|Mary Lee Settle was born into an upper-middle-class family (her father was a coal mine owner) and attended Sweet Briar College. In addition to writing, she worked as a fashion model, an editor, an actress, and a teacher, and served in the WAAF in England (where she lived with her English husband) during World War II. She wrote novels, plays, autobiography, and children's books; perhaps her best known books were the novels known as the "Beulah Quintet," written between 1956 and 1982. Her aim in writing, she said, was similar to Joseph Conrad's: "To make you hear, to make you feel--it is, before all, to make you see. That--and no more, and it is everything." In addition to America and England, Settle lived in Turkey; she received the National Book Award for her novel BLOOD TIE, which was about American and British expatriates there. She was married and divorced twice, and had one son.