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Take Five: Margaret Dilloway and Summer of a Thousand Pies

Today we celebrate the April 16 release of Margaret Dilloway’s new novel, Summer of a Thousand Pies [1].

Thank you for joining us to answer a few questions regarding your novel, Margaret!

A descendant of samurai and Irish-American coal miners, Margaret Dilloway is the internationally published author of women’s fiction, middle grade fantasy, and middle grade contemporary novels. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS won the American Library Association’s Literary Tastes Award for Best Women’s Fiction. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a John Gardner Fiction Award finalist.

 MOMOTARO: XANDER AND THE LOST ISLAND OF MONSTERS, published by Disney-Hyperion, won the ALA’s Asian/Pacific Librarians Honor Award for Middle Grade Literature. Her novels have been selected for Indie Next lists and as choices for Book of the Month club, Target, and Costco.

Dilloway lectures and conducts creative writing workshops for both children and adults. She also enjoys performing improv, baking, volunteering, and hiking. She lives in San Diego with her family.

“Fans of Anne of Green Gables will find a satisfying story and another heroine to cheer on…. Sweet as pie.” (Kirkus Reviews) 

Q1: What’s the premise of your new book?

After her father goes to jail, 12-year-old Cady Bennett goes to live with Aunt Shell in the mountains of San Diego, whom she’s never met before. There she gradually opens up, makes friends, becomes a Great British Bake-Off fan, and learns how to bake.

Q2: What would you like people to know about the story itself? 

It has heavy themes: homelessness, grief, undocumented immigration; but I’m really proud that it reads like a page-turner and is laced with plenty of humor.

 Q3: What do your characters have to overcome in this story? What challenge do you set before them?

The internal journey is that Cady has to learn how to trust others and believe in herself. The external is that the pie shop is threatened and she must come up with a way to stop it from closing.

Q4: What unique challenges did this book pose for you, if any?

I have a lot of plot threads for a middle grade book, which made it long…I think around 85K words.

Q5: What has been the most rewarding aspect of having written this book?

The book partially arose as a response to what’s happening in our country. My agent called it “stealth progressive.” It’s also about the intersections of race and privilege. But this book, on a basic level, is about love and acceptance and helping each other, and is ultimately hopeful.  I guess I wrote it because I needed it.

Readers, grab your copy of Summer of a Thousand Pies here [1].

About [2]

Writer Unboxed began as a collaboration between Therese Walsh [3] and Kathleen Bolton [4] in 2006. Since then the site has grown to include ~50 regular contributors--including bestselling authors and industry leaders--and frequent guests. In 2014, the first Writer Unboxed UnConference (part UNtraditional conference, part intensive craft event, part networking affair) [5] was held in Salem, MA. Learn more about our 2019 event, ESCAPE TO WuNDERLAND, on Eventbrite. [6] In 2016, the Writer Unboxed team published a book with Writer's Digest. AUTHOR IN PROGRESS: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What It Really Takes to Get Published [7] has been well-received by readers who seek help in overcoming the hurdles faced at every step of the novel-writing process--from setting goals, researching, and drafting to giving and receiving critiques, polishing prose, and seeking publication. James Scott Bell has said of the guide, "Nourishment for the writer's soul and motivation for the writer's heart." You can follow Writer Unboxed on Twitter [8], and join our thriving Facebook community [9].