRCC’s “Western Skies” radio show (KRCC is southern Colorado’s NPR affiliate station). She also continued to explore the green world. In 2007 she decided to self-publish some of her stories in zine form and the first Greenwoman publication was born. Through her zines she met other garden writers and several years later she launched a literary journal, also called Greenwoman.
While all her published work was based on life experiences, during these years Sandra was also learning the craft of fiction. In 2000, she became fascinated with green man mythology. That interest and her continuing concern about genetic engineering in our food supply, along with her desire to turn readers on to the wonders of the “green world” all came together to formed the basis of her first book, the YA environmental fantasy novel ZERA AND THE GREEN MAN. ZERA is the story of Zera Green, a teenager with a magical connection to the green world who has to go up against those who would destroy nature in the name of profit. It was published in 2013 and set in her home state of Colorado. It has been downloaded by over 25,000 readers and has received dozens of positive reviews on Amazon.com. Kirkus Reviews called it "An ambitious sci-fi novel that will charm eco-champions . . . ."
By 2013 Sandra had published six issues of Greenwoman Magazine, ZERA AND THE GREEN MAN, and short biographical works (on famous American plantspeople) as Kindle downloads. It was then that she decided to take some time off from periodical writing and put together a collection of erotic stories about love in the garden. FIFTY SHADES OF GREEN was her humorous, thoughtful, feminist answer to the popular book by E. L. James. It was published in 2014.
In February 2019 she published her latest book PLEASE DON'T PISS ON THE PETUNIAS: STORIES ABOUT RAISING KIDS, CROPS, and CRITTERS IN THE CITIES. This memoir, 25 years in the making, is a hilarious and heartfelt chronicle of living in Colorado, learning how to be a gardener, and raising a family with a deep connection to nature.
She is currently working on a follow-up to ZERA AND THE GREEN MAN, and writes and publishes frequently on her blog, Flora’s Forum. Sandra is also a staff writer and columnist at US Represented, where she has a weekly Greenwoman column.