Ching Yeung Russell grew up in mainland China and Hong Kong. She began writing letters for her relatives at the age of eight and was inspired to become a professional writer after her uncle rewarded her with a bowl of dan lai (milk custard). Ching often returns to China to share her books with students. On one such visit, she finally had her second bowl of dan lai more than twenty years after her first.
Ching lives in South Carolina with her husband. They have two grown sons.