R. M. Kinder is originally from southeast Missouri, Crowley's Ridge, specifically Bloomfield, Stoddard County area (Northernmost county of Bootheel). She attended one year at Southeast Missouri State, but completed BA, MFA, and PhD at the University of Arizona, Tucson, graduating a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa.
From 1989 to 2002, Kinder was a professor of English at University of Central Missouri. Her teaching areas were literature (emphasis on women writers in the US and worldwide) and creative writing. She was Coordinator of Creative Writing, editor of Pleiades literary journal, and established Pleiades Press. She is now editor emerita of the journal. She has also served in an advisory capacity with New Letters journal and BkMk Press and is a co-editor at Sweetgum Press and Cave Hollow Press, both of which promote regional writing.
Kinder's third collection of short fiction, A Common Person and Other Stories, was released February 1, 2021, by the University of Notre Dame Press as part of their Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction Series. Her first collection of short fiction, Sweet Angel Band, won Helicon Nine Edition's Willa Cather Prize, judged by Robley Wilson, and was published in 1991; her second collection, A Near-Perfect Gift, won the University of Michigan's Literary Fiction Award, judges Laura Kasiskche and Eileen Pollack, and was published in 2005. Her first novel, An Absolute Gentleman, was published by Counterpoint Press, 2007; her second novel, The Universe Playing Strings, was published by the University of New Mexico Press, 2016. She is co-author with Lowe-Martin of a dual-media biography, Old-Time Fiddling: Hal Sappington, Missouri Fiddler, published by the Johnson Country Missouri Historical Society in 2012. Kinder’s short fiction, non-fiction, and poems have appeared in numerous publications, among them Passages North, Notre Dame Review, Appalachian Review, Descant, Connecticut Review, North American Review, Cottonwood, Southern Humanities Review, The Deadliest Games: Tales of Psychological Suspense, After Hours, Confrontation, Dictionary of Missouri Biography,Missouri Life, and The New York Times (Op Ed).
An avid amateur musician, Kinder plays acoustic bass, guitar, mandolin, mountain dulcimer, a bit of ukulele, harmonica, and is attempting the fiddle. She collects Greek and Roman coins. She is also a videographer. Her YouTube channel (rosemariekinder) features regional musicians, including those who participated in the New Harmonies Roots Music Project, a project coordinated between the Smithsonian and local communities, here the Johnson County Historical Society, in 2009 . Other interests include languages, drama, opera, natural sciences, folk lore, animals (including humane treatment of them), comparative religion, serial killers, ghost hunting, history of witchcraft, pop culture.