J.F. Smith was born in Boston in 1985, raised thirty miles south, and escaped her childhood nary a Boston accent.
When she wasn’t dancing, J.F. spent her early years with her eyes stuck to the pages of a book, which should have been a clue to her parents to get her glasses earlier than fourth grade. She imagined herself to be like Francie in Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, so she actually read books up in the branches of a medium-age oak tree in her yard until landscapers cut down the only sturdy branch. This loss prompted her to write her first short story, called “The Girl in the Tree,” on a fifteen-year-old word processor, bought at a yard sale for six dollars and weighing in at an impressive twenty-four “portable” pounds. (The story has since been lost to the eternal hands of time.) Instead, she grew up and got married to a man with the last name Smith so that she could be more like her first favorite author.
J.F. has never eaten cantaloupe before, but she knows that she does not like it; this trend eerily mimics her relationship with “traditional 9-to-5 jobs.” As such, she became a college English professor at age 22, began teaching competitive dance, and received her M.F.A. in Creative Writing at Emerson College. In addition to her stint as editor at Providence College’s The Alembic, she has published her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in number of literary journals, academic papers through Oxford University, and various articles in outlets like the Washington Post and Thought Catalog.
Now, J.F. devotes her time to drafting and crafting, including but not limited to children’s books, young grown-up books, actual grown-up books, award-winning choreography, magazine-worthy wrapping paper, and fitness-friendly recipes. She continues to teach Creative Writing to graduate students, and she’s been known to be handy with both a hammer and a fire extinguisher, especially in the kitchen. She lives with her family just south of Boston.