Born in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, she immigrated to Vancouver in 1968. She met and married her husband, Noel, in 1969. They have a son and a daughter and have recently become 'empty nesters'. She became became hooked on romance novels as a teenager but didn't start trying to write them until her children entered elementary school. She entered a fiction competition sponsored by Woman's Weekly, a popular British Magazine, and received an encouraging response from an editor who asked for changes to the manuscript. That story didn't sell but she was invited to submit again. A Bid For Happiness was published in 1984. She sold her second manuscript, A Piece of Forever, to Woman's Weekly in 1987.

Her breakthrough came with the 1988 publication of her first book, A Tender Trail, sold to Silhouette Books in New York. She became a finalist in the "Traditional Category" of the 1988 Romance Writers of America (RWA) conference in Seattle. The contest was known then as The Golden Medallion, but is now the prestigious "Rita". Other subsequent titles include A Kiss and a Promise (1989), Just in Time for Christmas (1990), All About Adam (1991), No Mistaking Love (1992) and Just A Memory Away (1992). Her 14th novel, and the first in her Diamond Trilogy about a California family who own a race-horse ranch, A Diamond for Kate, appeared in 1999. It was followed by The Family Diamond and Denim and Diamond in 2000. One of her less conventional Sihouette romances is The Baby Arrangement (1999) about gentle-hearted Faith Nelson who agrees to care for her own identical twin's newborn as her own. When the father of the child arrives to claim the child, the heroine keeps her promise to her sister--by living under Jared's roof as his wife, tricking him with her false identity. "Not only did Jared's touch awaken Faith's long-slumbering desire, but he was also the most honourable, loving man she'd ever met..."

Tarling has taught courses on How to Write Romances at various locations in and around Vancouver. She also gave a workshop titled 20 Steps to a Better Manuscript at the RWA National Conference in Orlando, 1997.

[BCBW 1999] "Fiction" "Romance"