Joan F. Smith

Joan F. Smith of Milton, is the author of "The Half-Orphan's Handbook." She will speak via Zoom on April 14.

As an author, Joan F. Smith said she is always inspired by “the big, unanswerable questions in life” and people, those she likes and those she doesn’t, and their stories.

Smith, who started writing when she was a girl, said it was inevitable that the tragedy of her father’s death by suicide when she was 23 would eventually show up in her work.

Her first novel, “The Half-Orphan’s Handbook,” is a book for young adults that tells the story of Lila Cunningham, who also loses her father though suicide. It is set to be released on April 20 by Macmillan's imprint.

“This is a book that I wish I had then so I could have seen that the experience doesn't need to be so isolating,” she said in a recent interview.

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