Clemence McLaren was born in New Jersey on November 3, 1938 to Edward Dobson, an engineer, and Grayce Berg Dobson. She attended Rutgers University from which she received a degree in 1960. In the same year she married Robert McLaren. Together, the couple had two children, Kevin and Heather.
For a number of years she and her husband taught overseas. During this time they built a cottage on a small Greek island "only four miles from Achilles' home island of Aegina," she says. She studied the Greek language and walked the trails which dated back to antiquity. Always fascinated by the ancient myths, her own elaborations of them became stories which she first told to her students and her own family.
The McLarens later moved to Hawaii, where Clemence McLaren taught in Honolulu secondary schools for four years and obtained an doctorate degree in religion.
Pan American Airlines, flight attendant, 1960-61; teacher in Dover, NJ, Guam, Saudi Arabia, and Maui, Hawaii, 1962-84; affiliated with Johns Hopkins University as a summer program dean, 1987—; occasional stints as a professor and researcher with University of Hawaii, 1987-95; teacher of senior English, Kamehameha Secondary Schools, Honolulu, HI, 1993—.
Phi Beta Kappa.
Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library, 1997, and Best Books for Young Adults, American Library Association, 1997, both for Inside the Walls of Troy.
Inside the Walls of Troy: A Novel of the Women Who Lived the Trojan War, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1996.
Dance for the Land, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1999, expanded edition published as Dance for the Aina, Bess Press (Honolulu, HI), 2003.
Waiting for Odysseus, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2000.
Aphrodite's Blessings: Love Stories from the Greek Myths, Atheneum (New York, NY), 2002.
Contributor to popular magazines and professional journals. Contributor to Cat Heaven, Island Heritage Press, 1998.