In the fall of 1967, Faye Smith’s family moves to Florida to work in the orange groves, and she has to start a new school… again. She tries out for the track team, knowing her mother would never approve because of Faye’s epilepsy.
When Faye discovers she has a talent for distance running, she and her friend Francie decide to enter the Boston Marathon, even though women aren’t allowed to compete. Desperate to climb out of the rut of poverty, Faye is determined to take part and win a college scholarship.
After the school bully tries to run her down with his car, a strange memory surfaces—a scene Faye doesn’t recognize. Her parents insist that it’s a symptom of her epilepsy, but Faye thinks they might be lying, especially when it keeps happening. To get her life on the right path, she’ll need to figure out what her parents are hiding and never lose sight of the finish line. “Who She Is” by Diane Byington delves deep into recent history and uses the backdrop of the Boston Marathon, the Civil Rights struggle and the Vietnam War to tell a visceral tale of coming-of-age.” --Hidden Gem Books
Praise for Who She Is
“Faye’s character and her concerns are nicely drawn, the twists of plot are unpredictable and different, and the story line is thoroughly engrossing. . . . Readers will appreciate Who She Is for its multifaceted approach to life and one girl’s discovery of who she really is (and can be) in the face of bullying, betrayal, and abandonment.” – D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“The characters are gritty and real, and the tumultuous late 1960s are depicted vibrantly. This is a tale that sheds light on exactly how much women have had to overcome in order to participate in such simple things as high school sports. A worthy, engrossing read.” – Aimie K. Runyan, Bestselling Author of Daughters of the Night Sky
I wrote my first “book” in the fifth grade. It was an updating of Charles Dickens’ novel Great Expectations. Pip was now Smitty, and so forth. I received an “A” for the project, and that encouraged me to keep writing. When I was 13 I spent the summer writing a book about meeting my fantasy loves, the Beatles – which made me so embarrassed that it ended up in the trash. But I couldn’t stop writing. I was the editor of my high school literary magazine and won an award for one of my essays.
I tried to major in English as an undergraduate at the University of Florida, but reading Pilgrim’s Progress stopped me cold! I couldn’t make it through that classic, and decided to switch gears. I got my undergraduate degree in psychology, and eventually earned my M.S.W. and Ph.D. in social work at Florida State University. After working for a while in the health field, I decided to be a college professor so I could, among other benefits, have summers off to dedicate to writing. Eventually I moved to Colorado to teach at the University of Denver.
Those years resulted in numerous professional and academic articles that gained me tenure and some status in my field, but I also wanted to write fiction and essays. So, toward the end of my twenty years in academia, I published a short story, several essays, and even a poem.
After leaving academia and moving to Boulder I burst forth into a multiplicity of occupations. I taught yoga and chi kung classes, earned a certificate in chi kung healing and practiced energy healing, used my license in social work to start a private psychotherapy practice, and made a relaxation CD. These were fun, but not very lucrative, so I eventually ended up as a management consultant, working with 360 feedback. I like using my skills to help people succeed in their careers.
Yes, I’ve enjoyed an eclectic work history.
I enrolled in a two-year creative writing program through Stanford University and received my Certificate in Novel Writing. Since then, I’ve been writing full-time. My first novel, Who She Is, has just been released by Red Adept Publishing. Stay tuned for what’s next!