Mary Smathers grew up in Los Altos, California and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Latin American Studies. She earned a Master's degree in Education and another MA in Educational Administration and Policy Analysis from Stanford University. From 1983 to 2013, she worked in public schools throughout California as a high school teacher, administrator, teacher trainer, grant writer and educational entrepreneur, helping to found three education companies and a public charter school. Since that time, she has focused on writing, reporting for a bilingual, regional Costa Rican newspaper and publishing her first work of fiction, Fertile Soil: Stories of the California Dream, in 2016. In This Land of Plenty, her debut novel, will be released in summer, 2020. She divides her time between California's Central Coast and the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica, where she is at work chronicling the stories of subsequent generations in the Brennan/Castro family tree of In This Land of Plenty and a children's book series featuring tropical and jungle animals.