Susan Edmonstone Ferrier was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, the daughter of James Ferrier, principal clerk of the Court of Session and a colleague of Sir Walter Scott, and his wife Helen. Susan was privately educated. From her early years, she knew many notable Edinburgh intellectuals and writers, including Scott and novelist Henry Mackenzie. In 1797, her father took her to visit Inveraray, home of his client and patron John Campbell, 5th Duke of Argyll. She became a friend of the family, especially of a granddaughter, Charlotte Clavering, with whom she corresponded. After her mother died, Susan kept house for her father. Her first novel, Marriage, was written in 1810 and published anonymously in 1818 to great success. Her publisher paid £1000 for her second novel, The Inheritance (1824). Her third novel, Destiny or The Chief's Daughter, appeared in 1831. All three combined sarcastic humor, wit, and vivid accounts of Scottish social life of the period, as well as the author's sharp views on marriage and female education. She dedicated her last novel to Sir Walter Scott, who was her lifelong friend and admirer. She visited him at Ashiestiel Farm and House on the River Tweed in 1811 and at his new house Abbotsford in 1829 and 1831. Her account of the visits was published posthumously in the magazine Temple Bar (1874).