A great-grand-daughter of psychic Robert James Lees, Sara was born in Penola, South Australia. She attended Annesley College, in Wayville, a suburb of Adelaide. She studied for her BA while working as a Registered Nurse, and later completed her PhD in early modern English History. She became a lecturer in medieval history at La Trobe University, Bendigo. Whilst there she completed her first novel, BattleAxe, which launched her as a popular fantasy author in Australia, and later as an international success.
Until the mid-2000s, she hosted a bulletin board on her website, which encouraged creative thinking and constructive criticism of others' work. The bulletin board was closed due to her other commitments, although many of its posters continue to contribute to other bulletin boards. Sara now maintains an online blog about the restoration project of her house and garden at Notes from Nonsuch in Tasmania.
Douglass mainly focuses her efforts on fantasy writings. Her first trilogy, The Axis Trilogy, is set in the fantasy world of Tencendor and Escator. Of The Axis TrilogyEnchanter and StarMan won the 1996 Aurealis Fantasy division award and Battleaxe was nominated for the 1995 award. Douglass's second series, The Wayfarer Redemption, two stand alone novels and her most recent series, Darkglass Mountain also focus on the fantasy world used in The Axis Trilogy. The Wayfarer Redemption also did well in the Aurealis Fantasy division with all three novels reaching the finals for their published years.
In addition to the fantasy novels set in the world of Tencendor and Escator, Douglass has written two unrelated historical fantasy series, The Crucible trilogy and The Troy Game. Some of these novels also reached the Aurealis Fantasy division finals with The Nameless Day and The Crippled Angel from The Crucible finishing as finalists and The Wounded Hawk winning the award in 2001. Hade's Daughter and Darkwitch Rising from The Troy Game also were finalists in the Fantasy division.
Douglass has also written a non-fiction book, The Betrayal of Arthur, and several short stories.