Joan Clark has lived in many different parts of Canada, and her works are set in a diversity of locales. Like the protagonist of Swimming Toward the Light, she was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, and grew up in various towns in the Maritimes. After her graduation from Acadia University, she taught biology for a year in Sussex, New Brunswick, which she greatly enjoyed because the students didn’t exercise their power. She then moved to Calgary where she took education for a year at the University of Alberta, just before the Calgary branch became an autonomous university. Several of the stories in Swimming Toward the Light were written seven years ago while she lived in Bragg Creek.