author photo, Joanne Smith
I have lived on this Massachusetts river for most of my adult life, and I feel lucky to have landed on such a restorative shore at an early age. As a young mother caring for a baby born with a complicated, life-threatening illness (cystic fibrosis), I filled a lot of spiral-bound notebooks with a lot of angst while gazing out at this body of water. By my early thirties, in full-fledged, (and thankfully early) mid-life crisis, I sent myself to the MFA program at Emerson College, where I met many of the wonderful people who have enriched and encouraged my writing life to this day.
In the late 1990s, I began to write and publish short stories, as I’d dreamed of doing during those notebook-filling days. I also spent many years as the Associate Fiction Editor for Ploughshares, the award-winning Boston literary journal. My growing story collection was a finalist for awards like the Iowa Short Fiction Awards and the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. Some of the stories were anthologized, and I won some grants in Massachusetts (thank you St. Botolph Club and Massachusetts Cultural Council). With my husband Nick, we focused on being present in each day and giving our daughter the best life we possibly could.
It is so gratifying to see Cascade published, to know that it exists in solid form, that it has a Library of Congress number.
When I’m not writing or reading, I’m either traveling or planning a trip, or I’m in the kitchen trying out a new recipe, planning a party, or I’m in a yoga studio, gym, kayak, or tennis center. Service has always been important to me, and currently, I spend Wednesdays at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, providing Reiki to inpatients.
I’m now working on a novel about an oral historian who comes across an object in a museum exhibit, an object that had been stolen from his family—or so he thought—when he was a boy. Currently, the story alternates between the present day and 1968 Prague, but that may change. What won’t change: the book will be about family secrets and love and betrayal, and about how the cultures we live in both hinder and help us preserve what is most sacred to the artist in all of us.
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