Krahn, born Betina Maynard, is the second daughter of Dors Maynard and Regina Triplett. Krahn learned to read at the age of four, and began making up her own stories when she was only six. In fifth grade she won a silver “Noble Order of Bookworms” pin for her achievements in reading, and the following year she began writing down her stories.
Krane was graduated from high school in Newark, Ohio and received a B.S. in Education (Biological Sciences) at Ohio State University. After college, Krahn taught science in Newark, and studied for a graduate degree at Ohio State in the summers. It was during those summers that she met her future husband, physics graduate student Donald Krahn.
The family moved to Oklahoma, where Krahn finished the work for her Masters of Education in Counseling in 1973. In 1974, she gave birth to her first child, Nathan, with the second son Zebulun arriving in 1978. With two young children, Krahn became a stay-at-home mother for a time, also finding time to volunteer on a community board working to get funding for mental health care in part of Western Oklahoma. Once the funding was secured, Krahn worked as an HR director for a mental health center.