Julie Johnston grew up in Smith Falls, Ontario, then went to the University of Toronto to study physical and occupational therapy. After university she and her husband, whom she met while in Toronto, worked for over a year at the Ontario Hospital School for physically and mentally handicapped children in Smith Falls, then travelled for four months in Europe, moved to Kingston, then Toronto and, finally, settled in Peterborough where she raised four daughters. Over the years, she published many short stories in several magazines, but not until an encouraging interview with a writer-in-residence at Trent University, did she begin work on a novel. Hero of Lesser Causes was completed (the first time) in 1986. After many re-writes and several publishing delays, it was published to great acclaim in 1992, winning the Governor General's Literary Award / Children's Literature (for English text) that year. Julie Johnston's second novel, Adam and Eve and Pinch-Me, was also honoured with the Governor General's Literary Award, making her the first author to win the award for both her first and second books.