Mary Eliza Kennard, née Laing, was a daughter of Samuel Laing, British railway administrator, member of Parliament, and writer. She is also sometimes identified as a daughter of Charles Wilson Faber, director of the Great Northern Railway. She was raised in Northaw, Hertfordshire, and educated at home by governesses and at a finishing school in Germany. In 1870, she married Edward Kennard, a journalist turned landed gentleman with whom she had two sons. Her husband owned a Northamptonshire estate with a country house called The Barn at Little Bowden, and was a keen sportsman. Her first stories were written for her children and were published in a volume called Twilight Tales (1886). She then started writing and publishing numerous novels, beginning with The Right Sort (1883), which were popular in her day but have now been largely forgotten. Many of these books were set in her rural Victorian world of hunting, shooting, fishing, and motoring. With Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Bram Stoker, Frank Danby, and others, she was one of the authors of the collaborative novel The Fate of Fenella (1892).