Sarah Brennan grew up in Tasmania. She worked as a medical lawyer in London for ten years, but did not begin to write professionally until she moved to Hong Kong in 1998. There, she published a regular column in a local parenting magazine; the columns, in turn, became the basis for her tongue-in-cheek parents' manual Dummies for Mummies (2006).
Her work with the magazine led to the publication of her first children's book, A Dirty Story, and its sequel, An Even Dirtier Story.
In 2007, she established her own publishing company, Auspicious Times Limited, which has published the (as of 2011) five titles in the Chinese Calendar Tales series.
The idea for the Chinese Calendar Tales arose, according to Brennan,when she began reading her first two books in primary schools, where she experienced 'a sense of disconnection between the material--set in the mythical but very European Twinkle Downs--and the identity of the kids to whom I was reading, who were mainly of Chinese origin'. She noted that for primary-school children, 'there was very little if anything on the English-language shelves that was funny, fictional and about Asia'. The Chinese Calendar Tales series is designed to bridge this gap, bringing Asian culture, history, and language to English-speaking readers while providing children living in Asia with stories related to their own heritage.
The Chinese Calendar Tales are illustrated by Harry Harrison, cartoonist from the South China Morning Post.
Quotations from Sarah Brennan, 'Brazen Ignorance and Balls of Steel: A Recipe for Survival as a Children's Writer and Publisher'.