Helen Brown was born and brought up in New Zealand. After attending school in New Plymouth she studied journalism and became a cadet reporter with The Dominion. After meeting and marrying a Brit, Helen lived in England briefly before returning to New Zealand and having two sons, Sam and Rob. She became a popular columnist for The Dominion and her first book had recently been published when Sam was run over and killed. After the birth of her daughter, Lydia, Helen's marriage broke up and she moved to Auckland to work for the Auckland Star as a feature writer and columnist. Helen met and married Philip Gentry in 1991. Their family moved en masse to Melbourne in 1997, though Helen continues to write columns for the New Zealand media, where she's been voted Columnist of the Year several times.