Florence Scovel Shinn was born in New Jersey, the daughter of Alden Cortlandt Scovel and Emily Hopkinson Scovel. She was educated in Philadelphia where she attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and there met her future husband, the artist Everett Shinn (1876-1953). After marriage they moved into a studio apartment at 112 Waverly Place, near Washington Square, New York. Everett built a theatre next door, and wrote three plays in which Florence played a leading role. Everett Shinn became known as a member of the Ashcan School of art, and Florence worked as an illustrator.
Her metaphysical works began with her self-published The Game of Life and How to Play it in 1925. Your Word is Your Wand was published in 1928 and The Secret Door to Success in 1940.