Heather Payer-Smith, a native of Northwest Pennsylvania, currently resides in Northeast Texas where she enjoys working as a graphic/art designer for an advertising agency.
While Heather has always had a rich imagination, she never really aspired to be a writer. "I wanted to be an actress when I was little. I was constantly quoting lines and scenes from my favorite movies, making people guess what it was from. In fact, I still do that," Heather laughs. "When you develop a passion for something at such a young age, it's hard to let it go. Throughout high school and college I was always involved in plays and my friends and I loved to make home movies."
Heather always had a creative outlet while growing up, whether it was participating in a theater production, making amateur movies or painting pictures. "I had so many interactive ways to express myself or tell a story that I never really dove into the notion of writing."
It wasn't until 2005 that Heather first discovered her knack for writing. "I was struck with an idea for a story, but didn't really know what I wanted to do with it. Instead of letting it slip away, I started writing. Three months later, I had completed a book and I've been writing ever since."
That first book that started it all was Heather's debut children's novel, "The Nameless World." While it has only recently been published, it sparked in Heather a love for writing that sucked her into the literary world, bringing about opportunities she may not have otherwise had. "Because I was still a novice writer, my grandmother encouraged me to attend writing workshops. It was at a workshop that I met a young publisher who was in need of an illustrator, and that's where my adventures in publishing began."
While she continued to develop her writing skills, Heather began illustrating with Lily Ruth Publishing, illustrating three books, “My Weird Family Series: My Vampire Cousin” and “My Weird Family Series: My Werewolf Brother” (middle grade books written by J.K. Hawkins) as well as “The Sundancer” (a children’s picture book written by Ben Joy).
Heather also enjoys dabbling with short stories that fit more into a noir genre. "A lot of my short stories are very dark in nature. I started writing short stories after reading St. Lucy's Home For Girls Raised By Wolves, by Karen Russell. She touched upon so many awkward topics in such a brilliant way that I was lured to test my own creativity on a more morbid level. It simply challenges me as an author and allows me to explore other avenues of writing that I don't know i would have otherwise considered. Now, it's a guilty pleasure to write them."
Over the years, Heather has learned a lot about writing and publishing. "It's kind of funny to look back on it all and see where life has taken me. In high school or college, if you had asked me where I saw myself in ten years, my answer would not have been 'I want to be a writer,' and yet, here I am. I'm just excited to have the opportunity to share my stories with people. Even more, I'm thrilled to know that people actually enjoy them. I'd say that is the biggest reward of it all."