She was born Frances Chamberlaine in Dublin. In 1747 she married an actor, Thomas Sheridan, and at the same time began work on her first novel, Eugenia and Adelaide. Circumstances forced them to move to London in 1754, and they were introduced to Samuel Richardson, who encouraged Frances in her writing. Her most successful novel, Memoirs of Miss Sidney Bidulph (1761), in diary format, was clearly influenced by Richardson's Pamela. She then turned to drama, her work being performed at Drury Lane by David Garrick's company.