I grew up in Philippi, West Virginia. In my early 20s I wrote for The Daily Athenaeum (West Virginia University's student newspaper) and The Charleston Gazette. I moved to London in 2000, and am now a dual citizen of the U.S. and UK.

I worked for a mortgage company for a decade. One day I volunteered at Wild Futures' Monkey Sanctuary in Cornwall, and realised I'd enjoyed cleaning up monkey poo more than anything I'd ever done at work. I  went back to school and got a qualification in animal care. I now work for the Bat Conservation Trust, where I co-ordinate the UK's voluntary Bat Care Network.

At around the same time as my career change, I began taking my writing seriously again, with help and encouragement from instructors on the continuing education faculty at Birkbeck College.

My surname is Brown. Del Col is my maiden name, and comes from the Friuli–Venezia Giulia region of Italy.