Heather Smith spent much of her early life wrestling with words. Not only was she a reluctant reader, she struggled with speech as well. Unable to pronounce certain words she became a walking thesaurus, anxiously swapping out words she wanted to say with words she could say. Although Heather’s relationship with words was rocky, the two were eventually able to get over their difficulties and have been on speaking terms ever since. Today, Heather wrestles with words in a different way – she’s a writer! Instead of dodging them, she grabs them with both hands, holding them close to her heart until she finds them a home on the page.
Originally from Newfoundland, Heather now lives in Waterloo, Ontario, with her husband and three children. Her east coast roots inspire much of her writing. Her first novel, Baygirl, was described by Quill and Quire as “a balanced, well-written debut”. Baygirl also received a nomination for the 2015 White Pine Award where it earned its place as an Honour Book.
Quill and Quire (starred review): With sprightly dialogue, relatable characters, and a story that delves into serious subject matter without becoming morose, Baygirl is a balanced, well-written debut.
CM Magazine: Sitting at the juncture between historical and contemporary realism, Baygirl is, very much, a bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story that will captivate the attention of today’s young adults.
School Library Journal: Teens will connect with Smith’s well-crafted characters, including the fully-formed protagonist. The tragic ending will resonate with readers, and they will root for Kit as she emerges from the other side.
Photo credit: Declan Flynn Photography