Mary Downing Hahn grew up in College Park, Maryland. After graduating college, she worked as an art teacher, a college instructor, and a children's librarian in Prince George's Public Library System. She published her first novel, The Sara Summer, at the age of 41. Since then, she has been a full-time writer and averages one book a year. Her ghost story Wait till Helen Comes was the winner of 12 state children's book awards and she received the Scott O'Dell award for her World War II novel Stepping on the Cracks. She currently lives with her husband in Columbia, Maryland.