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About me

Bonnie SmettsWhen my sixth grade teacher wrote SOME IMAGINATION! in all caps across the top of my story about surfing and sports cars, I knew the remark wasn’t a compliment. After that, I never gave writing a serious thought. Instead, I decided to become an artist.

I attended Bennington College and then art school in California, both CCA and Academy of Art University. Soon after graduating from the Academy, I opened a graphic design studio and worked for nearly seventeen years designing everything from books to software interfaces to packaging to interactive projects.

In 1997 I closed my studio to join Communication Arts magazine where I worked in various roles until two things happened that changed the course of my life. First, my mother died a terrible death from breast cancer and the experience cracking open a long dormant need to explain the world in words. I wrote my mother’s story and have been writing ever since.

Second, not long after my mother's passing, a friend invited me to visit her in Italy. To prepare for my trip, I enrolled in a beginning Italian class and fell in love with the language. I took that first trip to Italy and then many others, staying longer each time and deepening my ability to speak. My stories chronicling my rocky road to fluency have appeared in print and online since 2006. My tales about visiting out-of-the way spots in Italy have won awards and appeared in travel writing anthologies. My proudest language achievement was conducting an interview in Italian with Milanese illustrators, Ann and Elena Balbusso, for an article I wrote for Communication Arts magazine. I've had the pleasure to interview and write about other Italian illustrators since then.


I continue to travel in Italy and write about it, but my curiosity has also taken me to Romania, Bulgaria, Spain’s Catalonia and Basque country, as well as to Japan and India. I am currently working on two novels in which the locations are as much characters as the living breathing ones.

To offset my time at the keyboard, I practice and teach Vinyasa Yoga on the San Francisco peninsula.

When I'm home, I divide my time between the seashore and the city in northern California.

Contact me at bonnie (at) bonniesmetts (.) com.