FitzGerald, the twelfth of thirteen children, was brought up in the country town of Kilmore, Victoria, and moved to the UK in 1991. She started writing while working as a criminal justice social worker, latterly with serious sex offenders in Glasgow's Barlinnie Prison. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.
FitzGerald began as a screenwriter, producing a series of educational children's dramas for BBC Scotland. She subsequently sold a number of screenplays, but none was ultimately produced and – frustrated by the film and television industry – she turned to novel-writing. She is a Bestseller in Holland and Germany.
Her first book, Dead Lovely, was completed in 2006. It was picked up by publishers Ambo/Anthos(Netherlands) and subsequently by Allen & Unwin (Australia/ New Zealand), Faber & Faber (UK), Calmann-Levy (France) and Piemme (Italy).
"The Devil's staircase" was published in 2009, Polygon.
Helen's third novel was "My Last Confession", 2009 Faber & Faber.
The fourth novel, "Bloody Women" also came out in 2009, Polygon.
"Amelia O'Donohue is SO not a virgin", a teen novel coming out November 2010 in America, Source Books
"The Donor", Helen's fifth adult novel due to come out in the UK Spring 2010, Faber & Faber
"Hot Flush", for reluctant readers, due 2011, Barrington Stoke.
"DEVIANT", released summer 2013
Some commentators noted that FitzGerald's first book, while generally described as a crime novel, did not follow the traditional rules of the genre. They argued that it belonged to a different, more psychologically complex tradition, characterised by the dark humour and flawed anti-heroines of writers such as Tama Janowitz and Fay Weldon. Novelist Mark Abernethy wrote of FitzGerald: "She has managed to do what Fay Weldon did in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, which is to find the joke in what appalls us."
Australian critic Sally Murphy described the novel as compelling but hard to classify, with "elements of chick-lit mixed with ghastly scenes of murder and retribution", while Adelaide writer Cath Kenneally highlighted FitzGerald's technique of underpinning audacious and potentially shocking material - "working blue" - with "sociological acumen".
Nomination for 2010 Spinetingler Award
On 31 March 2010 "The Devil's Staircase" was nominated for the 2010 Spinetingler Award in America, despite the book never being published there.