Helen Simonson was born in Slough, grew up near Reading, and spent her teenage years in a small village in East Sussex, near Rye. A graduate of the London School of Economics, with a masters degree(MFA) in creative writing from Stony Brook Southampton(USA), she is a former advertising executive who now lives in the Washington, D.C. area. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand, her first novel, was written while she was a stay-at-home mother. Its unexpected success (Major Pettigrew has become an instant bestseller in multiple countries), has in no way reduced the amount of laundry, or the demands for food, money and car transport, from her two teenagers! The book is dedicated to them, and to her husband, John.