Katherine Neville was born in St. Louis, Missouri. After college, she moved to New York City and began a career in the computer field.
In the 1970s, Neville was an international consultant to the Algerian government, and in the late 1970s, she went to work at the Department of Energy's nuclear research site in Idaho. In between jobs and during school, she supported herself as a portrait painter and a model. These side jobs lead to her developing her own photography skills and eventually starting a photography business, which she ran for several years.
In 1980, she moved to San Francisco and eventually became a vice president at Bank of America.
After living in Europe for some time, Neville now resides in Washington, D.C. The neuroscientist Karl H. Pribram is her significant other. She is currently working on a new novel about painters.
Neville's novels have been translated in more than forty languages, and have been on bestseller lists across the globe. Her novel The Eight was voted by the Spanish journal El País as one of the top ten books of all time.