Minneapolis writer Kate DiCamillo's new novel, "Raymie Nightingale," is the story of a 10-year-old girl who enters the Miss Central Florida Tire competition in order to get her father back.

"I thought, 'Oh, it's going to be a funny book about all those Little Miss contests that were around when I was a kid,'" DiCamillo told Entertainment Weekly in an exclusive interview. "I was in one of them and failed spectacularly. But then it's like, 'Why does she want to be in this contest?' She wants to get her dad back. And then it turned into something different than I thought it would be."

DiCamillo's father left the family when she was a young girl, just as Raymie's father did. ""I guess it is [autobiographical]," she told EW, "Although I wasn't thinking that when I was doing it. I was more like, 'Let me tell this story right.' But when you're done with something you think, 'I have some distance, and I can start to see what I'm doing.'"

The book will be published by Candlewick Press, DiCamillo's long-time publisher, on April 12, 2016.

You can read our profile of DiCamillo here and EW's interview with her--which includes an excerpt--here.