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Interview with ‘A Smidgen of Sky’ middle grade author Dianna Winget

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Dianna was blessed with a mother who read to her, so she naturally grew up to be a writer. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, thinking about what to write, or grumbling about having to do things that prevent her from writing—things like vacuuming, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. She lives in the beautiful mountains of North Idaho with her husband, daughter and two canine buddies.

For what age audience do you write?

I write middle grade fiction novels for readers ages 8-12. All my stories so far have been realistic, contemporary.

Henry: Well that’s fine, but I expect some gnomes or pixies at some future point! ☺

Tell us about some of your books.

My debut, ‘A Smidgen of Sky’ (Harcourt 2012), centers around spunky Piper Lee Deluna, a young girl from the South who 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. Plus, she doesn’t see any need for a new stepdad or bratty stepsister, when she and her mama are doing just fine by themselves. My second book, ‘A Million Ways Home’, will be out next fall from Scholastic Press. It’s about twelve year old Poppy, whose whole life is turned upside down when the grandmother who’s raised her suffers a stroke and ends up in a nursing home. Although the two books are very different they both feature the theme of loss and moving ahead with changed circumstances.

What do you hope readers will get from reading your books?

I try to write stories that will make young readers laugh, hope, smile, think, maybe even cry, but always help them to see that it’s okay to have strong, often mixed-up feelings about love, loss, pets, family and friends.

What aspect of writing do you find most challenging?

Getting started on a new book is the most difficult for me. I do only a loose outline so that I know the approximate direction the story is headed, and how I’d like it to end. But pounding out that first chapter is tough for me. After that it gets easier.

Henry: Me too. Getting the first draft is always the hardest.

What is a powerful lesson you've learned from being a writer?

That writing is very different from marketing. An author can do everything right and still not sell a lot of copies. Do what you reasonably can to promote your work, but the most important thing is to keep writing.

Henry: Yes, as a self-published author, I learned to appreciate the effort involved in all the various activities that go from transforming a story into a book in a reader’s hands.

Click to read the complete interview at Henry Herz's blog on KidLit, Sci-fi & Fantasy books.

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