When Dianna Dorisi Winget got married, she became an instant mom to a 4-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter. Their mother had died from cancer two years earlier. Dianna and her husband went on to add another daughter to their family.
That experience is what planted the seed for Dianna’s first novel. I recently read her debut middle grade, A Smidgen of Sky, and the story softened my heart.
Piper Lee, a spunky girl from the South, is determined to stop her mother from getting remarried. Her dad disappeared in an airplane crash four years earlier, and Piper Lee still holds onto the hope that he might one day reappear. To make matters worse, her mom is going to marry a man who has a daughter Piper’s age.
“Step families face tremendous and unique challenges, and I know if I could do it over again I’d likely do a much better job,” Dianna says. “Writing about Piper Lee and her struggles to fit into a new family dynamic just felt natural to me, and I hoped many young readers would be able to relate.”
Dianna spent more than seven years working on A Smidgen of Sky from her home in the mountains of Idaho. “Once I get a story idea, I let it percolate for a while in my head. Then when I feel the urge to begin, I jot down just a few thoughts.”
One of my favorite part of this novel was its humor. Take, for example, this line about Piper’s future step-dad, Ben:
Ben was tinkering under the hood of his ugly brown Mustang when we pulled into the drive, but as soon as Mama parked the car, he was right there like a hog for his slop.
Dianna’s next middle grade novel, A Million Ways Home, will be out with Scholastic this summer: 12-year-old Poppy’s life is turned upside down when the grandmother who’s raised her suffers a stroke and ends up in a nursing home. What helps her cope is her efforts to save a shelter dog who is slated to be put to sleep.
Book give away!
Win an autographed copy of A Smidgen of Sky! Please leave a comment below.
U.S. residents only, please. Contest ends April 21 at midnight PST. One winner to be chosen by Random.org
And congrats to Sue, who runs a junior high book club. She’s the winner of Dead Ends!
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