Syr Ruus was born in Estonia at the start of the Second World War.
As a small child, she escaped with her mother to Germany. After the war ended they lived in various DP camps before immigrating to the United States where she grew up and received her education. In 1970, she moved to Nova Scotia, working as a teacher while raising her three children. She has written a prize-winning juvenile novel and published short fiction in anthologies and journals. Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart is the recipient of the H.R. (Bill) Percy Prize from the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia.