Welcome to Kicking Back with Kick-butt!
We’re chatting with Margaret Dilloway, the author of
SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES
When twelve-year-old Cady Bennett is sent to live with the aunt she didn’t even know she had in the quaint mountain town of Julian, she doesn’t know what to expect. Cady isn’t used to stability, or even living inside, after growing up homeless in San Diego with her dad.
Now she’s staying in her mother’s old room, exploring the countryside filled with apple orchards and pie shops, making friends, and working in Aunt Shell’s own pie shop—and soon, Cady starts to feel like she belongs. Then she finds out that Aunt Shell’s pie shop is failing. Saving the business and protecting the first place she’s ever really felt safe will take everything she’s learned and the help of all her new friends. But are there some things even the perfect pie just can’t fix?
Let’s talk to this marvelous author about her fantastic book!
This is Margaret. Everyone say, “Hi, Margaret!”
Welcome to Kick-Butt Kidlit, Margaret! Tell us about yourself!
Hi! Thanks for having me! I write middle grade realistic contemporary as well as fantasy (MOMOTARO series, Disney-Hyperion), plus women’s fiction. I usually write about the intersections of race and social class in some way, shape, or form, even in fantasy. SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES is my 7th published book! In my spare time, I like to perform long-form improv and hike and bake.
Where did the idea for SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES come from?
I had written about a pie shop in a women’s fiction book that never got picked up, and I was kind of obsessed with the idea. The main character, Cady, came from some experiences I had as a parent. Specifically, many years ago, my son had a reading buddy who lived in a similar kind of situation, and who had a hard time in school because of it.
There’s a nod to one of my favourite shows in this book: THE GREAT BRITISH BAKE-OFF! If you were to make a signature bake (in any category), what would it be? (Also, who’s your favourite? Mel, Sue, or Mary? *This is a Paul Hollywood free blog.*)
I accidentally came up with a recipe for really yummy gluten-free chocolate chip cookies, only because I was out of some stuff and I had to experiment.
My favorite is Mary!
Love a happy accident with delicious results!
What were three interesting things you discovered while working on SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES?
-You can find a recipe for any pie flavor combo you can think of on the Internet. Carrot pie? Check! Strawberry basil? Check! Apple-fennel? Check! You can put your own twist on them and make it your own.
-Immigration law is a hodgepodge of unrelated, illogical rules. The wait time to get into the US with documentation from Central and South America is 20 years. All of it needs to be thrown out and completely reworked by a bipartisan committee.
-Gopher snakes shake their tails like rattlers, so they get mistaken for rattlers, but are harmless.
If you could transport your characters across book dimensions, which book would you most like them to end up in and why?
Narnia because I think Cady and Jay would end up ruling the land instead of the Pevensies.
Yes! And I could totally see them swapping recipes with the Badger family. 😀
Why were you drawn to writing middle grade?
The subjects I wanted to write about lent themselves best to this age level.
Any hints about your next book project?
It’s about a 6th grader with social anxiety and a heart condition who starts doing improv as a way to manage her symptoms and finds it changes her life in unexpected ways (so basically my life story) It’s called FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS and will be out next year!
What has been the most surprising part of your publishing journey?
That each book never gets easier. I hear that’s true with every author, though.
What are you reading right now?
HER BODY AND OTHER PARTIES by Carmen Maria Machado. It’s brilliant. Remember the spooky childhood story about the woman with the ribbon around her neck? She reimagines it. Many more, too.
What’s your favourite piece of kick-butt advice?
The only way out is through. So if you’re feeling stuck or whatever, the only way out of your spot is to work through it.
Yes! Always keep going! Thanks so much for joining us, Margaret!
Kick-butt Kidlit friends, make sure you check out SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES! It’s out now!
Add SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES on Goodreads!
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more fun interviews!