Robin Somers was born in Palo Alto, California, on November 2, 1948. She and her three siblings grew up in Ladera, a rural subdivision in the Stanford Hills, blessed with summers at Pinecrest Lake, a stay-at-home mom, and a Kansas born-and-bred dad, who took to the air, becoming a pilot for Pan Am.
After graduating from Woodside High School, Robin attended the University of California, Santa Barbara. During her sophomore year, she returned to the Peninsula to marry her high school sweetheart, Dennis Schirmer. The couple moved to Santa Cruz in 1968, where they raised their two children, Jennifer and Joe, in their Seabright Beach home.
When she was 33, Robin returned to college to finish her literature degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She received her first writing job from poet/essayist Stephen Kessler, publisher of The Sun, and worked several years as a freelance journalist and substitute schoolteacher. She was an active member of the Santa Cruz Native American Support Group and a co-organizer of the Friends of Oglala, which collaborated with AIM founder Dennis Banks to raise money for emergency medical equipment and training for the Pine Ridge Reservation. The project won the Nelson Mandela Humanitarian Award.
Robin left Santa Cruz for the Sierra Nevada foothills to work as a staff reporter for The Union Democrat and, later, as an English teacher at Sonora High School. In 2002, she returned to her former home and husband in Santa Cruz, earning her MFA in Creative Writing at San Jose State University. Currently, she teaches writing at UCSC. She and her husband spend weekdays babysitting their three young grandsons. On weekends, she can be found at the Santa Cruz Farmers Market, selling her son’s organic produce.