For online reference sources, try these databases which contain background information on authors and their works:
"Literary Reference Center is a full-text database that combines information from major respected reference works, books, and literary journals as well as original content from EBSCO Publishing. Literary Reference Center includes thousands of plot summaries, synopses, and work overviews; articles of literary criticism; author biographies; full text of over 430 literary journals; book reviews; classic and contemporary poems and short stories; full text of over 7,000 classic novels; author interviews; and images of key literary figures."
"The Encyclopædia Britannica database includes thousands of articles from the printed Encyclopædia Britannica, including thousands more that are not found in the print set. The resource also includes year-in-review articles from recent yearbooks, The Britannica Student Encyclopedia, and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus. Most articles are brief or of moderate length and discuss people, places, institutions, things, or concepts. Longer articles are divided into separate sections for easier access and more accurate searching."